This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our privacy policy for details.

No exaggeration, this is THE BEST MOIST CHOCOLATE CAKE recipe on the internet. If you’ve been searching for it, look no further… THIS IS IT! It’s incredibly easy to make without a mixer and only requires one bowl. The cake is intensely chocolaty with the most delicious chocolate fudge frosting. But a heads-up: you’ll see the word “moist” quite a bit in this post.

Baking process steps for the chocolate cake displayed in images.Pin

Picture this: you bake a whole cake for just two people, and it lasts about four days… and by “lasts,” I mean it survived because we devoured it, not because it doesn’t keep well. This BEST Chocolate Cake is so moist that it stays fresh for over a week and actually gets better with time! If you prefer a smaller cake, try my Ultimate Moist Chocolate Fudge Cake in a more compact size.


  • This cake is incredibly easy to make – you only need one bowl and a whisk! No mixer required, although I sometimes use my electric hand mixer.
  • Moist chocolate cake – it’s unbelievably moist! The texture is incredibly soft and stays moist for days without drying out.
  • Perfect crumb texture – the cake has such an even crumb structure that it looks like a store-bought cake filled with emulsifiers, but it’s homemade with real, simple ingredients!
  • Rich chocolate flavor – you’ll love the smooth, rich chocolate taste that shines through every layer.
  • Fudgy chocolate frosting – I use a rich chocolate ganache made with sour cream for the frosting. It’s so easy to make and doesn’t require softened butter or icing sugar. It’s simple, decadent, and fudgy! Many people have told me it’s the best frosting they’ve ever made!
  • No buttermilk needed – while buttermilk is a great ingredient, it’s not commonly stocked in many refrigerators. Fortunately, you don’t need it to make this amazing chocolate cake!
Ingredients for the  cake recipe laid out on a countertop.Pin


Here are some notes about the ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

  • All-purpose flour: No need for specialty cake flour to make a fantastic chocolate cake. Just be sure to measure your flour correctly! Adding too much flour is the most common mistake and leads to a tough and dry cake. The most accurate way to measure flour is by using a scale. If you don’t have one, fluff your flour with a spoon, spoon it into your measuring cup, and level it off with a knife. This batter is meant to be quite runny, so avoid adding more flour to thicken it.
  • Granulated sugar: Simple white sugar keeps this cake sweet and moist.
  • Brown sugar: A bit of brown sugar adds a hint of molasses flavor, enhancing the richness of the chocolate.
  • Pure vanilla extract: Vanilla is essential to enhance the chocolate flavor. Do not leave it out!
  • Cocoa powder: While you can get by with cheap flour, sour cream, milk, and oil, you should invest in good quality cocoa powder! It’s the main flavor component, so use the best you can find. I love using Dutch-process cocoa powder for this recipe. Ensure you use unsweetened cocoa powder, not cocoa mix.
Ingredients arranged for baking.

More about the ingredients

  • Eggs: Two whole eggs help set the structure of this cake and emulsify the batter.
  • Sour cream: One of the secrets to the best moist chocolate cake is sour cream! It adds dairy undertones, rich flavor, and body (thanks to its high protein and fat content) that oil-based cakes often lack. Full-fat sour cream adds richness and dairy notes to this cake in the absence of butter.
  • Oil: This is an oil-based cake. Although I LOVE BUTTER, oil makes cakes ultra moist since it remains liquid at room temperature. With the intense chocolate flavor and sour cream, you won’t miss the butter.
  • Hot coffee: This recipe uniquely uses hot coffee in the batter. The hot liquid dissolves the sugar and activates the leavening agents, so the cake begins to rise and set instantly. It’s also the reason why this cake is so moist.
  • Dark chocolate: You’ll need pure dark chocolate for the frosting. Anything between 50% and 70% cocoa solids will work, but I highly recommend dark chocolate with 60% cocoa solids. You can blend semisweet chocolate with your favorite bittersweet chocolate callets for convenience.


This recipe is incredibly easy, and you can make it all with just a bowl and a whisk—no mixer needed!

