Chocolate Cake From Scratch

How to make a chocolate cake from scratch

Sometimes I think it’s a shame that cake mixes were ever invented. Cake mixes are seen as time savers, but often the only time they really save you is not measuring a few ingredients like flour, sugar, and baking soda.  That’s a little task that only takes a brief minute or two!

For most cake mixes, you’ll still get out your mixing bowls and beaters, you’ll add the eggs, and usually some oil and water.  It’s not that much different than making the cake from scratch.

In fact I read recently that early cake mixes were designed so you only needed to add water — and nobody was buying them.  The manufacturers discovered it made cooks feel rather useless.  So cake mixes were re-designed so you needed to add some eggs or oil or something, just so it felt like you were really cooking something up in the kitchen.

Yes, we want to feel like we’re making our own stuff!

Enough time has gone by and cake mixes have become such a part of the culture, that many cooks have lost the knowledge of how to make their own cake from scratch.  The time convenience now might be more about not having the time to scour the internet for a scratch recipe.

How to make a chocolate cake from scratch

But if you are indeed on the search for a way to make a cake from scratch, here’s an option for a chocolate cake that’s easy to do.  It uses basic ingredients that you’re likely to always have on hand, it goes together almost as quickly as any cake mix, and tastes great too!

Here’s how to do it:

Homemade Chocolate Cake From Scratch


  • 1-3/4 cups Flour
  • 2/3 cups Cocoa Powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup Butter (1 stick) – softened
  • 1-1/4 cups Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1-1/2 cups Milk

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium size mixing bowl and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer, and then mix in the eggs and the vanilla.

How to make a chocolate cake from scratch

Next, gradually mix in the dry ingredients and the milk, alternating between the two.  Once all the dry ingredients and milk have been added, beat with your electric mixer on high speed for a couple more minutes.

How to make a chocolate cake from scratch

Pour the batter into a greased 9×13 pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Let cool and frost as desired.

Bonus:  One of the ways I’ve used this recipe was to create a little smash cake for my grandson’s one year old birthday.  Here’s the link to read more:  One Year Old Birthday Party Smash Cake

One year old birthday party smash cake



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  1. I agree it does not take much longer to bake from scratch. Since I rarely bake I usually don’t have at least half of the ingredients. I have ended up tossing out a lot of stuff when i opted to buy everything needed to bake from scratch because it reached or passed tthe expiration date. If I get the urge for a chocolate cake I will usually buy a Jiffy mix, but your recipe would work too if I had everything on hand.

    1. That’s a valid point Margo that if you don’t often cook or bake, you might not have the things you need on hand and it might be more cost effective to just buy the mix. For someone like me who likes to make things in the kitchen, I usually have all the supplies on hand.