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.
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:
- Start by mixing the dry and wet ingredients in separate bowls.
- Add the wet/buttermilk mixture to the dry flour mixture and mix the batter until well combined.
- Pour boiling water into the batter and stir until smooth. The batter will be very thin!
- Pour the batter into your cake pans and bake the cakes on the middle rack of the oven.
How to make ahead and store the cake and frosting:
The cakes and the chocolate frosting can both be made ahead of time. Allow the chocolate cakes to cool completely, and then wrap them really well in plastic wrap and stick each layer in a ziplock freezer bag. Freeze for up to one month. I like to frost the chocolate cakes when they are frozen because they’re easier to frost.
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.
More tips for perfect chocolate cake:
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 or wax 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.
Commonly Asked Questions About Chocolate Cake:
Can I make this recipe in a 9×13” pan?
Yes. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes.
Can I make this recipe in a bundt pan?
Yes. Be sure to 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.
Can I use this recipe to make cupcakes?
Yes! This recipes will make about 30 cupcakes (filled 2/3 full with batter). Bake at 350°F for about 22-25 minutes.
What if I don’t have buttermilk?
An easy buttermilk substitute is to mix milk and lemon juice.
For Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake:
To make this Chocolate Cake recipe gluten-free, substitute Bob’s Redmill Gluten-Free flour at a 1:1 ratio.
For Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake:
Substitute Almond milk in both the cake and frosting recipes at a 1:1 ratio.
Can I make this cake into a 3 or 4 layer chocolate cake?
Yes. For a 3 layer cake, bake the cake in three 8-inch pans. For a four layer cake, torte the two 9”’ round cakes in half and spread a thin layer of frosting between each later.
Consider trying these popular CAKE RECIPES:
- German Chocolate Cake
- Mississippi Mud Brownies
- Snickerdoodles Bars
- Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Tres Leches Cake
Hershey's "perfectly chocolate" Chocolate Cake
For the Chocolate Cake
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 3/4 cups 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
For the Chocolate Frosting
- 1/2 cup butter (*see note)
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
- Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl.
- Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes.
- Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
- Bake 30 to 35 minutes
For a 9x13'' 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.
- 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
For the Chocolate Frosting:
- Combine butter and cocoa powder.
- Add powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract.
- You might also love my German Chocolate Cake!
*I originally shared this recipe June 2010. Updated June 2019.
Have you tried this recipe?!
RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.
Recipe adapted from Hershey’s.