This moist chocolate cake is inspired by Matilda's chocolate cake. It is a super moist and fudgy chocolate cake filled with silky chocolate frosting. It is super soft and has a rich chocolate flavor.
This moist chocolate cake celebrates chocolate cake as the dessert against which all other desserts are measured. It is a classic dessert, and this cake is so soft and moist it will be your new go-to recipe. You will never go back to cake mixes after you see how great this cake tastes. It is the BEST chocolate cake recipe.
Why This Classic Chocolate Cake Recipe Works
- Soft texture- The mark of an exceptional chocolate cake is the soft and moist texture. I tested this moist chocolate cake recipe to make sure it has the most tender and soft texture possible!
- Rich chocolate flavor- This chocolate cake has a chocolate flavour that will leave you drooling for more. It is a rich chocolate cake that proves why chocolate cake is the best cake.
- Easy recipe- This easy moist chocolate cake recipe is simple to make and broken down into simple steps to make you baking job as easy as possible.
Ingredient Notes for Homemade Chocolate Cake
Here are some notes on the ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.
- Unsalted butter- Pull this out 2 hours before baking.
- Oil- Use canola oil, vegetable oil, or olive oil.
- Sour cream- Pull this out 2 hours before baking.
- Eggs- Pull the large eggs out 2 hours before baking to get to room temperature.
- Buttermilk- Use full fat or reduced fat buttermilk. Pull this out 2 hours before baking.
- Powdered sugar- Make sure this is sifted to avoid gritty frosting.
- Brown sugar- I used light brown sugar, but dark will work.
- Chocolate chips- Use semi-sweet chocolate chips. Dark chocolate can work if preferred, but milk chocolate chips will be too sweet.
- Dairy free- You can use your favorite dairy free options for this recipe!
- Gluten free- I haven't tested this gluten free. Let me know if you do.
- Buttermilk- You can also do 1 cup of milk with 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Let it sit for 10 minutes before using.
Step By Step Instructions - Chocolate Cake
Here is how to make and bake the chocolate cake layers for this moist chocolate cake.
STEP 1: Prep. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, spray three 8-inch cake pans with baking spray. Then, line the bottoms with parchment paper circles and spray again.
STEP 2: Dry ingredients. Sift the all purpose flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.
STEP 3: Wet ingredients. Use a separate bowl to mix the oil, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, vinegar, sour cream, and buttermilk together using a whisk. Slowly add the hot water while still mixing with the whisk.
STEP 4: Combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Whisk them until there are no lumps.
STEP 5: Pour batter. Pour the batter evenly into the three cake pans.
STEP 6: Bake. Bake the cakes for 22-25 minutes. They are done when a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
STEP 7: Cool. Let the cakes cool in the hot pans for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Step By Step Instructions - Chocolate Frosting
Here is how to make the chocolate frosting for the moist chocolate cake.
STEP 1: Dry ingredients. Sift the powdered sugar and cocoa powder together in a medium bowl.
STEP 2: Melt chocolate. Add the chocolate chips to a heat-safe bowl. Microwave them for 20 second intervals mixing well between until it is melted.
STEP 3: Beat butter. Use a mixer to beat the butter on high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl using a rubber spatula and beat for 1 more minute.
STEP 4: Add powdered sugar. Add half of the sifted powdered sugar and mix it in on low speed until combined. Then, add the remaining half and mix it in, too.
STEP 5: Wet ingredients. Add the corn syrup, vanilla extract, salt, and melted chocolate chips. Mix them on high speed until smooth.
Assembling the Cake
Here is how to assemble and decorate the moist chocolate cake.
STEP 1: Place first layer. Place the first layer flat side down on your work area.
STEP 2: Frost layer. Spread ¾ths cup of frosting over the cake layer.
STEP 3: Second layer. Place the second layer flat side down on top of the cake.
STEP 3: Frost layer. Spread ¾ths cup of frosting over the cake layer.
STEP 4: Top layer. Place the final layer of cake flat side up on top of the cake.
STEP 5: Crumb coat. Frost the cake with a light layer of frosting. Place the cake in the freezer to set this frosting and lock in the crumbs.
STEP 6: Frost entire cake. Frost the cake. I used all of the frosting. I decorated by creating swirls in the frosting using an offset spatula.
Expert Baking Tips
- Properly measure the flour- Make sure the flour is spooned and leveled. If you stick the measuring cup directly into the flour, it will compact the flour. Compacted flour can cause the cake to be dry.
- To easily remove the cake from the pan, make sure to first spray the pan with baking nonstick spray. Then, line bottom with parchment paper and spray it again to make sure that the paper does not stick to the bottom of the cake too much. If you miss any spots with the spray they can stick and tear the cake so be thorough.
- For high altitudes add 2 tablespoon of flour to the cake batter.
