Chocolate Cake Recipes That Are Easy to Make From Scratch

Is it possible to turn down a slice of chocolate cake? From birthday parties to moments of weakness as you pass a bakery window, that first bite of a moist, decadent, superbly crafted chocolate cake is nirvana. Our mouths are watering just thinking about this bakery store staple. But rather than run out to the nearest sweet shop, we want to roll up our sleeves and get to baking one of our own, using any of these recipes.

1. One Bowl Chocolate Cake

chocolate cake

Chocolate cake with powdered sugar | Thinkstock

Better Homes and Gardens is keeping your kitchen simple. All your ingredients are mixed in one bowl and then poured into a prepared pan — making the baking and clean-up process a breeze. The cake serves 8.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • Powdered sugar, to garnish

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and lightly flour a 9-by-1½-inch round or 8-by-8-by-2-inch baking pan. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed just until combined. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add egg and beat 2 minutes more. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan. Cool thoroughly on a wire rack. To serve, sprinkle with powdered sugar and transfer to a serving plate.

2. Chocolate Espresso Cake With Mocha Buttercream

chocolate cake

Frosted chocolate cake | Thinkstock

Chocolate and coffee — need we say more? Probably not, but we will. From Very Best Baking comes this layer cake that has coffee flavoring in every step. Kept moist with a coffee glaze and iced with a mocha buttercream, all chocoholics and coffee addicts will devour the slices you place before them.


Chocolate Espresso Cake

  • 1 (4-ounce) dark chocolate baking bar, broken into small pieces
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder or instant coffee granules
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Coffee Glaze

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee granules

Mocha Buttercream

  • 1 (4-ounce) dark chocolate baking bar, broken into small pieces
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder or instant coffee granules
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two 9-inch round baking pans with wax paper. For the cake, microwave chocolate in small, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on high power for 45 seconds; stir. If pieces retain some of their original shape, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until melted. Cool to room temperature. Alternatively, melt on the stovetop using the double-broiler method.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl. Beat brown sugar, butter, eggs, instant coffee, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl for 3 minutes. Gradually add melted chocolate and continue beating for an additional minute. Beat flour mixture into creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 33 to 38 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Run knife around edges of cakes. Invert onto wire racks; remove wax paper. Cool completely.

To make the glaze, microwave granulated sugar, water, and instant coffee in small, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on high power for 30 seconds. Stir until sugar and coffee are dissolved.

For the buttercream, microwave chocolate in small, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on high power for 45 seconds; stir. If pieces retain some of their original shape, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until melted. Cool to room temperature. Dissolve instant coffee in milk in glass measure. Beat butter, vanilla extract and salt in large mixer bowl for 3 minutes. Beat in melted chocolate until blended, scraping occasionally. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in coffee mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired spreading consistency.

To assemble, brush the coffee glaze over the cake layers. Spread the buttercream between the layers, and on the top and sides of the cake; or decorate using the frosting to your tastes.

3. German Chocolate Cake

German chocolate cake

German chocolate cake with coconut frosting |

Anyone who can never have enough German chocolate cake will want to bake this one from Saveur. Standing three tiers tall, it will make enough for a crowd (about 14-16) or serve the needs of a few serious cake enthusiasts.


  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1¾ cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 2½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1½ cups roughly chopped pecans
  • 1 (7-ounce) package sweetened shredded coconut
  • 4 ounces German’s Sweet Chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 large egg whites

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a 2-quart pan over medium heat, combine 1½ cups sugar, ¾ cup butter, 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla, 4 egg yolks, and evaporated milk. Bring to a simmer, cooking until thick, 12 minutes. Strain through a sieve into a bowl; stir in pecans and coconut; chill frosting until firm.

Grease three 9-inch round cake pans with butter; line bottoms with parchment circles. Grease parchment; set aside. Put chocolates into a small bowl; pour in ½ cup boiling water; let sit for 1 minute. Stir until smooth; set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Beat 1¼ cups sugar and remaining butter until fluffy in a standing mixer; add remaining egg yolks one at a time. Add chocolate mixture and remaining vanilla; beat until smooth. On low speed, alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk until just combined; set batter aside.

Meanwhile, whip egg whites to soft peaks. Add remaining sugar; whip to stiff peaks. Fold egg whites into batter; divide between pans and smooth batter. Bake until cakes are set, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cakes cool; frost the top of each cake and assemble, leaving the sides bare.

