We all need an easy, reliable and extremely delicious cake recipe in our repertoires for any occasion that calls for cake. This is a homemade chocolate cake that has rich flavor, moist texture and is way better than cake mixes from a box. Here's your new go-to One-Bowl Chocolate Cake recipe!
This is the best cake for whipping up quickly without a lot of time or equipment. The best thing is that it's made all in one bowl and no need for messing with muffin wrappers like in my classic chocolate cupcakes. Use this easy recipe as a one layer chocolate cake recipe for your next birthday party, special occasion or to satisfy any serious chocolate craving.
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Why you'll love this recipe
- moist chocolate cake recipe that's made from basic ingredients
- way better than any box cake mix, and almost as easy!
- only one bowl needed and no electric mixer required
- optional fudgy frosting recipe that's silky smooth
This recipe contains just the basics. No special ingredients that'll have you running to the store. As far as one layer chocolate cake recipes go, this is the best!
That's the point of having a back-pocket chocolate cake recipe. You can whip it up at a moment's notice with only pantry and fridge staples.
In-laws are stopping by after dinner? No problem! Friend's birthday is today? Got a quick cake recipe for that! New neighbors just moved in across the street? This one bowl chocolate cake it perfect for all these occasions and more.
There are lots of great chocolate cake recipes out there. Hershey's Chocolate Cake is an example of one. I think you'll find, though, that this one is the best!
Ingredients & Substitutions
The secret to ultra moist chocolate cake is a few key ingredients. First is the addition of an extra egg yolk. The extra yolk provides this one bowl chocolate cake with a good amount of richness while helping the cake stay moist and maintain structure.
Next is the buttermilk. Buttermilk helps add flavor and moisture to this cake recipe without adding a lot of fat. Vegetable oil also serves the purpose of keeping this cake moist while also creating a lofty and even crumb. Check out the pics to see just how beautiful that crumb is!
Lastly, is the secret ingredient that doesn't necessarily add to the moistness of this chocolate cake, but helps boost the chocolatey flavor to the max. That secret ingredient is coffee! Now, don't be afraid of chocolate cake with coffee if you don't like the taste of coffee. You won't taste it in the baked cake.
Coffee helps elevate the flavor of chocolate, so adding it in does just that without an overpowering flavor of coffee. Try it, I think you'll really like the results!
Here is a list of the simple ingredients you'll need to make the cake batter:
- egg + egg yolk
- vegetable oil
- hot coffee: may be substituted with boiling water
- vanilla extract
How to make this recipe
Let's make this delicious chocolate cake! Here's how (see the recipe card below for full recipe):
- Step 1: Preheat oven to 350º F (180º C). Line an 8 x 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper and set aside
- Step 2: In a large bowl, add the dry ingredients and whisk to combine
- Step 3: Add to the bowl the wet ingredients and whisk thoroughly until combined and no dry spots appear
- Step 4: Add the hot coffee (or boiling water). Whisk well until evenly combined
- Step 5: Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs stuck to it
- Step 6: Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack.
- Step 7: (optional) Prepare the chocolate frosting and top the cooled cake. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired
- This chocolate cake recipe uses hot coffee in the batter to bring out the chocolate flavor of the cocoa powder. I would highly recommend giving it a try, even if you don't particularly like coffee. The coffee flavor is virtually undetectable in the baked cake, but does enhance the chocolate flavor in the best way possible. If you are really opposed to adding coffee to your cake, simply substitute the coffee for hot water. The same holds true for the chocolate fudge frosting recipe I share here to complement the cake. If you would prefer to make the frosting without the coffee, simply omit it
- Like most baked good recipes, I recommend bringing your eggs to room temperature before adding them to the batter. This will help the eggs evenly incorporate into the batter creating an even crumb and texture to your finished cake
- The cake recipe I share here is made in one bowl, but I couldn't resist sharing a frosting recipe to go along with the cake! You can, of course, use any frosting your heart desires or forgo the frosting altogether. Keep in mind this frosting recipe is made using a mixer and you will need to melt the chocolate on the stove top. Melting the chocolate can be done instead in the microwave. To do so, place the chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on 50% power in 30 second increments, stirring between, until chocolate is just melted
- I shared my go-to Chocolate Fudge Buttercream Frosting recipe here for you too. It's easy, silky smooth and not as sweet as most buttercream, which I really like. Feel free to forgo frosting altogether if you so choose or switch it up for your fave frosting recipe like this Oreo frosting recipe. But caramel pairs really well with chocolate so next time give Salted Caramel frosting.
Store frosted cake covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Chocolate cake lasts about 5 days in the fridge.
Yes! This cake may be baked up to 3 days in advance. Once completely cooled after baking, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature or in the fridge. Unwrap then frost and serve.
This recipe yields a one layer chocolate. This cake is an 8x8 inch square cake. To make a layer cake, double the recipe and use two 8-inch round pans.
I have not tried making this cake dairy free, however, use your favorite dairy-free substitute for buttermilk such as vegan buttermilk or unsweetened soy milk plus lemon juice.
Like this recipe? Follow me on Pinterest for lots more recipes just like this one! And don’t forget to pin this recipe for later by clicking on one of the images below the recipe. Or, click on any of the images in this post to save to Pinterest.
Looking for more chocolate recipes? Give these a try:
For more cake recipes, check these out!
