My Favorite Chocolate Cake And Cake Anxiety

Sometimes you need a cake that is fancy.  Sometimes you need a cake that is unique.  Sometimes you need a cake that wows.   And sometimes you just need a cake that is simple, delicious and timeless.

This cake is my favorite chocolate cake recipe – it falls into the simple, delicious and timeless category.   It’s crazy moist and super chocolatey and never lets me down.   The recipe comes from a trusted baking friend of mine, the side of the Hershey’s Cocoa can.    This weekend I needed a cake for a family dinner to celebrate my baby brother’s 16th Birthday – and 16 year old boys don’t really want fondant or beautiful buttercream roses, so straight up chocolate fit the bill perfectly.    This is an easy cake to make, though one part of it always throws me for a loop, so let me walk you through…   

Hershey’s Deep Dark Chocolate Cake
recipe adapted from Hershey’s Kitchens where you can print a copy of this recipe


2 cups sugar
1 & 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup Hershey’s Cocoa or Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa  (I use half of each cocoa)2 eggs
1 cup milk (I use buttermilk)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water


Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round pans or one 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl.

Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of electric mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).

Let’s talk about the part that throws me through a loop – adding a cup of boiling water.   The first time I made this recipe, I had this lovely cake batter and then poured in a cup of boiling water and created chocolate soup.  I was certain I had screwed up.  I was certain the cake wouldn’t turn out.  I was certain I should just eat the bowl full of frosting to help with my cake misery.   But it turns out that chocolate soup bakes up into a deliciously moist cake – so have faith and add the water.   It has a fairy tale ending and lives happily ever after.

Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. (Cake may be left in rectangular pan, if desired.)

This is the part where I always get nervous.  Getting those cakes out of those pans and onto a plate in as close to one piece as possible stresses me out.  I admit I have layer cake anxiety.   Post traumatic stress disorder from cakes past that didn’t come out of the pan all that well, or, well, at all.   I grew up using cake pans likes these, and I really should hunt some down – those suckers made sure that the cake was coming out of the pan.   I put wax paper in the bottoms of my pans (cut to fit – well, cut to somewhat kinda remotely fit) and I grease the living daylights out of them.     And if I’m lucky…

Yay – the cake came out of the pan.  All of it!   Woohoo!  I jump for joy and celebrate with a big spoonful of frosting!    Speaking of frosting…  I LOVE this chocolate frosting.  I have no problem using box cake mixes, but I try to always go with homemade frosting – for me it makes all the difference.


6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
2-2/3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
I also add a teaspoon of salt (as I do to all frosting) as I like cutting the sweetness a bit with the salt.

Beat butter in medium bowl. Add powdered sugar and cocoa alternately with milk, beating to spreading consistency (additional milk may be needed). Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

Now let’s talk about the other thing about cakes that causes me great anxiety.  Frosting.

I can admit there are some things in life I’m just not that great at like…  planning for and actually cooking dinners, managing my toddler’s temper tantrums in public without breaking out into a sweat and wanting to crawl into a hole, ironing clothing (or remembering where I keep the iron), keeping my sarcasm in check around ridiculous people or situations and frosting or decorating cakes.   Wilton will not be asking me to do a cake decorating tutorial ANYTIME soon.  I basically slop on frosting and cover with sprinkles.  I’ve accepted this, and will happily serve my poorly decorated cakes to those who can also accept this.

Frosting + Sprinkles = Good enough!

Simple and delicious.


  1. says

    I think this cake looks awesome – I definitely couldn’t do as good a job with the frosting! I love how chocolatey this cake and frosting is, I would absolutely love to dive in!

  2. says

    New follower. Lovely blog, very pretty design. Am loving on this cake big time. I haven’t been feeling well and this makes me want to wander back into the kitchen again. Gorgeous.

  3. Pam says

    Great job! chocolate cake is delicious no matter what it looks like haha

    Regarding your cake removal anxiety… try using parchment paper instead of wax paper to line your pans. The wax on wax paper melts during baking time which may be why you have “sticking” issues when it comes time to remove the cake.
    Nothing sticks to parchment and it is quite sturdy. I find it helps in lifting the cake and keeping it from crumbling before assembly.
    Hope that helps :)

  4. Corey Organic says

    This looks so good. I don’t think there is anything better in this world than sitting down with a piece of chocolate cake! I can’t wait to make it.

