New This Month

Chocolate Cake


Baking an easy dessert like this chocolate cake can be almost as thrilling for a birthday girl or boy as blowing out the candles.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Makes one 8-inch two-layer cake
chocolate cake

Source: Martha Stewart Kids, Spring 2005


  • 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


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

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

  5. With a butter knife, frost top of trimmed layer.

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

Try These Variations -- They're a Piece of Cake

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

Cook's Notes

Tools and materials: two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans, parchment paper, flour sifter, electric mixer and bowl, rubber spatula, long serrated knife.

Reviews Add a comment

  • cakengiftsini
    1 JUN, 2017
    This cake is loved very much by my w[filtered] family So we make this cake twice or thrice in a month. We want to give thinks to you by heart for giving such superb recipe. Another cake that they like is given on the site :
  • candacestutz
    4 MAR, 2017
    This chocolate cake was super-easy and super-delicious. Very moist, my w[filtered] family loved it!
  • amalelivenl
    8 JAN, 2017
    How and how long can I store it?
  • ramonaorvishot
    8 FEB, 2016
    Substitution friendly!!! So I didn't change much but we don't do milk, so I used what we had ... Hemp milk with apple cider vinegar. I would say you could get away with 1 cup less of sugar, but not overly sweet. I made 1 x 10" spring-form cake and baked for 50 min and 12 standard cupcakes with the remained and baked for 25 min. Great recipe. This is our go to now for birthday cakes. Thanks so much!!
  • janelnelliebel
    30 DEC, 2015
    This recipe reminds me of my Grandma's...especially the use of the buttermilk! I can't wait to try it and see if it reminds me of her :). Thanks!
  • mmclam2
    27 DEC, 2015
    Before anyone makes this cake: This recipe is double the ingredients of the One Bowl Chocolate Cake, which fits into 2 eight-inch cake pans. So, consider that when picking pans for this cake. I made a 9 x 13 cake along with two small loaf cakes (mini-loaf bread pans) for my office. Easier for some people to take a slice of cake on the road instead of a piece of cake and a fork). This cake is now my go-to Chocolate Cake. Moist. Great chocolate flavor. Fabulous!
  • dotcomtmgmail
    14 NOV, 2015
    PLEASE READ!! My oven is a disaster, put this into 3 pans not two!!!!
  • MS10447853
    7 OCT, 2015
    Hi there! I'm making a 'skate board's cake and would like to use this recipe for the cake being used. However, I need to bake it in standard sized bread pans. Does anyone know what the time and temp for cooking would be? Hope everyone's day is going well!
  • cocoandsunshine
    4 SEP, 2015
    I am about to make this delicious look cake! I will come back with another comment with my feedback :) The only thing I am disagreeing so far with this recipe is that it doesn't say how many pans to use! It just says "pans", so if this was your first time making a layered cake or first time cooking it would be confusing! Also if a child tried making it it might confuse them. But thats all for now! PEACE OUT! I am going to make this cake and eat it
  • marian377
    1 MAR, 2015
    Does anyone know the volume of the batter this recipe makes? Please help me out. Thanks!