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The Best Chocolate Cake

Our very favorite chocolate cake recipe — it truly is “the best chocolate cake”.

Chocolate cake

The Best Chocolate Cake

Chocolate cake, chocolate cake, how do I love thee?; you are the very fairest of cakes, the truest and bluest and luscious-est of cakes, a cake I covet, a cake I will always choose if there is a choice of cake, a cake that is never a dark horse, a cake that walks by itself through the dark alleys of cakes advertising whimsy and panache and something different maybe with bananas and raspberries and a boozy creme filling — no! I will always, always come back to thee, o best beloved chocolate cake, especially if you boast a good, comforting, delicious sturdy heft and not a hint of dry crumbles and are piled, please and forever, with a fluffy whipped chocolate butter cream.

My particular favorite chocolate cake, continuing in the theme of favorite recipes I don’t care to mess around with is my forevermore go-to. Back in the days before children — the days when I could pop off to a yoga class after work on a Thursday, go for a two-hour run on a Sunday, waste hours in the library, read the paper in bed with a cup of coffee on the weekends, actually have a conversation with my husband: those days when I was busy but my time was my own — I experimented with different variations of the same recipe and on this site you will, in fact, find at least several very good chocolate cake recipes.

I used to be partial to Alice Waters’ chocolate cake from “The Art of Simple Cooking” but I think it called for a mixer and these days I try to keep it as simple as possible. I also don’t fool around much with variations nowadays; when I hit on a good recipe I keep it and repeat it and don’t think about it.

This one comes by way of Sarah Keiffer’s Vanilla Bean Blog and it’s a winner. I tweaked the original recipe a bit, incorporating olive oil, whole wheat flour, and Greek yogurt. It’s so good so good! I put the batter in a tube pan, make a very chocolatey, velvety buttercream with which to frost it, and it’s easy peasy. This is in my every two-week baking rotation or so and it also pops up when I make birthday cakes or cakes.

Chocolate cake

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Rich and and satisfying, this is a totally solid chocolate cake. It’s also versatile: You can bake it in two cake rounds, a large bundt pan, or a tube pan (make sure to use a baking sheet to catch any drips). You can fill or frost it with anything you like — I am partial to a very chocolatey buttercream, but ganache or even just plain whipped cream would be delightful too.

Ingredients for the Best Chocolate Cake

  • Whole wheat flour
  • All purpose flour
  • Baking powder and baking soda
  • Fine sea salt
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Olive oil
  • Eggs
  • Greek yogurt
  • Whole milk
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Coffee

How to Make the Best Chocolate Cake

For the full instructions, see the recipe card at the end of this post.

  1. Preheat oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a tube pan or two 9-inch cake rounds and line with parchment. 
  2. Make batter. In a large bowl, w In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, milk, olive oil, eggs and vanilla. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Stir in the coffee.
  3. Bake. Pour batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
  4. Make frosting. While cake cools, make frosting. Whip the butter with a mixer until it is smooth and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate and powdered sugar and whip to combine, then add the milk to make a smooth, fluffy frosting.
  5. Frost cake. Smooth the frosting evenly over the cake.

Hint: You can substitute boiling water for the coffee in this recipe.

Chocolate cake


Store cake, tightly covered, in the fridge for 5 days. Serve cold or at room temperature.


Is chocolate cake better with oil or butter?

According to epicurious.com, the texture of cakes made with oil is generally superior to the texture of cakes made with butter. I love olive oil in this chocolate cake recipe.

Should I use cake flour or all purpose for chocolate cake?

I personally feel that the flour should suit the cake — check my gluten-free cake recipes! – and in this cake, I love the nice, firm, dense crumb that the whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour creates.

What is the best cake flavor in the world?

Don’t even ask this question! You know the answer — it’s chocolate.

Chocolate cake

The Best Chocolate Cake

Nicole Spiridakis
The most flavorful – and our absolute favorite – chocolate cake recipe.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 445 kcal


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar light or dark brown
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt whole fat, plain
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 cup hot, fresh-brewed coffee


  • ¾ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk


Make Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a tube pan or two 9-inch cake rounds and line with parchment. Have a baking sheet ready.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, milk, olive oil, eggs and vanilla. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Then add the coffee and whisk lightly or stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan, place the pan on the baking sheet to catch any drips, and place in the oven, and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then carefully turn the cake out onto a cooling rack and cool completely before frosting.

Make Frosting

  • Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl, whip the butter with a mixer until it is smooth and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate and the powdered sugar and whip to combine, then add the milk (more if needed) to make a smooth, fluffy frosting. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the frosting. 


Serving: 1 sliceCalories: 445kcalCarbohydrates: 76gProtein: 5gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 428mgPotassium: 220mgFiber: 4gSugar: 58gVitamin A: 378IUCalcium: 78mgIron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe?Let me know in the comments how it went!

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