Tolono, Ill. (WCIA)

It’s always a good day for cake, and young baker Vivian Shunk from Tolono is making sure of that. In today’s CI Kitchen, we welcome Vivian as our guest chef, sharing her mouthwatering recipe for Moist Chocolate Cake. Get ready to indulge your sweet tooth!

This recipe is versatile, allowing you to make a 9×13-inch sheet cake, two 9-inch round layer cakes, three 8-inch round layer cakes, or approximately 24 cupcakes. The preparation time is around 20 minutes, and the baking time varies depending on your choice of pan—45 minutes for a sheet cake, 30 minutes for cake layers, or 25 minutes for cupcakes.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients for the Cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
2 ½ cups granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk, at room temperature
¾ cup neutral oil
1 ½ cup VERY HOT coffee or water

Ingredients for the Chocolate Buttercream:

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
¾ cup cocoa powder
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
About ¼ cup milk


  1. Begin by taking the eggs out of the refrigerator at least 1 hour before making the cake and let the milk come to room temperature.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and position the oven rack in the center. Prepare your baking pan by greasing it with non-stick spray and lining it with parchment paper. For cupcakes, use paper liners.
  3. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Add the oil to the mixing bowl and mix on medium speed for about 1 minute until well combined.
  5. Incorporate the eggs and vanilla extract into the bowl, mixing on medium speed until fully combined.
  6. While the mixer is running, slowly pour in the milk and then the hot coffee or water.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. The baking time will vary depending on your chosen pan—35-45 minutes for a sheet cake, 25-30 minutes for layer cakes, and 18-25 minutes for cupcakes. The cakes are done when a cake tester comes out clean.
  8. Allow the cakes to cool completely on a cooling rack before removing them from the pan and frosting.

Vivian’s Tip: For an extra moist cake, wrap it up in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer overnight. It will stay incredibly moist but may crumble more easily.

To make the Chocolate Buttercream:

  1. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the unsalted butter until creamy.
  2. Gradually add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder, mixing on low speed until fully incorporated.
  3. Stir in the salt and vanilla extract.
  4. Slowly add the milk, a little at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. You may not need the entire ¼ cup.
  5. Once your cakes have cooled, you can frost them with the delectable chocolate buttercream. Spread it generously between layers or on top of the sheet cake, or pipe it onto cupcakes for an elegant finish.

Now, it’s time to treat yourself to a slice of Vivian Shunk’s Moist Chocolate Cake!