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Classic Chocolate Cake Recipe

Classic Chocolate Cake Recipe

This recipe 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. I make all my cakes from scratch, and this is one of the best! —Betty Follas, Morgan Hill, California
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Bake: 35 min. YIELD:12-15 servings


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


  • 1. In a bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one 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 13-in. x 9-in. pan.
  • 2. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool on a wire rack. When cake is cool, dust with confectioners' sugar or frost with your favorite frosting. Yield: 12-15 servings.

Recipe Note

If Cooking for Two: Freeze unfrosted cake in serving-size portions.

Nutritional Facts

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

Reviews for Classic Chocolate Cake

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Noreen User ID: 9230213 270232
Reviewed Aug. 1, 2017

"Measure your ingredients carefully, use what's listed in the recipe and be sure to read it carefully.

If you are beating your eggs too long after adding, using a whip attachment, letting your batter sit after it's been mixed you will not get good results. Everything going on with these ingredients is reaction. The mixing starts and ends quickly and then the cake goes right into the oven. Timing is Everything!"

Leane User ID: 9229223 270068
Reviewed Jul. 28, 2017

"Just came out of the oven. Made round pans for my mom's birthday... she will be getting one layer, as I have decided to keep one for myself!!!! BUWAHAHAHAHA. But seriously, this cake is delicious. I only changed it a little by adding a splash of oil after reading the "dry" comments. So delicious. Light, fluffy, perfect."

Surprisegal User ID: 8628816 260971
Reviewed Feb. 7, 2017

"To Shantea -- for heaven's sake, follow the recipe! I can tell by your question that you are not an experienced baker. If it's too much trouble to buy milk, don't make it."

Dreamluv User ID: 2396957 258327
Reviewed Dec. 18, 2016

"This cake turned out great. It is amazing and so easy to make. I whipped it together in no time. This recipe is definitely a keeper."

Universalcook User ID: 8868452 248636
Reviewed May. 25, 2016

"The cake is good. For those of you who say it is dry or had to modify it, it is you, not the recipe. You are not using the correct pan, allowing the oven to preheat, not measuring your ingredients correctly, or you are allowing it to cook too long. I pulled my out 3 minutes shy of the 35 minute mark. Every oven is different. Make sure you pan is in the center. The type of material your pan is made of also plays a part in the final outcome. Goodness sake, follow the recipe and consult Martha Stewart if you need help measuring ingredients and baking in general. It's how we all learn."

susan524 User ID: 8801921 246938
Reviewed Apr. 11, 2016


Are you sure you add 2 cups of milk over the cake or were you kidding? That seems like it would just make a mess lol
However if it's right, do you do that before or after removing it from the pan.
This was so long ago from you that here is the link to what I'm referring to."

Parisbobparis User ID: 6070195 245491
Reviewed Mar. 15, 2016

"Very dry, not moist at all"

roslina1704 User ID: 8716864 242580
Reviewed Jan. 26, 2016

"Tried it last night and the taste is awesome. Simple recipe yet fantastic results. Love From Malaysia."

RaqYsqKat User ID: 8687905 241198
Reviewed Jan. 6, 2016

"The recipe for this cake is so simple. I did not adjust anything. I made it for a birthday and everyone absolutely LOVED it! Also, it was my first time ever making a homemade cake!

This recipe was a SUCCESS!"

Toptekkie User ID: 8636136 238053
Reviewed Nov. 25, 2015

"Simple - worked 1st time"

khines1226 User ID: 7291273 237995
Reviewed Nov. 24, 2015

"My boyfriend is a chocoholic so I am always looking for easy and new chocolate recipes. This was really good. I did however make a few changes as others have suggested. I added a tsp. Of vanilla extract, I added chocolate pudding mix and I also used 2 whole eggs and one egg yolk to ensure the cake was light and moist. The cake itself was sweet so I just dusted top with powdered sugar. It was a hit and I will def. be making it for years to come. Thanks for recipe"

JoNanners User ID: 7835057 233226
Reviewed Sep. 21, 2015

"Erica Below must have really pulled an error as I have not seen anyone where the cake hasn't completed. Maybe you added too much baking powder and soda, or I have actually used self rising flour by accident on a cake recipe and ended up with your result. This cake was wonderful as I love a "quick pan cake" for a quick children's snack. PS EVaporated milk would be ok, but not sweetened condensed, sorry. PS. Adding pudding will add moistness, but if you want to use layers you will lose density. If you want a little moister, just add about 1/4 cup oil and will be much more moist and yet still very frost able."

