A delicious Chocolate Cake never goes out of style. I’m taking you back to a simple moist Chocolate Cake with simple ingredients you probably already have. No buttermilk or sour cream is used in this recipe. If you are making this for kids than you don’t have to worry about coffee in a Chocolate Cake. The cake is frosted with chocolaty, silky smooth Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. This is one of the easiest frosting you will make.
This will be your “go to” Chocolate Cake no matter your baking level. I hope you get to bake this for your loved ones.
Buttermilk/sour cream can make a cake moist but these ingredients are not always the staple in your fridge. I used milk and oil in this recipe that has kept the cake moist.
Coffee can also enhance the flavor in chocolate cake, but many people do not like the added caffeine or are sensitive to coffee in cakes especially when baking for kids. We will add hot water to the batter and that will enhance the rich deep flavor of chocolate.
Neutral light oil should be used in this recipe like canola, light olive oil, vegetable oil. The oil will give this cake a soft texture.
Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder was used in this recipe.
To prevent some of that dome shape in the cake. I baked these cakes at 325 degrees F. It’s a lower temperature than 350 degrees F, but the lower temp will give the batter a slow rise.
When baking layered cakes make sure to equally divide the batter between the pans. This will ensure even height and bake time for each layer. I use a dry measuring 1 cup to divide the batter. There was about 5 cups of batter. I evenly divided 2 1/2 cups in each 8″ baking pan.
Once cakes are baked and completely cooked wrap in cling wrap and keep in fridge overnight before decorating or even in freezer. It’s much easier to level/decorate a chilled cake.
Make sure all ingredients for cake are at room temperature so the batter mixes and bakes evenly.
You can keep this cake covered at room temperature for few days. After that store in refrigerator. Keep in mind the buttercream frosting will melt sitting out at hot temperatures.
BUTTERCREAM FROSTING NOTES
Sift the powder sugar and cocoa powder together to get rid of the clumps.
Let the butter sit out at room temperature for few hrs before creaming. In summer you don’t want to leave butter out for too long or it will get very soft. Make sure you really cream the butter till it gets light in color and gets fluffy, that can take few minutes.
If your frosting is too stiff, add more heavy cream 1 tbsp. at a time to get the right consistency. If frosting is too thin than add more powdered sugar 1 tbsp. at a time. This frosting is very forgiving.
Frosting is enough to fill and frost two 8″ round layers. If you want to make more decorations, make an extra batch.
Frosting can be made ahead and kept in refrigerator for few days. But in my experience it can take a while for all that butter to come back to room temperature and it’s not as fluffy as you make it the day of.
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- ¾ cup natural unsweetened 100% cocoa powder
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup milk
- ¾ cup neutral oil (canola, light olive oil or vegetable oil)
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ cup boiling water
- CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
- 1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature (set out butter for few hrs)
- 4 cups/16 oz box powder sugar, sifted
- ¾ cup natural unsweetened 100% cocoa powder (sift with power sugar)
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- ¼ cup cold heavy cream (or use milk, half/half)
- ¼ tsp. salt
- FOR THE CHOCOLATE CAKE
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray two 8" round cake pans & line bottoms of pans with a ring of parchment paper.
- In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder. Whisk together until there are no more lumps.
- In a separate large bowl whisk together: eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Mix well.
- Add the dry mix in increments to the wet ingredients and mix well.
- Add the hot water to the batter, mix well.
- Equally divide batter between the pans. 2½ cups in each pan.
- Bake in center of preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until toothpick comes out clean or with crumbs. (baking time varies with all ovens keep eye on cake)
- Let the cakes cool completely in pans on a wire rack.
- Take out cakes from pan and wrap in plastic wrap and keep in fridge to chill. (chilled/frozen cakes are much easier to handle)
- FOR THE CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
- Use a handheld or stand mixer with the whisk attachment.
- Sift the powdered sugar and cocoa powder together to get all the lumps out.
- Beat the room temp. butter on medium speed until creamy and light in color. This will take few minutes.Add salt and whisk again. Than start adding the sugar and cocoa powder in increments. Add vanilla and heavy cream. Whip for few minutes scrapping sides of bowl as needed. Frosting should be silky, smooth and fluffy not stiff. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin or add more heavy cream a tablespoon at a time if frosting too stiff or thick. It should be spreadable. Make sure to give it a taste and adjust salt to taste.
- ASSEMBLE/FROST THE CAKE
- Once the cakes have been chilled. I prefer to chill cakes overnight.
- If cakes have dome on top you want to level the cakes. Take a serrated knife and gently slice a thin layer off the tops to give the cake a flat surface. Just try to do your best, practice will make it better.
- Take a cake board if using one and take a small amount of frosting and spread in center of cake board before placing 1st layer of cake. This will help the cake stay in place as you are frosting.
- Evenly spread the top with frosting (I used about 1 full cup of frosting ) Just keep in mind you want enough frosting in the center.
- Top with 2nd layer of cake. Adjust it so it's even and gently push down on cake so it sits properly.
- Frost the sides and top of the cake with an offset spatula or use butter knife.
- Use back of small spoon to create swirls all over the cake to give it a rustic look.
- Decorate with what you like: candles, sprinkles, fresh fruit.
- I would definitely chill the cake before serving at least an hr. This holds the shape and will be much easier for you to slice. But since it's only 2 layers it should be fine without chilling for too long.
KITCHEN TOOLS NEEDED
Large mixing bowls
Dry measuring cups
Wet measuring cups
Sieve or sifter
Serrated knife to level cakes
cake boards/cake stand/turntable is optional