Amazing Chocolate Cake Recipe
1 and 3/4 cups (220g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
3/4 cup (65g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 and 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons espresso powder (optional)
1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil (or canola oil or melted coconut oil)
2 large eggs, at room temperature*
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup (240ml) buttermilk
1 cup (240ml) freshly brewed strong hot coffee (regular or decaf)
1.25 cups (2.5 sticks or 290g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3–4 cups (360-480g) confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup (65g) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or dutch process)
3–5 Tablespoons (45-75ml) heavy cream (or half-and-half or milk)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
optional for decoration: semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease 9-inch cake pas, line with parchment paper.
Make the cake:
- Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder (if using) together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or you can use a whisk) mix the oil, eggs, and vanilla together on medium-high speed until combined. Add the buttermilk and mix until combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, add the hot water/coffee, and whisk or beat on low speed until the batter is completely combined. Batter is thin.
- Divide batter on pan. Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely in the pan.
Make the buttercream:
- With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy – about 2 minutes.
- Add confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, heavy cream, salt, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 1 full minute. Do not over-whip.
- Add 1/4 cup more confectioners’ sugar or cocoa powder if frosting is too thin or another Tablespoon of cream if frosting is too thick. Taste. Add more salt if needed. (I usually add another pinch.)
Assemble and frost: Use a large serrated knife to slice the cake into 2. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with 2nd layer and spread remaining frosting all over the top and sides. I always use an icing spatula and bench scraper for the frosting. Garnish with chocolate chips, strawberry or kit kat if desired.
Refrigerate cake for at least 30-60 minutes before slicing. This helps the cake hold its shape when cutting.
Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for 5 days.
Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Prepare cake through step 4. Wrap the individual baked and cooled cake layers tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze up to 3 months. Bring to room temperature then continue with step 5.
You can prepare the chocolate buttercream 2-3 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate, then bring to room temperature before spreading onto/assembling the cake. Frosted cake freezes well, up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature or serve cold.
Buttermilk: Buttermilk is required for this recipe. You can make your own DIY version of buttermilk by measuring 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar in a measuring glass. Add enough milk (1%, 2%, or whole) in the same measuring glass to reach 1 cup. Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes. The soured milk will be somewhat curdled and ready to use in your recipe.
Espresso Powder/Coffee: Espresso powder and coffee will not make the cake taste like coffee. Instead, they deepen the chocolate flavor. I highly recommend them both. If coffee isn’t your thing, you can leave out the espresso powder and use extra hot water or hot chai tea.