Cakes

Incredible Classic Chocolate Cake Recipe with Fudge Frosting

4.68 from 399 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.

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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

4.68 from 399 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 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
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
3 years 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
3 years ago

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

Emme
Emme
7 months ago

Hi Gemma! Is this icing pipe-able?

Mia
Mia
7 months ago

I’m excited to make this cake, but how can I make sure the eggs won’t curdle when I add the hot coffee?

Rhyanna
Rhyanna
7 months ago

everyone enjoys this cake so much when I bake it, but now that my dad has been diagnosed as coeliac, I can no longer use this recipe. could you recommend how I can change this recipe to gluten-free or am I better suited to use a gluten-free recipe.

Yusra
Yusra
8 months ago

Hi can I decrease the amount of sugar in the butter cream?

Sanskriti
Sanskriti
9 months ago

My cake after baking has a dense rubbery layer at the bottom, I tried the recipe many times but everytime I get a dense line at the bottom(I used egg substitute chart for the recipe) can you suggest what could be wrong?
I haven’t even overmixed the batter I don’t know what could be wrong.

Sara H.
Sara H.
9 months ago

I love this recipe! It’s so delicious! I always make this wonderful cake with success. I have a question also. Today I’d like to make this recipe again but I’m out of buttermilk so I would like to make the buttermilk from scratch. I have many limes and wondered if I could use a lime instead of the lemon in the buttermilk. Thank you.

Shreemoyee Mandal
Shreemoyee Mandal
11 months ago

Hello Gemma, I am new to baking so can I just divide the recipe into half and bake it in a single cake pan?

Praneetha
Praneetha
11 months ago

Hey Gemma. I am an aspiring Baker. I loved this recipe. Is it ok if I skipped the eggs cuz I am a vegetarian?

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About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

Weeknight Family Favorites Chapter from the Bigger Bolder Baking Every Day Cookbook