I have been searching for a great chocolate cake recipe for years. For my 18th birthday, my mom made an amazing chocolate cake. It was perfect. It was everything that a chocolate cake should be. Unfortunately, the recipe didn’t seem to survive past that day. Losing that recipe was a tragedy. It set the bar for chocolate cake in my eyes. It took me almost a decade to recreate that perfect chocolate cake. I tried at least a dozen recipes and none of them lived up to my expectations. Until now.
I have found it. My search has ended. I now have THE recipe. If you have ever seen the movie Matilda you will surely remember the scene where the boy is forced to eat the most delicious looking chocolate cake ever. I feel just like that boy when I eat this cake. It is my Matilda chocolate cake for sure.
This cake is moist and has the perfect crumb. I cannot imagine making a chocolate cake using any other recipe. It is so easy to make and puts doctored cake mix recipes to shame. I’m eating a piece of the cake as I’m writing this, drooling all over my keyboard. It is insanely delicious. A decades search was worth the wait. Every…decadent…bite. Who wants cake?
Can this recipe be made into cupcakes?
Why yes it can! I’ve even scaled down the recipe and written a separate set of instructions for it to keep it nice and easy. You can find The Most Amazing Chocolate Cupcakes now on the blog.
What is buttermilk? Is there a substitute for buttermilk?
Buttermilk is necessary for this recipe. It has to do with the way it interacts with other ingredients. Buttermilk is the liquid leftover after churning butter. Check out my more in depth post about how to make buttermilk substitute.
Can I make this a dairy free chocolate cake recipe?
Yes! Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to almond or soy milk. Let stand 5 minutes and use in place of the buttermilk. For the frosting, use a dairy free frosting option.
Can I make this a gluten-free chocolate cake recipe?
Yes! Use “Cup for Cup” gluten-free flour blend in this recipe in the same amounts.
Can I make this an eggless chocolate cake recipe?
Yes! There are several options that work well when substituting for eggs in this recipe.
- 1/4 cup of plain yogurt per egg
- 1 tablespoon vinegar+ 1 teaspoon baking powder whisked together per egg
- 1/4 cup mashed banana per egg
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce per egg
Can I make this recipe into only two layers? Can I make this recipe in a 9×13 pan?
Yes you can, for both you’ll need to divide the recipe by 2/3rds. I realize that there are 4 eggs in this recipe so that’s the hard part. Just use 3 eggs.
Can I substitute coffee for the hot water?
Yes you can. Another option is to add 1 teaspoon of espresso powder. Either will work.
What kind of cocoa powder did you use?
I used Hershey’s Unsweetened Cocoa Powder in order to use a brand that is most widely available to my readers. I’m also fond of using higher quality cocoa powders like Ghiradelli’s or cocoa powders from specialty chocolatier shops, but those are pretty pricey. I don’t recommend using cheap store brands.
How did you get your frosting so dark?
I used half Hershey’s Special Dark Unsweetened Cocoa powder to achieve the dark looking frosting.
If you like this recipe, be sure to check out my other amazing cake recipes:
Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.
- butter and flour for coating and dusting the cake pan
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1½ cups buttermilk
- 1½ cups warm water
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1½ cups butter, softened
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 7-8 cups powdered sugar
- about ¼ cup milk (as needed)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 9-inch cake rounds. Dust with flour and tap out the excess.
- Mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a stand mixer using a low speed until combined.
- Add eggs, buttermilk, warm water, oil, and vanilla. Beat on a medium speed until smooth. This should take just a couple of minutes.
- Divide batter among the three pans. I found that it took just over 3 cups of the batter to divide it evenly.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool on wire racks for 15 minutes and then turn out the cakes onto the racks and allow to cool completely.
- Frost with your favorite frosting and enjoy!
- In a large bowl, beat together butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer for best results
- Add in cocoa powder and vanilla extract. Beat until combined.
- Beat in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add milk as necessary to make a spreadable consistency. The frosting should be very thick and will thicken even more if refrigerated.
butter and flour for coating and dusting the cake pan
450 grams all-purpose flour
650 grams granulated sugar
155 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
17 grams baking soda
8 grams baking powder
11 grams salt
4 large eggs
350 ml buttermilk
350 ml warm water
115 ml vegetable oil
10 ml vanilla extract
Bake at 176 degrees celsius in three 23 centimeter pans
This recipe first appeared on The Stay At Home Chef on February 26, 2013
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