• Chocolate Cake
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder (absolutely necessary)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Chocolate Frosting
  • 1½ cups butter (3 sticks), softened
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 5 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon espresso powder

We just celebrated our friend Donovan’s 21 st birthday with a special dinner. Donovan loves fettuccini alfredo and chocolate cake. We wanted to make this birthday particularly special.

Donovan unexpectedly lost both his grandfather and his mother two weeks apart. This young man is really amazing. He is strong. He was cheerful. He was even at times funny. He was happy to be with us and grateful for the dinner. Being a part of Donovan’s special day was really an honor. The way he handled himself was truly inspiring and a real example for all of us.

When I heard that Donovan’s favorite cake was chocolate I considered making one my own recipes like my flourless chocolate cake. I visited some of my favorite bloggers like Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes, Stephanie Jaworski at Joy of Baking, Ree Drummond at The Pioneer Woman, and Robyn Stone at Add A Pinch.

After browsing through all of these sites I decided to go with Robyn’s BEST EVER Chocolate Cake. Now I’ve tried other “best ever” recipes before and I guess it is a matter of taste, but I will tell you the truth. THIS RECIPE is by far THE BEST chocolate cake recipe I have ever made. I tweaked it a bit according to my family’s taste (like all bloggers do). It’s like we just can’t leave it alone. I substituted buttermilk for the milk, added a bit more vanilla extract and then a pinch of ground cinnamon.

Robyn was correct. The espresso powder was the magical ingredient.

Everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) loved this cake. Robyn Stone hit a home-run with this one. Some went back for seconds and Donovan went home with a slice for breakfast. He doubted that it would make it to breakfast because he might devour it in the middle of the night.

I’d say he loved it.

Thanks so much to Robyn and her amazing recipe. It is definitely THE BEST chocolate cake we have ever eaten and I am now calling it a “blue-ribbon” recipe. In my opinion this cake would be given a blue ribbon for first place.


  1. Preheat your oven to 350º F.
  2. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.
  3. For the cake: Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, kosher salt and espresso powder to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk through to combine or, using your paddle attachment, stir through flour mixture until combined well.
  4. Add buttermilk, canola or vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Beat on medium-high speed for about 1 minute. Scrape down with a rubber spatula and beat one minute more to add air to your batter.
  5. Pour your cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Remove your cakes from your oven and allow them to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely.
  7. Frost cake with Chocolate Frosting.
  8. For the Chocolate Frosting: Add cocoa to a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Whisk through to remove any lumps.
  9. Cream together your softened butter and cocoa powder until well-combined.
  10. Add sugar and milk to cocoa mixture by adding 1 cup of sugar followed by about a tablespoon of milk. After each addition has been combined, turn mixer onto a high speed for about a minute. Repeat until all sugar and milk have been added.
  11. Add vanilla extract and espresso powder and combine well.
  12. If frosting appears too dry, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. If it appears to wet and does not hold its form, add more confectioner’s sugar, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. Just remember you can always add, but you can’t take away.

To date this is my all-time favorite chocolate cake. Thank you, Robyn!