Hershey’s Chocolate Cake is absolutely the best chocolate cake there is! Cocoa gives it a rich chocolate flavor, and it’s never dry! Cover with my chocolate cream cheese icing, and you’ll have your guests coming back for seconds!

A slice of hershey's chocolate cake on a white plate.

My birthday cake request has always been chocolate, and the more, the better. I want a deep chocolate cake with creamy chocolate frosting.

My mother always used the Hershey’s chocolate cake recipe from a small, paperback Hershey’s Cocoa Cookbook, which I still have.

That recipe hasn’t changed much, and it’s the basis for this recipe—and I still think it’s the best chocolate cake EVER! (although my favorite cake in the whole world is my Granny’s Chocolate Sheet Cake!)

You can grab a copy of the old Hershey’s Cocoa Cookbook here! In addition to this chocolate cake, the cookbook also features the best brownie recipe.

Why you’ll love this Hershey’s chocolate cake recipe

As much as I love it, I rarely order chocolate cake in restaurants. Even the best restaurants usually serve a slightly dry chocolate cake, and I cannot stand that.

So I adapted the Hershey’s Chocolate Cake recipe to include vegetable oil and butter as well as an extra egg yolk to ensure the cake is moist and tender and not at all dry.

What I love about this cake is that it’s so easy. Although throwing everything in one bowl to mix up a cake seems a little counter-intuitive to the precise nature of cake-making, it works so well for this cake that I don’t know why we don’t use this method for every cake!

It’s literally all made in one bowl. <<<<<<——-

This Hershey’s Chocolate Cake is so easy that you almost cannot mess it up.

Hershey’s chocolate cake ingredients

  • Sugar
  • All-purpose flour
  • Hershey’s cocoa – just regular cocoa, not the special dark
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Eggs and egg yolk
  • Half-and-half
  • Vegetable oil
  • Unsalted butter
  • Vanilla extract
  • Boiling water
  • Used coffee groundstrust me!

How to make Hershey’s chocolate cake

  1. Start by stirring together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and then adding the wet: eggs, milk, oil, butter, and vanilla.
  2. Then, stir in boiling water that has been poured over wet coffee grinds. This does not make the cake taste like coffee, I promise. What it does is similar to what salt does to soups or any food.
  3. The small amount of coffee derived from pouring water over the coffee grinds simply elevates and brings out the chocolate. Try it—I promise it’s good!

Chocolate frosted cake on a white cake stand.

How to store Hershey’s chocolate cake

No need to refrigerate the cake! You can store the Hershey’s chocolate cake in an airtight container right on the counter. (If you’ve used cream cheese frosting, then you should store the cake in the refrigerator.)

I suggest frosting this chocolate cake with my favorite Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting or Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. Enjoy!

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4.60 from 5 votes

Hershey’s Cake Recipe

The best chocolate cake made with Hershey’s cocoa is a full-flavored chocolate layer cake with a chocolate cream cheese frosting! And it’s one-bowl easy!
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
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  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Hershey’s cocoa
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ¾ cup half-and-half
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Used coffee grounds


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round baking pans and line with parchment paper. Butter and flour the parchment paper.
  • Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl of stand mixer. Add eggs, half-and-half, 1/4 cup water, oil, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed of mixer for a minute or two, scraping down the sides every few seconds, then add the softened butter. Beat on medium to medium-high speed of mixer until well blended. Scrape the sides and mix well. Note: The butter will not be completely mixed in until you pour in the boiling water in the next step, so for now you will still see pieces of butter. Just get it as well-blended here as you can. 
  • Place used coffee grounds in a fine mesh strainer set over a measuring cup. Pour boiling water over coffee grounds to 1 cup mark. Stir coffee-water into cake batter. Pour batter (batter will be thin) into prepared pans.
  • Bake 30-35 minutes or until tester inserted in center comes out clean. Remove pans from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pans to wire racks and cool completely. 


The original recipe calls for 1 cup of milk, which I rarely have. I do always have half-and-half for our coffee though so I substituted 3/4 cup of half-and-half mixed with 1/4 cup of water. I’m so pleased with the moistness and texture of the cake that I don’t plan to use regular milk and will stay with this combination, but if you only have milk that will probably be just fine. I would only use whole milk though, not low-fat.


Serving: 12servings, Calories: 405kcal, Carbohydrates: 54g, Protein: 5g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Cholesterol: 72mg, Sodium: 419mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 33g
Course: Cakes
Cuisine: American
Calories: 405
Keyword: best chocolate cake
Love this recipe?Mention @southernfoodandfun or tag #southernfoodandfun!

Recipe adapted from Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake and Hershey’s Old-fashioned Chocolate Cake.

Update Notes: This post for Hershey’s Chocolate Cake was originally published October 26, 2016, and on October 6, 2021, was updated with one or more of the following: step-by-step photos, video, updated recipe, new tips.

Lucy standing behind a counter with a cheese board and glass of wine.

About the author

Hi, I’m Lucy! I’m a home cook, writer, food and wine fanatic, and recipe developer. I’ve created and tested hundreds of recipes so that I can bring you the best tried and true favorites.

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4.60 from 5 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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  1. Wouldn’t 1 cup of buttermilk work?
    I also use espresso powder in most chocolate recipes. (Can dry used grounds, ground fine and add directly, and so skip the straining)
    I just made a chocolate zucchini loaf so I’ll make the next time we need a chocolate binge!

    1. I haven’t tested this cake with buttermilk, so I can’t say for sure. Espresso powder is good but you would still need to add the water.