Classic Chocolate Cake

Total Time

Prep: 15 min. Bake: 35 min. + cooling


15 servings

Updated: Dec. 31, 2023
If you need to learn how to make chocolate cake from scratch, this easy homemade chocolate cake recipe is a perfect place to start. It appeared on a can of Hershey's cocoa way back in 1943. I tried it, my boys liked it, and I've been making it ever since. —Betty Follas, Morgan Hill, California


  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1-2/3 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/3 cups 2% milk
  • Confectioners' sugar or favorite frosting


  1. In a bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating until smooth after each addition. Pour batter into a greased and floured 13x9-in. baking pan.
  2. Bake at 350° until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. When cake is cool, dust with confectioners' sugar or top with your favorite frosting.

Classic Chocolate Cake Tips

How do you make a cake super moist?

There are several ways to ensure your cake is deliciously moist. First, make sure your ingredients are at room temperature before beginning. Second, avoid overbeating your dry ingredients as you add them to the batter. Lastly, add the milk alternately with the dry ingredients, always beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Keep in mind swapping ingredients, like the whole milk called for, will change the texture and moistness of the cake.

Which chocolate is best for cake?

Unsweetened cocoa powder is recommended for this cake. It is rich in cocoa butter and dissolves perfectly into the batter to create a nice, smooth texture and strong chocolate flavor. To learn more about each chocolate type, check out this chocolate guide.

How do you know when this cake is finished baking?

You will know your cake is done when either a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Test the cake at the minimum baking time. If the toothpick still has batter or extremely moist crumbs on it, continue baking and test again at the maximum baking time.

Does using salted vs. unsalted butter make a difference?

Unsalted butter is traditionally recommended for baking, as it allows you to control how much salt goes into your baked goods. It also has a light, fresh and smooth flavor that is the perfect template upon which to build your cake. If you do use salted butter, simply adjust the salt in your recipe accordingly, keeping in mind that most butter brands add about ¼ teaspoon salt per ½ cup butter. Learn more about the differences between salted and unsalted butter.
If Cooking for Two: Freeze unfrosted cake in serving-size portions.

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 257 calories, 10g fat (6g saturated fat), 67mg cholesterol, 368mg sodium, 38g carbohydrate (23g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.