Classic Chocolate Cake~Scratch Recipe



This is our favorite chocolate cake recipe!  In the photo, we’ve frosted the cake in fabulous chocolate buttercream, linked HERE! 


Classic Chocolate Cake Recipe by

Classic Chocolate Cake — Scratch Recipe

I use the reverse creaming method with this recipe

2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
2 3/4 cup (322g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (82g) unsweetened cocoa (sifted)
2 teaspoons ((10g) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (2g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (2g) salt

1 cup (2 sticks) (226g) unsalted butter, softened (do not soften in microwave)

1/4 cup (54g) vegetable oil

4 large eggs at room temperature

1cup (220g) milk

1 teaspoon (4g) vanilla extract

1 cup (220) hot coffee, it can be instant or brewed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease and flour three 8 inch cake pans

1. In a mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients: sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk for 1 minute to blend.

2. Add softened butter a few pieces at a time while the mixer is on low speed.   Beat approximately  1 minute or until the dry ingredients are crumbly and moistened.   Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.

3. In a separate bowl whisk the   eggs, milk , oil and vanilla until blended.

4.  Slowly add approximately 1/2 of the egg mixture to the dry ingredients,  beat for 1 1/2 minutes at medium speed.  Scrape the bottom and sides of bowl.  Add the remaining egg mixture , beating for 20 seconds . Scrape the sides and bottom of bowl.

5. Slowly add the cup of hot coffee and mix another 30 seconds until blended,

Pour into 3 prepared 8″ pans and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until the center of the cake springs back to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool the cakes 10 minutes on a rack and  then turn  out of the pans.

CAKE TIP: To increase moistness of layers, cool another 10 minutes and while still very warm double wrap the individual layers in plastic wrap and freeze for up to a week. To freeze longer, use plastic wrap then put into a freezer bag or aluminum foil and freeze for up to 2 months. If you need the cake right away, even freezing for a couple of hours will increase the moistness.

*Yields approx 9 cups of batter.

This recipe also works well for cupcakes.

Category: Cakes and Cupcakes, Recipes


  1. Amrita Sodhi says: #1

    when will the oil go in ?

  2. Laura Antelo says: #2

    which is the best brand of flour, and where I can buy it.

  3. AfrocenTreats says: #3

    Hello everyone! Can this recipe be doubled? Anyone know?

  4. BeBe says: #4

    Hi Laura, bakers usually have their favorite flour to use and I use Pillsbury all -purpose bleached flour, I also like Swans Down Cake Flour, when the recipe requires cake flour. There are other brands that give good results, this is just what I use.

    Hello Afrocen Treats, I haven’t tried to double this recipe, let us know how it goes if you give it a try.

  5. Laura Antelo says: #5

    Thanks Bebe.

  6. rjanar says: #6

    Hi I use supreme sponge self raising flour is that a problem in this recipe or do I have to use all purpose flour which is what product In the uk

  7. BeBe says: #7

    Hi rjanar, self-rising flour would not work in this recipe. I think in the UK plain flour is the same as all purpose flour.

  8. Lisette says: #8

    How many eggggs?

  9. BeBe says: #9

    Hi Lisette, it is the 4th ingredient on the recipe, 4 large eggs

  10. Nadeen Shawwa says: #10

    How many cupcakes would you think this recipe makes?
    and when you say 1 cup hot coffee that is hot water with coffee? does it matter how much instant coffee i put ?

  11. BeBe says: #11

    Hi Nadeen, I’m not certain but I think you could get nearly 3 dozen standard size cupcakes with this recipe. Yes, it is hot water with coffee…..use the amount of instant coffee you usually use when you are making a cup of coffee, typically 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons. You could also use 1 cup of brewed or drip coffee.

  12. Anny bakes... says: #12

    Can you use 2% milk in this recipe?

  13. BeBe says: #13

    Yes, you can

  14. Elizabeth says: #14

    Will this cake work okay as a single tier fondant covered cake?

  15. BeBe says: #15

    Hi Elizabeth, yes it should work well. Remember to let the cake layers settle for several hours or overnight ……. after you fill your cake, place a weight (book or magazine) on top to help press any air out of the cake so you won’t have bulges in your fondant.

