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The Best Dark Chocolate Cake

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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!!!

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!

Slice of the Best Dark Chocolate Cake

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. This 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! (Back in the day… 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!

How To Make The BEST 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. 

Let’s 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

How To Frost A Two Layer Cake

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. 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 in a while! 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. 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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Rebecca Bonar

Monday 17th of April 2023

Norine --

I want to make this cake for a friend's birthday lunch. I will need to make it the night before -- how should I store the finished cake? In the fridge?

Many thanks, Rebecca Bonar

[email protected]

Tuesday 18th of April 2023

Hi Rebecca! If you just need to store the cake over night and it isn't too warm in your home, you can leave it out covered in a cake saver. However, if it is warm in your home (over 85 degrees) you would need to store it in the refrigerator. Hope this helps. Your Friend is lucky to have you. Happy Birthday to them! Norine

J. Licata

Friday 4th of September 2020

I wanted to know for the frosting can you use a hand mixer?

[email protected]

Monday 14th of September 2020

Hi Jessi! Sorry for the delayed answer...I was out of town on vacation without internet. You can use a hand mixer for the frosting. I always, ALWAYS recommend that you whisk the powder sugar, or sift it, before adding it into any frosting recipe you may be making. It removes any clumps that won't break up when mixing. Now I'm craving this cake...just thinking about it. Hope you enjoyed this recipe. Have a great week and come back soon! Norine

Joy Tyson

Saturday 18th of July 2020

I'd like to make this cake for my son's birthday but using a 9 x 13 pan. Are the amounts for this batter enough for a 9 x 13 cake and should I adjust cooking time and temp?

[email protected]

Wednesday 22nd of July 2020

Hi Joy! Yes you can make this cake in a 9 x 13 pan and it will work perfectly. You shouldn't have to adjust ingredients. You may need to bake it a tad longer, but not much. Happy Birthday to your Son! Have fun baking! ~Norine


Tuesday 14th of July 2020

I plan to make this cake this weekend because it sounds so deliciously perfect! I have one question, though. I live at high altitude - 5,200 feet above sea level. Do I need to make any adjustments to this recipe, or will it be fine as is?

[email protected]

Wednesday 15th of July 2020

Hi Cheryl!

Great question! I live at 5,800 feet above sea level and make it just as written and it turns out perfect every time! This cake is by far my favorite "go to" chocolate craving cake! The center will look a little funny after baking, don't let that concern you. It's just how this cake bakes. It will rise nice and even...the center just looks different from the least it does for me...but it's 100% perfection with this chocolate buttercream frosting. The frosting is key! lol Enjoy and have a GREAT weekend! Hope this helps answer your question. Happy Baking! Norine


Wednesday 8th of July 2020

LOL I am no professional!! I made the cake and frosting and while the frosting came out correctly...the cake did not.

I’m not sure where I went wrong, but when I checked on the cakes the first time (at 20 minutes - I used three 5” round pans filled a little less than 1/2 way), they were rising nicely (still quicksand viscosity, so I put them back in for another 10 minutes.

When I checked on them the second time, the centers of all had depreciated and caved in *le poo*. They still weren’t completely ready yet, so I gave them another 5 minutes.

Round three appeared to show properly baked cakes (minus the sinkhole in each), so I pulled them out and let them cool for a bit. Then tipped them over to pop them out of their roundpens aaannnndddd....they did not come out clean *le boo*. They are mostly out, but it would appear around the edges it broke apart and the pans have some yummy cake, and the cakes are missing some cake bits.

Where did I go wrong? 😅

Alternates I used in recipe and baking:

-whole wheat flour -three 5” round cake baking pans filled about 1/2 way -2% milk -eggs were room temp

Any pointers or information for the future would be GREATLY appreciated!! Thank you.

(BTW, cake tastes great!)


Saturday 11th of July 2020

@[email protected], that’s great information to know about whole wheat flour!! Thank you!!

It wasn’t a huge flummox as my son is such a sweetheart and was just happy a cake was baked for him for his birthday lol

I will say the texture and consistency of using WW flour reminded me of cornbread. Basically I made chocolate cornbread.

As far as the frosting goes, well, it was more like “what frosting?” A wee bit made it on one of the 5” cakes that I dressed up for my 7 y/o, but after that? Pfft...I ate it straight :D currently I’m trying to convince myself I don’t “need” anymore. We shall see how long that lasts!!

Thank you for the tips, the feedback, and the recipes!! I’m certainly going to use the frosting one again....for me ;)

[email protected]

Wednesday 8th of July 2020

Hi Lauren! Thanks for the info. That really helps me when trying to help others with glitches in one of my recipes. Right out of the gate...what went wrong with the cake, and I'm thankful it still tasted good...Whole Wheat Flour. Whole wheat flour can be substituted in baking recipes...but you have to know, it's heavier than all-purpose flour and it is going to take longer too bake, as you learned, and it will change the texture of the cake. The change in texture is why the cake probably stuck to your pans. The general rule of thumb when using "whole wheat" flour is to substitute half of amount with whole wheat and keep the other half all-purpose. If you can do that, that would be my first suggestion. Also allow for a longer cooking time. The additional weight of the whole wheat could be why the cakes "caved in". The size of the cake pans, milk, and eggs at room temp, should not have had a huge impact on the outcome of this recipe. I always line my cake pans with parchment paper and spray them with a baking cooking spray to help them easily release. Again though, I think this was because of the wheat flour. I think with a few minor adjustments you can make this work without the hiccups.

I hope this helped in some small way. This is my very favorite chocolate cake recipe. When I want chocolate's this cake I'm craving. Thanks for stopping by and for trying this recipe. I hope you'll come back and visit often. Have a Great week and enjoy that cake! Happy Nesting! Norine

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