Can you believe I’ve had this blog since 2013 and there is no go-to, standard chocolate cake recipe posted here!? I realized this a few days ago and had to correct this mistake ASAP. So today I present to you: Classic Chocolate Cake!
Two layers, one bowl for the batter, mixed up easily with a hand-held mixer because simple is the way this cake needs to be! It’s moist and covered in fudgy frosting. No fuss means we get to the cake part faster.
This recipe is adapted from Hershey’s Black Magic Cake, which has been my favorite for years. My version has a couple of tweaks and simplifies the ingredients a little bit. Just so you can measure out and whip everything together a little easier.
So let’s chat about the ingredients!
Most of the dry ingredients are the same as the Hershey’s recipe, except I’ve combined the baking soda and baking powder so we’re just using baking powder.
The cup of brewed coffee is reduced to 1/2 a cup. Obviously the Hershey’s recipe is super popular because it’s so good! And it is, I just think the batter is a little too liquid and thin for me personally. Reducing it to half a cup produces a cake that’s just as good, in my opinion. Still super flavorful, super soft texture. Perfectly moist for a chocolate cake. And the batter isn’t as soupy.
And lastly, I swapped the buttermilk for whole milk. I bake a lot obviously, so I tend to keep buttermilk on hand, but I wanted this recipe to also work for people who might not. Whole milk also thins the batter out a little more than buttermilk, which helps in this case because we’ve swapped a whole cup of liquid coffee for instant.
The frosting is pretty standard for this blog! Butter, shortening, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, a splash of vanilla. I do like to use heavy cream in frosting to give it a fluffier texture, but you can use milk if that’s what you have on hand!
I’m almost sad I didn’t put chocolate ganache drips on this cake or something because it’d be so fun to dress it up a little more! But I also really love a good, simple chocolate cake, and that was the ultimate goal here. Birthday’s, special occasions, or simple because it’s Tuesday! This cake is good for all situations and scenarios.
Classic Chocolate Cake
- 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup strongly brewed (and cooled) coffee
- 1 cup butter softened
- 1 cup vegetable shortening
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp heavy cream or milk
For the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with baking spray..
- In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, milk, oil, vanilla, and instant coffee. Mix with an electric mixer on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes, or until all ingredients are incorporated. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.
- Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the frosting:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and shortening on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. Add cocoa powder, vanilla, half of powdered sugar, and 1 tbsp of cream. Mix on low speed until mostly combined, and then high speed until completely combined. Repeat with the second half of the powdered sugar and cream. Mix for 1 minute longer, until fluffy and all ingredients are well combined.
- Place one (leveled) cake layer on a cake plate or stand and spread frosting over the top. Place the second layer on top of that and spread frosting over the top and around the sides. Pipe decorations if you wish! Garnish with strawberries and additional chocolate if desired.
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