  16. Elizabeth says: #16

    Great! Thank you so much for the extra tip. 😀

  17. sanjna sivakumar says: #17

    Hi, how should I convert the recipe for two eight inch pans?

  18. BeBe says: #18

    Hi Sanjna, I would make the recipe as written . If you only need two eight inch layers I would freeze the third for later use or make cupcakes with the extra cake batter. Changing the recipe for scratch cakes often causes a problem.

  19. sanjna sivakumar says: #19

    Thank you soo much bebe.I also hav another quick question.I tried this recipe today i did not get a tall cake.It was just half an inch high.What should i do?

  20. BeBe says: #20

    Hi Sanjna, I’m sorry you had a problem with your cake not rising. Check the expiration date on your baking soda and baking powder. If they are out of date or near expiration, your cake would not rise properly. Do you live at a high altitude? Did your cake layers rise and then fall after they were out of the oven?

  21. Janet Boyington says: #21

    I doubled this scratch cake recipe and I was very pleased with the results; it worked perfectly!

  22. BeBe says: #22

    Hi Janet, thanks for your post

  23. BeBe says: #23

    Hi Monica, I have never halved the recipe, but I think you could try that. If you decide to bake the entire recipe any extra layers you bake can be frozen by wrapping in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Frozen layers are fine for at least 2 months.

  24. Dana Milton says: #24

    Just tried this recipe today… LIFE CHANGING!! Thank you thank you for sharing this amazing recipe!! It’s officially my go to chocolate recipe!! You guys are a HUGE blessing!!

  25. BeBe says: #25

    Hi Dana, I am happy you like the recipe, thanks so much for posting your comment.

  26. nirce santos says: #26

    Hi bebe can i use something else instead of coffee?

  27. BeBe says: #27

    Hi Nirce, You can add 1 cup water (does not need to be hot) instead of the 1 cup of coffee. The coffee intensifies the chocolate flavor.

  28. jacqueline tan says: #28

    Hi, love your blog here!!! How much shall I alter the ingredients if I were to bake for 6″ x3″ and 10″x3″ round cake.
    As my customer prefer less sweet, possible to cut down the sugar content? How much can I alter?

  29. BeBe says: #29

    Hi Jacqueline, The sugar in a recipe helps to make the cake tender. If you reduce the sugar you would also need to alter other ingredients. I have never tried doing that so I can’t recommend it for this recipe. It may not be the cake that she thinks is too sweet, it could be the frosting with the cake. You can lessen the sweetness of buttercream frosting by adding approximately 1/2 teaspoon salt to the recipe….let the salt dissolve in the liquid you are using. Popcorn salt dissolves very easily, if you happen to have that.

  30. jacqueline tan says: #30

    Thanks BEBE, :)
    How about the portion if I were to bake for one 6″x3″ and one 8″x3″ round cake?

  31. jacqueline tan says: #31

    Sorry, should be 10″x3″ and 6″ x3″

  32. BeBe says: #32

    The recipe makes enough batter for three 8inch pans so you should be fine. Am I answering your question correctly…….. not quite sure if I understood the question

  33. jacqueline tan says: #33


  34. eunice says: #34

    thanks for the recipe , my favorite part is the measurements American stayed,
    in cups and tea tbs
    i dont understand grams :( sorry…

  35. Sue Knott says: #35

    Sounds lovely and I’d like to try this recipe next week. It states 400gm “sugar” – is this caster sugar as we normally use for cakes here in the UK or granulated?

  36. BeBe says: #36

    Hi Sue, It is granulated sugar.

  37. paintmycake says: #37

    This cake is delicious. Great chocolate taste, fluffy but not too fluffy or crumbly and not as dense as the other chocolate cake (however I LOVE the taste of that one! A little too dense for what I need now).
    Anyway- Am I guessing correctly that I will need to make this recipe 3 times :( for a half sheet cake? 12×18″ ?
    It looks like 2x won’t be enough.

