No Thanks
Let

Keep In Touch With MarthaStewart.com

Sign up and we'll send inspiration straight to you.

Martha Stewart takes your privacy seriously. To learn more, please read our Privacy Policy.

Chocolate Cake

Baking an easy chocolate dessert like this chocolate cake can be almost as thrilling for a birthday girl or boy as blowing out the candles that go on top. Tools and Materials Two 8-by-2 inch round cake pans Parchment paper Flour sifter Electric mixer and bowl Rubber spatula Long serrated knife

  • prep: 40 mins
    total time: 2 hours 55 mins
  • yield: Makes one 8-inch two-layer cake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water

Variations

Tiny and Tasty: Cupcakes are great for parties at school -- they require no cutting, and liners come in all different sizes and designs. After you make the chocolate-cake batter, fill each liner so it's three-quarters full. Our recipe will yield about 30 standard-size cupcakes; bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes (25 to 35 minutes for mini sizes). Once cool, cover them with your favorite frosting. Caroline topped hers with sprinkles -- and a candle, of course. Bars with Crunch: Instead of using frosting, sprinkle topping over chocolate squares. Pour cake batter into a 9-by-13-inch prepared baking pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Mix 1 cup each flaked sweetened coconut, walnuts, and semisweet chocolate chips; stir in 1 tablespoon melted butter. Remove cake from oven; sprinkle mix on top. Loosely cover with foil; continue baking, about 45 minutes.

Directions

  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper, and butter paper. Dust the pans with cocoa; tap out extra.

  2. Step 2

    Sift cocoa, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar into bowl. Beat in oil, buttermilk, vanilla, eggs, and hot water one at a time, using a mixer set at low. Beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

  3. Step 3

    Pour batter into pans. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean; an adult should rotate the pans halfway through and remove cakes from the oven.

  4. Step 4

    Let cakes cool in pans on wire racks, 20 minutes, before inverting to remove. Discard paper. Cool completely on racks, top side up. An adult should cut off top of one layer.

  5. Step 5

    With a butter knife, frost top of trimmed layer.

  6. Step 6

    Place the other layer on top. Frost top and sides of cake.

Source
Martha Stewart Kids, Spring

Reviews (41)

  • 30 Dec, 2013

    This cake has great consistency but tastes profoundly of baking soda, what's up with that? happy birthday to me!

  • 16 Dec, 2013

    This cake was absolutely delicious! Everyone loved it. I like how it makes thick layers!

  • 2 Dec, 2013

    Hello from the Cebu, Philippines! This is my 3rd attempt at baking a moist chocolate cake. I used another recipe in the first two, and both were a total failure. Thank you for this recipe. I baked it today and the result was unbelievably good. I have a very small gas oven, 350 degrees was just too hot, so I had it around 325 and it was done in 50 minutes in a 9x13 pan. I turned the cake halfway thru. I will be proud to make this for my friends this Christmas!

  • 17 Nov, 2013

    Made with dark chocolate coco because that's what I had on hand. Batter is VERY thin but cake baked perfectly & is so moist. It's just a bit dense, which I like, but tender & delicious.

    Be careful when adding the hot water because the thin batter flew out of the mixing bowl, even at low speed, before I put on the bowl ring. Baked in a 9 x 13 pan, checked at 45 minutes, & it wasn't quiet done so baked 5 more minutes. I used Pam to prepare the pan.

    This recipe makes a lot of batter, so the baked cake came

  • 30 Oct, 2013

    Just came out of the oven about 30 minutes ago and I cut the top off to make it even. I tasted a piece and it's SUPER MOIST! I hope it stays like this through cooling overnight and frosting tomorrow. It's my first cake from scratch and I almost set my dorm's fire alarms off at 12:30 a.m. because one of the pans overflowed! So far, it's been worth opening windows and covering fire alarms ;) I hope my boyfriend likes it.

  • 15 Aug, 2013

    This seems to be the exact same recipe as her One-Bowl Chocolate Cake... only doubled to yield a higher cake. Correct?

