There's so much to love about this super moist chocolate cake! With a rich chocolate flavor and soft texture, it's smothered in glossy chocolate frosting and topped with chocolate shavings. Think Matilda's cake- but even better!
As a former professional pastry chef, creating the best chocolate cake recipe was at the top of my list!
My recipe is extra unique because we're using the reverse creaming method, which results in a softer, more tender crumb and a super moist texture. This truly is a moist chocolate cake- it's so easy to make and will blow any bakery version away!
Why We Love This Chocolate Cake Recipe
- Rich chocolate flavor: We're using my favorite bakery tricks like brewed coffee and Dutch cocoa powder to create a truly indulgent and rich cake.
- Super moist cake: It stays moist for days without drying out thanks to a chocolate syrup that soaks into the crumb!
- Fudgy chocolate frosting: To compliment the fudgy chocolate cake we're using my favorite fudge frosting! It's easy to make with no corn syrup.
- Bakery-quality texture: Using high-quality ingredients and a special baking method results in a homemade chocolate cake that rivals any found in the finest bakeries.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
Butter: European butter has more butter fat than American butter, which adds richness and contributes to a tender crumb texture.
Cake flour: For the reverse creaming method, cake flour must be used. It has a lower protein content which minimizes gluten formation, resulting in a delicate and soft texture. This can not be substituted with all-purpose flour!
Cocoa powder: Dutch-processed cocoa powder is alkalized, which reduces acidity in the cocoa creating a smoother, less bitter taste. It makes for a seriously rich chocolate cake!
Oil: Using a neutral flavored oil like canola or vegetable oil is preferred. However, you can use olive oil, coconut oil, or grape seed oil as well!
Sour cream: Adding sour cream is the secret to a super moist homemade cake! The high-fat content also contributes richness, moisture, and a tangy flavor.
Milk: Whole milk gives it structure, richness, and moisture. I don't recommend substituting it for alternative milk, because the texture will be drier.
Coffee: You won't taste the coffee, it just amps up the flavor. Substitute it with hot water. However, if you love a coffee flavor, try my coffee chocolate cake version that's flavored with espresso powder.
Find the full list of ingredients, measurements, and instructions in the recipe card below!
This recipe is the perfect blank slate for other flavor variations too:
- Substitute the Dutch cocoa powder for black cocoa powder for a black velvet cake.
- For chocolate raspberry cake, add raspberry jam in between layers.
- Scoop the batter into cupcake liners for cupcakes!
- Frost it with cream cheese frosting or vanilla buttercream frosting instead.
- Add malted milk powder to the batter and frosting like in my chocolate ganache cake.
Step 1: Mix the butter into the dry ingredients. In a stand mixing bowl, paddle-mix the cubed butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse sand. (Image 1 below)
Step 2: Mix in the wet ingredients. On low speed, stream the whisked sour cream, eggs, milk, oil, vanilla, hot coffee, and cocoa powder into the bowl and mix until just combined. (Image 2 below)
Step 3: Fill the cake pans. Evenly distribute the chocolate cake batter into the prepared pans. (Image 3 below) It will be a thin batter!
Step 4: Bake the cake layers. Bake the chocolate cake, then let the pans cool on a wire rack before removing them. (Image 4 above)
Step 5: Soak the cake layers. Use a serrated knife to trim a thin layer off the tops of the cake layers, then use a pastry brush to brush the syrup onto the exposed crumb. (Image 5 below)
Step 7: Assemble with chocolate frosting. Assemble the moist chocolate cake by alternating the cake layers with frosting. (Image 7 above)
Step 8: Decorate! Use the rest of the frosting to cover the tops and sides. Decorate the frosted cake with chocolate curls, shavings, sprinkles, etc. (Image 8 above)
Tips for a Moist Chocolate Cake
Avoid over-mixing the batter to prevent gluten development, which can lead to a dense texture.
Don't skip the cake soak. Brushing the cooled cake layers with the syrup adds extra moisture and flavor.
Baking times may vary because every oven is different. I recommend watching the bake time and checking for doneness to prevent over-baking.
Storage and Freezing
Storage: This moist chocolate cake is best stored in an airtight container in the fridge. If stored properly it will stay super soft and moist for up to 5 days!
Freezing: Freeze individual slices wrapped in plastic wrap in an airtight container for up to 1 month in the freezer. You can also freeze the whole cake in the same way!
Insert a cake tester or skewer into the center of the cake. It should come out covered in a few moist crumbs when it's done baking!
Yes, you can substitute it with hot water.
Definitely! Once baked and completely cool, wrap the layers tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 1 month before assembling.
Yes! The batter can be split into two 9-inch pans, three 8-inch pans, or a 9x13 pan for a sheet cake. Note that these sizes will bake quicker than the indicated bake time on the recipe card!
Any coffee can be used. I will use instant coffee mixed with water but you could also use fresh brewed coffee or espresso.
More Chocolate Cake Recipes
If you tried this or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how it went in the comments below, I love hearing from you! Also, please leave a star rating while you're there! You can also tag me on Instagram or Facebook so I can check it out!
Moist Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Cake Batter
- 2 cups + 2 tablespoon cake flour *see notes below for measuring*
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup dark brown sugar packed
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 ½ tablespoons cubed unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup sour cream room temperature
- ½ cup whole milk room temperature
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup hot coffee
- ¾ cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
- 1 batch of my chocolate fudge frosting
- 5 tablespoons water
- ⅛ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Note: If using my chocolate frosting recipe, I recommend making it first because it needs to be set before using it!
- Before you start. Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C. Line two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper on the bottoms and set them aside.
- Combine the butter and dry ingredients. In a stand mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix in the cubed butter on low speed until it resembles coarse sand, about 3 minutes.2 cups + 2 tablespoon cake flour, 1 ½ cups granulated sugar, ½ cup dark brown sugar, 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder, ¾ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, 6 ½ tablespoons cubed unsalted butter
- Mix in the wet ingredients. In a bowl with a spout, whisk together the sour cream, milk, eggs, oil, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the hot coffee and cocoa powder. Stream the first bowl of wets into the mixing bowl, then immediately follow with the coffee/cocoa. Mix until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.1 cup sour cream, ½ cup whole milk, 2 large eggs, ¼ cup vegetable oil, 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 cup hot coffee, ¾ cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
- Bake the cake layers. Evenly distribute the chocolate batter into both cake pans. About 740 grams in each. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out covered in a few moist crumbs.
- Cool the cake layers. Let the pans cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then run an offset spatula around the sides of the pan. Flip each pan over to release the cake. Allow them to continue cooling completely on the rack before frosting.
- Make the chocolate cake soak. Combine the water, cocoa powder, sugar, and vanilla extract in a small pot. Cook over medium heat until boiling, then reduce the heat to low and cook 2-3 minutes longer until thickened. Cool before using.5 tablespoons water, ⅛ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Soak with chocolate syrup. Use a serrated knife to trim a thin layer off the cake layers. Use a pastry brush to brush the tops of both cake layers with some of the chocolate cake soak.
- Assemble the cake with my favorite chocolate fudge frosting!1 batch of my chocolate fudge frosting
The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.