Total Time
Prep 10 mins
Cook 50 mins

While it takes slightly longer to prepare this recipe than a box mix, the resulting moist, delicious cake makes it VERY worth the little extra time. I consider this 'perfect' chocolate cake. This cake is excellent with both with Butter Cream Icing (Buttercream Frosting) and Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (the dark flavor version). (I use Decorator Buttercream Icing when I'm decorating the cake.) I love how the leftovers are still moist even a day or two later. (I store my loosely covered with plastic wrap.) My father adores this cake with Butter Cream Icing (Buttercream Frosting) on it. For his birthday, Father's Day etc. I make him cupcakes with the icing on them and individually wrap them. He keeps them in his freezer for when he wants "a piece of cake". He claims they are as good as when they are fresh. (Even though it isn't where I got the recipe from so I can't vouch for it, reviewers have said it is the recipe on the Hershey's cocoa can. I would recommend using their Special Dark Cocoa if possible.)

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease and flour two 9 inch round baking pans or one 13x9 inch pan.
  3. In large mixer bowl, stir together dry ingredients.
  4. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in boiling water by hand (batter will be thin). NOTE: I have tried it with 1/2 cup, 2/3 cup and 3/4 cup boiling water and we prefer it with less than 1 cup water. I usually use between 2/3 & 3/4 cups. The cake is still very moist but it doesn't seem to "fall" as much as it cools. This might have to do with our high humidity or brand of flour or other factors so I don't know if it will work for everyone.
  6. Pour into prepared pan.
  7. Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round 9-inch pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. (Do not use 8-inch pans or the batter will overflow.).
  8. Because they have a tendency to overflow if you fill them more than 2/3 full, I usually get about 27-28 cupcakes per batch. Bake for approximately 18-20 minutes.
  9. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire racks.
  10. Please note: baking cocoa isn't hot chocolate drink mix! Baking cocoa contains no sugar and it is found on the baking aisle. Chocolate drink mixes that you add to milk or water to drink WILL NOT work in this recipe.
Most Helpful

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to make a friend's wedding cake. We tried several chocolate cake recipes, including this one. We had two finalists: this recipe and another, more complex cake. We actually took the cakes to a restaurant and had others help with the decision. Hands down, this cake was the winner!! Guests at the wedding also loved it and kept complimenting me. I made this cake again for a friend's baby's first birthday and several people said it was the best cake I had made to date! It's so moist and chocolatey.
The one change i did make was to use 3/4 cup strong coffee (espresso works great) instead of just the hot water. It adds another dimension of deliciousness!

essie0 December 22, 2010

This is an excellent chocolate cake! I halved this recipe and it made 16 regular sized cupcakes. Baked at 350* for around 14 minutes and they came out prefect and moist! I just tasted one fresh out of the oven and it is awesome even without frosting! I can't imagine how delicious they'll be with some homemade vanilla mint frosting! Thank you for this keeper recipe!

ChefMom08 July 06, 2010

Absolutely fantastic - moist and very chocolatey. Tops my my grandmother's famous buttermilk chocolate cake, which my mom & I have never quite been able to master, and is extremely simple & fool-proof. Don't believe the disclaimer about the time it may take to make this, in my book, no recipe you can prep in the time it takes the oven to preheat is too long :)

NE Foodie March 06, 2011