  • 8 Jun, 2013

    I just used this recipe for making my first ever chocolate birthday cake. It tasted amazing! I felt it tasted as good as the one i bought for my daughters last birthday. I used white chocolate buttercream frosting dyed pink and it looked great. I had to level the cake with a knife as the top was rounded but maybe all cakes do that, i do not bake, this was my first go. It got great comments from everyone. First timers should give it a go.

  • 27 May, 2013

    Absolutely one of The best chocolate cakes I have ever made. Moist, rich chocolate flavor, and lots of rave reviews from my harshest critics. I made it with my 10 year old daughter and 4 of her friends during the baking class which she organized, the results of which go to her class the next day ( I have been baking birthday cakes for them for years and never have I seen a bunch of pickier kids). They all loved it and her teacher who is always on a diet and never eats the children's cakes actually ate one and took a piece home! I will be making it again, later today. I have a birthday girl this will be perfect for. I paired this with the chocolate frosting recipe from the January 2006 issue of Martha Stewart Living "Celebrating 15 years of cakes for every season" Page 163. There was a cake for every month. This was June's cake, which is very similar to this recipe, just butter instead of oil, and a little less sugar. You should re-issue that issue! Excellent repetoire that I refer to again and again.

  • 9 Jun, 2012

    Delicious! This cake was really moist and tasty. It's the first cake I've made from scratch, and it was a big hit. It will seem like there's too much batter, but it all bakes perfectly. I will make this again.

  • 10 Dec, 2011

    Agree with jenbyrne...after cleaning my oven still had enough batter for 3 layers!

  • 8 Oct, 2011

    Just made this cake today, turned out great! I used two nine inch cake pans and baked it for about 45 min. turning once halfway through baking. I will definitely make this cake again!

  • 19 Jul, 2011

    Absolutely amazing!! This was a huge hit with my family. I modified it a bit to make a black forest cake and it turned out delicious! See it here... http://www.epicureanmom.com/2010/04/black-forest-cake.html

  • 6 Apr, 2011

    This recipe is identical to her other one "Chocolate Cake for Cupcake Pops" and that one lists 1 1/2 cups of hot water in the ingredients.

  • 3 Apr, 2011

    How much hot water are we to add. It doesn't say, and I'm in the middle of making this cake. HELP

  • 1 Apr, 2011

    Why does it say to add hot water? It doesn't say how much to add?

  • 9 Feb, 2011

    Anytime I recipe calls for 3 cups of flour, you can get three layers out of it.

  • 15 Dec, 2010

    This can be confusing, but what she means is that it will make one 8-inch layer cake consisting of two layers. If it were just going to make one 8-inch round cake, it wouldn't be called a layer cake.

  • 11 Dec, 2010

    So it says one 8" layer but then when you read the directions it says to "butter the PANS" and then goes on to say there will be two cakes to layer and all - so Martha needs to change the title at the top and say makes TWO 8" layers!

  • 14 Nov, 2010

    TOO MUCH BATTER!! All over my oven!

  • 6 May, 2010

    Turns out you CAN half this recipe, I used 2 eggs, halved everything else, and used a 9" round pan and it turned out great!

  • 3 May, 2010

    Does anyone know if it's ok to half this recipe? If so, use 2 eggs or 1?

  • 30 Apr, 2010

    I just made this cake and the recipe made enough batter for 3-4 8inch cakes! I re-read the ingredients and I definitely didn't mess things up.

  • 6 Mar, 2010

    Can some one please tell me what frosting this is and maybe provide a link to it too =)
    thanks in advance, Either leave a comment and i will check later. OR email me at:Mohammad.Khoja@nixorcollege.edu.pk.

  • 6 Mar, 2010

    Can some one please tell me what frosting this is and maybe provide a link to it too =)
    thanks in advance, Either leave a comment and i will check later. OR email me at:Mohammad.Khoja@nixorcollege.edu.pk.

