Julia's Chocolate Cake

Whenever there's a birthday celebration in our family, I ask, "What type of cake would you like?" Honestly, asking that question is a mere matter of politeness, because we all know that the answer is a simple one -- Julia's chocolate cake. It's (just one) of her "signature recipes". And we all ask for it. Without fail. Every birthday. There are reasons for that.

Recently in our family, we were discussing the essential qualities of a good chocolate cake. First and foremost, it actually has to taste like chocolate. As obvious as that sounds, think of all the times you've eaten a flavorless chocolate cake. A good chocolate cake should not disappoint your taste buds by its flavor being overpowered by the frosting. The two should complement each other and yet hold their own -- like a good marriage. The cake should be decadently rich in chocolate flavor.

Another essential quality is that the cake be moist. As the narrow tines of your fork pierce the frosting and descend into the cake, the cake should not crumble like a sand castle poked with a stick. Rather, its rich, chocolate goodness should cling to itself and be capable of holding together all the way to your mouth.

Julia's Chocolate Cake will not disappoint! In fact, I'm pretty confident it will have your family and friends requesting it for their birthdays too! The original source of this recipe (nearly a decade ago) is unfortunately unknown to us, so if you know it, please do leave a comment and I'll happily give credit where it is due. But for now, here's the recipe for THE BEST chocolate cake:


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
3/4 c. cocoa powder
2 c. sugar
1 c. canola oil
3/4 c. brewed coffee
1 1/4 c. milk
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract

Sift together dry ingredients in mixer bowl. Add oil, coffee, and milk; mix at medium speed for one minute. Add eggs and vanilla; beat 2 more minutes. (Batter will be thin.)

Pour into two, greased and floured, 9-inch round cake pans (or two, 8-in. round cake pans and six muffin cups).

Bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cakes for 10 minutes before removing from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.

Frost with your favorite frosting.


  1. Oh my! I know that is good. And yours looks so moist. I have a similar recipe from an old Taste of Home magazine. (I think in the 1993 premier issue.) The coffee is so good-smelling to brew while adding the ingredients also. Andrea

    1. Ah...I went looking or that recipe. Very similar, but not quite the same. The search continues for the source! ;-)
      Yes, coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate!

    2. Yes, I see the only difference is 1/4 cup more coffee and that much less milk. Thet issue also had an old fashioned white sauce-based frosting. It is a shame they didn't add that, nor include the original photos. Some people say the cake recipe used to be on the box of the Hershey cocoa cans from decades ago. Keep up the yummy cooking, eating out, and home decorating to show us! Your last tutorial was very useful....that floral arrangement would cost a fortune to buy from a florist. Andrea

    3. I'm glad you've enjoyed the latest postings! And you're right...that flower arrangement would've cost a fortune.

  2. Oh, but your frosting looks so yummy! Is is a buttercream?

    1. No, we haven't quite hit on a frosting that we think is share-worthy yet. But when we do, I'll certainly pass it along!

    2. Ha! Ok, thanks for sharing.


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