Shantea User ID: 8544709 233124
Reviewed Sep. 19, 2015

"I really want to make it but I only have sweetened condensed milk can I use it"

torogi User ID: 8533426 232605
Reviewed Sep. 10, 2015

"Great recipe, with and without changes. I have been making this cake for over two years now. My first attempt came out a bit dry, but still tasty. After that first try here are my adjustments for a perfect cake: reduce the sugar to 1 and 1/3 cup (could possibly go down to just 1 cup), reduce the baking cocoa to 1/3 cup, and add a package of instant chocolate pudding mix. The cake is sweet and moist!! I just made this cake with these changes last night and it turned out great. My oven is a bit older so my cooking time was closer to an hour. Could be the addition of the pudding, but I'd rather 20 more minutes of cooking than a dry cake:)"

Chris1414 User ID: 5738024 231960
Reviewed Aug. 29, 2015

"Very delicious! This recipe was very simple to make, and the cake turned out to be very tasty. It was perhaps a bit on the dry side, so next time I will try some sort of trick in order to make it more moist."

jennafairbanks User ID: 8473755 230945
Reviewed Aug. 9, 2015

"cooked it a little too long so it was a little dry but other than that it was delicious!"

Erica01 User ID: 8476870 230899
Reviewed Aug. 8, 2015

"Literally followed every direction to the T and only filled the backing pan about one 3rd of the way full and after 10 min it smelled SO bad... I opened the oven and there was gross chocolate goo everywhere. I don't know what happened. But I'm really mad because now my kitchen smells disgusting and there is burnt goo everywhere and NO cake. I was so excited to have a yummy chocolaty birthday cake for my best friend's child and now I have ruined her oven and her poor daughters birthday... #^%&^*$#& I'm so frustrated. Sorry, but this recipe was a disaster and now this kids birthday party sucks."

Elle15 User ID: 8385813 226725
Reviewed May. 22, 2015

"Love this cake! My whole family loves it as well and it's rare for all of us to agree on a food. I prefer it with a sprinkle of powdered sugar on top, but hubs likes it with frosting. As long as I keep this cake covered, it stays moist and delicious!"

BethanySparkles User ID: 8326962 224495
Reviewed Apr. 8, 2015

"pretty good... my friend and I made this cake today and the flavor was pretty good, however it wasn't all that moist. I would maybe suggest using more milk and quite a bit more milk and more cacao for a moister, stronger chocolate cake. :)"

annemelican User ID: 8140749 223138
Reviewed Mar. 19, 2015

"I used cake enhancer instead of pastry flour. It was very dry. It did taste good, but I did put chocolate chips and walnuts into this cake i was disappointed since it was for my husband's birthday. I did use chocolate store bought icing. It was the best thing about the cake. I suggest using the pastry flour"

autumnkutsick User ID: 8267797 221068
Reviewed Feb. 21, 2015

"great recipe"

Sripna1 User ID: 8258351 220474
Reviewed Feb. 14, 2015

"Thank you for a great recipe. I tried this for valentine's day today and it is a big hit at home. My husband and kids loved it, followed the exact measurements only thing is I folded into the batter 8 oz of semi sweet chocolate chips in the end and baked for about 42 mins at 350...The result was a soft, moist and spongy cake...simply yumm!!!."

Jenniferchocolover User ID: 7952264 37964
Reviewed Aug. 24, 2014 Edited Aug. 29, 2014

"My sis is a fan of chocolate cakes. She absolutely loved this cake. Despite some bad reviews, I made this cake. Turned out amazing. It was moist, chocolaty and delicious. I frosted it with my favorite glossy chocolate icing. I've tried a lot of cakes. But this definitely is my go to recipe. The best cake I ever made! It was finished in no time. Will definitely try it again and I do recommend it to others."

TNbluffbaker User ID: 46423 17548
Reviewed Aug. 12, 2014

"Just like mom used to make! I like to frost it with buttercream or cream cheese frosting."

asmat User ID: 7894139 17547
Reviewed Jul. 18, 2014

"easy to follow instructions.... cost effective and extremely tasty!!!!"

Danieleson User ID: 7720631 13006
Reviewed Mar. 17, 2014

"Was looking for a chocolate cake recipe for my daughter's 1 year birthday party. With all the positive reviews I tried it and it was a success. Made a 2 layer cake with strawberry jam in between. My husband, who is a dessert fanatic, made sure that I had a copy of this recipe in my cookbook!"

