Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

For the best chocolate cake recipe for chocolate sheet cake (also known as Texas sheet cake), German chocolate, and even cheesecake, we will have the ultimate chocolate cake recipe in each category.

I have a couple of family favorites starting with German Chocolate. It was a favorite of my dad, my husband and now my kids. You can find a plethora of recipes for German chocolate cake, but I will share our favorite which comes from my old faithful, Betty Crocker.

If you buy a Betty Crocker, make sure you are getting one with the basics in it. So many of the newer editions have recipes that call for cake mixes. Don't get me wrong, cake mixes are wonderful, but when you want to make a homemade chocolate cake, you need a real recipe! I own the 40th Anniversary Edition and that is where the following recipe comes from.

To save time, I will frequently buy a boxed mix or even a pre-made cake (SHHH! don't tell anyone!), but the absolute best is when you take the time to make it from scratch.

German Chocolate Cake Recipe

1/2 c boiling water

1 bar (4 oz) sweet cooking chocolate (I do use German's)

2 cups sugar

1 c margarine or butter, softened (I use butter)

4 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla

2 1/4 c flour, or 2 1/2 c cake flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 c buttermilk

4 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Coconut-Pecan Frosting (below)

Heat oven to 350*/ Grease 2 square pans, 8x8x2 or 9x9x2 inches, or 3 round pans, 8x1 1/2 or 9x1 1/2 inches. Line bottoms of pans with cooking parchment paper or waxed paper.

Pour boiling water over chocolate, stirring until chocolate is melted; cool. Mix sugar and margarine in medium bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks one at a time. Beat in chocolate and vanilla on low speed. Mix flour, baking soda and salt. Add alternately with buttermilk, beating after each addition until batter is smooth. Fold in egg whites. Divide batter between pans.

Bake 8 inch squares 45-50 minutes, 9 inch squares 40-45 minutes, 8 inch rounds 35-40 minutes and 9 inch rounds 30-35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cakes 10 minutes. Invert on wire rack and cool completely. Fill layers and frost top of cake with Coconut-Pecan Frosting.

The best chocolate cake recipe for German Chocolate deserves the best frosting which is of course the Coconut-Pecan, also from Betty Crocker.

Coconut-Pecan Frosting ~

AKA, German Chocolate Cake Frosting

3 egg yolks

1 c evaporated milk

1 c sugar

1/2 c margarine or butter (again, I use butter)

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/3 c flaked coconut

1 c chopped pecans

Beat egg yolks and milk in 2 quart saucepan. Stir in sugar, butter and vanilla. Cook over medium heat about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thick. Stir in coconut and pecans. Beat until frosting is of spreading consistency.

Another all time favorite is a chocolate sheet cake, AKA, Texas sheet cake. I remember when I was growing up, this was my first 'baking experience'! If you have a young baker, let her/him make this recipe. It is a fairly simple chocolate cake recipe to follow even if there are multiple steps, and it feels like such an accomplishment when s/he is given tons of praise because it always turns out great. (Unless of course you forget to add the baking soda...true story...) ;-)

For a sheet cake, you will find that this is THE best chocolate cake recipe.

Chocolate Sheet Cake Recipe


Mix 2 c flour and 2 c sugar together in a large bowl.

In a sauce pan blend and bring to a boil:

4 T cocoa powder

2 sticks butter

1 c water

Pour hot liquid over flour/sugar mixture and blend.

Add 2 eggs, beat well, 1/2 c buttermilk, 1 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp vanilla. Bake in a large, greased and floured (Baker's Joy baking spray does wonders) sheet pan about 40 minutes at 375*.

When cake has baked 15 minutes, in the same sauce pan, (no need to wash it out) mix 1 stick butter 4 T cocoa and 6 T milk.

Bring to a boil, remove from heat and beat in 1 lb. box confectioners sugar and 1 tsp vanilla. Spread it on hot cake when it comes out of the oven. 

As the cake and frosting cool the frosting will set.

The next in line of our 'best chocolate cake recipe' is a chocolate cheese cake recipe which also happens to be a no bake cheesecake recipe. This makes such a great simple cheesecake recipe for the summer (anytime really) when you want a nice dessert but do not want to turn on the oven. Use a store bought crust to save baking one.

A friend of mine shared this recipe with me and she says that as an added bonus, you can use ANY flavor baking chips you desire like white chocolate chips, cherry, butterscotch... and any other flavorings like mint... The combinations are endless!

Right up front I have to say I haven't experimented with these ideas, but if you do let me know.

You may have cheesecake aficionados that since it isn't baked it's not a reeeaaalll cheesecake. You can then just tell them it's a cheesecake mousse and grin to yourself!  

So the best chocolate cake recipe for a no bake cheesecake is as follows:

No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe

2 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened

1 c heavy cream, whipped

1/2 c sugar

2 tsp vanilla

1 c dark chocolate chips

Mix softened cream cheese, whipped cream, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler or in the microwave then blend into the cream cheese mixture.

Pour into a prepared graham cracker crust. For the serious chocolate lover, you can use a chocolate crust or an Oreo crust. Cover and chill.

To make individual servings, place nilla wafers into the bottom of a clear disposable cup (the 9 oz size is best I think) or use some extra tea cups and fill about half way. Cover with plastic wrap and chill.

Chill at least 4 hours. I think it is best made the day before. 

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