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk room temperature
- ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup hot coffee or water
Chocolate Fudge Buttercream Frosting (optional):
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate baking bar (not chocolate chips if you can avoid it)
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar sifted
- ½ tablespoon instant coffee granules + 2 teaspoons hot water optional
- sprinkles optional
Prepare Chocolate Cake
- Preheat oven to 350º F (180º C). Line an 8 x 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper and set aside
- In a large bowl, add flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until combined
- Add to the bowl the egg, egg yolk, vegetable oil, buttermilk, and vanilla and whisk thoroughly until combined and no dry spots appear
- Then add hot coffee (or water). Whisk well until evenly combined
- Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
- Allow to cool on a wire cooling rack while you prepare the frosting.
Prepare Frosting (optional)
- Chop the chocolate and place it in a heatproof bowl over a pan set over simmering water (be sure the bowl is not touching the water so your chocolate does not scorch)
- Stir the chocolate until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes
- Add the heavy cream and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes
- Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the powdered sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy
- In a separate bowl, dissolve the coffee in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water
- With the mixer on low speed, add the chopped chocolate and dissolved coffee to the butter/sugar mixture and beat until blended and smooth
- Spread immediately on the cooled cake and top with sprinkles, if using
- Store frosted cake covered in the fridge for up to 5 days
- Cake may be baked up to 3 days in advance. Once completely cooled after baking, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature or in the fridge. Unwrap and frost
- The cake recipe I share here is made in one bowl, but I couldn’t resist sharing a frosting to go along with the cake! The frosting recipe is made using a mixer and you will need to melt the chocolate on the stove top. Melting the chocolate can be done instead in the microwave. To do so, place the chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on 50% in 30 second increments, stirring between, until chocolate is just melted
- For the frosting recipe, if you prefer to make it without the coffee, simply omit the coffee granules and hot water from the recipe
- Frosting recipe adapted from Ina Garten
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Could I use a duck egg instead?
That's a good question! I've never used duck eggs in my baking before, but I have read that they can be substituted for chicken eggs in cake recipes. Give it a try and let me know how it comes out!
Can this recipe be doubled for a 13x 9 baking pan? Thanks
I haven't tried that, although I would presume you may have more batter than needed for a 9x13" pan if you doubled the recipe. If you do, you can make some cupcakes with the additional batter. And be sure to extend the bake time to account for the larger amount of batter.
So, I won't lie, I was a little worried about this recipe but really wanted to try it. Firstly I live in Scotland and we would normally use Self Raising Flour along with some baking powder for cakes. I've never used all purpose (or plain as I would call it) with baking powder and bicarb. Secondly I didn't have buttermilk so I opted for regular semi skimmed and some vinegar and I used caster sugar instead of granulated as I didn't have. Finally the batter was a lot runnier than I was used to and I just couldn't see it working. I shouldn't have worried, the cake rose beautifully, it's very light, is moist and the icing is glorious. My non chocolate loving other half loved this cake so this is a big win win xx
How wonderful that it worked out so great, Gillian! Thanks for sharing all of this! Happy baking, my friend!
This cake looks fantastic and the recipe sounds amazing. I will try it exactly as you posted. Yet, I will need to make a trip to the store this time. I love the idea of just making it in a dash, so I am wondering if I can use some items I always have on hand. Can the buttermilk be substituted with whole milk? And the vegetable oil with light flavored olive oil? And for kids, if I want to remove the coffee could more milk or apple sauce be used or is as you mentioned, water the best sub.
Hi Rachelle! I'm so glad you want to make this cake, it's really tasty! Yes you can substitute milk for buttermilk. However, I would recommend adding a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to the milk and letting it sit for 5-10 minutes before adding it to the batter. This will act more like buttermilk in the recipe. You can certainly substitute vegetable oil for light flavored olive oil or other neutral-flavored oil you have in the house. With the olive oil, you may taste it in the cake but it shouldn't be very overpowering at all. I would recommend substituting the coffee for hot water. I've done this many times and it comes out really well and it's easy! Good luck and let me know how it turns out!
Thank you so much for replying. I will give it a go.
Made it yesterday and it was delicious!!! Moist sponge and the coffee really brings out the chocolate flavor in frosting. My husband hates coffee and never knew it was in there 🙂 Thanks for a great recipe!
Posted it on Insta @bubbles_and_batter
this is great to hear Courtney! I totally agree about the coffee, thanks for sharing your husband's reaction. I'll check out your insta for sure!
This was great-thank you! My easy go to chocolate cake from now on.
How fantastic!! Thanks for sharing!
Hi! Would the batter be enough for a 9" round pan? Thanks!
I just made this for the 4th time and doubled it this time. It is THE best one bowl chocolate cake and waaay better than the one bowl wacky cake. Thank you for this recipe!
Wow what a compliment!! So happy you love it so much! This is a great recipe!
Wow!!! I followed the recipe 100%. Perfection. Cake is moist and deliciously rich. The buttercream is fantastic, because it’s smoother and creamier due to the heavy cream and coffee, AND it’s not sicky-sweet (my #1 complaint with buttercream). Love the fact that it’s just enough for an 8x8 cake.
This one is a keeper. I’ll make it often.
That buttercream really is something special! So glad to hear you loved this recipe, Dolores!