  38. BeBe says: #38

    Hi, Yes, you will need to make it 3 times. We use the Wilton chart as a guide which says you will need 14 cups for a 12 x 18 pan. The chart can be found in Member Resources on the homepage, just above Melissa’s picture. Select the page Helpful Links, once on that page it is the Wilton Party Serving Chart, here is a link, link to Comment #21 under the recipe says she has doubled the recipe with success.

  39. paintmycake says: #39

    Thank you. I did check the chart, but wanted to hear from the expert, just in case . Again thank you for this wonderful recipe. Now my go to chocolate cake recipe for all of my “customers”- I have searched long and tried many- almost gave up.

  40. Rosalie Bifulco says: #40

    I need to make 24 cupcakes today and was wondering if this recipe will make enough or if I need to double it. Thanks so much!!!!

  41. BeBe says: #41

    Hi Rosalie, one recipe will make 24 cupcakes

  42. Rosalie Bifulco says: #42

    Thank you for your fast response!

  43. Lisa Smith says: #43


    Am I missing something hear with this recipe? When do you put the coffee in??

  44. BeBe says: #44

    Hi Lisa, I changed the recipe to read, combine the milk, coffee and vanilla and set aside. Thank you, I think this will be better.

  45. Lisa Smith says: #45

    Thank you!!!! I made this recipe just a few minutes ago and my husband LOVES it!!! I guess I know what his birthday cake will be! :-)

  46. BeBe says: #46

    Wonderful!! I’m happy you gave it a try.

  47. Phyllis says: #47

    Would you give the recipe for that great looking icing plz?

  48. Melissa Diamond says: #48

    Hi Phyllis- Here is the link to the chocolate buttercream! (yum!) link to

  49. Patty says: #49

    I always like to bake cakes from scratch when I find a great recipe. I always use King Arthur unbleached flour. Will using it cause a problem with this recipe? It sounds delicious as does the accompanying recipe for chocolate buttercream. When baking chocolate recipes I always use a tablespoon or two of instant coffee to bring out the chocolate flavor. I am looking forward to trying this recipe.

  50. BeBe says: #50

    Hi Patty, unbleached flour from King Arthur will be fine.

  51. Helen says: #51

    can you use caster sugar instead of granulated?

  52. BeBe says: #52

    Hi Helen, We have not used caster sugar but I read that it is very fine granulated sugar so it should work fine in the recipe.

  53. helen lang says: #53

    when do you add the oil?

  54. BeBe says: #54

    Hi helen, In step #3 you add the oil with the eggs, milk and vanilla

  55. Cali1363 says: #55

    Hi. Would you please state what the temp and amount of baking time should be for cupcakes using this recipe? Thanks in advance!

  56. BakerJudy says: #56

    Can I add the cocoa to the hot coffee and mix it in the step with the wet ingredients? I find that the cocoa seems to mix better in some recipes when I do that. Thank you.

  57. BeBe says: #57

    Hi Cali1363, If making cupcakes the oven temperature is the same, 350 degrees for 18 -20 minutes. Check by inserting a toothpick into the center of a cupcake, if no crumbs are clinging to the toothpick, they are done.

  58. BeBe says: #58

    Hi BakerJudy, Yes, it will be fine to add the cocoa to the hot coffee.

  59. Adedamola Johnson says: #59

    This is so nice! Merely looking at the recipe shows that its going to be a hit! Thanks!

  60. Dawn says: #60

    Hi! I’ve been a fan of your blog for some time now and always amazed at the results of your creations. I’ve always been nervous to make cakes with butter and usually skip by them…..thinking that it may taste to buttery. Today, however, I’m diving in and trying your recipe. :). I do have one small question…for the cocoa powder, is it regular plain ole cocoa or dark cocoa? Thank you!

  61. BeBe says: #61

    Hi Dawn, I’m happy you are giving it a try. It is unsweetened cocoa, not dark cocoa. I used Ghirardelli but whatever your favorite brand is is fine. Hope you like it.

  62. BakerJudy says: #62

    Hi, We usually have only 1% milk around the house. Should I buy full fat, or will the 1% work? I could also use part regular liquid Cremora. Thank you.

