Classic and Easy Chocolate Cake

Classic and Easy Chocolate Cake

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Yield: 2 cakes
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
321 Calories
11g Fat
52g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 321
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 33mg 11%
Sodium 294mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 52g 19%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 34g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 67mg 5%
Iron 3mg 16%
Potassium 61mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This chocolate cake recipe is a true classic, resulting in a moist crumb with deep chocolate flavor. It is a simple recipe, calling for ingredients you most likely have in your pantry and fridge, including flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and soda, eggs, milk, and vanilla extract. This chocolate cake recipe also calls for boiling water, which helps bloom the cocoa powder, giving the cake a deeper chocolate flavor.

This recipe will become your go-to whether for a birthday, holiday, or simply to satisfy a craving. Customize the cake by coating with your favorite frosting or chocolate ganache.


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"This recipe is a straightforward and easy chocolate cake, perfect for any birthday celebration. What I love about this cake is you can make it all by hand, no need to bring out your electric mixer. Adding the boiling water really elevates the chocolatey flavor and will really make the effort worth it." —Tracy Wilk

Classic and Easy Chocolate Cake Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 cup milk

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 1 cup boiling water

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat oven to 350 F.

    Classic and Easy Chocolate Cake ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans. The cakes will release better if the bottoms of pans are lined with a circle of parchment paper.

    Floured cake pans

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, sugar, and cocoa powder. Add salt, baking powder, and baking soda, and whisk until everything is blended.

    Dry chocolate cake ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. In a separate mixing bowl, combine milk, eggs, oil, and vanilla, and whisk to combine. Then whisk in boiling water.

     combine the milk, eggs, oil, and vanilla, and whisk to combine

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until combined.

    Wet and dry chocolate cake ingredients in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Pour batter into prepared pans and transfer to oven.

    Chocolate cake batter in cake pans

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, or with a crumb or two attached. Start testing after 27 minutes to avoid over-baking.

    baked chocolate cake in pans

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  8. Cool cakes for 10 minutes in pans on a wire rack. Loosen edges by running a knife along sides, turn cakes out onto racks, and cool for at least another hour.

    chocolate cakes on a cooling rack

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  9. Once cool, frost with favorite chocolate frosting recipe or other frosting of your choice.

    Classic and Easy Chocolate Cake

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  • Make sure that your baking powder and baking soda are no more than 6 months old. If they are older than that, you should replace them as they lose their potency quickly and the cake won't rise properly.
  • For a softer cake, substitute cake flour for the all-purpose flour.