Hershey’s “perfectly chocolate” Chocolate Cake with 5 ingredient chocolate frosting is our favorite homemade chocolate cake recipe! Extra moist, with a perfect rich chocolate flavor and tender, smooth crumb.

This chocolate cake recipe is similar to my Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting in that it’s a basic recipe that everyone needs in their collection.  If you are looking for something a little more “fancy,” check out my popular German Chocolate Cake or Coconut Cake with Pineapple Filling.

A slice of Hershey's perfectly chocolate chocolate cake, with chocolate frosting, on a white plate with a chocolate cake in the background.

This quick and easy chocolate cake recipe has become my all-time favorite over the years, and it’s the base recipe for many of my other favorite chocolate cake recipes.

It’s also one of the very FIRST recipes I ever shared here, way back in 2010! I think I’ve made hundreds of cakes since then, and this is still my favorite recipe. Thank you Hershey’s!

I can confidently say that it’s everything you’d hope for from a homemade chocolate cake, including incredibly moist and tender, with a fantastic homemade chocolate frosting.

And, did I mention how easy it is to make? Let’s me show you:

How to Make Chocolate Cake:

Mix Dry Ingredients. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. 

Add wet ingredients:. Eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla and mix until well combined.

Process photos for making a chocolate cake including mixing the dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate mixing bowls.

Add boiling water. Stir to combine (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

boiling water added to chocolate cake batter, next to another photo of two round cake pans filled with the batter.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool in the pan for a few minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.

Assemble and Frost: Place one cake layer on serving tray. Spread a generous amount of frosting on top. Add second cake layer. Frost top and sides of cake with remaining frosting.

Three process photos of stacking and frosting a two layer round chocolate cake.

Pro Tips:

  • Use room temperature ingredients, particularly eggs. Eggs at room temperature (as opposed to cold from the fridge) are fluffier and will emulsify in the batter better, which will also help the cake rise properly. A trick for bringing eggs to room temperature quickly is to run hot water over them for one minute, or let them sit in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes.
  • Use buttermilk (or easily make your own): The original Hershey’s recipe does not use buttermilk, but buttermilk is a great ingredient to make cakes like this extra moist. If you don’t have buttermilk, use a simple trick of mixing 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar into 1 cup of milk. Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes and you’ll notice it curdle slightly, to form buttermilk.
  • Line the bottom of your cake pan, before adding the batter. I learned early on to never skip the step of lining the bottom of my cake pans with parchment paper. Then you never have to stress about the cake sticking to the bottom of the pan. I also spray the bottom of the paper and the sides of the pan lightly with cooking spray.

Recipe Variations:

  • One Layer Cake: Grease 9×13” pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.
  • Cupcakes: Line cupcake pan with paper liners and fill 2/3 full with batter. Bake cupcakes for 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely completely before frosting. Makes 24-30 cupcakes
  • Bundt Cake: Properly grease and flour the pan and cook the chocolate cake for about 50-55 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan before inverting onto a wire cooling rack.
  • Gluten-Free: substitute Bob’s Redmill Gluten-Free flour at a 1:1 ratio.
  • Dairy-Free: substitute Almond milk in both the cake and frosting recipes at a 1:1 ratio.
A slice of Hershey's perfectly chocolate chocolate cake on a white plate with the whole cake in the background.

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:

The cakes and the chocolate frosting can both be made ahead of time. Allow the cakes to cool completely and then wrap each layer in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to three month. Cakes can be frosted while frozen.

The homemade chocolate frosting will keep well in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to two weeks, or in the freezer for up to three months.  Remove the frosting from the fridge about an hour before you’re ready to frost your cake to allow it to come to room temperature.

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Recipe

A slice of Hershey's perfectly chocolate chocolate cake, with chocolate frosting, on a white plate with a chocolate cake in the background.
Prep 10 mins
Cook 30 mins
Total 40 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Video

Ingredients
 
 

Chocolate Cake:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ¾ cup + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup oil (vegetable or canola oil)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water , or hot coffee

Chocolate Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Line two 8 inch round baking pans with parchment paper and then spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. 
  • Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla and mix until well combined.
  • Stir in boiling water (or hot coffee). Batter will be thin, but that's okay! Pour batter into prepared pans.
  • Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Chocolate Frosting:

  • Combine butter and cocoa powder.
  • Add powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Mix for several minutes until smooth and fluffy.

Assemble:

  • Place one cake layer on serving tray. Spread a generous amount of frosting on top. Add second cake layer. Frost top and sides of cake with remaining frosting.
  • Cut and serve.

Notes

One Layer Cake: Grease 9x13'' pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.
Cupcakes: Line cupcake pan with paper liners and fill 2/3 full with batter. Bake cupcakes for 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely completely before frosting. Makes 24-30 cupcakes
Bundt Cake: Properly grease and flour the pan and cook the chocolate cake for about 50-55 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan before inverting onto a wire cooling rack.
Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions: The cakes and the chocolate frosting can both be made ahead of time. Allow the cakes to cool completely and then wrap each layer in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to three month. Cakes can be frosted while frozen.
The homemade chocolate frosting will keep well in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to two weeks, or in the freezer for up to three months.  Remove the frosting from the fridge about an hour before you’re ready to frost your cake to allow it to come to room temperature.

Nutrition

Calories: 383kcalCarbohydrates: 63gProtein: 4gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 328mgPotassium: 203mgFiber: 2gSugar: 48gVitamin A: 240IUCalcium: 56mgIron: 1.8mg

Did You Make This Recipe?

Tag @TastesBetterFromScratch on Instagram with #TastesBetterFromScratch!


*I originally shared this recipe June 2010. Updated June 2019 and April 2021.

Have you tried this recipe?!

RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.

Recipe adapted from Hershey’s

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Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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  1. 5 stars
    This is my favorite chocolate cake recipe! This is my go to recipe for birthdays because it’s always a huge hit with kids and adults alike. My kids love when I make this as cupcakes. I’ve made this as a 2 tier cake, cupcakes and as a Bundt cake. I’m a horrible baker but every time I’ve made this recipe it turns out perfect! I’ll never make a boxed chocolate cake again 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    I have made this cake several times since I found this recipe and it never let me down. It’s a huge hit at my house. I am not a fan of cakes that come out dense & I have tasted a more than my share in family gathering. I was so happy when I found this recipe. Just what I was looking for. I have even changed out the flavor for strawberry. My family loved it. Thanks

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