Cakes, Gemma's Best Recipes

Best-Ever Chocolate Cake with Fudge Frosting

4.71 from 417 votes
Celebrate anytime with this decadent and moist Best-Ever Chocolate Cake recipe topped with my favorite fudge frosting and vibrant homemade sprinkles.
Best-Ever Chocolate Cake, frosted with fudge frosting, topped with colorful sprinkles.

Hi Bold Bakers!

Everyone needs a go-to favorite cake recipe that never fails to blow away friends and family. That doesn’t mean you need to spend hours and hours perfecting some five-tiered art piece that would be on a baking competition show. For me, it means my master recipes: Best-Ever Vanilla Cake, Best-Ever Carrot Cake, and the Best-Ever Chocolate Cake with Fudge Frosting.

What I love about this chocolate cake recipe is that it does not need a mixer and is very fast to whip up all in one bowl. This chocolate cake is also known as Devil’s Food Cake, Black Magic Cake, and Death by Chocolate. Once you make it, you’ll see why its earned its namesake.

Plus, when you think of happiness (in the form of a baked good) doesn’t a perfectly frosted chocolate cake pop into your head? This homemade chocolate cake, adapted from the great Ina Garten, is incredibly moist thanks to the inclusion of buttermilk and oil — two ingredients that are always in my favorite cake recipes. 

Adding Buttermilk To Cakes

I really don’t think you should skimp on buttermilk when it comes to cake recipes! But if you don’t happen to have any in your fridge, you can of course always make it with my Homemade Buttermilk recipe. 

Beyond just giving your cake a little extra tang of flavor, the acid in the buttermilk actually helps make your cake so soft by tenderizing the gluten. 

Top-down view of my Best-Ever Chocolate Cake recipe, showing sprinkles, fudge frosting, and texture.

What Kind Of Chocolate

When you’re making something that I feel fully confident in calling the “best-ever” chocolate cake, you will need a good quality unsweetened cocoa powder to let it live up to its full potential! 

If you’re looking for a super fudgy cake, then go with dutch-processed cocoa powder.  Dutch-processed cocoa powder is less acidic than other powders which will give you a more “chocolatey” flavor and a beautiful deep rich color.

Using Coffee In Chocolate Cake

Don’t worry! This cake will not taste like coffee, despite the cup of freshly brewed hot coffee that the recipe calls for. 

Do you know how certain flavors bring out others? Like when you pair sweet caramel with sea salt — the salt somehow makes the caramel taste even more… caramel. 

Bitter coffee actually makes a person’s tastebuds more sensitive to sweetness! If you don’t have fresh coffee on hand, you can always use instant coffee or espresso powder. You can even use decaffeinated coffee! 

What You Need To Make Chocolate Cake With Fudge Frosting

You’ll only need a few tools from your kitchen cabinets on your journey to an incredible chocolate cake.

  • Three 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans
  • Mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Sifter
  • Knife or offset spatula
  • Optional: A hand mixer for the frosting

A slice of the Best Chocolate Cake recipe, showing the inside layers and texture

How To Make Chocolate Cake With Fudge Frosting

If you want to know how simple it is to make a chocolate cake, then look no further. Here are the basic steps on how to make your own (and don’t forget to get the full recipe with measurements, on the page down below):

  1. In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk the ingredients together by hand.
  2. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, vanilla, and coffee. 
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and gently mix the batter. 
  4. Pour the batter into three buttered and lined 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans.
  5. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for 30 to 35 minutes, but check to make sure you’re not overcooking after 25 minutes.
  6. Let the pans cool for 30 minutes, then turn them onto a cooling rack, allowing them to cool completely.

While you’re waiting for your cake to cool, prepare the fudge frosting! Here’s how:

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat room temperature butter until lightly fluffy. Add sifted powder sugar 1 spoon at a time and mix well. 
  2. Add vanilla, cocoa, and milk. Scrape the sides of the bowl down as you go.
  3. Turn mixer on medium-high and beat until the frosting is fluffy and of spreading consistency. 

Gemma’s Pro Tips To Making Chocolate Cake

  • DON’T overbeat your batter! Overbeating your batter will result in a tough cake.
  • Make sure you check on your cakes after 25 minutes of baking to avoid overcooking. 
  • Make sure the cake cools completely before frosting, otherwise you’ll have a melty frosting mess.
  • Top your cake off with my easy Homemade Sprinkles
  • If you do not want to use eggs in this cake you’re in luck! The eggs can be replaced with a flax egg. The cake might not be quite as rich but will still be lovely and have great texture.

The Fudge Frosting process, showing brown color and texture.

How To Store Chocolate Cake

This cake will stay fresh for 3-4 days at room temperature if it is covered tightly with cling wrap. If you are making the cake ahead of time, an unfrosted cake can be frozen for up to 3 weeks. To thaw, sit the cake at room temperature until it is defrosted and soft, then frost and decorate! 

The fudge frosting can be used immediately or stored in a refrigerator for 3 days. The frosting can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Allow the frosting to come to room temperature before using it.

Get more of my Best Cake Recipes:

And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook!

Full (and printable) recipe below the video!

Watch The Recipe Video!

