Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

This is an easy chocolate cake recipe that requires no creaming and is one of the most forgiving in technique and measuring. It’s chocolatey and so moist it borders on fudgey, but still light and crumbed enough in texture to constitute a cake.

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

In fact it’s so moist you can bake this cake 5 days beforehand and not worry about it drying it out. No lie. And that is the reason why this is my go-to chocolate cake for birthdays or celebrations.

It’s a perfect base that can easily be adapted for different flavors. For this version I used cassis, a black currant liqueur. I’m pretty sure most of the alcohol content is burned off while the strong berry flavor stays behind.

A few notes.

  • The only adaptation to the original recipe I made was to sub the scotch for cassis.
  • The cake can be made 5 days in advance and stored tightly covered in the refrigerator.
  • The vanilla buttercream can be made 1 week in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator. To bring frosting to room temperature for piping consistency, leave refrigerated frosting at room temperature for 1-2 hours. Time will depend on how shallow the storing container is – more surface area will bring the frosting to temperature faster.
  • Straws, spoons and Washi tape for the bunting are from here.

Chocolate Cassis Cake

Cake adapted from Epicurious
Preparation: Spray two 8 inch cake pans with bake spray. Place parchment paper round on the bottom and spray and coat top of parchment. Dust pan with cocoa powder. Tap out any excess cocoa powder. Heat oven to 325 degrees F and place oven rack in the middle.

Chocolate Cassis Cake:

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
  • 1 1/2 cups brewed coffee
  • 1/2 cup Cassis
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 10 egg whites
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 lbs butter (8 sticks), cut into pieces
  • 1 ½ tablespoon pure vanilla extract


To make Chocolate Cassis Cake:

  1. Place coffee, cassis, butter, and remaining cocoa powder in a medium size saucepan over medium heat, stirring until butter is melted. Remove saucepan from heat, add sugar and whisk until dissolved, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a bowl and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
  2. Place flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine .In a separate bowl place eggs and vanilla lightly whisk to combine.
  3. Slowly pour egg and vanilla mixture into cooled chocolate mixture while continuously whisking with the other hand to evenly incorporate the two mixtures. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined (batter will be thin and bubbly). Divide batter in half and pour one half into one cake pan and other half into the other cake pan. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes.
  4. Cool cake completely in pan on a rack, about 2 hours. Loosen cake from pan using tip of a dinner knife, then invert rack over pan and turn cake out onto rack.Halve cake horizontally. For an easy trick to cutting cake layers click here.

To make Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  1. Combine egg whites and sugar in a bowl placed over simmering water. Bring mixture to 160 degrees F while whisking constantly.
  2. Transfer mixture to stand mixer bowl, fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium high speed (speed 8 on a KitchenAid stand mixer)until mixture cools and doubles in volume and forms stiff peaks; about 10-12 minutes (possibly longer). Add in vanilla and beat to combine.
  3. Add butter in one piece at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition. The mixture may appear clumpy and almost curdled looking-this is normal. Keep mixing and it will become even and smooth again. Add salt and vanilla and mix to combine.

To finish:

  1. Ice cake as desired. To ice cake as seen in the picture use a Wilton tip 104 and pipe from bottom to top while holding the piping bag at a 45 degree angle to the side of the cake. Step-by-step tutorial to icing this style will posted on Saturday.
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34 Responses to “Best Chocolate Cake Recipe”

  1. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 30, 2012 @ 3:50 am

    It’s a work of art, Naomi! WOW!!! Those layers…you have surgeon’s hands!


  2. #
    Alicia — March 30, 2012 @ 4:15 am

    For the buttercream…its 150 degrees , right? Can you tell you’ve made me a fan of that recipe :-)


    • RobL replied: — June 23rd, 2014 @ 1:58 pm

      No, the formula is correct, 160°F. I usually add the salt to the sugar/egg white (I also use 1 1/2 cups egg whites, a little more exact than 10 egg whites, as it represents a very specific volume). As soon as the heated egg white is placed in the bowl for whipping, I add about a half teaspoon of creme of tartar.

      Other than that, this formula will become your go-to buttercream. It can be manipulated/changed to create unlimited product variations.


      • Arlothia replied: — November 4th, 2014 @ 11:14 am

        Wait, crème of tartar? You didn’t mention that in the recipe. Did you do that to the frosting for the cake you posted pictures of?

