I love a moist cake; and this recipe is a delicious and perfectly moist chocolate cake! This is the cake you make when you’re in dire need of a chocolate fix. 3 moist cake layers are enveloped in a fluffy, whipped chocolate buttercream frosting; it’s sheer perfection!

I like to think of this cake as the epitome of “chocolate birthday cake”! The crumb texture is light, not crumbly. It has a strong yet pleasant chocolate flavor; and last but not least, this cake is really moist.

A slice of moist chocolate cake being removed from a large cake.

This is my second chocolate cake recipe on the blog. The differences between the two cakes are with the fat used. The first one found here uses butter for the fat.

The recipe I’m sharing with you today uses oil. Cakes made with oil are more moist than cakes made without oil.

A three layer moist chocolate cake recipe against a black background.

How to make moist chocolate cake

  1. Grease cake pans and preheat the oven. You’ll need 3 – 8″ inch round cake pans. Either grease and flour the pans, OR use cooking spray that contains flour. If using cooking spray, use Baker’s Joy. It’s the best and only cooking spray I use when making cakes. Often times I’ll do double duty and grease and flour AND spray my pans. I want to ensure no sticking takes place.
  2. Mix dry ingredients. In a medium bowl whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Mix wet ingredients. Using a stand mixer (or hand beaters), mix the eggs, buttermilk, and vegetable oil until combined. Add the dry ingredients to the stand mixer and mix until combined. Then add the vanilla and hot water. Mix until fully incorporated.
  4. Divide batter. Divide the batter evenly amongst the 3 cake pans. I use a kitchen scale so that I can ensure each pan has the same amount of batter in it.
  5. Bake. Bake the cakes for 30-33 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs, but no wet batter. Remove the cakes from the oven.
  6. Cool. Let the cakes cool in the cake pans for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the pans and let them continue to cool on a cooling rack until just warm.
    1. Bakers Tip: at this point you can either let the cakes cool COMPLETELY before frosting, or you can wrap each cake layer in plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator. Personally, I find it easier to frost a chilled cake, so I wrap my cakes and let them chill for a few hours. This isn’t necessary, you can definitely frost a room temperature cake if you’d like.
  7. Frost the cake. Similar to my chocolate buttercream recipe, make the frosting. (See recipe card for directions).

A 3 layer moist chocolate cake, on a plate.

How to frost the cake

To frost the cake, place a cake layer on a cake stand, spread a little less than a 1/4 of the frosting on top of the cake in an even layer.

Place the second cake round on top of the frosted cake round, continue by spreading an additional 1/4 of the frosting over the cake. Place the last cake round on top of the frosting. Use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides of the cakes.

How to store chocolate cake

Chocolate cake will store in the refrigerator for 1 week. To properly store a chocolate cake you must wrap it in foil or plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.

You can keep this cake at room temperature if you’d like. However, the cake will only keep for 2 days at room temperature. I always advise to store cakes in the fridge if the frosting has any store of dairy in it.

A fork cutting into a 3 layer chocolate cake.

If you like this chocolate recipe, here are some reader favorites (chocolate edition):

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Moist Chocolate Cake

The epitome of "perfect chocolate cake."
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Cool Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 20 mins
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients
 

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs - at room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot water

Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cups butter - room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 oz semi sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 300°F. Grease and flour and spray 3 – 8 inch round cake pans. I use shortening to grease then dust the pans with flour. THEN I'll spray the pans with a cooking spray that contains flour. (VERY important you use a cooking spray that contains flour). This is a bit over the top when greasing pans, but this is what I do and I never having a cake that sticks.
  • In a medium bowl whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. 
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment mix the eggs, buttermilk, and veg oil until combined. 
  • Add the dry ingredients to the stand mixer and mix until combined. Pour in the vanilla and hot water, mix on medium speed until combined. 
  • Divide batter evenly between the cake pans and bake for 30-33 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs but no wet batter.
  • Remove cakes from the oven and and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the cake pans and allow cakes to cool on a cooling rack until just warm. (See note #1).
  • To frost the cake, place a cake layer on a cake stand, spread a little less than a 1/4 of the frosting on top of the cake in an even layer. Place the second cake round on top of the frosted cake round, continue by spreading an additional 1/4 of the frosting over the cake. Place the last cake round on top of the frosting. Use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides of the cakes.

Frosting

  • Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes. 
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the butter on medium high speed for 4-5 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and slowly add the powdered sugar. Once the powdered sugar is mixed in, add the vanilla. Beat for 30 seconds. 
  • Pour in the melted chocolate and beat on medium high speed for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl so that everything is evenly incorporated. Add the heavy cream and beat for another minute.

Notes

This frosting recipe is slightly different from my chocolate buttercream recipe, both are equally as delicious. The recipe noted in this recipe card will produce a lighter colored frosting due to whipping the butter for so long. 
Note #1: at this point you can either let the cakes cool COMPLETELY before frosting, or you can wrap each cake layer in plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator. Personally, I find it easier to frost a chilled cake, so I wrap my cakes and let them chill for a few hours. This isn't necessary, you can definitely frost a room temperature cake if you'd like.
Recipe adapted from Live Love and Sugar

Nutrition

Calories: 707kcal (35%)Carbohydrates: 101g (34%)Protein: 6g (12%)Fat: 33g (51%)Saturated Fat: 21g (105%)Cholesterol: 101mg (34%)Sodium: 618mg (26%)Potassium: 248mg (7%)Fiber: 3g (12%)Sugar: 79g (88%)Vitamin A: 819IU (16%)Calcium: 61mg (6%)Iron: 3mg (17%)
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
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