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The Best Dark Chocolate Cake

Slice of the Best Dark Chocolate Cake

This truly is THE BEST DARK CHOCOLATE CAKE with its moist layers of deep rich chocolate and creamy DARK CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING that melts in your mouth! It’s AMAZING!!!

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Remember last summer when we went on Vacation to George Town? We took that cupcake tour, and stopped in at that little bakery…“Sprinkles”…and my life was forever changed!

Yep… by ONE little EPIC mouth-watering Dark Chocolate Cup Cake with real chocolate sprinkles! (Hey…it doesn’t take much for a complete life changing experience in my overwhelmingly exciting life!)

I spent the next few months…12 of them to be exact…trying to duplicate THAT cupcake!

Dark Chocolate Cake decorated on a cake stand


Last week, the cravings hit hard for that splendid cupcake….So…I dug down deep and decided to go one more round with that elusive Dark Chocolate Cake with Dark Buttercream Frosting! (Que the “Rocky” Theme Music!) 

Hooray!!! Success! This is as close as it is going to get. (Do ya see me at the top of all those stairs, fist pumping the air? You shouldn’t…I’m down on the third step gasping for my last few breaths of air! Let’s keep it real here!) 

It’s a combination of two different recipes, neither of which I created, but when combined make the perfect Dark Chocolate Cake with Dark Buttercream Frosting! The cake is the original from the back of the Hershey’s Cocoa powder box. The buttercream frosting is a recipe I tweaked and tweaked until I got the exact consistency I was looking for.

So let’s get started….

How To Make Dark Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Preheat your oven to 350°. Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans.

TIP: I’m going to share a little tip that I’ve shared before. I spray my pans with “Bakers Joy” which is a cooking spray and flour combination and then line the bottom of my pans with parchment paper! (I used to use Newspaper until the husband caught me and was convinced I was trying to slowly poison him! I’m assuming from the ink and not the “bad news stories”?)

Greased and Flour prepared baking pans

In the bowl of your mixer add sugar, flour, Hershey’s Special Dark Unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. You can find all the exact measurements below in the free printable recipe. You’re gonna want to print this one out for your cookbooks!

Bowl with dry ingredients

Use a whisk to combine all the dry ingredients.

TIP: This helps incorporate all the different elements.

Dry ingredients whisked together

Next add 2 eggs, 1 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and one cup of boiling water.

Addition of wet ingredients to dry

TIP: Did you know coffee brings out the flavor of chocolate? It’s true. Coffee brings out the depth of cocoa powder. Now you don’t have to use coffee. I buy the decaffeinated single servings and add it to a boiling cup of water. It will NOT make your cake taste like “Mocha”. I promise.

Cup of coffee

Add one cup of boiling hot water or coffee to the cake batter mixture.

Cake batter being mixed

Mix on low-speed for 3 minutes until all ingredients are well incorporated. This will be a very wet batter. Do NOT let that scare you! I promise that wet cake batters make wonderfully moist cakes and they will rise.

Cake Batter

Pour evenly into prepared pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes in preheated 350° oven until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. I do want to caution that you not OVER bake this cake. Keep an eye on it.

Dark Chocolate Cake batter in pans

Remove baked cakes from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Turn upside down onto a cooling rack and remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the cakes. (I wish someone could lay me out on a cooling rack this summer… and it would work! lol) 

Baked Cakes cooling on rack

While the cakes are cooling let’s make the scrumptious delectable Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting!

This frosting is outstanding! Smooth and creamy! If you’ll follow my steps you’ll have the best frosting this side of the Mississippi! (I just wanted to prove I could spell Mississippi…that’s all!)

In a fine mesh strainer, over a larger bowl,  place 3/4 cups of unsweetened cocoa powder and 3/4 cups of Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate cocoa powder and 5 1/3 cups of powder sugar.

TIP: Gently shake through the mesh strainer. This will eliminate any lumps or clumps of the powder cocoa and sugar. Which will create a smoother frosting.

Dry ingredients for frosting

In the bowl of your mixer, with the paddle attachment, cream 3/4 cup of butter until light and fluffy.

Butter for Frosting

Add the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the milk and vanilla.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Beat until smooth and creamy and the desired spreading consistency. 

I have to stop here for a second! I knew the minute this frosting came together that I had finally recreated that deep dark rich creamy frosting. It’s perfect! I’ll never make another chocolate frosting again. This is it!