  3. #
    Rue — March 30, 2012 @ 8:33 am

    OMG. Naomi you are a woman after my own heart. I absolutely love bakers royals what you do is an art. I also love the way you have done the website very easy to use and loads of useful hints tips and links to follow. I love baking but don’t do it often enough, and when I do it sometimes it’s hit and miss. But I’m inspired I’m going to put a little more effort and love into my baking. I’m going to start with your Dulce de leche and banana cake!! I’ll let you know how that goes!!!!!


  4. #
    Caroline @ chocolate & carrots — March 30, 2012 @ 9:59 am

    What a gorgeous cake Naomi! But, I have to ask, what is Cassis? I’ve never heard of that before.


  5. #
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — March 30, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

    LOVE this! Everyone needs a perfect chocolate cake recipe!


  6. #
    Kimberly — March 30, 2012 @ 12:07 pm

    Wow! This looks amazing!! Cant wait to try it!


  7. #
    Hello My Sweet — March 30, 2012 @ 2:38 pm

    This looks amazing! I love chocolate cake. Our usual go to recipe is Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake on the back of the box. It is more of a light and fluffy moist cake. Have you ever tried it, if so how does it compare to this one?


  8. #
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — March 30, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

    I told you the pics would be gorgeous – as always!! :) I so want a slice right now! Adorable accessories.


  9. #
    Kita — March 30, 2012 @ 11:36 pm

    Told ya this would turn out stunning :) Never doubted you. And as always, it sounds wonderfully tasty too.


  10. #
    Kiran @ — March 31, 2012 @ 3:10 am

    I want to face-plant into the cake — it’s a beauty but I can’t resist ;)


  11. #
    Katie @ OhShineOn — March 31, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

    Beautiful frosting technique… I’m just horrible at it and this looks incredible!


  12. #
    Sukaina — March 31, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

    How even are those layers…..! And that backdrop looks like one giant bar of chocolate…yum yum!


  13. #
    Dee at Deelicious Sweets — March 31, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

    What a beautiful cake! Nice photo’s as well. I’ll have a slice of that any time of the day.


  14. #
    Denisse Mock — April 2, 2012 @ 11:49 am

    I’ve been looking for a chocolate cake recipe on google and landed on your blog! And YES.. this is what I was looking for! Looks so perfect on the pictures. Can’t wait to try it myself :)


  15. #
    Russell at Chasing Delicious — April 2, 2012 @ 8:17 pm

    This cake is gorgeous!! I am at a loss for words – well almost ; ) Lovely!


  16. #
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen — April 3, 2012 @ 7:29 am

    I have such a thing for cassis and chocolate so this cake is seriously heavenly!!


  17. #
    Namitha — April 4, 2012 @ 12:30 am

    So this is the cake pic you mentioned on twitter, rt? As I expected the pictures look great :) I’m a sucker for chocolate cake,adding this to my recipe collection, Naomi :)


  18. #
    Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes — April 4, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

    Your precision in pastry never ceases to amaze me. Of course, I´m the complete opposite! And chocolate with red fruits is always a perfect combination.


  19. #
    Tasha — August 27, 2013 @ 6:48 am

    Would this recipe do well for cupcake baking?


  20. #
    Jessie — September 22, 2013 @ 5:17 pm

    Hi Naomi, I loves all your recipes!! I’m planning to make one fondant covered cake with your chocolate cake recipe as the based. Can I make it 2days in advanced and store it in a cake box at room temperature instead of keeping it in the fridge? Thanks!!!


  21. #
    Ellie — March 1, 2014 @ 12:31 am

    Hi! Just wondering, can I substitute anything for the alcohol? Thanks in advance!


  22. #
    Mary Naumes — June 7, 2014 @ 5:06 am

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE chocolate cake with white frosting.
    Problem is have Lactose intolerant family. Can find
    NO butter substitute…have asked most of the world…
    Can anyone HELP????????


  23. #
    Abe — February 14, 2015 @ 5:48 pm

    Clarification: Ingredients — salted or unsalted butter for the buttercream? adding vanilla is listed in step two and step three of the buttercream instructions. Salt is listed in step three of the buttercream but not in the ingredients list. Thanks


  24. #
    Özgür — February 23, 2015 @ 2:52 am



  25. #
    Meagan — March 16, 2015 @ 7:47 am

    Used your cake recipe this weekend and it was fabulous. As promised the cake was very moist- even three days later. Instead of cassis I used whiskey and paired with my vanilla bean butter cream frosting – delicious.

    Thank you for the recipe.


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