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!

I’m sharing this recipe over on a few of my favorite link parties. Click on the links below to join the fun. 

Have a GREAT day!

Norines Photo and signature

Yield: 10-12 servings

The Best Dark Chocolate Cake

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: 944 Total Fat: 32g Saturated Fat: 14g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 15g Cholesterol: 66mg Sodium: 525mg Carbohydrates: 162g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 139g Protein: 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.






  1. Katie | 18th Jun 18

    This looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it!

    • | 19th Jun 18

      Hi Katie!
      You will love this cake! It’s so rich your eyes will roll back in your head! The perfect treat for a Mommy of three. Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting with me. Have a Great Week.
      Happy Nesting!

  2. Mary | 23rd Jun 18

    I looked and looked and couldn’t find powdered sugar in ingredient list. there is a lot of cocoa but no sugar How much do you use? Thanks

    • | 23rd Jun 18

      Hi Mary!
      First a GREAT big THANK YOU for bringing this to my attention! I need to hire you as my “proof reader”! Yikes! Kind of an important ingredient. Gaaahhhh! It’s 5 1/2 cups of powder sugar. I’ve gone in and added that to the printable recipe. I feel just awful that I missed that when typing this recipe up. It truly is the BEST chocolate butter cream I’ve ever had in my life. I think you’ll love how rich and creamy it is.
      Enjoy and Thank you again for taking the time to visit with me and point out this blunder! (banging my head against the wall….lol)
      Have a GREAT weekend!

  3. Katrina | 23rd Jun 18

    It looks fantastic. Have you tried making as cupcakes, and if so what was the baking times?

    • | 23rd Jun 18

      Hi Katrina!
      I have not tried making them as cupcakes, but feel confident that you could. I would do the baking time around 15-20 minutes. Check them at 15. Don’t let the “wet” batter fool you and over fill the cupcake liners. Fill about 2/3 the way full and you should be fine.
      Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Let me know how they turn out. Cupcakes are next on my list with this recipe.
      Happy Nesting!

  4. Joanne @ No Plate Like Home | 24th Jun 18

    I use a cup of coffee to make my chocolate cake too. It does bring out the chocolate flavor like you say. Oh how much I love chocolate cake! I’d marry one if I could!! Shhh don’t tell my husband.

    • | 27th Jun 18

      Hi Joanne!
      Isn’t coffee in chocolate cake the BEST! I absolutely love how it enhances that chocolate flavor….course Dr. Pepper does the same thing when eating chocolate…not saying I’ve done massive research on this…but….lol. Your secret is safe with me regarding the wedding plans. lol Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you have a wonderful week.
      Happy Nesting!

  5. Donna B Oliphint | 15th Jul 18

    This cake looks fabulous, and my husband LOVES a good chocolate cake. So this is definitely my next cake. By the way, I just made a wedding cake to feed 250+ people and learned a lot from several blogs. One of the best was how to make my own pan coating (1 cup flour, 1 cup Crisco and 1 cup cooking oil mixed together until smooth. No need to refrigerate.) All 16 layers, 6″-14″, slid out of the pans without the slightest problem. I did use parchment paper for the most of the layers. Before, I had used Baker’s Joy, but never again.

    • | 16th Jul 18

      Hi Donna!
      I love your tip! Thank you so much for sharing with all of us. I can’t wait to try it. Also, if your husband loves chocolate cake he will love this one. It’s a great chocolate cake and that buttercream is what dreams are made of!
      Thanks for stopping by!
      Happy Nesting and I hope you have a great week!

  6. Diann Athey | 31st Jul 18

    Hi Donna, I really prefer to make my cakes in a glass casserole dish. Would this recipe work in that. Or perhaps two smaller sizes. Just hubby and me so I might need to freeze one. Suggestions for these changes? I’ll make the frosting too, but will cut the mix in half. Or I could make all of it and maybe just finish off the extra with a spoon ; ). Love your web site and recipes, it feels like home to another ole East Texas gal. Dee

    • | 31st Jul 18

      Hi Donna!
      Thank you for your sweet compliment. Yes you could make this cake in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish or two 8 inch square glass baking dishes. I’d highly recommend finishing off the frosting with a spoon! I like how you think. lol There really aren’t any changes that you need to make other than the oven temp and time. I’d lower the temp by 25 degrees as glass heats up hotter than the tin and holds the heat longer. Watch the time. You will love this rich chocolate cake.
      Happy Nesting…Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Diann Athey | 31st Jul 18

    OOPS, I meant Hi, Norine….. Sorry about that, wasn’t paying attention.

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  9. Bea | 27th Jan 19

    Love your recipe! Just for you I’m going to try adding the coffee again. I can’t stand the taste of coffee. So far I’ve been able to taste it & hate daughter loves coffee and says the same she can taste it? Weird huh??

    • | 29th Jan 19

      Hi Bea!
      I’m wondering if it is because I use “decaf” coffee in my recipes? I’m not a coffee drinker and I just have the little decaf packets on hand for chocolate cakes! lol I don’t think its weird that you can taste it…I think it’s weird that I can’t! lol Now I’m concerned my taste buds are off…along with everything else that’s going with age. lol
      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing with me. Let me know how you like the cake with the coffee.
      Happy Nesting!

  10. Brandon | 1st Mar 19

    So for the life of me I can not figure out if I just need powdered sugar AND confectioners sugar or just powdered sugar or just confectioners sugar?? Can you please clarify? Thank you!

    • | 1st Mar 19

      Hi Brandon!
      I’m so sorry I have confused you. Just so you know…powdered sugar and confectioner’s sugar are the same thing. Confectioner’s sugar is a term that is used to describe powdered sugar. I should have only used one term and not both. I can see how this would be really confusing. I am so sorry for the mix up. Hope this helps you out.
      Thanks for stopping by!
      Happy Nesting!

  11. World's Best Vanilla Cake Recipe | Norine's Nest | 10th May 19

    […] Ultimate Dark Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Buttercream Frosting […]

  12. Rshdz | 16th Aug 19

    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

    • | 16th Aug 19

      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!

  13. Donna Oliphint | 20th Jan 20

    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.

    • | 20th Jan 20

      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!

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