Homemade Chocolate Cake

Prep Time: 1 hr / Total Time: 3 hr

homemade chocolate cake

This homemade chocolate cake recipe is perfect for any occasion. 

homemade chocolate cake

Classic Homemade Chocolate Cake

If you are a chocolate lover, then this homemade chocolate cake recipe is definitely the one for you! This chocolate cake is so soft and moist. It is layered with a creamy whipped chocolate ganache filling and covered in a smooth, rich chocolate buttercream frosting. I am constantly getting requests for this cake from friends and family, and it’s an absolute favorite for parties and get-togethers of all kinds.

Tips for the Perfect Chocolate Cake

  • Use cake flour. Cake flour is lighter and softer than all-purpose flour and contains less protein. This helps keep your cake light and soft instead of dense and chewy.
  • Sift the dry ingredients. This recipe calls for the flour, baking soda, and salt to be sifted together. This is an important step because it helps give the cake a light and fluffy texture. It also ensures these ingredients are evenly incorporated throughout the batter.
  • Use room temperature ingredients. This recipe specifies that some ingredients should be at room temperature. This is important because the temperature of these ingredients plays a large role in developing proper structure in your cake.
homemade chocolate cake

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The Toothpick Test: How to Check if Your Cake is Done

Make sure you complete this test without removing your cake from the oven. Slightly pull out the oven rack if needed to safely reach your cake. Insert a toothpick near the center of the cake and then pull it out immediately. If the toothpick comes out “clean” then your cake is done and ready to be removed from the oven. The toothpick is still considered clean, even if there are crumbs on it when it comes out. If the toothpick comes out covered in liquid batter, then your cake is not done and needs to continue baking.

Homemade Chocolate Cake: FAQ's

Can I use a different size cake pan?

Yes, you can use a different size cake pan for this recipe. Keep in mind that if you use larger pans, the cake may be thinner because it will not fill the pan as full. If you use smaller pans, the cake may be thicker. Baking time may vary as well if a different sized pan is used.

Can I use all-purpose flour instead of cake flour?

Yes, you can substitute cake flour with a combination of all-purpose flour and cornstarch. However, the texture of the cake may vary. For every cup of cake flour called for in a recipe, measure out 1 cup of all-purpose flour and remove 2 tbsp of all-purpose flour per cup. Replace the 2 tbsp of flour with 2 tbsp of cornstarch per cup of flour.

Do I have to use ganache to fill my cakes?

No. The ganache adds another layer of flavor and texture to your cake but you can easily substitute the whipped chocolate ganache for additional chocolate buttercream frosting.

homemade chocolate cake

Cake Baking Items We love

Homemade Chocolate Cake

Prep Time: 1 hr  / Cook Time: 25 min

/ Total Time: 3 hr

homemade chocolate cake

This homemade chocolate cake recipe is perfect for any occasion. 

homemade chocolate cake

What You’ll Need

FOR THE CAKE

  • 2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup lukewarm water
  • ½ cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed

FOR THE GANACHE

  • 8 ounces of milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream

FOR THE FROSTING

  • 2 cups (4 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • ¼ cup evaporated milk

INSTRUCTIONS

FOR THE CAKE

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. 
  2. Place the cocoa in a medium mixing bowl. Add the 1/2 cup lukewarm water, and whisk to combine; set aside to cool. In a large liquid measuring cup, add the buttermilk, the 1/2 cup water, and the vanilla. Beat together the eggs in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter on medium speed using a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until the butter is smooth and light in color (2-3 minutes). Reduce to low speed and add the granulated and brown sugars. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. The mixture will appear sandy. Increase to medium speed, cream until the mixture is light in color and fluffy in texture (about 4 to 5 minutes). With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs slowly and add the sour cream. Continue to cream, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, until the mixture is smooth and velvety. Add in the cocoa mixture and mix just until combined.
  4. Using a spoon or spatula, stir in one-fourth of the flour mixture, followed by one-third of the buttermilk mixture. Repeat these steps, alternating dry and liquid. Mix until fully incorporated.
  5. Divide the batter evenly into the pans. Bake for 25-27 minutes on the lower oven rack. Check with a toothpick to ensure the cake is done. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes. Transfer the cakes from the pans to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

FOR THE GANACHE

  1. Place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan or in the microwave, heat the cream just until it begins to boil, remove from heat. Pour the heated cream over the chocolate. Let stand for 2-3 minutes. Whisk until the chocolate fully melts and the consistency is smooth. 
  2. Let the ganache continue to cool in the refrigerator for 30-40 minutes, whisking thoroughly every 10 minutes. Once it reaches a soft, solid consistency, whip the ganache on high speed using a hand or stand mixer until it is lighter in texture and color and has doubled in volume.
  3. When assembling your cake, spread the ganache filling evenly between the two layers of chocolate cake.

FOR THE FROSTING

  1. In a medium bowl, cream the butter for 3-4 minutes using a hand or stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Add the cocoa and powdered sugar, mixing between the addition of each cup, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the evaporated milk and beat with mixer until smooth.
  2. When assembling your cake, spread a generous amount of frosting on the top and sides of your cake until completely covered.

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