Cakes

Incredible Classic Chocolate Cake Recipe with Fudge Frosting

4.66 from 378 votes
Celebrate anytime with this decadent and moist Classic Chocolate Cake recipe topped with my favorite fudge frosting and vibrant homemade sprinkles.
Classic Chocolate Cake with sprinkles.

Hi Bold Bakers!

There will always be a place for this recipe in my heart, because for a very long time it was my go-to best chocolate cake recipe — which has now become my new and improved Best-Ever Chocolate Cake with Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache. The thing is, though… this classic chocolate cake recipe is still incredible, so I’m not going to get rid of it.

If this recipe has become your favorite over the years, nobody will blame you, and you can always find it here!

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 some of the best cake recipes.

What Kind Of Chocolate

Always use a good quality unsweetened cocoa powder to let chocolate flavor live up to its full potential! Dutch-processed cocoa powder is less acidic than other powders which will give you a more “chocolatey” flavor and a beautiful deep rich color.

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

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.

What You Need To Make Classic Chocolate Cake With Fudge Frosting

You do not need a mixer to make this cake, isn’t that incredible? It’s optional for the frosting, though!

  • 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

How To Make Classic 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. 

A slice of my Classic Chocolate Cake recipe, showing the inside layers and texture.

Gemma’s Pro Tips To Making Classic 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.

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.

The Fudge Frosting process, showing brown color and texture.

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!

Incredible Classic Chocolate Cake Recipe with Fudge Frosting

4.66 from 378 votes
Celebrate anytime with this decadent and moist 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 Chocolate Cake recipe topped with my favorite fudge frosting and vibrant homemade sprinkles.
Author: Gemma Stafford adapted from Ina Garten
Servings: 10

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

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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Elizabeth S
Elizabeth S
5 months ago

I have made this recipe for my family many times and they say its the best they’ve ever had! Thank you so much for sharing it Gemma!

Mahima Bhatia
Mahima Bhatia
6 months ago

Hi Gemma, can you please tell me how much this cake would weigh?

Femida
Femida
2 days ago

Hi
Can we use Dutch processed cocoa powder in this recipe?

Neha
Neha
3 days ago

Hi Gemma,
I need a huge favour from you..I have seen cake recipes using mayonnaise and stout beer..when using mayonnaise is it a must to add stout beer too..can I remove stout beer from recipe and use mayonnaise only.

Grace Schoenberg
5 days ago

do I have to use coffee or are there any substitutes, if so how much would I use?

Ziba
Ziba
8 days ago

Hi Gemma,
Can I use yogurt instead of butter milk?

Aisha
Aisha
9 days ago

I added some more flour family loved it
Today I’m going to decorate it
Thx Gemma

Aisha
Aisha
10 days ago

Why is my batter so liquid when I add my coffee

Amnah
Amnah
15 days ago

The cake was super delicious and moist i am just 11 but it was really easy to make I’ve also tried a lot of your other recipes they all turn out amazing I’ve also changed a few of your recipes like making the brownie mug cake in an air fryer it always turns out amazing thank you for always sharing easy quick and delicious recipies

Elizabeth L Audas
18 days ago

Hi Gemma..can this cake be baked in a single 10 inch square pan instead of round ones?

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!