  • Step 1: Combine dry ingredients – Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda into a large bowl. Add both sugars and salt, then whisk to blend well, pressing out any lumps of brown sugar.
  • Step 2: Combine wet ingredients – In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, sour cream, and vanilla until well blended.
  • Step 3: Mix wet and dry ingredients – Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix with a whisk or an electric hand mixer on medium-low until blended. The mixture will be thick and somewhat dry.
  • Step 4: Mix in hot coffee – Gradually add the hot coffee in two stages to minimize clumps, beating until evenly combined and the batter is smooth.
  • Step 5: Bake – Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 30-33 minutes, until the cakes spring back when pressed gently and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let them cool for 15 minutes before inverting the cakes onto the rack to cool completely.
Finished chocolate cake with frosting.Pin


  • Use a neutral-tasting oil – like pure sunflower oil to allow the chocolate flavor to shine.
  • Do not reduce the sugar – The correct amount of sugar keeps the cake moist by binding water, preventing excessive evaporation during baking.
  • Keep an eye on the baking time – Set a timer for the shortest time stated in the recipe and check with a skewer—it should come out clean.
  • Make cupcakes too! – You can use this recipe to make about 18 cupcakes, which will take 15-20 minutes to bake.


This cake is almost like magic. The batter is so fluid that you might worry it won’t work, but trust the process! There’s science behind the proportions.

  • Sugar-to-flour ratio: This recipe has more sugar by weight than flour. Mixing sugar into the flour breaks up the flour particles and reduces the risk of gluten development. Sugar competes for water and binds it, preventing the flour from absorbing too much water during mixing, which minimizes gluten formation.
  • Cocoa particles: Cocoa powder contains some starch and contributes to the cake’s structure, though it doesn’t contain gluten proteins. When dispersed into the flour, cocoa helps break up the flour particles and further interferes with gluten development.
  • Water-to-sugar ratio: This cake has a high moisture content, which wouldn’t work without the right amount of sugar. The sugar binds the water, preventing it from evaporating. During baking, the starches in the flour and cocoa powder slowly hydrate and swell, eventually setting into a gel network that creates a soft, moist crumb structure.
Chocolate frosting being spread over the cake.Pin


What type of oil is best for chocolate cake?

Firstly, use fresh oil! Avoid using anything that has been opened for a long time, and when storing oil, keep it in a cool, dark place. Light and heat can speed up oxidation reactions, which can cause the flavor to become rancid. My preferred oil for baking is sunflower oil for its clean and neutral taste, but you can use any other oil such as canola or safflower. You can even use olive oil, but remember that it will impart the taste of olive oil to the cake.

What is a substitute for sour cream?

Sour cream adds delicious flavor to this cake. If sour cream isn’t available where you live, you can use an equal amount of full-fat Greek yogurt as a substitute. I’ve tested this substitution, and it worked well! Alternatively, if you can’t find sour cream, you can also substitute it with full-fat Greek yogurt. Another suitable substitution is crème fraîche, which is a type of fermented dairy product similar to yogurt and sour cream.

Can I make this recipe without coffee?

Absolutely! If you prefer not to consume caffeine, you can use hot water instead. Alternatively, you can opt for decaf coffee. Additionally, you can make instant coffee instead of brewing a fresh pot. For this, I recommend using 1-2 teaspoons of instant coffee for every cup of hot water.

What is the secret to super moist cake and how do I make my cake more moist?

Adding more fat doesn’t necessarily make the cake moister. Moisture primarily comes from liquids, not fat. While adding more butter and oil may make the cake denser and more tender by altering the texture, it won’t necessarily make it moister. Moisture in this cake comes from the amount of liquid used in the recipe.

How do you add moisture to a chocolate cake?

I usually prefer cake recipes that include butter for its superior flavor. However, using oil alone in this recipe results in a very soft texture, which gives the perception of “moistness”. This is because oil mainly consists of unsaturated fats that are liquid at room temperature. Butter, on the other hand, contains more saturated fats that are solid at room temperature, resulting in a cake with a more crumbly and firm texture.

Why are my cakes flat?

If your cakes come out flat, it could be because your leavening agents are no longer active. Ensure you use fresh baking soda and baking powder. Flat cakes may also result from letting the batter sit out for too long before baking. In this scenario, the leavening agents react in the batter and release gases before the batter sets. As a result, the gas escapes through the surface of the batter instead of being trapped as air bubbles in the cake’s crumb structure.