I could have face planted it in this bowl… and I’m NOT a huge frosting fan! This stuff is addictive it’s so good.

Bowl full of Chocolate Buttercream frosting

Place one cake on the bottom of a cake plate. Spread a layer of frosting and top with the 2nd layer. (Don’t fret over the frosting, you’ll have plenty! You could even make a facial mask out of the leftovers…at least when you accidentally lick this one it will taste good!)

Note how nice and smooth the cake is? It’s because you used parchment paper! It’s great at controlling crumbs.

Best Dark Chocolate Cake being frosted

Start with the sides and frost with that scrumptious frosting. Go all the way around and then finish with the top. (Well you could stop half way…I don’t want to stymie your creativity! I mean if you’ve eaten half the frosting and can only do half the cake…I get it! I’ll support your story!) 

Frosting the cake

I wanted to “dress” this cake up with a little piped frosting around the bottom and top and finish it off with those amazing real chocolate sprinkles…just like the ones they use at “Sprinkle’s”! (I may, or may not, have bought a $30 bag of real chocolate sprinkles trying to recreate that cupcake! Have I mentioned my insane need for perfectionism? Ugh!)

Finished Cake

This cake is insanely good! It is so sinfully rich. Every forkful is a taste explosion of  spectacular chocolate heavenly goodness! (Did I use enough adjectives in that sentence? I just read that adjectives are highly overused and don’t add anything to a sentence! Well! Obviously not written by a food blogger! lol)

If they serve Chocolate Cake in Heaven…this is it!

I know what you’re thinking? Is it really as moist as it looks? YES! It’s the perfect consistency too. Not too dense and not to airy. Then there’s the frosting! 2,000 Weight Watcher Points in one serving! You WIN! (The game is to collect the most points right? I got your back!) 

Dark Chocolate Cake

If you love chocolate cake and have been searching for the best recipe around…I hope you’ll give this one a try. I know you won’t be disappointed. It comes together easily and is better than any cake you’ll find at any bakery. We all need a special “splurge” dessert every once and awhile! This is that dessert!

If you love this Dark Chocolate Cake, You might enjoy these other Cake Recipes

Thanks for visiting my Nest! I have more delicious fun recipes heading your way this week. I hope you’ll drop back by and spend a little time with me.

I love hearing from you so please feel free to email me or drop a comment below. I’ll get back to you. I care about the food you make for the chicks at your Nest. I am always happy to help when I can!

Have a GREAT day!

Norines Photo and signature

Yield: 10-12 servings

The Best Dark Chocolate Cake

Slice of the Best Dark Chocolate Cake

"A rich moist dark chocolate cake with an amazingly creamy smooth chocolate buttercream frosting. This is The BEST Chocolate Cake in the World!"

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes


  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup Hershey's Special Dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water OR 1 cup hot decaf coffee

Frosting Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate unsweetened cocoa
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened regular cocoa powder
  • 5 1/2 cups of powder sugar
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans and place parchment paper in bottom of cake pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 3 minutes with an electric mixer. Add in the boiling water or hot decaf coffee. Combine for 1 minute on slow speed. The batter will be very wet. Pour evenly into the two prepared pans.
  3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to cool completely.
  4. To make the frosting cream butter until light and fluffy. Sift the Cocoa powders and powder sugar in a separate bowl to remove any lumps. Stir in the cocoa and confectioners' sugar alternately with the milk and vanilla. Beat to a spreading consistency.
  5. Frost the cooled cake. Cover the top of each layer with frosting place on cake plate. Frost the outside of the cake.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 piece of cake

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 944Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 525mgCarbohydrates: 162gFiber: 4gSugar: 139gProtein: 7g

Norine’s Nest in no way provides any warranty, express or implied, towards the content of recipes in this website. It is the reader’s responsibility to determine the value and quality of any recipe or instructions provided for food preparation and to determine the nutritional value, if any, and safety of the preparation instructions.





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Wednesday 17th of June 2020

Hi! I'm trying to make this cake but I want to make sure I'm using the right pans. I have two 9 inch round pans but they are approx 3 inches deep, can I still use them? Or would that negatively affect on the cakes. Thanks in advance!

Wednesday 17th of June 2020

Hi Tessa!

Those pans will work just fine. No worries at all. Hope you enjoy this cake as much as I do! It's one of my very favorite recipes. Happy Baking! ~Norine


Thursday 13th of February 2020

Are you suppose to use buttermilk in this recipe or was Ellen just asking a general question? I can’t wait to make this cake. I adore a great chocolate cake like you.

