Milk Chocolate Cake

This chocolate cake uses butter for flavor and a bit of oil for a never-fail moist crumb. It's more of a milk chocolate flavor, rather than dark chocolate flavor, without being overly sweet.
YIELD: one 9" x 13" cake, two 9" round layers, or three 8" round layers
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Course Dessert
Servings 16 people


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 269 g
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa 64 g
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar 354 g
  • 8 tablespoons butter 113 g (room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil 64 g
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup coffee
  • 4 large eggs


  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease and flour your choice of pans: one 9" x 13" pan, two 9" round pans, or three 8" round pans.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa, and sugar into a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the butter and mix at low speed for 1 minute. With the mixer running, add the oil and continue mixing until the mixture looks sandy, about 30 seconds more.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the vanilla with the milk and coffee, and add all at once to the dry ingredients. Mix for 1 minute at low speed, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then mix for 30 seconds more.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating well at medium-high speed between additions.
  • Scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl, and mix for 30 seconds more. The batter will be thin.
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared pan(s) of your choice. Smooth out the tops of the layers with an offset spatula.
  • Bake for 34 minutes for a 9″ x 13″ pan, 28 to 30 minutes for 9″ layers, and 24 to 26 minutes for 8″ layers.
  • The cake is done when the top springs back when very lightly touched in the center, and the edges just begin to pull away from the edge of the pan. A cake tester inserted in the center will come out clean.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and let cool completely in the pan(s) on a rack before turning out of the pans to frost.


Cake layers can be wrapped and frozen for up to a month before frosting.
The volume of this batter is 5 3/4 cups. It will rise quite a bit during baking. The weight of the batter is 3 pounds, 1 ounce. If you’re weighing out layers, put 1 pound, 8 1/2 ounces in each 9″ layer, or 1 pound in each 8″ layer.
We’ve tested this cake with natural unsweetened cocoa, and with Dutch-process; both work well. The Dutch-process cake will be darker in color and slightly less sweet.