Recipe for Homemade Chocolate Cake from Scratch

Is there a difference between homemade chocolate cake from scratch and boxed chocolate cake mix?  Why yes, yes there is!  I had no idea there was a difference until I met my husband who adores his mother’s homemade chocolate cake and insists I make her recipe for him at each of his birthdays.  He turns his nose up at store bought boxed cake mixes, and to tell you the truth, I kind of do now too!

homemade chocolate cake from scratch |

Today is Valentine’s Day, and I didn’t get my husband a card or a box of chocolates, or whatever it is that you are supposed to get your husband on Valentine’s Day, but I did make him his favourite cake.

homemade chocolate cake from scratch |

It’s really not hard to make homemade chocolate cake from scratch, and it doesn’t take a whole lot longer than boxed cake mixes.  At least you know all the ingredients going into it are fresh and there are no chemical preservatives or ingredients you can’t pronounce.

Best of all, it turns out exactly like a boxed cake mix, except it tastes way better, it’s fresher and you get to feel like Martha Stewart for baking a cake from scratch!

Homemade Chocolate Cake from Scratch Recipe


  • 1 3/4 cups Flour
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup Canola Oil
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 cup Boiling water (must be boiled)
1. Mix all the dry ingredients together, then add the eggs, oil, vanilla, and milk.
2. Beat for at least 2-3 minutes
3. Stir in the hot water starting with a little at a time, then add the remainder.  The cake batter will be “soupy”, but don’t worry.
4. Pour into two greased 9″ cake pans.
5. Bake at 350F until done, approximately 45 minutes (or if you have a different sized pan, wait until sides pull away from the edge and use the toothpick test)
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You can use your favourite frosting, but we beat together:

  • 1 package instant pudding (chocolate or vanilla)
  • 1 envelope of Dream whip
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk
(I know, I know, the icing isn’t exactly from scratch, but I haven’t learned how to make my own icing yet!)
A special thank you to my mother-in-law for sharing this family favourite recipe!
homemade chocolate cake from scratch |
 Do you want to learn even more about making homemade chocolate cake?  Check out the Decadent Chocolate Cakes online cooking class at!

PS - Here's a list of my favourite link parties.

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  • noora

    I made this cake for my colleague’s birthday and everyone loved it. Thanks for your recipe. I’m going to make this alot from now on

  • Fran

    I made some substitutions–used whole wheat pastry flour–removed 1 tbsp. cocoa and added 1 tbsp. cinnamon and put 1 1/2 c. sugar instead of 2c. This was the moistest–best stating cake from scratch I ever made in my over 40 yrs of baking.

  • Stace

    With the ingredients listed, how big of a cake does this make?

    • Debbie @ One Little Project

      It makes enough for two 9″ cake pans or 24 cupcakes. So put together, it’s a two layer 9″ round cake. It’s exactly the same size as you’d get from a boxed cake mix.

  • Tara

    So a couple of questions…is it all purpose flour or cake flour? And can you use vegetable oil instead of canola oil?

    • Debbie @ One Little Project

      I use all purpose flour. And making it with vegetable oil should be just fine. I hope that helps! :)