  • 12 Sep, 2009

    Best chocolate cake I've ever made!! so rich, so fudgy, so moist! :)

  • 31 Oct, 2008

    I really want to make this cake.. so if anyone kind enough to post it or send to my email add=mini_2505@yahoo.com

  • 14 Oct, 2008

    Same goes for me....I'd love to make this cake for hubbie's birthday this Friday. Does anyone have the recipe and directions? Maybe someone can post this directly onto the comments this way others can get it easier. Thanks so much!

  • 8 Oct, 2008

    Ohhhh i thought i will beable to make a chocolate cake, but there is nothing showing above any body can help plssss

  • 12 Sep, 2008

    PLEASE send me the ingredients and directions. They are not listed!!! Please e-mail them to me. simonerhurwitz@yahoo.com

  • 12 Sep, 2008

    I have made this cake before and really liked it, but now the site is not showing the ingredients or the directions. HELP!!!!

  • 12 Sep, 2008

    Where are the ingredients?? They are not listed on the recipe. The directions also are missing?? Please e-mail me them.
    waynorere@verizon.net

  • 7 Apr, 2008

    I have finally found a cake that it's simple to make and delicious to eat. My quest is over after a year of research, and the best part is that holds very well at room temperature, 5 days. I have made it with vanilla frosting and with chocolate frosting, delicious either way. I baked it in a 10x3in round pan at 325 degrees. Don't open oven door for the first 45 minutes, or it will sink a little bit, but still good to eat! DELICIOUS and excellent chocolate after taste!

  • 7 Apr, 2008

    I have finally found a cake that it's simple to make and delicious to eat. My quest is over after a year of research, and the best part is that holds very well at room temperature, 5 days. I have made it with vanilla frosting and with chocolate frosting, delicious either way. I baked it in a 10x3in round pan at 325 degrees. Don't open oven door for the first 45 minutes, or it will sink a little bit, but still good to eat! DELICIOUS and excellent chocolate after taste!

  • 3 Mar, 2008

    Also, my cakes sunk a little in the middle, since I live at high altitudes. But, the layers are SO tall that it's easily remedied. I would definitely make this again.

  • 3 Mar, 2008

    My cakes overflowed from the pans, so next time, I would either A) bake them in three 8x2 round pans, or B) use 8x3 inch pans. Since it overflowed, it was very difficult to get the cakes out of the pans since the cake was stuck to the rim of the pans. One layer had big chunks of cake that fell off, so I cut the other cake in half, and cut the top off the other one, and made a 3-layer cake. It was very moist and chocolatey, but not as light as a cake made with cake flour.

  • 3 Jan, 2008

    I made this cake for a Christmas party I was going to. There were also some chefs at that party and they too raved about it. It was so moist I couldn't even believe it. I made it as a 9x13 instead, it raised up pretty high and almost over flowed, but did not luckily. After I layered it, it was perfect for decorating! I even added a bit of peppermint extract to make it extra Christmassy!! mmm

  • 23 Nov, 2007

    This chocolate cake receipe is amazing! I made it for my daughters first birthday and one of the guests at the party was a chef and he raved about it. I then used the same receipe for my sister in-laws baby shower and everyone loved it.

  • 23 Nov, 2007

    This chocolate cake receipe is amazing! I made it for my daughters first birthday and one of the guests at the party was a chef and he raved about it. I then used the same receipe for my sister in-laws baby shower and everyone loved it.

  • 23 Nov, 2007

    This chocolate cake receipe is amazing! I made it for my daughters first birthday and one of the guests at the party was a chef and he raved about it. I then used the same receipe for my sister in-laws baby shower and everyone loved it.

  • 23 Nov, 2007

    This chocolate cake receipe is amazing! I made it for my daughters first birthday and one of the guests at the party was a chef and he raved about it. I then used the same receipe for my sister in-laws baby shower and everyone loved it.

  • 7 Nov, 2007

    I made this cake for my daughter's first birthday and everyone loved it. It is very moist and tastes great.