Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe


I’ve tested a lot of chocolate cake recipes over the years, and this chocolate cake recipe is one of my favorites. It is incredibly moist, and turns out perfectly every time!

It is a one bowl recipe that doesn’t require a hand mixer, which means less dishes to clean!! I highly recommend this recipe. It’s been modified from Robyn’s recipe on Add A Pinch.

The cakes do have a tiny bit of a dome, but I usually just level it out with a little extra buttercream. You can also just trim the top of the cake to make it level.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup espresso, or 1 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder dissolved in 1 cup of hot water
  • 1 tsp vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line and grease 4 8-inch cake pans.

Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a large bowl. Whisk together until combined (be sure there aren’t any clumps! If there are, you may want to sift your ingredients).

Pour in the espresso into the dry ingredients, and mix until the espresso is fully absorbed. Mix in the buttermilk, until fully incorporated. Pour in the oil next, and mix until fully incorporated. Then stir in the eggs, one at a time. The last step is to stir in the vanilla, then the vinegar. The batter will be on the thin side, but that’s the correct consistency!

Divide the batter evenly between the four cake pans, and bake for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and let the cakes sit for about 5 minutes. Gently run an offset spatula around the rim of the cake pans to loosen them. Place the cake pans in the freezer to speed up the cooling process, and to trap in additional moisture.

Decorate as desired! The photo below shows a snickers cake made with this cake base, before it was crumb coated.



62 thoughts on “Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe

  1. I’ve been trying to find the perfect chocolate cake recipe. This is it! Researching is done. It’s so moist, chocolaty, and bakes evenly. Thank you!

  2. Just wondering about the coffee or espresso… is it going to taste like coffee or how does it help the chocolate cake?

    1. I think it gives the cake flavor a lot more depth! it mostly just enhances the chocolate taste. However, if you don’t like coffee you can leave it out!

      1. I made this cake, and omg it was delicious everyone loved it. I used regular coffee. Thanks for sharing your recipes Chelsweets!

  3. Hi there! I love your cakes, I’ve made a lot of your recipes and they’ve all turned out nicely. However, every time I make this cake it doesn’t dome it sinks in the middle. Do you have any insight by chance?

  4. Hi there!
    If I have 2 pans to fill that are 10 inches each. How long would I need to bake them for? Also you mention putting the cakes in the freezer, how long should they be in for?

    1. I’m not sure, I haven’t baked this recipe in 10 inch pans before! I just freeze them until they’re fully chilled, or if i make them in advance and freeze them overnight, i let them thaw for about 20 minutes before I start decorating!

  5. I just pulled mine out of the oven and oh man does it smell amazing! Can’t wait for it to cool and decorate! I am doing this with your vanilla buttercream (with chopped fresh strawberries mixed into the buttercream going in the layers), ganache drop and decorated with chocolate dipped strawberries on top. Do you have any advice for the strawberries I am mixing into the middle layers? I have heard before it can get too watery… have you found that to be true?

  6. can you layer the cake pans with parchment paper? I have seen you pull off paper from your cakes just before you assemble them. And as for the snickers cake what flavor buttercream did you use?

    1. Yes! I line my pans with parchment rounds that I cut out. I have made a ton of different snickers cakes, but usually use a peanut butter or caramel buttercream, or both!

      1. The receipt for caramel buttercream under the snickers cake says butter AND peanut butter. Is that correct? I don’t see a mention of it in the instructions and wanted to make sure that was correct. Your cakes always look amazing!

  7. Hi, i just made thus reciepe today and followed it to the dot and it tasted like a sugar free diet cake. Any recommendations why that happened?

  8. Beside so some of the ingredients, what is the difference between this recipe and the chocolate layer cake recipe? Do you recommend one over the other?

    1. the texture is much different between the two! I like the taste of this one better, but it’s a but it doesn’t bake level and it’s as sturdy to stack! It’s much easier to decorate with the chocolate layer cake recipe!!

  9. Your vanilla layer cake is my go-to (YUM!!!!) and I want to try this. Have you heard from anyone whether or not this one holds up well under fondant? Thanks in advance!

  10. Hi! Question: Have you tried using the milk/vinegar combination as replacement for the buttermilk? I was wondering if the texture was still the same. Making your chocolate cake + chocolate buttercream for Mother’s Day!

  11. Hi, Just another amazing recipe from you as always, do you have a small batch recipe for this cake like you have for the vanilla layer cake, if so can you please post it. would love to have this for a 6 inch layered cake. Thank You !!!!

  12. hi girl! i love your recipes but I do have a question, my oven is not that good (doesn’t have a grill) so my cakes always tend to be cooked edges and very uncooked to the center. i’ve tried baking them for longer but the edges end up being very dry ☹️would you suggest to make this recipe and let it bake for longer or the go-to chocolate layer cake for a cake that i’d like to decorate?

    1. oh geeze! that sounds like a struggle!! I’d recommend trying to bake this longer, and if it gets try, maybe you can add some simple syrup to it to moisten it!

  13. Hey Chelsea! I tried making this recipe with an 8-inch and 6-inch pan and cooking it longer. It ended up falling in the middle of the cake. Any ideas as to why?

  14. Can I do this in two round pans, or should I cut the recipe in half? I’m planning just a two-layer cake, but I feel like I usually do 2 cups of flour for most recipes that I do 2-9″ cakes.

    1. I’d recommend cutting the recipe in half! if you make it in a 9 inch pan they’ll be pretty thin though! I’d say a half batch will make 2 7 or 8 inch cake layers!

  15. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes and tips! And I just love your YouTube channel!!! I can’t wait to make this chocolate cake!

    1. i haven’t, but I have a great dark chocolate cupcake recipe that is to die for!! if you search it on my site it should pop up 🙂

  16. I love this chocolate cake recipe! So moist and yum😍 I made it for my son’s birthday and it turned out so well! Thanks, Chelsea! And happy new year in advance 😀

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