A great, everyday Chocolate Cake that you’ll make over and over again. One bowl and a whisk. A crumb that’s beautifully tender and moist. It truly tastes of chocolate and keeps for up to 5 days. Worthy of serving plain with just a dusting of icing sugar and dollop of cream. Or pile it high with frosting!
This is the famous Hershey’s Chocolate Cake recipe which I tried on the recommendation of Michelle from the Brown Eyed Baker (one of the first places I go in hunt for baked goods). I tried it without massively high expectations, because I thought “how much better can this be than the usual classic Chocolate Cake, being such a simple recipe?”
I love being proved wrong when it comes to food. (As long as it’s not someone in my family because in the RecipeTin family, there is no such thing as graceful concession when it comes to food debates. It’s always grudging – especially when forced to make a concession speech before being served said food that is the subject of the debate.)
But in real life, outside my family, I am fine being proved wrong. So wrong in fact, that even though I tinkered with the recipe multiple times, I landed right back where I started using the recipe exactly as written.
I truly think this Chocolate Cake might be the only recipe on my entire blog that I’m publishing from another source without changing the ingredients at all. It’s unheard of! But to me, it’s perfect as it is. I don’t see myself using any other recipe for an everyday Chocolate Cake, ever again.
My friend Jo from Jo Cooks calls this the Lazy Ass Chocolate Cake. And rightfully so, because it’s astonishingly quick to make the batter, with all the ingredients mixed up in one bowl using a whisk.
There’s no need to cream butter like the usual classic Chocolate Cakes because this one is made with oil which is the reason why this cake is beautifully moist. No more dry chocolate cake! 🙌🏻 (Also means this is more forgiving than most, having once accidentally left it in the oven for 15 minutes longer than necessary and it still wasn’t dry).
If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that sometimes I get real stubborn about doing certain things the “right way”. And there’s also a time and a place for shortcut recipes and quick dinners.
Then there’s recipes like this Chocolate Cake which tick all the boxes – it’s easier than the way I’ve been making everyday Chocolate Cake for most of my life, and the results are better. You’ll love how it really does taste of chocolate even though it’s only been made with cocoa powder (the secret is to add boiling water – it makes the chocolate flavour “bloom”). You’ll love how tender the crumb is, and how it stays moist for 4 to 5 days.
You’ll love how the cake can stand on its own so you could just dust it with icing sugar then serve slices with dollops of cream on the side. Though of course, smothering it with frosting never hurts….
I’m publishing this recipe ahead of Good Friday (tomorrow) because ridiculously, I headlined this Chocolate Cake recipe in my Easter Recipes post yesterday. Then 2 seconds after I hit publish, I remembered that most grocery stores are closed tomorrow.
So I rushed to get this recipe up today. I actually promised it this morning. But the video was driving me bonkers, the colour balance was all over the place.
Here it is, dolled up for Easter. The same cake in the photos above, the same frosting, topped with speckled Easter eggs, baby chicks (both from Woolworths in Australia), and a chocolate basket. I’ve provided directions in the notes of the recipe for how I made that chocolate basket (hint – it involves a balloon…).
Easter aside, I call this my everyday Chocolate Cake because it’s just that – my new favourite Chocolate Cake to make for any occasion. There will be times that call for a mud-cake like Fudge Cake made with both cocoa powder and melted chocolate. There will be times that call for intensely dark chocolate cakes. There will be times that you need / want the nutty brownie-like Flourless Chocolate Cake. And there will be times you’re after light-as-air delicate chiffon chocolate cakes.
This one is for all the other times when you just want a great, classic Chocolate Cake. Which in my world, is 80% of the time! – Nagi x
This is the everyday Chocolate Cake I make over and over again. The crumb is tender and moist, it truly tastes of chocolate (rarer than you might think!) and you only need one bowl and a whisk. It's the famous Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Cake and quite possibly the only recipe on this entire site that I use as written, without any changes to the ingredients (but don't skip my baking tips in the notes!). Recipe VIDEO below.
