Want to make homemade chocolate cake from scratch? This recipe is easy as can be, and the reward at the end is a rich chocolate layer cake worthy of a celebration!

slice of homemade two layer chocolate cake with chocolate frosting

Okay, don’t get me wrong—I love upgrading boxed cake mix to make desserts. But sometimes you want to make a cake from scratch! I was recently snowed in with nary a box of cake mix in sight, but luckily I had all the ingredients I needed to make a homemade chocolate cake recipe without cake mix. It was so good, it made me wish we were snowed in more often!

a slice of chocolate cake being cut

Easy Chocolate Cake Recipe

Now, if you’re looking for an easy chocolate cake made with cake mix, try my copycat Portillo’s chocolate cake, which upgrades a box of cake mix by adding mayo for delicious results. But if you want to make chocolate cake from scratch, this is the recipe to follow. I bet you have all the ingredients on hand in your kitchen too!

I paired this cake with a homemade chocolate frosting, which is always a classic combination, but my cream cheese frosting is also fabulous with chocolate cake. Top the cake with sprinkles, chocolate chips, fresh berries, or just serve it as-is with a thick layer of frosting. It’s easy enough to make “just because,” but it can also be dressed up for a birthday party or celebration!

ingredients to make homemade chocolate cake


See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

  • Sugar
  • All-purpose flour – If you’d like to make a gluten-free chocolate cake, simply swap in a cup-for-cup all-purpose flour substitute.
  • Cocoa – Don’t use cocoa mix, which has sugar in it. You want to use either natural unsweetened cocoa powder or Dutch process cocoa powder.
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Eggs – Let the eggs come to room temperature before you start baking. This will make for a lighter, fluffier cake!
  • Milk
  • Vegetable oil
  • Vanilla extract
  • Boiling water
steps to make chocolate cake

How to Make Chocolate Cake From Scratch

1. Prepare

Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Mix the Dry Ingredients

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. Add the Wet Ingredients

Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla to the bowl with the dry ingredients; beat with a mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in the boiling water. The cake batter will be thin, but don’t worry—it’s fine!

4. Bake

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. 

5. Cool and Assemble

Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then carefully remove the cakes from pans and let them finish cooling directly on the racks. Frost, layer, and decorate as desired.

cross section of chocolate cake served on a cake stand

How to Store Chocolate Cake

Cover the chocolate cake or transfer it to an airtight container; it can be kept out at room temperature for up to a day, but it will need to be refrigerated after that. The cake will last 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator, or it can be frozen for up to 3 months. Let the frozen cake thaw at room temperature before serving.


What goes well in chocolate cake?

If you’d like, you can add mini chocolate chips into the batter to make it extra rich. About a handful is perfect!

What does boiling water do in chocolate cake batter?

Boiling water makes for a smoother, softer cake that is less likely to crumble.

What are some easy ideas for decorating a chocolate cake?

Minimalist cakes are in right now, which means you can make a professional looking cake even if you’re not a skilled cake decorator! I think leaving the top undecorated and pushing mini chocolate chips, white chocolate curls, or rainbow sprinkles all around the sides looks fantastic! Another idea is to arrange fresh berries on top. 

slice of chocolate cake on a plate with a silver fork

More Recipes for Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

Want to make chocolate cake from scratch? This recipe is easy as can be, and the reward is a rich chocolate layer cake worthy of a celebration!
4.10 from 11 votes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsps baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsps baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Chocolate Frosting


  • Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
  • In a large bowl, sift together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
    2 cups sugar, 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup cocoa, 1 1/2 tsps baking powder, 1 1/2 tsps baking soda, 1 tsp salt
  • Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes.
    2 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
    1 cup boiling water
  • Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely before frosting.
    homemade chocolate frosting


Calories: 349kcal | Carbohydrates: 78g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 528mg | Potassium: 286mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 52g | Vitamin A: 109IU | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 3mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @kasey_allthingsmamma or tag #allthingsmamma!

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About Kasey Schwartz

For over 15 years, Kasey Schwartz, the mastermind behind All Things Mamma, has been the ultimate go-to for mouthwatering family recipes. Her work has been featured on Today.com, Buzz Feed, Better Homes and Gardens, and more, making her your go-to mom next door for all things delicious and family-friendly.


  1. Hi
    I am going to try this recipe since I cannot find Duncan Hines Swiss Chocolate cake mix anymore. I am a little confused by the measurements listed. When you say 1 – 1/2 tsps of baking powder do you mean 1 1/2 tsps or 1/2 tsp? It will make a difference in the cake. Also, i need to use a 9X13 pan. Should I double the recipe? Thank you.

    1. Shyanne - ATM Team says:

      Hi Norma! Sorry for any confusion. We have updated the recipe card to make it clearer. You should be able to use the same amount of ingredients. We hope you enjoy!

  2. Krystina Gaddis says:

    3 stars
    I have been wanting to make this cake for my moms birthday but you didn’t put any measurements of the ingredients so I have no idea how much if everything I’m supposed to put.

    1. Karen Watkins-Smith says:

      Were you able to find the measurements they were listed in there

  3. 5 stars
    Fantastic recipe, I cannot wait to try it.

    1. Chef Jerrieann says:

      5 stars
      Excellent very Yummy! I will make it again, for sure.

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