  63. BeBe says: #63

    Hi Judy, You could use the 1% milk and I don’t think you will notice much difference. The extra fat in whole milk helps to make the cake tender and give it a finer crumb so being careful not to over beat the batter and it will be fine.
    I don’t know the ingredients of liquid Cremora, but if you think it will add a bit of fat, I think I would give that a try.

  64. Lauren says: #64

    Hello! I’m new to My Cake School and I absolutely LOVE everything on here! You are wonderful teachers and so creative! Thanks for sharing your skills and passion. It is very appreciated!! I do have a question regarding this recipe. Do you bake all 3 cakes at the same time and, if so, do you rotate them half way through? Or should they be baked individually? Thanks!

  65. BeBe says: #65

    Hi Lauren, thank you for your sweet comments about the site. I bake all three cakes at the same time, with 2 pans on the top oven rack and one on the bottom. When the top 2 are done I then move the cake pan from the lower rack to the top to finish baking. I stager the cake pans as much as possible so they will not be directly above or below one another.

  66. Lauren says: #66

    Thank you for your help, BeBe!

  67. M B says: #67

    I have tried a gazillion Chocloate cale recipes; never satisfied!!! Until now!!!!! I’m thrilled!!! LOOOOOOVE THIS RECIPE!!!! Ty Ty Ty

  68. Melissa Diamond says: #68

    MB, we are so happy that you liked it!!

  69. Donna M says: #69

    Can buttermilk be used for the milk? I’m assuming yes but I just want to confirm. Thank you! :)

  70. BeBe says: #70

    Hi Donna, yes, you can use buttermilk instead of milk. I would increase the baking powder from 1/2 teaspoon to 1 tsp. because of the increased acidity of the buttermilk……..and keep the 2 teaspoons baking soda as written

  71. JeanF says: #71

    I need a substitute for the vegetable oil. Would it be better to use additional butter, extra virgin olive oil (which my client can tolerate), or applesauce? Need to know asap for a cake I have to make for Tuesday!

    Thank you so much!

  72. BeBe says: #72

    Hi JeanF, you could use additional butter for the 1/4 cup veg. oil…..melt the butter. Also, I think it would be fine to use extra virgin olive oil

  73. Jeanf says: #73

    This is the BEST chocolate cake recipe I have ever found! My family went nuts for it! Followed the recipe exactly and it turned out perfectly! Thanks so much for this great recipe!

  74. Jeanf says: #74

    Oh – I also made it for a client and used applesauce instead of the oil, and it turned out just as good as the original recipe! Very moist and rich.

  75. BeBe says: #75

    Hi Jeanf, Wonderful, I’m happy your family liked the cake. Thank you so much for posting your thoughts on this recipe……using applesauce instead of the oil is a great tip.

  76. Cc says: #76

    So good! I froze some like you suggested.

  77. Cc says: #77

    Oh. The rest of my comment disappeared. Lol. Will the cake be dry when I thaw them in the future? Do I need to use sugar water? Thanks

  78. Melissa Diamond says: #78

    Hi Cc, glad that you like this recipe! The cake will not be dry at all once thawed. In fact, not that I would recommend this, but we thawed a layer from this recipe this week and it was SO good…and we laughed later when we realized that it had been in the freezer for 6 months! haha ;0) It was still just as good (had been wrapped in plastic wrap & foil)

  79. Cc says: #79

    Hi Melissa, That’s hilarious. Thanks for your reply.

  80. Naomi Bux says: #80

    Hi Can i use this recipe for a 10 inch round cake, if so how long do i bake
    it for. Thanks

  81. BeBe says: #81

    Hi Naomi, Yes, you can use this recipe for a 10 inch round cake, you will need 6 cups of cake batter for a 10 round and 2 inch deep pan. At 350 degrees it will bake in 45 to 50 minutes. You should use a rose nail in the center of the pan to help distribute the heat for even baking. Hope you like the recipe.

  82. paintmycake says: #82

    Hi Bebe. This is my favorite cake and the one I use when I don’t need a Mud cake. YUM! I could use some advice. Do you think this would hold up under fondant- with a coconut pastry cream filling in the layers? My client wants it with a Godiva Chocolate Liqueur infusion. I though I could make the dam with chocolate ganache and ganache under fondant. The cake also has a multi- lop fondant own and fondant bowling pins on sticks. Yikes. I’m afraid a more durable/denser chocolate cake would not work well with the pastry cream- texture-wise, with the pastry cream so delicate, and this cake would be great ( with buttercream). Any thoughts? Thank you.