Thursday 13th of February 2020

Hi Cathy! I'm going to assume she was just asking a general question as this recipe doesn't call for buttermilk and works beautifully as written. I know some like to substitute buttermilk for milk in all their cake recipes. This really is a great chocolate cake as is. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. It's pure chocolate heaven. Happy Nesting and thanks so much for stopping by. ~Norine


Wednesday 5th of February 2020

Can I substitute buttermilk for regular milk?

Thursday 6th of February 2020

Hi Ellen! Thanks for stopping by and asking such a great question! In order to get a truly moist cake buttermilk needs to be used. The reason for that is that buttermilk contains more acid than regular milk and there for creates a reaction with baking soda which is critical in baking. So, with that in mind...there is a GREAT substitute for buttermilk when you don't have any. You can add vinegar to regular milk, or lemon juice, both high in acid, to replicate buttermilk. 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice with enough milk to measure 1 cup. So add the vinegar or lemon juice first, then add enough milk to equal one cup. Hope this helps and I hope you have a great week and enjoy the cake! Happy Nesting! Norine

Donna Oliphint

Monday 20th of January 2020

Hey Norine! Thanks for the post. This does look like a perfect chocolate cake. I love the dark cocoa because it gives the cake not only a dark, rich flavor but also a dark, rich color. I would like to share a "recipe" I found on a professional caker's site that changed my baking life. (I make and sell cakes to help support an orphanage and school in Kenya, so I make quite a few.) It's a pan grease. You combine with a mixer 1 cup vegetable oil, 1 cup Crisco shortening and 1 cup flour until smooth. Put this mixture in a container to store in your pantry--not the fridge. When ready to bake, use a pastry brush to coat your pans. It shouldn't be heavy, just brushed on smoothly. You don't need to use paper liners unless your cake is over 10" in diameter. Your cakes will NEVER stick, will have a beautiful smooth edge, and you don't have to use that messy spray and flour technique. This also makes muffins--even corn muffins--slide out of the pan. I wish I could remember who this "recipe" is from because she deserves the credit for a great timesaver.

Monday 20th of January 2020

Hi Donna! Thank you so much for sharing this technique with me and my readers. I'll have to give it a try! I love that you use your baking talents to help others...especially the kids in Kenya! Have a wonderful day! Happy Nesting! Norine


Friday 16th of August 2019

It's really a shame how everyone blatantly copies the Hersheys cake recipe written on the hershey's cocoa powder and writes a long blog claiming it to be their own recipe. Plagiarism and cheap

Friday 16th of August 2019

I usually do not take the time to address comments where name calling and slandering of my character are called into question. However, I'd like to address your comment! Not once in the "long blog" did I claim that the recipe was my own. I said and I quote "I spent the next few months…12 of them to be exact…trying to duplicate THAT cupcake! Last week, the cravings hit hard for that splendid cupcake….So…I dug down deep and decided to go one more round with that elusive Dark Chocolate Cake with Dark Buttercream Frosting!" I was referring to trying to find a recipe that was as close to the sprinkles cupcake as I could find. I NEVER ONCE CLAIMED THAT I CREATED THE RECIPE! The reason being because I DIDN'T!!! I did not credit my source because it was a recipe that was in an old family cookbook and I did not know it's original source! I don't read the recipes on the back of my ingredient containers. I frankly do not have the time to do so! Had I known at the time of writing the post that recipe came from the back of the Hershey's box I certainly would have given them the credit, like I do with ALL THE RECIPES I post on my site that come from another source, including other recipe content creators! I am not "cheap" nor do I "plagiarize" in my posts. I work extremely hard to create my recipes (The majority of which are original creations of my own). Since receiving your comment I have checked the back of my Hershey's box and found that the recipe is indeed the one on the back of their box. I have given them the credit they deserve! Perhaps next time before sending out such a judgemental and unkind comment you might want to kindly let the author know of their mistake without the name calling and slandering of ones character. We live in a day and age where it's easy to sit behind the screen of a computer and say things without actually knowing the intentions of the person we are commenting too. Kindness goes a long way and not jumping to conclusions might bring more happiness into your life. Thank you for pointing out my mistake in giving credit where credit was due. I would never knowingly take credit for a recipe I did not create on my own and again, I'd like to point out that I never did so in this post! Sincerely, Norine