- 1 3/4 cups / 265g plain / all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup / 55g cocoa powder , unsweetened (Note 2)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda (bi-carb soda)
- 2 cups / 440g white sugar (Note 1)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs (~55-65g / 2 oz each)
- 1 cup / 250 ml milk (low or full fat)
- 1/2 cup / 125 ml vegetable oil (or canola)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup / 250 ml boiling water
Preheat oven to 180C/350F (standard) or 160C / 320F (fan/convection).
Read Note 4 regarding shelf positions.
Grease 2 x 22cm/9" cake pans with butter, then line the base. (See Note 3 regarding springform pans and other pan sizes).
Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda into a large bowl. Add Sugar and salt. Whisk briefly to combine.
Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Whisk well to combine until lump free - about 30 seconds.
Add boiling water and whisk to incorporate. The batter is VERY thin (see video).
Pour batter into cake pans.
Bake for 35 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. See Note 4 regarding cook time if pans are on different shelves.
Cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks upside down (Note 5).
Cool completely before frosting. I frosted the cake with my Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (scale recipe up by 50%).
1. I use caster / superfine out of habit for all baking recipes, but regular is ok too.
2. Regular cocoa powder works just fine here, but dutch processed will make it a slightly more intense chocolate flavour. I use regular for this cake.
3. SPRINGFORM PAN (important): Even the best ones are not 100% leakproof so with very thin batters like with this cake, you will get a small amount of leakage. The best way to combat this is to "plug" the space where the sides meets the base with butter, and place a tray on the bottom of the oven to catch drips (don't put cake pans on the tray, it affects heat circulation).
OTHER PANS (use same oven temp per recipe):
This works great in a bundt pan (50 minutes) or a single 22cm/9" pan (40 - 45 minutes).
The original Hershey's recipe also suggests the following pan sizes which I have not tried myself:
* 13 x 9 x 2" / 33 x 22 x 5 cm rectangle pan, 35 - 40 minutes
* 3 x 8" / 20cm round pans, 30 - 35 minutes
Quick way to make cake pan liner for base: take a piece of baking paper and fold in half, then quarters, then keep folding so it's a small long triangle. Line up the pointy end with the middle of the cake pan, then snip the end off at the edge of the cake pan. Unfold and voila! A near perfect round cake pan liner that fits your pan perfectly!
4. BAKING / SHELVES - If your oven is large enough for both cake pans to be on one shelf, place the shelf in the middle of the oven. If it's not large enough, put one shelf 1/3 of the way down the oven, then the next shelf below it (check to ensure cake pan fits). If cakes are on separate shelves, take out the top one at 35 minutes per recipe, then move the bottom one up to the top shelf and bake for a further 5 minutes.
5. I turn the cakes out upside down so the flat base becomes the surface used for frosting. Flat surface just looks nicer when you cut into the cake! This cake comes out pretty level, but if you want to be extra neat, feel free to level the cakes using a serrated knife.
6. EASTER DECORATIONS as pictured in post and in the Easter Recipes post: baby chicks $2, speckled chocolate eggs and shredded paper all from Woolies. Chocolate basket made as follows: blow up balloon to the size you want the basket to be, place with tied end down in a rice bowl or something it fits in. Melt baking chocolate in microwave (about 1/2 cup chips/buttons), then transfer into small ziplock bag. Snip corner, then drizzle chocolate over exposed half of balloon. Let set in fridge, then carefully release air from balloon. Voila! Chocolate basket! Fill with shredded paper, eggs and chicks.
7. STORAGE: Keeps in an airtight container for up to 5 days and is still lovely and moist. Refrigerate if frosted and it's very hot where you are. Freezing not ideal because it's such a moist cake that it makes the crumb a bit wet so while it still looks like cake, when you eat it the texture is almost like chocolate pudding cake. Still tasty, just not as cakey as it should be.
8. Nutrition is per serving, cake only, assuming 12 servings.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
LIFE OF DOZER
Dozer vs tiny toy chick.