Home Desserts Ina Garten’s Chocolate Cake (Famous Recipe)

Ina Garten’s Chocolate Cake (Famous Recipe)

Ina Garten’s chocolate cake is incredibly tender and moist, bursting with rich chocolate flavor that makes it simply divine.

If you think you’ve already tried the best homemade chocolate cake ever, this recipe will change your mind.

You’ll love how this cake is light, fluffy, and fudgy all at the same time.

Unlike other chocolate cakes, this one isn’t too heavy or dense.

A Sliced of Ina Garten's Chocolate Cake,   With Chocolate Buttercream Filling and Frosting
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Filled and decorated with a silky and buttery chocolate frosting, Ina Garten’s chocolate cake is the ultimate treat!

Ina Garten’s Chocolate Cake 

When it comes to baked desserts, you can always count on the Barefoot Contessa.

Home bakers, say hello to your newest go-to chocolate cake recipe. 

This chocolate cake has the perfect balance of tender and dense, and light and decadent. It’s chocolatey, but not too sweet.

Unlike other chocolate cake recipes I’ve featured here so far, this one is a little more complicated but entirely doable.

If you’re up for the challenge, go put your apron on and let’s get to it!

Ina Garten's Chocolate Cake Ingredients - Flour, Sugar, Cocoa Powder, Baking Soda, Salt, Buttermilk, Eggs, Vanilla Extract and Hot Coffee


Chocolate Cake:

  • All-Purpose Flour – The base of the cake that gives it structure.
  • Sugar – for sweetening the cake. Regular, white granulated sugar is best.
  • Cocoa Powder – Use high-quality cocoa powder for the best results. Use natural cocoa powder, not dutch-processed.
  • Baking Soda and Baking Powder – You need a combination of two leavening agents to ensure the cake rises beautifully. 
  • Salt – Just a pinch is enough to balance the sweetness and enhance the chocolate’s flavor.
  • Buttermilk – The cake’s moist maker. 
  • Vegetable Oil – Another key ingredient in making the chocolate cake absolutely moist. Don’t swap it out for butter! Cocoa powder makes cakes dry, so you’ll need all the moisture you can get from oil.
  • Eggs – For binding the cake ingredients and adding richness.
  • Vanilla Extract – A flavor enhancer.
  • Hot Coffee – It won’t make your cake taste like coffee, but will only bring out more of the cocoa powder’s chocolatey flavor.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate  – Use premium quality baking chocolate such as Valrhona, Callebaut, and Belcolade.
  • Butter – Unsalted.
  • Egg Yolk – It adds richness to the frosting and also helps make it more stable and pipable.
  • Vanilla Extract – The ultimate flavor enhancer.
  • Powdered Sugar – Be sure to sift beforehand to prevent lumps in the frosting.
  • Instant Coffee Powder – Again, to enhance the flavor of the chocolate.

How to Make Chocolate Cake Moist?

The trick is oil and buttermilk!

The high-fat content in these ingredients is responsible for making the cake crumb wonderfully tender and moist.

Also, do not overmix or overbake the cake. Those are the two major culprits in dense, dry, and rubbery cakes.

Moist, Rich and Chocolatey Whole Chocolate Cake, With a Slice Take Out, Served on a Cake Tray

Tips for Decorating the Chocolate Cake

Whether you want your cake to look simple, elegant, or intricate, here are several tips you can try!

Why and How to Crumb Coat Chocolate Cake

Crumb coating is the process of spreading an initial layer of frosting over a cake.

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The purpose is to keep the cake’s crumbs from getting in the way when you do your second or final frosting.

This way, your final cake will look polished, without any tiny specks of chocolate cake found on the frosting.

To crumb coat, simply apply a thin layer of frosting on the top and sides of the cake. 

Then, refrigerate the cake for 15 minutes. This will set the frosting, locking all the crumbs in place. 

Decorating Ideas

  • Sprinkle chocolate shavings all over the cake. This is an easy way to make your chocolate cake look like it came from a bakery! Just peel a bar of chocolate with a peeler to create curls.
  • Decorate the cake with chocolate sprinkles. This’ll instantly transform a cake from simple to spectacular! 
  • Garnish with the season’s fruits or berries. Top the cake with strawberry slices or fresh raspberries.

More Tips and Tricks for the Best Chocolate Cake

  • Measure the flour with a kitchen scale for accuracy. Adding too much flour will make your cake dry and dense.
  • No scale? Use the spoon & level method. It means to spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off with the back of a knife.
  • Don’t overmix the ingredients… especially once the dry and wet ingredients have combined. Otherwise, your cake will also turn out dry. 
  • Sift the dry ingredients first for a fluffy cake. Also, it’ll help keep you from accidentally overmixing the ingredients.
  • Don’t overbake the cake. Otherwise, it’ll be dry! Test for doneness about 3 minutes early to be sure.
  • Cool the cakes before frosting. You don’t want the frosting to melt!
  • Double the frosting. I highly recommend this, especially if you plan to pipe decorations on top. You’ll have extra, but that’s better than running out! 

Cake Size Variations

  • One-Layer Cake: Bake the cake in a 13x9x2-inch baking pan for 30 to 35 minutes.
  • Bundt Cake: Bake the cake in a 12-cup fluted tube pan for 50 to 55 minutes.
  • Cupcakes: Bake for 22-25 minutes.

Ina Garten’s Chocolate Cake (Famous Recipe)



Prep time


Cooking time





Ina Garten’s chocolate cake is the best one you’ll ever have! Learn how to make this famous recipe, plus, get tips for the very best chocolate cake.


  • Chocolate Cake:
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for greasing

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 3/4 cup good-quality cocoa powder

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • 2 extra-large eggs, room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

  • Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
  • 6 ounces good-quality semi-sweet chocolate (i.e.e Valrhona)

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1 extra large egg yolk, room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar

  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease two (8-inch) round cake pans with butter. Line it with parchment paper, and then grease the lining with butter and dust with flour.
  • Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Mix on low speed with an electric mixer with a paddle attachment just until well combined.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Run the mixer on low speed and slowly pour the wet mixture into the dry. Beat in the coffee, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans for 30 minutes, and then flip them over onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, make the frosting. Chop the chocolate and place it in a large, heat-proof bowl. Set it in a pot over simmering water. Stir until smooth and melted. Set aside to cool.
  • In a large bowl, beat butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla, and continue beating for 3 minutes.
  • Reduce the mixer speed to medium and gradually add the powdered sugar, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl, until smooth and creamy.
  • Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of hot water. While the mixer is running at low speed, pour the chocolate and coffee into the bowl of frosting. Mix just until blended.
  • Assemble the cake. Place one layer of cake, flat side up, on a flat plate. Using an offset spatula, spread half of the frosting evenly on top. Place the 2nd layer of cake on top, rounded side up. Spread the remaining frosting on top and sides of the cake.
  • 10. Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour before serving. Slice and enjoy!
Ina Garten's Chocolate Cake

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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 :)

1 thought on “Ina Garten’s Chocolate Cake (Famous Recipe)”

  1. This is close to “identical” for the HERSHEY’S PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE. And, I must add that Hershey’s recipe was published first.


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