Z.Rayyes User ID: 7678605 15746
Reviewed Feb. 18, 2014

"Loved the cake, though i have one more suggestion to make it more "interesting", right after you take it out of the oven and while its still hot, add 2 cups of cold milk (not at once ofcourse) and then leave it to cool, at the same time you can prepare the frosting by mixing a nutella jar (400g) with 300ml of extra thick double cream, let it cool in the fridge for an hour and then add top the cake with it and leave the cake in the fridge for a whole day for it to be perfect"

MissHanson User ID: 7457695 12995
Reviewed Jan. 26, 2014

"Amazing!! Made a cream cheese frosting for it and it was a hit!! Will be my go-to cake recipe."

kkpriest User ID: 7589384 18771
Reviewed Jan. 20, 2014

"This is my first homemade cake from scratch, was so easy to make and came out light and fluffy, will absolutely make this again, goodbye to boxed cake mixes, sorry Duncan hines :("

jmscanlan User ID: 6907828 40738
Reviewed Jul. 10, 2013 Edited Aug. 10, 2015

"Such an easy recipe and I had everything on hand! It seemed a little dry at first but as it sat for a day it was perfect. Deff will make again!"

Janay333 User ID: 7220235 37144
Reviewed Apr. 10, 2013

"This is my second cake to ever make from scratch & I was very pleased with it. I've made many cakes from boxes & was a little worried when the batter seemed "thick" after all the ingredients mixed in and I was afraid that it might be dry. I was surprised when I cut into it and was it very springy. It didn't even need frosting."

Kthreefoot User ID: 7134870 43087
Reviewed Feb. 12, 2013

"This cake was amazing! The batter tasted like chocolate mousse. Seriously a delicious cake! I will never go back to boxed mixes again!!"

Rissyraemt User ID: 7051718 40737
Reviewed Dec. 30, 2012

"I substituted 1cup peppermint cocoa mix instead of baking cocoa....amazing and holiday-ish minty!! Excellent recipe that I've been nagged to remake!!!"

wosesmom User ID: 6914994 201866
Reviewed Dec. 20, 2012

"Super easy and turned out great! I live at high altitude, so getting a cake to turn out the way it should is difficult. I used the high altitude adjustments from King Arthur Flour, which gives adjustments for specific altitudes, rather than a generic adjustment. Best cake I've made since moving to 7300 feet!"

sad1981 User ID: 7002522 15744
Reviewed Dec. 2, 2012

"I made this recipe today with my daughter and it is absolutely delicious! It tastes so much better than anything you can get from a box!"

fatima1234 User ID: 6993514 17401
Reviewed Nov. 26, 2012

"i liked it! .. it tastes like "Betty Crocker" "

Ta2fan1975 User ID: 6983151 42588
Reviewed Nov. 18, 2012

"Very good, though a little crumbly. Kids loved it, it's sweet but not overly so. Made a Peanut Butter Frosting to go on Top. YUM!"

Sylvester90 User ID: 5984649 14456
Reviewed Feb. 14, 2012

"This chocolate cake was moist, fluffy, and amazing. Even better, all of the ingredients are inexpensive and things that I always have stocked in my pantry."

ladeevah User ID: 6207759 17544
Reviewed Sep. 17, 2011

"I've made this recipe twice, and am going to make it again today! Everyone I've served this to has simply loved it."

tayloro1 User ID: 5153094 201865
Reviewed Jul. 10, 2010

"It was a very easy cake to make and all four of the grand children love it. Plus I had every thing in the pantry to make it."

elainemariekelley User ID: 4273694 18140
Reviewed Aug. 23, 2009

"found this cake to be very dry"

mbttrfly User ID: 4135648 18139
Reviewed Jun. 22, 2009

"Baked this cake for my sons birthday. What a mistake! It was so dry. Will not use this recipe again. Mary S."

tee97me User ID: 4216061 201864
Reviewed Jun. 14, 2009

"i tried this recipe about 3yrs ago from the back of the cocoa. it has become my standard cake and it can handle decorative designs well. everyone loves it.


hands-full mom User ID: 3033096 15601
Reviewed Apr. 2, 2009

"This recipe is AMAZING! Very light and moist! I have several other chocolate cake recipes but they all have complicated directions or expensive ingredients. This one is AMAZING! As light as 'boxed' cakes and has the wonderful richness of 'homemade'. Delicious!!! 5 STAR!!!"

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