Tips for success:
The first time you make any recipe, read through it a few times before starting and make it exactly as written - baking is science.
Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature
When measuring flour always fluff the flour up with a whisk or spoon and then spoon into your measuring cup and gently level off with a knife or spatula. Do not tap or shake the cup as that will settle the flour and give you an incurrate measurement.
Preheat oven to 375. Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans- or line cupcake tins with papers if making cupcakes.
In a large bowl or bowl of an electric mixer whisk the dry ingredients together well to evenly mix and break up any clumps.
In a separate bowl or measuring cup whisk all of the wet ingredients together (EXCEPT for the boiling water)
Add the wet to the dry and whisk or mix on medium speed for a few minutes, scrape down your bowl a few times during your mixing.
Carefully pour in your boiling water or coffee and mix well with a whisk, make sure to incorporate any batter on the bottom and sides of the bowl. The batter will be thin - don't worry it is supposed to be.
Rest your batter for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours
Pour your batter into the prepared pans. If making cupcakes, fill each cup 2/3 full.
Bake on the center oven rack for 10 minutes at 375 and then turn down the oven to 350 and continue baking for an additional 20 - 25 minutes for cake or 10-15 minutes for cupcakes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
Cool for 10 min in pans and then remove from pans and place on wire racks to cool. I like to put a piece of parchment under my cakes when cooling so the rack doesn't dig into the fragile cake and leave marks.
Once completely cooled, frost with your favorite frosting, lightly sweetened whipped cream or dust with powdered sugar.
* using coffee instead of water gives a deeper, darker chocolate flavor.