Can I make this chocolate cake recipe with a 9×13-inch pan?

If you’d rather use a 9×13-inch pan, give my One Bowl Chocolate Sheet Cake recipe a try! It’s wonderfully fluffy, moist, and fudgy, topped with a decadent dark chocolate cream cheese frosting.

Can I use this recipe to make cupcakes?

Yes, you can! It works perfectly. In this case, bake them for 18-20 minutes.

Can I double the chocolate frosting?

This chocolate frosting recipe yields just enough to fill the cake and lightly coat the sides. I personally prefer a lighter coating of frosting, but if you prefer more, you can easily double the recipe or make 1.5 times the amount. Just note that it will take longer for it to thicken to a spreading consistency with increased quantities.

Can I freeze chocolate cake?

Absolutely! I frequently prepare the cake layers ahead of time and freeze them for future use. To do this, allow the cake layers to cool completely on a wire rack. Once cooled, wrap each layer individually in plastic wrap, then wrap them in aluminum foil. Place the wrapped layers in a resealable plastic bag and freeze for up to 3 months.

What is the most famous chocolate cake in the world?

I’d say my favorite is Hershey’s Perfect Chocolate Cake recipe from an old cookbook I have. Although Ina Garten’s Beatty’s Chocolate Cake is quite popular, I find it’s not to my taste because of the imbalance of chemical leavening (too much baking soda) and the high amount of sugar. My recipe, on the other hand, has the perfect amount of baking soda, ensuring it won’t leave a soapy taste, and it creates beautifully domed, even layers. It also has just the right amount of sugar to make the cake moist without being overly sweet or gummy.

What causes a cake to be moist?

Sugar and liquid are key components in creating a moist cake, among other factors. It’s crucial to have the correct balance of wet and dry ingredients when developing a moist cake recipe. Sugar is hygroscopic, meaning it effectively binds water and helps retain moisture. Additionally, being careful not to overmix the batter will ensure the cake remains soft.

Moist and rich chocolate cake on a white plate.Pin


We haven’t even touched on this frosting yet. Ohhhh… this frosting. It’s also made with sour cream and it’s absolutely divine! It’s rich and decadent. I highly suggest topping off this cake with this recipe for the BEST Chocolate Frosting.

Happy Baking!


In the delightful journey of baking BEST MOIST CHOCOLATE CAKE, precision and love intertwine to create a culinary masterpiece. Armed with the insights shared here, you’re ready to embark on your chocolate adventure. May your kitchen be filled with the irresistible aroma of chocolate, and your taste buds dance with joy!

Moist and rich chocolate cake on a white plate.Pin

The BEST Moist Chocolate Cake recipe

This is the ultimate chocolate cake recipe you'll ever need! It's incredibly moist and rich. Pair it with my Best Chocolate Frosting, and it's a chocolate lover's dream!
Share on Facebook
4.67 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 10 SERVINGS
Calories: 351kcal



  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour or (plain flour), (8 oz | 227 g)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (2.6 oz | 75 g) or regular Hershey’s cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (or bi-carb soda)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar (14 oz | 410 g)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk (250 ml)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (125 ml)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water 250 ml


  • 4 oz butter (120 g | 1/2 cup)
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder or regular HERSHEY’S (2.4 oz | 65 g)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (confectioners or icing sugar)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract



  • Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) standard or 320°F (160°C) fan/convection.
  • Lightly grease 2x 9-inch (22cm) round cake pans with butter. Line base with parchment paper.
  • Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Whisk in sugar, then add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Whisk well to combine until lump free, about 30 seconds.
  • Pour boiling water into batter, mixing well. Cake batter is thin in consistency.
  • Pour batter into cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Let cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely before frosting.


  • Melt butter, then whisk in cocoa powder. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency (add a small amount of additional milk, if needed). Stir in vanilla.


Calories: 351kcal

So, If you enjoy, please Follow my facebook page to be notified every time I publish a recipe!

If you love Chocolate cake, check out these recipes!

Soft Chocolate Cake Recipe

Chocolate Cake Roll Recipe

Filled Chocolate Cake

Moist Eggless Chocolate Cake

Sponge Chocolate Cake

One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    Love your recipes
    I have bought all your cook books
    That shows what a great fan I am of yours 😘😘😘

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating