Moist Dark Chocolate Cake Recipe

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I love a good homemade cake and this dark chocolate cake recipe couldn’t be any easier to make. It’s moist and delicious and completely homemade and it’s super easy to make too.

If you love chocolate this is the chocolate cake recipe for you. And guess what? The recipe is on the back of the Hershey’s cocoa can. I had no idea of this recipe until a few years ago we were visiting my husband’s parents and she served the most delicious, moist chocolate cake and proceeded to tell me the recipe is on the back of the Hershey’s cocoa can. HA!!! How did I miss this all these years? Ever since that day I have been making a chocolate cake with that recipe every time!

You can either make a dark chocolate cake or a milk chocolate cake depending on what you like, or you could mix the dark and the milk chocolate cocoa for a nice half and half balance. The choice is yours. In our home it’s dark chocolate all the way and this cake is a family favorite because of it’s rich flavor and moist texture. It truly is delicious!

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dark chocolate cake slice on blue and white floral plate with raspberries on plate

Moist Dark Chocolate Cake Ingredients

  • sugar
  • all-purpose flour
  • unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • eggs
  • milk – you can also use buttermilk, almond milk, oat milk, or coconut milk
  • vegetable oil – you can use vegetable, canola or melted coconut oil
  • vanilla extract
  • boiling water

How to Make Ahead and Store

You can bake this cake ahead of time and store it for up to a month. Both the cake and the chocolate frosting can be made ahead without any issue. Bake the cake layers as you normally would and make the frosting. Once the cakes are completely cool wrap them in plastic wrap and then place each layer into its own gallon freezer bag. Place the frosting in its own plastic bag as well and freeze.

When you are ready to serve, remove the cake and frosting from the freezer and allow to thaw in the refrigerator while still wrapped. Once the cake and frosting are completely thawed you can frost the cake and serve.

dark chocolate cake slice on blue and white floral plate with raspberries on plate

Dark Chocolate Cake Variations

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Recipe

If you need a gluten-free chocolate cake you can use equal amounts of gluten-free flour in place of the all-purpose flour that is listed in the ingredients.

Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake Recipe

To make the cake a dairy-free chocolate cake recipe, I’ve used almond milk as well as coconut milk in place of the dairy. While not dairy-free, I’ve also used buttermilk in place of the milk with great results.

Egg-Free Chocolate Cake Recipe

Instead of using the 2 eggs you can substitute 2/3 cups unsweetened applesauce. With applesauce you might have to bake the cake a little longer than with eggs. Ensure to check your cake with a toothpick to make sure it is done.

dark chocolate cake slice on blue and white floral plate with raspberries on plate

Add Fruit to Your Cake

It’s nice to add some variety to your chocolate cake to give it something a little extra. Sometimes I will just make a chocolate cake as is; other times I like to add a little something extra.

Raspberry Jam in between the layers adds a nice acidic touch to all the sweet chocolate flavor and can break up some of the chocolate taste. I also like to add fresh raspberries to the top or strawberries. You can add anything you like such as a cream center

dark chocolate frosted cake on white cake plate sitting on counter

Cocoa Powder for Dark Chocolate Cake

What cocoa powder should you use for your dark chocolate cake? I use the Hershey’s cocoa powder and love it. While there are other brands I have not used them for this cake recipe; however, you should be able to use them with the same measurements as the Hershey’s. No matter what brand you use or prefer; make sure it is a good quality can of cocoa powder and not a knock-off. I use knock-off brands a lot but when it comes to certain items I try and use a quality brand ingredient; especially with chocolate cake.

What Cake Pan to Use?

You can make this cake as cupcakes, in a 9×13 cake pan, two 9-inch round pans or I even love to make it with 3-8inch round cake pans. Using the 3-8inch round pans gives me a taller cake and creates a stunning, dramatic dessert which I love. Try a bundt cake pan too for a little variety!

Everyone Needs a Dark Chocolate Cake Recipe

It always seems good to have a few good recipes in your arsenal for either baking or cooking. Something you know how to do and know it will turn out good every time you make it. Everyone needs a good chocolate cake recipe and this is it!

Yield: 8 servings

Moist Dark Chocolate Cake

dark chocolate cake on blue and white floral plate
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 - 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa
  • 1 - 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 - 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

"Especially Dark" Chocolate Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine (1 stick)
  • 2/3 cup HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


    • Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans or line 28 to 30 muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups.
    • Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans or fill cups about 2/3 full with batter.
    • Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans or 22 to 25 minutes for cupcakes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with "Especially Dark" Chocolate Frosting. 
    • Especially Dark" Chocolate Frosting: Melt butter, Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.

      Moist Dark Chocolate Cake Recipe

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