Celebrate national chocolate cake day with this cake-tastic recipe


Hannah Mathew

Freshly baked mini chocolate cakes sit on my dining room table on Jan. 25. My recipe for this cake was perfected earlier this year.

Chocolate cake is by far one of my favorite things to make. Some of my fondest memories are with this cake, and every time I bake one, the nostalgia is automatic. This particular recipe is formed from a hodgepodge of online recipes from my COVID-19 baking spree, with ratios that have been fitted into what my family and I see as the quintessential chocolate cake. The ingredients are easily substitutable if necessary, and it’s full of basic kitchen essentials — perfect for a sweet treat to commemorate national chocolate cake day on Jan. 27.

This recipe is special to me as it is a product of a lot of work. When quarantine started, I was really unproductive and often spent hours scrolling through my phone. Baking gave me an outlet to do something for other people – something I enjoyed. I had always wanted to learn to make a cake from scratch, and this chocolate cake was a golden opportunity.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder (or instant coffee powder)
  • 1 cup milk or buttermilk 
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl first (flour/sugar/baking soda/baking powder/salt/espresso/unsweetened cocoa powder)
  • Slowly add in the wet ingredients one by one (buttermilk/vegetable oil/eggs/vanilla extract/water)
  • After all ingredients are mixed into a liquid-like consistency, pour into a well-buttered cake pan 
  • Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a testing stick comes out cleanly


  • A large cake (7 x 7 pan)
  • 28-32 cupcakes