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!

A slice of moist chocolate cake with chocolate frosting on a white plate with a fork digging into it.

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!

Try this chocolate fudge cake in more ways like my ding dong cakeReese’s cake, and mint chocolate ice cream cake.

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

Ingredients needed to make the chocolate cake recipe in bowls with labels.

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!

Flavor Variations

This recipe is the perfect blank slate for other flavor variations too:

Recipe Instructions

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!

A process collage of the steps for making and baking the chocolate cake 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)

A process collage of the steps for frosting the homemade chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

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

Use a kitchen scaleBaking with a scale is my #1 baking tip! If you do not have a scale, use a spoon to fluff the flour first, then spoon it into your measuring cup.

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! 

FAQs

How do I know when it is done baking?

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!

Can I make the chocolate cake without coffee?

Yes, you can substitute it with hot water.

Can the layers be baked in advance?

Definitely! Once baked and completely cool, wrap the layers tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 1 month before assembling.

Can I make this recipe in a different-sized pan?

Yes! The batter can be split into two 9-inch pans, three 8-inch pans, or a 9×13 pan for a sheet cake. Note that these sizes will bake quicker than the indicated bake time on the recipe card!

What kind of coffee is best for the batter?

Any coffee can be used. I will use instant coffee mixed with water but you could also use fresh brewed coffee or espresso.

Dark chocolate cake on a wooden board cut in half to show the super moist texture.

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!

A slice of moist dark chocolate cake on a white plate with a fork digging into it.

Moist Chocolate Cake

5 from 9 votes

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!
Print Recipe Save Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 33 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 33 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 servings

Equipment

Need Metric Measurements?Use the button options below to toggle between US cups and Metric grams!

Ingredients 
 

Chocolate Cake Batter

  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp cake flour, *see notes below for measuring*
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6 1/2 tablespoons cubed unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot coffee
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 1 batch of my chocolate fudge frosting

Cake Soak

  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • 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 tbsp (230 g) cake flour, 1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar, 1/2 cup (100 g) dark brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, 6 1/2 tablespoons (90 g) 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 (228 g) sour cream, 1/2 cup (113 g) whole milk, 2 (100 g) large eggs, 1/4 cup (56 g) vegetable oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 cup (210 g) hot coffee, 3/4 cup (75 g) 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, 1/8 cup (10 g) unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 1/2 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

Video

Notes

*Measure your dry ingredients properly. This is my #1 baking tip! Do not ever scoop a measuring cup into your flour as this always leads to using too much flour. Instead, use the spoon-level method. This means fluffing the flour first, then spooning it into your measuring cup/spoon. For the BEST results, use a kitchen scale!*
Cocoa powder: I used Ghiradelli Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
Cake pan sizes: The batter can be split into two 9-inch cake pans, three 8-inch cake pans, or a 9×13 pan for a sheet cake. Note that these sizes will bake quicker than the indicated bake time on the recipe card!
Storage: Store it whole or in slices 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! 
Serving: 1serving | Calories: 367kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 347mg | Potassium: 154mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 48g | Vitamin A: 365IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 1mg

The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.

The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.

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Recipe Rating




5 Comments

  1. Mary Ruckert says:

    Coul u please convert everything in grams/ml?🙏🏼

    1. Hi Mary, click the “metric” button on the recipe card and it will convert it to grams.

  2. Texture was great! Accidentally used salted butter so it was kind of salty but would definitely make it again.5 stars

  3. Lisa Venner says:

    Can you please let me know what brand cocoa powder you use for this recipe ?5 stars