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Homemade Chocolate Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

Jan has been cooking and writing about food for over 20 years. She has cooked on multiple television stations, including the Food Network.

My son Ricky's favorite—a luxurious chocolate cake with delectable cream cheese frosting. Our favorite chocolate cake recipe!

My son Ricky's favorite—a luxurious chocolate cake with delectable cream cheese frosting. Our favorite chocolate cake recipe!

Homemade Chocolate Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

I make all my kids' birthday cakes, and it's a house tradition that they can pick whatever they want. Ricky is the oldest, and he's asked for the same cake for years now—a perfectly chocolatey cake with cream cheese frosting.

He's particular about the chocolate part also; he loves chocolate, but not dark chocolate and not anything too fudgy. This is the perfect solution. It has a moist, rich, full chocolate flavor, but it's not too heavy on the fudgy part. True chocolate only, thank you!

The cream cheese frosting has to be just right as well. Sweet, but not too sweet, and with the full cream cheese flavor highlighted. This is also spot on. Together the cake and frosting complement each other, for the perfect combo.

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk buttermilk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 cup hot water

For the Frosting:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 x 13 inch casserole or baking dish with a neutral cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Stir in buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla, stirring after each addition to make sure ingredients are fully incorporated.
  3. In a second mixing bowl, add sugar, cake flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda. Mix thoroughly, so that the dry ingredients are well combined.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well. Add the cup of hot water, and mix well. The batter will be rather thin - that's fine.
  5. Transfer batter to the prepared baking dish. Bake at 350°F for about 40–45 minutes, or until a skewer or cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Allow cake to cool in the pan until fully cool.
  7. Meanwhile, make the frosting. In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter and sour cream together until light and fluffy. Mix in powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat until smooth.
  8. Transfer cooled cake to a serving platter by inverting the cake pan. Spread cream cheese frosting over the top of the cake and chill until serving.

Step-by-Step Photo Guide

I use whole milk, cultured buttermilk. I love the rich tang against the sweet chocolate flavor. It also helps keep the cake moist and the crumb tender.

I use whole milk, cultured buttermilk. I love the rich tang against the sweet chocolate flavor. It also helps keep the cake moist and the crumb tender.

This cake recipe uses oil instead of butter, and it's best with a simple vegetable oil. This works with the buttermilk to ensure a moist, tender texture.

This cake recipe uses oil instead of butter, and it's best with a simple vegetable oil. This works with the buttermilk to ensure a moist, tender texture.

Mix the wet ingredients.

Mix the wet ingredients.

In a separate bowl, begin mixing the dry ingredients. Start with two cups of sugar.

In a separate bowl, begin mixing the dry ingredients. Start with two cups of sugar.

This recipe calls for cake flour, rather than all purpose, for a lighter texture and crumb. If you don't have cake flour, for each cup of AP flour, remove 2 tablespoons and replace it with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.

This recipe calls for cake flour, rather than all purpose, for a lighter texture and crumb. If you don't have cake flour, for each cup of AP flour, remove 2 tablespoons and replace it with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.

Add the cocoa powder to the other dry ingredients, then stir in 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon of baking soda. You can use plain cocoa powder, don't worry about getting the more expensive Dutch-processed variety.

Add the cocoa powder to the other dry ingredients, then stir in 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon of baking soda. You can use plain cocoa powder, don't worry about getting the more expensive Dutch-processed variety.

Transfer the batter to the baking dish, and bake for 40–45 minutes at 350˚F.

Transfer the batter to the baking dish, and bake for 40–45 minutes at 350˚F.

Start with a stick of butter (1/2 cup) and 1 package (8 ounces) of cream cheese, softened to room temperature.

Start with a stick of butter (1/2 cup) and 1 package (8 ounces) of cream cheese, softened to room temperature.

Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla extract and mix well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you work, and mix until smooth. It's ready to use!

Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla extract and mix well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you work, and mix until smooth. It's ready to use!

Once cooled, spread the frosting evenly over the top of the chocolate cake. You can frost the top only, or the top and sides, whichever you prefer.

Once cooled, spread the frosting evenly over the top of the chocolate cake. You can frost the top only, or the top and sides, whichever you prefer.

Stir the dry ingredients well, until they are fully incorporated. Then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir well. Finish the batter with 1 cup of very hot water.

Stir the dry ingredients well, until they are fully incorporated. Then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir well. Finish the batter with 1 cup of very hot water.

Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with a neutral cooking spray, making sure to get a nice, heavy, even coat.

Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with a neutral cooking spray, making sure to get a nice, heavy, even coat.

See How to Make Homemade Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

© 2017 Jan Charles

Comments

Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on September 18, 2017:

Yummy! I love chocolate cake with cheese frosting. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I am sure it is so delicious.

Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on September 18, 2017:

Hi Jan, YUMMY!! I can almost taste it just looking at your pictures. Chocolate cake and cream cheese frosting is one of my favorite combinations. I will be pinning this for sure. Thanks for the recipe.

Blessings to you.