Back-of-the-Box Hershey's Chocolate Cake


A rich super moist chocolate cake with a chocolate buttercream frosting. This is the best cake in the world!

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hr
1 (4-layer) 9-inch cake

There's nothing like a good ol' back-of-the-box recipe. This recipe for Hershey's chocolate cake can be found on the baking aisle of any grocery store (specifically, on the label of the brand's signature unsweetened cocoa powder).

The iconic chocolate cake recipe was shared on Allrecipes more than 20 years ago, and has since earned almost 3,000 rave reviews and ratings. It's not hard to see why it's beloved by the Allrecipes community: Hershey's chocolate cake is incredibly indulgent, yet incredibly easy to make with basic ingredients. Try it today to see what all the fuss is about!

History of Hershey's Chocolate Cake

The original Hershey's chocolate cake, which was made with six candy bars, was developed post-World War II. Americans loved the recipe because it celebrated the end of food shortages and, thus, the end of the war years.

When you hear the phrase "Hershey's chocolate cake" these days, you'll likely think of Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake — the recipe found on the back of the brand's unsweetened cocoa powder box.

Hershey's Chocolate Cake Ingredients

You probably already have all the ingredients you'll need to make this rich chocolate cake. If not, here's what to put on your grocery list:

Two cups of white sugar add the perfect amount of sweetness, while locking in the moisture from the other ingredients.

All-purpose flour provides structure, acts as a thickening agent, and helps build the fluffy texture.

Cocoa Powder
Of course, you'll want to use Hershey's brand unsweetened cocoa powder for this one. It adds the rich, indulgent flavor you know and love.

Baking powder and baking soda act as leaveners, which means they cause the batter to expand and give the cake a perfect rise.

Just a teaspoon of salt is all you'll need to add complexity and highlight the other flavors. It might not seem like a lot, but you'll definitely miss the salt if you skip it.

Whole eggs affect the cake in a number of ways: They provide structure, add moisture, lend flavor, and contribute to a tender texture.

Whole milk adds moisture and helps the batter come together smoothly.

Vegetable oil ensures your cake will never be dry.

Two teaspoons of vanilla extract add complex flavor and bring out the flavors of the other ingredients, such as the cocoa powder.

Boiling Water
You might be wondering why this recipe calls for a cup of boiling water. It intensifies the chocolatey flavor, contributes to the fluffy texture, and reacts with the leaveners to create an even higher rise.

Hershey's Chocolate Cake Frosting

So what about the frosting? Well, the frosting featured in this recipe is slightly different from the official Hersheyland's "Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Frosting" — it calls for a bit more butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and milk.

You'll need the same ingredients for both frostings, though: Butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, confectioners' sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. You can adjust the amounts to suit your taste, of course.

How to Make Hershey's Chocolate Cake

You'll find the full, step-by-step recipe below — but here's a brief overview of what you can expect when you make this classic Hershey's chocolate cake.

Make the Batter

Stir together the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the wet ingredients and beat with an electric mixer for about three minutes. Stir in the boiling water by hand.

Bake the Cake

Pour the batter into two prepared cake pans. Bake in a preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool slightly before removing from the pans.

Frost the Cake

While the cake finishes cooling to room temperature, make the frosting: Cream the butter, stir in the cocoa and confectioners' sugar alternately with the milk and vanilla, and beat until it's smooth and spreadable.

When the cake is completely cooled, top each layer with the frosting. Stack them and continue frosting until the cake is completely covered.

Learn more: How to Frost a Cake

How to Store Hershey's Chocolate Cake

Back-of-the-Box Hershey's Chocolate Cake
Kortni Seeliger

Since this cake is frosted with buttercream instead of a cream cheese frosting, it will last (whole and covered) at room temperature for up to five days. If you've cut the cake, it won't last quite as long — maybe four days. Cutting the cake introduces air, which contributes to drying.

If your cake becomes slightly dry before the four to five days are up, that's OK! Just use the leftovers to make Cake Balls.

Learn more: How to Store a Frosted Cake

Can You Freeze Hershey's Chocolate Cake?

Yes, you can freeze frosted or unfrosted Hershey's chocolate cake.

To freeze unfrosted cake: Wrap the cooled layers individually in one layer of plastic wrap, followed by a layer of aluminum foil (double wrapping offers extra protection from freezer burn). Freeze the layers for up to three months.

To freeze frosted cake: Place the frosted cake in the freezer, uncovered, for about three hours to allow it to freeze solid. When it's completely frozen, wrap it in a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of aluminum foil, just like you would an unfrosted cake. Freeze for up to three months.

Thaw the frozen cake in the fridge overnight. Keep it in its wrapping to prevent sogginess.

Learn more: How to Freeze Cake

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"Super easy to make and fluffy and moist," according to jbain. "Will not buy boxed cake mix anymore. I only used 1 1/2 cups of sugar to cut down on the sweetness. I layered it in the middle with chocolate pudding then frosted the outside. I think I will use hot coffee next time to enhance the chocolate taste."

"I've made this cake a dozen times and it is perfect each time," says Jolene Marrone. "I get many compliments on it. This cake recipe also pairs nicely with peanut butter frosting, my boys' favorite birthday cake choice."

"Awesome chocolate cake," raves Crystal Caldwell. "Very moist and dense! This will be my go to chocolate cake recipe from now on!!!"

Editorial contributions by Corey Williams



  • 2 cups white sugar

  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 cup milk

  • ½ cup vegetable oil

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1 cup boiling water


  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 5 ⅓ cups confectioners' sugar

  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder

  • cup milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.

  2. Make cake: Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

    Sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  3. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla; mix for 3 minutes with an electric mixer. Stir in boiling water by hand.

    Eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla in chocolate mixture.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

    Boiling water added to mixture.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  4. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.

    Mixtures in prepared pans.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  5. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to cool completely.

    Baked cake layers.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  6. While cakes cool, make frosting: Cream butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in confectioners' sugar and cocoa alternately with milk and vanilla. Beat to a smooth spreading consistency.

    Frosting in mixing bowl.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  7. Split the layers of the cooled cake horizontally, cover the top of each layer with frosting, then stack them onto a serving plate.

    Cake layers split horizontally

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

    Frosting spread atop layers.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  8. Frost the outside of the cake with remaining frosting.

    Cake frosting on sides of baked layers.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  9. Enjoy!

    close up view of Back-of-the-Box Hershey's Chocolate Cake with chocolate icing on a white platter


Nutrition Facts (per serving)

655 Calories
25g Fat
111g Carbs
7g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 655
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 25g 32%
Saturated Fat 11g 53%
Cholesterol 64mg 21%
Sodium 524mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 111g 40%
Dietary Fiber 6g 21%
Total Sugars 88g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 106mg 8%
Iron 3mg 18%
Potassium 334mg 7%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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