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Moist and Easy Dark Chocolate Cake Recipe

Updated on June 28, 2012

Moist, Easy, and Delicious

We all want just a few simple things out of life. A comfortable place to live, some quality time with family, and of course, a chocolate cake recipe to beat all other chocolate cake recipes. My recipe for dark chocolate cake is that recipe.

I'm something of a baking connoisseur. I make my own homemade vanilla extract, I use copper bowls and cookware, and I've never been afraid to bake my own cakes for birthdays, special occasions, or Tuesday night treats. I have tried dozens and dozens of chocolate cake recipes over the years, tweaking some and giving up on others. What I'm sharing with you today is my ultimate recipe, the one I'm always asked to share. I never tell my eager eaters that this easy recipe only takes me about 30 minutes of active time, because frankly, they would never believe me.

Although any unsweetened cocoa powder will do in a pinch, a high quality cocoa powder is the difference between a good cake and a great one.
Although any unsweetened cocoa powder will do in a pinch, a high quality cocoa powder is the difference between a good cake and a great one. | Source

Tips for Delicious Success

  • DO separate the egg whites and whip them with a bit of the sugar. Add the yokes to the cake batter when the recipe calls for you to add eggs, and then fold in the whipped egg whites at the very end of the process, just before pouring batter into the pans. A copper bowl is perfect for quickly whipping egg whites into a creamy froth. (See video below for additional information.)
  • DON'T overmix the batter! Once you add the flour to the wet ingredients, try to mix the batter as little as possible. It's okay if the batter is lumpy so long as it is mostly combined.
  • DO experiment with mix-ins and flavorings. A little orange flavoring, coffee, red wine, or juice can turn this from an amazing chocolate cake to something a little different and extra special.
  • DON'T try to cut out the fat. I'm all about cooking healthy, but some treats just need the fat to turn out properly. Replacing the butter in this recipe with applesauce or bananas will make it chewy and bready. Now that you've committed to cake, don't shy away from making it properly!

Most and Easy Dark Chocolate Cake Recipe

Active Time: 30 Minutes | Total Time: 90 Minutes | Yield: 3 9-inch Rounds/1 10-inch Bundt Pan

The perfect chocolate cake gives you the freedom to frost and decorate it any way you please. This cake is no exception.
The perfect chocolate cake gives you the freedom to frost and decorate it any way you please. This cake is no exception. | Source
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup + 1 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 heaping tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter—softened
  • 2 1/4 cup caster (or white) sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 3/4 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C). Grease three 9-inch cake pans or one 10-inch springform Bundt pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the boiling water with the cocoa and whisk until smooth. Allow mixture to cool.

In another medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until mixture is light and fluffy—at least 3 minutes. Add eggs (see tips and video for alternate method) one at a time, then the vanilla extra. Now alternate between adding the flour mixture and the warm cocoa mixture until everything has been combined in the large bowl. DO NOT OVER-MIX.

Pour your batter evenly into the cake pans or Bundt pan. Bake for 24 to 30 minutes. Allow cake(s) to cool thoroughly before frosting them.

Frosting and Icing Suggestions

The final touch for any cake is the frosting. You can find my favorite tried-and-true frosting recipes in my article "Frosting Recipes: Buttercream, Peanut Butter, and More!" The beauty of this cake is its ability to blend with just about any flavor, including lemon, strawberry, peanut butter, or plain old vanilla. However, I've got my favorite recipe for this cake right here.

Caramel Frosting Recipe

Active Time: 15 Minutes | Total Time: 45 minutes | Yield: about 750ml

Use light brown sugar for a milder flavor and dark brown sugar for a more complex flavor.
Use light brown sugar for a milder flavor and dark brown sugar for a more complex flavor. | Source
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter—softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar—packed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 TBS whole milk
  • 3 cups powdered or confectioners sugar
  • dash of salt
  • optional: 1 tsp lemon/orange zest
  • optional: 1/2 TBS instant coffee


Melt butter in saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. Bring to a boil for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and add milk, one TBS at a time while stirring constantly.

Return to medium-high heat and boil for 30 seconds more.

Remove from heat and cool until mixture is room temperature.

Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until frosting has a smooth, light consistency. Add additional milk if frosting is too stiff, or additional powdered sugar if frosting is too soft.

How to Whip Egg Whites


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    • easylearningweb profile image

      Amelia Griggs 21 months ago

      This looks delicious, thanks for sharing!

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      This looks delicious enough to eat! Great hub!

    • fillyourheart profile image

      Fill Your Heart Edible Memories 3 years ago from USA

      Great recipe and instructions, thanks!

    • theseattlegirl profile image

      theseattlegirl 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      @rebecca: I cannot tell you how many times a large portion of that caramel frosting failed to make it to the cake... :)

      @thelmaC: You should definitely give it a try at your next office or family event. I have become a "star" at gatherings like these because of this cake!

      @randomcreative: Thank you! I wish I could say that making my own vanilla extract is super hard and special, but it's just so easy. Vodka and beans in a bottle, basically. Thanks for dropping by!

      @Movie Master: Thanks for your positive feedback! Yes, I love to make my own vanilla extract. It always tastes infinitely superior to the store-bought stuff, in my opinion, and I get to control what goes into it. Did I mention it's pennies on the dollar to make? :)

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you for this wonderful hub, a fabulous recipe and great tips too!

      You make your own vanilla extract, wow!

      The recipe sounds delicious and I can't wait to try it!

      thank you and voted up.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      That's awesome that you make your own vanilla extract. Thanks for the great recipe and cooking tips!

    • ThelmaC profile image

      Thelma Raker Coffone 5 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

      Sounds delicious and will definitely try it. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Yummy recipe. Voted up and sharing! A caramel icing on this delicious cake would make it to die for!