  83. paintmycake says: #83

    Addendum to the above- other option is put a thick layer of chocolate buttercream under pastry cream, dam with BC and crumb coat.

  84. BeBe says: #84

    Hi paintmycake, This recipe will hold up to fondant. I would not use a thick layer of chocolate buttercream under the pastry cream. It would be delicious with a buttercream dam for the pastry cream filling and a buttercream frosting. However, if you are going to cover the cake with fondant, our first choice would be to use a ganache dam to keep the pastry cream in place and ganache (not too thick) under the fondant. The buttercream would work under the fondant but ganache is our preference. It just makes such a nice smooth and firm surface on which to lay the fondant. Good luck with the cake, it sounds delicious!

  85. paintmycake says: #85

    Perfect! Thank you so much. Ganache it is.

  86. Pamela Magrogan says: #86

    Could someone let me know if this recipe can be made using cake flour versus the all purpose flour? Need answer ASAP as I am looking for a recipe to make cake needed for tomorrow. Thank you for your assistance and time.

  87. Melissa Diamond says: #87

    Hi Pamela, this is the general rule of thumb:

    To substitute cake flour for all-purpose flour use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour for every cup of all-purpose flour.

  88. Pamela Magrogan says: #88

    Thank you Melissa! It turned out great.

  89. Pamela Magrogan says: #89

    Thank you Melissa! It turned out great with no leftovers.

  90. JeanF says: #90

    Is this really supposed to make 9 cups of batter? I don’t think I got that much when I made it . . .?

  91. BeBe says: #91

    Hi JeanF, I think so, but I will double check the next time I make the recipe.

  92. Robin Littrell says: #92

    Let me start by saying OMG!! This cake is amazing!! I doubled the recipie for a 3 layer cake (12″ bottom). It was very moist! I haven’t decorated yet, I will let you know how it goes when I do – first they will go to the freezer for a day or two. In doubling, I used 1 C unsweetened cocoa powder from store (Rodelle) and 1 C Black Cocoa (this is what is used in Oreos). Amazing chocolatey flavor!

    Thank you for the recipie! Now off to exercise~

  93. Melissa Diamond says: #93

    Robin, I’m so happy that you love the cake! Thanks so much for your feedback, and I love that you changed things up and added black cocoa also! Sounds fabulous! xo

  94. Rebecca says: #94

    Hi Melissa, I have a 9 x 12 inches rectangular cake pan, if I use this recipe, would I be able to fit the full batter into this pan or would I have to do it in batches. If so, how many batches would I have to do it in. Thank you.

  95. BeBe says: #95

    Hi Rebecca, This recipe is the right amount of batter for a 9 x 12 inch cake pan. If you have a rose nail it would be helpful for even baking if you would grease and flour it for the center of the pan. For future reference, on the homepage (above Melissa’s picture) is the Member Resource. Click on Helpful Links and then Wilton Party Serving Chart, it will give you the amount of batter and servings for the various size pans.
    Link to Wilton Party Servings, link to
    Link to Using a Rose Nail, link to

  96. Nancy says: #96

    I am looking forward to trying this recipe! Have you ever added sour cream to this recipe, I like recipes that call for sour cream.

  97. BeBe says: #97

    Hi Nancy, I haven’t tried it but I think you could substitute sour cream for the milk and it would be fine. If you give it a try let us know what you think, and I will do the same.

  98. Linda h says: #98

    I made this cake yesterday as cupcakes. I halved the recipe so I got about 15 cupcakes. The cake is light and fluffy and very moist. Definately my new go to chocolate cake recipe.

    Would these be ok in the cupcake bouquet that is in the cupcake basics? I have been asked to make one for a wedding and was wondering if they would work.

    Thanks for another great recipe!

  99. BeBe says: #99

    Hi Linda, Thank you for your review of the recipe, I am happy you like it. Yes, it would be fine for a cupcake bouquet.

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