Best-Ever Chocolate Cake Recipe

4.71 from 417 votes
Celebrate anytime with this decadent and moist best-ever chocolate cake recipe topped with my favorite fudge frosting and vibrant homemade sprinkles.
Author: Gemma Stafford adapted from Ina Garten
Servings: 10
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Celebrate anytime with this decadent and moist best-ever chocolate cake recipe topped with my favorite fudge frosting and vibrant homemade sprinkles.
Author: Gemma Stafford adapted from Ina Garten
Servings: 10


  • 1 3/4 cups (250g/9oz) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (400g/14oz) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (2oz/75g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (240ml/8floz) buttermilk*
  • 1/2 cup (120g/4oz) vegetable oil, or any flavorless oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240ml/8floz) freshly brewed hot coffee

Chocolate Fudge Frosting Recipe

  • 1 cup (240g/8oz) butter, at room temperature
  • 6 cups (1lb 8oz/675g ) powdered sugar, SIFTED
  • 1 1/3 cup (120g/4oz) cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup (51/2floz/165ml) whole milk


Making The Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter and line 3 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. You can use 2 times, I just wanted 3 layers in mine.
  • Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk the ingredients together by hand.
  • In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, vanilla, and coffee
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and GENTLY mix the batter just to combine. Do not over mix or beat as this cake can toughen up.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
  • Note: this cake cooks fast so check if after 25 minutes. You don’t want to overcook it.
  • Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Making the Fudge Frosting:

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat room temperature butter until lightly fluffy. Add the sifted powdered sugar 1 spoon at a time and mix well. It will get light in color and bigger
  • Add vanilla and cocoa, and the milk, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you work.
  • Turn mixer on medium high. Beat frosting until light, fluffy and of spreading consistency.
  • If the frosting is too thick, slowly add more milk or half & half, one tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • You can use the frosting immediately, or store it in the refrigerator for 3 days, or freeze it for up to 3 months. Allow frosting to come to room temperature before using.

To Decorate:

  • Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal.
  • Create a crumb layer: With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on the top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.
  • Put the cake in the fridge and let the crumb layer set for around 30 minutes (this will make the finished product look really clean)
  • Take the cake from the fridge and put on another, final layer of frosting. Try and get it as smooth as you can.
  • To finish the top of your cake, take a spoon that has been dipped in hot water and dried. Work from the outside in and create a swirl until you get to the center.
  • Finish your cake off with your homemade sprinkles.
  • Store at room temperature or in the fridge for up to 4 days. If storing in the fridge make sure it reaches room temperature before eating.

Recipe Notes

*You can make a replacement for buttermilk by mixing 1 cup of milk with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. let it sit for 30 minutes at room temperature, then use.

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Comments & Reviews


newest oldest most useful
2 months ago

I’ve been using this recipe for years now for not only chocolate cake, but also muffins, cupcakes, and sheet cakes, and it always turns out lovely! Now, as far as I can tell there’s no calorie information, neither in the original recipe nor in the comments, so I’ve decided to calculate it myself. Please note that this will probably not be 100% accurate due to the fact that i don’t know exactly what brand of vegetable oil/milk/etc. you use. I have used the calorie information for flour, sugar, etc. from google. Also, I have used rounded numbers. For just the… Read more »

Samia Farhana
Samia Farhana
1 year ago

Hi Gemma! I just want to thank you for your no fail amazing recipes! The other day I made the Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake for my family and my brother said it was my best cake ever and yesterday i made this best ever chocolate cake with fudge frosting for ky best friends and it turned out flawless! It not only tasted good but also looked amazing ???? after tasting it my friends said that i should take baking as my occupation instead of my favorite hobby haha! To be this was my best cake ever especially the frosting was… Read more »

1 year ago

Hi Gemma, tried this recipe for the first time and it turned out brilliant- a friend of mine has requested I make this cake for her 1 yr olds birthday party and requested that I reduce the sugar some how- can you suggest some ways I can do that without messing the recipe- I was thinking of reducing the sugar in the icing.. thanks again for all the great recipes!

Sayuri Naidu
1 year ago

Hello Gemma. Thank you so much for this recipe it was unbelievably good. I really enjoy your videos as you exude such warmth and kindness:)

2 months ago

Hi Gemma, I wanted to ask you something. Here in India you get instant whipping cream in which there is whipping powder and you have to add chilled water to it and blend and the whipped cream is ready, however that is white in colour. Its from Blue Bird brand just incase if you want to look it up on Google before answering my question. Now I already brought that packet but i was wondering that if i could add cocoa powder to it before whipping and would that turn into chocolate whipped cream. Please do reply soon! Thanks alot… Read more »

1 year ago

Hi Gemma,
This cake looks so yummy! I have a wee question for you . I planned to bake this cake in 2 × 8″ pans. They are just over 3″ deep. Is it still gonna rise well? Or should I put the whole lot in one pan just?
Thank you x

1 year ago

Hi Gemma,
Can I bake this cake in a microwave?

1 year ago

I’ve made this 3 times already. Next time I plan to make a peanut butter frosting for it!

1 year ago

Hello. I want to bake cupcakes.. How long shod I bake them?

Naiyana Ali
Naiyana Ali
1 month ago

Hi Gemma, Thank you so so much for sharing your great recipes!
I’ve tried making no yeast donuts, brownies, chocolate chips cookies 🍪, cinnamon rolls, and your best ever chocolate cake. Everything turned out to be a big success!! Thank you again. 😊😍
However, I have a question on this cake frosting: the recipe mentioned 1 cup melted butter & 6 cups icing sugar. I couldn’t use even 4 cups as my hand beater was getting stucked!,,
Please guide me on how to this frosting. Thanx.

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere! No matter your skills, I have you covered. Sign up for my FREE weekly emails and join millions of other Bold Bakers in the community for new recipes, baking techniques, and more every week!

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