  5. says

    I used to have every cake I baked stick to the pan until I started using Baker’s Joy. It is a spray that is oil and flour, but, for some reason it is just perfect and nothing sticks. I won’t bake if I am out of it.

  6. says

    Chocolate cake is my all time favorite especially those that don’t stick on your teeth. From the looks of it, this one does not. Thanks for the recipe. Will surely try this one out.

  7. J.L. says

    you forgot to list the eggs in the ingredients list… glad I caught this before I started, could have been disastrous!

  8. alison says

    This is also my fave Choc cake recipe! I never liked chocolate cake much before I made this one. However, the one thing I do differently is that I use coffee instead of boiling water–supposed to bring out the chocolate flavor I guess. Mmmmmm.

  9. lola@cuppycake says

    amaaazing the best thing about your site is that its so appealing and easy available recipes there :) 😉 <3

  10. jamie says

    Looks delicious, thinking of making this for mother’s day! For the frosting did you use salted or unsalted butter?

    THanks for all the great recipes!

    • says

      Jamie, I typically always use salted, but for me that is 100% a matter of personal taste. I love the combo of salty sweet, so I will always go the salted route. But by no means do you have to, unsalted would work just as well.

  11. linsey says

    Thanks! It tasted great and my family love it! I even tried that frosting recipie. It wasn’t my favorite but it was a big hit with everyone else. Very impressive!

  12. says

    I’m making it now for my husband’s birthday. Excited to see how it turns out! EDIT for blog owner…. make sure you add 2 eggs into the list of ingredients. It’s in the photo but not on in the text.

  13. Kate says

    I have this in the oven right now but the batter poured right over the tops of my pans and onto the oven floor. I only filled them halfway. Is this normal?

    • says

      Courtney, I’ve yet to meet a cake recipe that can’t be used as cupcakes, really it’s the same thing just baked in different size pans. That said, this is a VERY runny cake batter, so it wouldn’t be my first choice for cupcakes from a messiness standpoint in filling the cups. I think it would bake up just fine, it’s just a runny batter to work with.

  14. Elise says

    Someone else mentioned this, but I’m not sure you saw it. You forgot to include the 2 eggs in the ingredient list. They are shown in the photo and you mention them in the directions but I had to double check because I was unsure as I made the recipe going down the ingredient list because I was surprised that a cake had no eggs. Just wanted to point it out again since it’s been a while since your original post. My cake is in the oven (with eggs included!) right this very minute!

    • Sarah says

      YES. Mine was terribly runny, and adding more powdered sugar didn’t help :(
      Any advice Christi?

      • says

        Sarah, what was running, the frosting or the cake batter? The cake batter for this recipe is SUPER liquidy, it always freaks me out. And as far as frosting goes, I’ve yet to meet a frosting that more (sometimes a lot more) powdered sugar didn’t fix. Also, if it was the frosting, was the butter soft or melted?

  15. KElsi says

    I’ve got the cake in the oven right now! I tasted some of the batter/soup lol and it is SO GOOD! can’t wait to taste the cake!!! I am SO happy you mentioned the part about the cake batter turning to soup, otherwise I would have hugely freaked out!! lol Thank you for the recipe!! ^-^

  16. DeeDee says

    Yum!!! This cake was awesome. Second time around I subbed a cup of hot coffee for the boiling water and threw a shot of Kahlua in the frosting. Caffeinated and alcoholic. :)


  1. […] This cake is hardcore when it comes to chocolate.  But it’s also incredibly easy to make.  We are talking as simple as a cake mix (seriously, it is).   I honestly don’t make many cakes from scratch.   Cake mixes are great and so easy to doctor, that I usually go that route.  But this is a variation on one of my all time favorite, easy to make, homemade chocolate cake recipes from Hershey’s.   I’ve made it before, without the coffee, and you can see that post and my how to photos here. […]

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