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The Best Simple Chocolate Cake

The Best Simple Chocolate Cake

  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 10-12 1x
  • Category: Desserts & Sweets
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


A rich and decadent moist chocolate cake with a raspberry jam center paired with the easiest chocolate-sour cream frosting truly make this recipe the best simple chocolate cake ever!


  • 1 1/4 cups [150 g] all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup [200 g] sugar
  • 3/4 cup [75 g] Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 8 tbsp [110 g] unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup [240 ml] strong black coffee, at room temperature
  • 1 cup [240 ml] buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup [160 g] raspberry jam (seeded or seedless)
  • Frosting
  • 3/4 cup [130 g] semisweet chocolate chips or roughly chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup [180 ml] sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • *Fresh raspberries or chocolate curls (as pictured) for serving, completely optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter the bottom and sides of two 8-in cake pans, then line the bottom of each with a circle of parchment paper. For good measure, butter the parchment paper and set pans aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the melted butter, eggs, coffee, buttermilk, and vanilla and whisk until the batter is smooth. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cake pans (I used a small kitchen scale, but you can also use a measuring cup to be accurate).
  4. Bake until the cakes are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer the cakes, still in their pans, to a wire rack an let cool completely.
  5. Once cool, use a dinner knife to loosen the edges of the cakes from the pans and invert them onto your work surface (I had to give the pans a lil’ whack to get them to release from the pan). Peel and discard the parchment paper.
  6. For the frosting
  7. Melt the chocolate (in a microwave-safe bowl) in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each increment. Remove from heat and whisk in the sour cream and maple syrup. The frosting should be smooth and silky. Refrigerate the frosting until the cakes have cooled (about an hour or so). The frosting will thicken as it cools.
  8. Once cakes have cooled, put one on a serving platter upside-down so that the flat side is facing up. Spread the jam over the top. Put the second cake on top of the jam-slathered cake, again flat-side up- this way you get a nice flat top.
  9. Using a small offset spatula, spread the frosting all over the sides and top of the cake. Julia says there is no need to be perfect with this step- you can frost however you like, rustic-looking or smooth. Feel free to garnish and decorate with raspberries or however you like.
  10. Let the cake sit for about an hour before serving. I put mine back into the refrigerator overnight and served cold the next day, it was divine!
  11. Enjoy!


  1. Recipe is from Small Victories by Julia Turshen.