Yes you can make the cake ahead of time! Once the cake layers are done cooling, wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Then, freeze up to 30 days. Pull them out 1 hour before decorating.
Yes you can. You can use a 9 inch cake pans, but it will be thinner. You can also use 6 inch cake pans for thicker layers.
Cake has a more moist texture when it includes more fats. Just adding more liquids will ruin the texture, so instead you need to add ingredients that soften the gluten and add fats.
Added cornstarch helps soften the gluten. The vinegar also helps soften the gluten, just like in red velvet cake. The added fats from the sour cream and oil combined help to soften the cake as well.
- Chocolate cream cheese frosting- If you prefer a chocolate cream cheese frosting then use the frosting from this s'mores cake recipe.
- Chocolate ganache frosting- For a chocolate ganache frosting option, see this chocolate ganache cake recipe.
- Moist chocolate cupcakes- To make cupcakes with this recipe, create the full batch of batter for 24 cupcakes or halve it for 12 cupcakes.
- Cake pans: I use Wilton 8-inch cake pans.
- Parchment paper circles: I used 8-inch parchment paper circles for the bottom of the pan. I love to use the premade circles, so I don't have to cut it out of regular parchment paper.
- Baking spray: I use the nonstick spray that has flour in it.
- Offset spatula: I use this to easily spread the frosting or fillings.
- Cake turntable: I use this nice Ateco cast iron turntable because it is high quality and it spins seamlessly. Some other turntables are a little jerky when they turn.
- Cake scraper: I use a metal scraper to get smooth cakes.
- Piping bags: I like these 18- inch piping bags since they hold more.
- Piping tip: I love this Wilton 1M to pipe frosting.
Storing and Freezing
Store this moist chocolate cake in an airtight container like a cake carrier. Store in the fridge up to 5 days.
You can freeze the moist chocolate cake in individual slices. Place the cake slices in an airtight container and freeze up to 30 days.
Other Cake Recipes To Try
Try these cake recipes too!
- Gingerbread Cake
- Banana Snack Cake
- Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake
- Key Lime Pie Cake
- Strawberry Shortcake
Moist Chocolate Cake
- 2 cups All-purpose flour
- ¼ cup Cornstarch
- 1 cup Unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoon Baking powder
- 1 teaspoon Baking soda
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 cup Oil canola or vegetable oil
- 1 cup White granulated sugar
- ¾ cup Brown sugar packed light or dark
- 4 Large eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon White vinegar
- 1 cup Buttermilk room temperature
- ½ cup Sour cream or greek yogurt. room temperature
- 1 cup Hot water
- 2 cups Unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 ½ cups Powdered sugar sifted
- ¾ cup Unsweetened cocoa powder sifted
- 3 tablespoon Light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- 2 cups Semi-sweet chocolate chips melted
- Preheat the oven to 350℉. Line three 8-inch cake pan with baking nonstick spray. Line the bottoms with parchment paper circles. Spray again.
- In a large bowl, sift the flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.2 cups All-purpose flour, ¼ cup Cornstarch, 1 cup Unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 teaspoon Baking powder, 1 teaspoon Baking soda, 1 teaspoon Salt
- In a separate bowl, mix the oil, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, vinegar, sour cream, and buttermilk. Use a whisk to mix it. Slowly whisk in the hot water.1 cup Oil, 1 cup White granulated sugar, ¾ cup Brown sugar, 4 Large eggs, 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon White vinegar, 1 cup Buttermilk, 1 cup Hot water, ½ cup Sour cream
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Whisk until smooth and no flour lumps.
- Pour the cake batter evenly into the three cake pans. Bake for 22-25 minutes. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Let the cakes sit in the hot pans for 10 minutes before transferring to cooling racks. Cool completely before decorating.
- In a medium bowl, sift the powdered sugar and cocoa powder together. In a small bowl, add the chocolate chips and heat in the microwave for 20 second intervals. Mix well in between. Heat and mix until melted.1 ½ cups Powdered sugar, ¾ cup Unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 cups Semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Using a mixer, beat the butter on high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl using a rubber spatula. Beat for another minute.2 cups Unsalted butter
- Add in half of the powdered sugar on low speed until combined. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and mix.
- Add in the corn syrup, vanilla, salt, and melted chocolate chips. Mix on high speed until smooth.3 tablespoon Light corn syrup, 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon Salt
- Place the first cake layer down. Spread ¾ths cup of frosting over the cake. Top with the second cake layer and spread another ¾ths cup of frosting.
- Place the last layer of cake upside down (the bottom of the cake facing up). Spread a light layer of frosting over the cake. Freeze for 15 minutes to lock in the crumbs.
- Frost the rest of the cake. I used all of the frosting. I used an offset icing spatula to create the swirls in the frosting.