Chocolate Cake Recipe: Easy Steps to Make at Home

This article provides a straightforward guide to making a delicious chocolate cake from scratch, providing steps on the ingredients you’ll require, the recipe to follow and tips to ensure your cake is a hit.

Key takeaways:

  • Equipment needed: Two 9-inch round cake pans, parchment paper, mixing bowls, electric mixer or whisk, sifter or fine mesh strainer, measuring cups and spoons, rubber spatula, toothpick or cake tester, wire racks, serrated knife or cake leveler, offset spatula or knife.
  • Ingredients for the cake: All-purpose flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, eggs, milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, boiling water.
  • Ingredients for the frosting: Unsalted butter, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, heavy cream or milk, vanilla extract, salt.
  • Baking and frosting instructions: Preheat oven, mix dry and wet ingredients separately, combine, pour in boiling water, divide batter into pans, bake, cool cakes, cream butter for frosting, sift in dry ingredients, add milk and vanilla extract, beat until creamy, frost and decorate the cake.
  • Storage and freezing instructions: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, refrigerate for up to a week, freeze in plastic wrap and foil for up to 3 months.


Equipment Needed

chocolate cake recipe

To begin, gather the following apparatus to ensure a smooth cake-making process:

  • Two 9-inch round cake pans for creating uniform layers.
  • Parchment paper to line the bottoms of the pans, preventing the cake from sticking.
  • Mixing bowls, with at least one large bowl for the batter and others for dry and wet ingredients.
  • An electric mixer or a whisk for thorough and efficient batter blending.
  • A sifter or fine mesh strainer for aerating flour and cocoa powder, which contributes to a lighter cake texture.
  • Measuring cups and spoons for precise ingredient quantities.
  • A rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl’s sides and fold ingredients together.
  • A toothpick or cake tester to check the cake’s doneness.
  • Wire racks for cooling the cakes, which prevents them from becoming soggy.
  • A serrated knife or cake leveler to even out the tops of the cakes if needed.
  • An offset spatula or knife for frosting the cake with ease and achieving a smooth surface.

Ingredients for the Cake and Frosting

For a sumptuously rich chocolate cake, precision in your ingredients is critical. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cake:
  • All-purpose flour, 1 and 3/4 cups, for the cake’s structure
  • Granulated sugar, 2 cups, to sweeten and tenderize
  • Cocoa powder, 3/4 cup, unsweetened, for a deep chocolate flavor
  • Baking powder, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons, and baking soda, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons, for leavening
  • Salt, 1 teaspoon, to balance the sweetness
  • Eggs, 2 large, for binding the ingredients
  • Milk, 1 cup, whole preferred, for moisture
  • Vegetable oil, 1/2 cup, for a tender crumb
  • Vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons, for depth of flavor
  • Boiling water, 1 cup, to bloom the cocoa
  • Frosting:
  • Unsalted butter, 1 cup, softened, for creamy texture
  • Cocoa powder, 1 and 1/2 cups, for chocolate richness
  • Powdered sugar, 4 cups, for sweetness and structure
  • Heavy cream or milk, 3-4 tablespoons, for desired consistency
  • Vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons, for added depth
  • Salt, pinch, to cut through sweetness

Take note that high-quality cocoa powder and real vanilla extract will significantly enhance the end result. Use room-temperature ingredients to ensure even mixing for a consistent cake texture.

Step-by-step Baking and Frosting Instructions

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.

For the cake, whisk together the dry ingredients—flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt—in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, then add milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract, mixing until well combined. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing until just incorporated. Pour in boiling water and stir the batter until smooth—it will be thin.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cooling is crucial, so transfer the cakes to wire racks after 10 minutes in the pans.

For the frosting, cream butter until light and fluffy. Sift in powdered sugar and cocoa powder gradually, beating well. Add vanilla extract and milk, adjusting for desired consistency. Beat until creamy.

Once cakes are completely cool, spread frosting on the top of one cake layer, place the second layer on top, and frost the top and sides. Use a spatula for smooth, even coverage. For a finishing touch, employ a piping bag and tip for decorative swirls or dollops on the cake.

Cutting the cake with a warm knife aids in getting clean slices. Serve and savor the rich flavors.

Storage and Freezing Instructions

To maintain freshness, cover the chocolate cake with an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to three days. For longer preservation, refrigerate for up to a week; however, let it reach room temperature before serving for optimal flavor.

For freezing, wrap individual slices or the entire cake in plastic wrap, followed by a layer of aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Frozen chocolate cake can last up to three months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or on the counter for a few hours before enjoying.

Nutrition Facts

A traditional slice of chocolate cake with frosting generally contains approximately 235-350 calories, with values varying based on size and ingredients. Such servings also provide a source of carbohydrates, primarily from sugar and flour, contributing to the cake’s energy density.

These treats often contain fats from ingredients like butter and oil, which can be saturated or unsaturated depending on the specific oils or fats used. Protein is present in smaller amounts, usually from eggs and milk.

Chocolate cake is typically low in vitamins and minerals unless fortified or paired with nutrient-dense toppings like fruit or nuts. For those monitoring intake, options include using alternative sweeteners, reducing portion sizes, or modifying the recipe to incorporate whole grains or substitute ingredients for dietary needs.