Best chocolate cake recipe
These four pieces are all I could save to take a picture of. This cake never ever lasts.

Of all the things I make for people, this recipe is probably the single most requested.   I must admit, that I got the recipe from a web site, ingeniously titled “The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe.”  The recipe there is nearly perfect.  Yet I felt I had to make a few modifications from the original to make it the cake I wanted. I wanted my chocolate cake to taste like the sheet cakes we get from various party stores.  They were so moist, but with a distinct crumb that made you insane with chocolate cake happiness.  So many of the other recipes I tried were dry; too chocolatey; too fudgy; too wet.

Cake Ingredients

  • 2 Cups flour
  • 2 Cups Sugar  (I always use a very, very heavy  cup).
  • 1/2 Cup Hershey’s Cocoa, 1/4 cup Hershey’s Dark Cocoa
  • 2 Teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Prepare a 9×13 pan by spraying with PAM and laying in parchment paper.  I find this invaluable to getting the cake at the end, because I simply flip it so I can frost the flat side.

At Best Chocolate Cake, the recipe says “put everything into the bowl and mix.”   Years of baking experiments have taught me you mix the dry ingredients separate from the wet ingredients.

So, I start with the sugar, oil and mix.  Then, add the eggs one a time and mix till everything is satiny and creamy.   Add the buttermilk and continue to mix.

Mix the dry ingredients separately and after stopping the mixer, add them all (including the chips).   Mix until just barely combined; DO NOT OVERMIX.  Overmixing will ruin a cake (or muffin, or anything).

Add the boiling water (I do this by boiling water in a pot, then quickly adding it to the measuring cup and into the bowl).  Mix briefly, pour into baking pan.   Then, I mix in the vanilla.  I know that sounds crazy.  But it works so like a superstitious baseball player, I just keep doing it the same way.

Bake at 300 F for about one hour.  I have found that this can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, such as how hot your oven runs; how dry you like your cake; how thin your baking pan is.   You can test it, but the cake has a high ‘deflating’ factor, meaning when you test the middle of the cake, you cause an unappealing sinkhole to appear.   Of course, this is mostly solved by frosting the other side, but basically leave it alone for 1 hour no matter what.

Take it out; let it sit until it cools, about 30 minutes.   Flip out and frost using your favorite recipe or my adapted version of King Arthur Flour’s quick buttercream frosting.  The only difference is I add salt and double the vanilla.  Yum.