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9-Inch Chocolate Cake Recipe

Impress your family and friends with your epic baking skills, thanks to this 9-inch chocolate cake recipe!

And don’t worry, it’s 100% newbie-friendly.

A Slice of Homemade Chocolate Cake
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This chocolate cake doesn’t call for creaming butter and sugar or using a hundred different bowls.

Instead, it’s super straightforward.

But that doesn’t mean it lacks flavor! Oh no. This 9-inch chocolate cake recipe is just as rich, decadent, moist, and fluffy as any out there.

Better yet, it’s ready in under an hour. 

9-Inch Chocolate Cake Recipe 

This chocolate cake is insanely rich, moist, fudgy, and drool-worthy! It’s also unbelievably easy to make.

The key? Boiling water.

I know it sounds odd. But super hot water activates the cocoa powder and brings out the best flavor.

Honestly, it’s one of the easiest cakes to make.

All you’ll need are basic ingredients, a bowl, a whisk, and an oven!

Ingredients 

  • Granulated Sugar – This recipe adds 2 cups, but you can reduce this to 1 3/4 cups to make a dark chocolate cake.  
  • All-purpose Flour – It gives the cake its structure. 
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – The cocoa powder is the cake’s primary source of flavor, so you’ll want to use one of excellent quality. Top-notch brands include Bensdorp, Valrhona, Guitard, Ghirardelli, Hershey’s, and Callebaut.
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda – The leavening agents that give the batter the perfect lift.
  • Salt – Don’t skip this out! It balances out the sweetness of the cake.
  • Eggs – They bind the ingredients together.
  • Milk – For richness. Buttermilk works, too. 
  • Vegetable Oil – The fat that makes the cake ridiculously moist. 
  • Vanilla Extract – A flavor enhancer.
  • Boiling Water – Adding hot liquid makes the cake extra fudgy and helps dissolve the dry ingredients and eliminate lumps. 
  • Chocolate Frosting – A decadent buttercream made of cocoa powder, powdered sugar, butter, and milk.  

How to Make a Small Chocolate Cake from Scratch

It’s super easy, you guys! Unlike other cake recipes, this one only calls for one bowl. 

  1. Preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then lightly grease two 9-inch round pans with oil and line them with parchment.
  1. In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients – sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir them until combined.
  1. Beat in the eggs, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Beat the mixture for about 2 minutes on medium speed until combined. You can also just beat manually with a whisk. 
  1. Pour the hot water and give it a stir. Don’t worry that the mixture is thin – that’s what’s supposed to happen!
  1. Pour the batter into the greased pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

You’ll know they’re done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

See? I told you it’s easy!

Homemade Chocolate Cake

Tips for the Best Cake 

What’s great about this recipe is that you don’t need to be a baking pro to pull it off.

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Here are more tips, though, to ensure guaranteed success.

  • Measure the ingredients accurately. The most reliable way is to use the kitchen scale. If you don’t have one, though, use a liquid measuring cup for the liquids, and the spoon and level method for dry ingredients.
  • Spoon and level method: use a spoon to transfer the ingredient to the measuring cup and level it with the back of a knife. Merely scooping the ingredient with the measuring cup will give you more than what you need.
  • For better flavor, replace the boiling water with hot coffee. Coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate like no other! And don’t worry, you won’t taste the coffee on the cake at all.
  • Use room temperature eggs as they incorporate with the batter easier. Using cold eggs will yield a lumpy batter. 

What Makes a Cake Moist and Light? 

It doesn’t take much to make a ridiculously moist chocolate cake that stays ridiculously moist for days.

The secret? Simple – oil. Cake recipes often call for butter, and while it does add richness to your cake, nothing makes it moister than oil. 

Oil is crucial, especially with chocolate cakes. Cocoa powder is a drying ingredient, so you’ll need all the help you can get to make it moist.  

Vegetable oil and canola oil both work well, but my number one choice is corn oil.

It has a neutral flavor, and I find that whenever I use it, my cake remains soft and moist even after days of refrigeration.

This chocolate cake recipe is also wonderfully fluffy thanks to the leavening agents – baking powder and baking soda.

With the right amount of both, your cake is ensured maximum fluffiness.

More Cake Recipes You’ll Love

Cassava Cake
Strawberry Crunch Cake
Banana Cake
Peanut Butter Cake

9-Inch Chocolate Cake Recipe

Servings

12

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

35

minutes
Calories

528

kcal

Ingredients

  • Chocolate Cake
  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1 cup boiling water

  • Chocolate Frosting
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder

  • 3 cups powdered sugar

  • 1/3 cup milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 2 (9-inch) round baking pans with oil or butter and lightly coat with flour.
  • In a large bowl, sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Beat in the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed, or until the mixture is smooth and lump-free. Stir in boiling water. The batter will be very thin.
  • Pour the batter into greased pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • While the cakes are in the oven, prepare the frosting. Stir the butter and cocoa powder in a bowl. Add in powdered sugar and milk alternately. Beat the frosting until spreadable, adding more milk if needed. Stir in vanilla extract.
  • Let the cakes sit for 10 minutes. Transfer them into wire racks to cool completely.
  • To assemble the cake, place the first layer onto a flat serving plate. Using an offset spatula, spread a 3rd of the frosting evenly on top of the cake.
  • Top the frosted cake with the 2nd cake. Spread remaining frosting on top and the sides of the cake.
  • Variations:
  • To make a one-pan cake, use a 13x9x2-inch pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • To make a three-layer cake, use 3 8-inch round baking pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • To make a bundt cake, use a 12-cup fluted tube pan. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • To make cupcakes, line muffin tins with cupcake liners and fill them 2/3 full. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. One recipe makes about 30 cupcakes.
9-Inch Chocolate Cake Recipe

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

2 thoughts on “9-Inch Chocolate Cake Recipe”

  1. Hey Kim,
    Will try your choc layer cake to celebrate a good friends 85th
    Birthday next week!
    I love baking for friends and 1st responders, inc all my doctors, dentist, therapy staffs and local firemen, but I’d rather not use recipes made with box mixes so I was disappointed to find so many of your enclosed recipes made with box mixes!
    Thx for this recipe, will let u know what everyone thinks:):
    Kelli

    Reply
    • Hi Kelli, I hope you like the chocolate layer cake! A lot of the recipes do used boxed mixes, simply because a lot of people are short on time and aren’t experienced bakers. But there really is nothing like a homemade cake from scratch!

      Reply

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