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Classic Chocolate Cake

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
  • Total Time
    Prep: 15 min. Bake: 35 min.
  • Makes
    15 servings


  • 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 whole milk
  • Confectioners' sugar or favorite frosting


  • 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.
  • Bake at 350° until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Cool 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. Check out more tips like this in our ultimate guide to baking 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.
Nutrition Facts
1 piece: 257 calories, 10g fat (6g saturated fat), 67mg cholesterol, 368mg sodium, 38g carbohydrate (23g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.
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  • Ema
    Jun 30, 2020

    Great cake, I made it with a honey based icing that worked perfectly.

  • Janice
    Jun 17, 2020

    Excellent. tried it at home. but for a faster recipe try this.

  • Nepta
    May 20, 2020

    Loved you recipe! Will surely try! Checkout the inspired: <a href="">BASIC CHOCOLATE CAKE without cream</a>

  • Jada
    May 17, 2020

    I enjoyed this cake. I also used unsalted butter and all I had was 2% milk and unsweetened cocoa (not bakers) still came out pretty darn good. I made a chocolate whipped topping which was a nice touch. Thanks!! I’m a newbie to baking and try a lot of recipes I find online. This didn’t disappoint.

  • Girl Person
    May 9, 2020

    Love this! Wonderful taste and i love that the instructions are so clear

  • Ladybug37
    Apr 23, 2020

    @Red I can't reply to your comment but if you are using salted butter and also adding the 1 tsp of salt this can make your cake taste salty. I would recommend using unsalted butter in recipe that call for salt unless you are a big salt person and like that taste. I personal do not so I use unsalted butter in all my baking recipe especially when it calls for additional salt.

  • Red
    Apr 16, 2020

    Not really a review more of a question. It says 1 tsp of salt and so that's what I used but it just seems super salty. Is that right?

  • Christine
    Apr 9, 2020

    This cake was easy to make and took no time to whip it together and put in the oven. I suggest you watch carefully so it doesn’t over cook. I went to check mine just shy of 35 minutes, and it was done. Had I left it in there for the full 35 I believe it would have been over cooked. All ovens are not created equally, so I would just check it at the 30 minute mark, and keep a watch on it just in case. I frosted mine with a chocolate frosting of course. It was moist and delicious and devoured by the kids in no time!

  • Imoni
    Mar 2, 2020

    No comment left

  • Christina M.
    Jan 1, 2020

    My 13 year old randomly jumped up and said "I need to bake a cake!" He asked Google hub for a recipe, picked this one. Hands down the best cake I've had this year. Do not adjust this recipes ingredients (I did add a box of vanilla pudding for fluff) but this cake was amazing. Put homemade buttercream on top and some pecans. Mmmm mmmm