4. Flourless Chocolate Torte

chocolate torte

Rich chocolate torte | Thinkstock

Chocolate chips and cocoa powder team up in this flour-free cake from King Arthur Flour to create one seriously rich torte. The espresso powder won’t necessarily create a mocha flavor. Adding 1 teaspoon of espresso will enhance the chocolate flavor, and 2 teaspoons gives the cake a bit of mocha flavoring while still developing the chocolate taste; use whichever suits your preferences.


  • 1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons espresso powder, optional
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Dutch-process cocoa powder


  • 1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup heavy cream

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease an 8-inch round cake pan; cut a piece of parchment or waxed paper to fit, grease it, and lay it in the bottom of the pan.

To make the cake, put the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat until the butter is melted and the chips are soft. Stir until the chips melt, reheating briefly if necessary. You can also do this over a burner set at very low heat. Transfer the melted chocolate/butter to a mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar, salt, espresso powder, and vanilla.

Add the eggs, beating briefly until smooth. Add the cocoa powder, and mix just to combine. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake for 25 minutes; the top will have formed a thin crust, and it should register at least 200 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-read thermometer inserted into its center. Remove it from the oven, and cool it in the pan for 5 minutes.

Loosen the edges of the pan with a table knife or nylon spreader, and turn it out onto a serving plate. The top will now be on the bottom; that’s fine. Also, the edges will crumble a bit, which is also fine. Allow the cake to cool completely before glazing.

To make the glaze, combine the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the cream is very hot, but not simmering. Remove from the microwave, and stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is completely smooth. Spoon the glaze over the cake, spreading it to drip over the sides a bit. Allow the glaze to set for several hours before serving the cake.

5. Devil’s Food Cake

chocolate cake

Slice of rich chocolate cake | Thinkstock

When you make the Devil’s food cake from Epicurious, you’ll have your choice of frostings. If you have a candy thermometer, and a little bit of time on your hands, try out the brown sugar buttercream. For a quicker version, use the chocolate sour cream frosting listed below when frosting your layers.


  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1¼ cups packed dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs


  • 1¼ pounds fine-quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 10 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 cups sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit; butter 3 (8- by 2-inch) round cake pans and line bottoms of each with rounds of wax or parchment paper. Butter paper and dust pans with flour, knocking out excess.

Whisk together boiling water and cocoa powder in a bowl until smooth, then whisk in milk and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt in another bowl. Beat together butter and sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in flour and cocoa mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Divide batter among pans, smoothing tops. Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of pans halfway through baking, until a tester comes out clean and layers begin to pull away from sides of pans, 20 to 25 minutes total. Cool layers in pans on racks 10 minutes, then invert onto racks, remove wax paper, and cool completely.

For the sour cream frosting, melt chocolates in a double boiler or a large metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. Remove bowl from heat, then whisk in sour cream and vanilla. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally as the frosting thickens. You must work quickly and spread the frosting before it becomes too thick. If icing does becomes too stiff to spread, reheat over simmering water, then cool and try again.

Put 1 cake layer, rounded side up, on a cake plate and spread with about 1 cup buttercream. Top with another cake layer, rounded side up, and spread with another cup buttercream. Top with remaining cake layer and frost top and sides of cake with remaining buttercream.

6. Texas Sheet Cake

chocolate sheet cake

Texas sheet cake with chocolate frosting | Thinkstock

Jennifer Harbster set out to discover the history of Texas Sheet Cake for the Library of Congress, but was unable to find an origin. What Harbster did discover was that the cake has been known by several names. Baked on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan, it is large but not deep, causing some people to call it a “brownie cake,” and other drop the “cake” entirely, opting for “chocolate sheet brownies.” We’ll let you decide what you want to call the dessert after you make’s Texas sheet cake.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup butter
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 10-by-15-inch pan. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt, and then beat in the sour cream and eggs. Set aside. In a saucepan, melt the butter on low, and then add the water and 5 tablespoons cocoa. Bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat, allowing to cool slightly. Stir the cocoa mixture into the egg mixture, mixing until blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

To make the icing, combine the milk, 5 tablespoons cocoa, and ½ cup butter in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Stir in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, then fold in the nuts, mixing until blended. Spread frosting over warm cake.