This quick and easy chocolate cake is made in only one bowl. No mixer needed. The result is an 8×8 cake that is rich, moist, and even better a day or two after baking.
If you’ve been following this site for some time, you know that my favorite type of recipes are quick, easy, and weeknight friendly. It’s rare that a dessert recipe meets those requirements, but this chocolate cake is IT. It doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced baker or not, you can make this chocolate cake. Here’s how!
This One-Bowl Chocolate Cake is perfect for:
- Taking to friends with a new baby, new house, or who just need a little love
- Baking with kids
- Late-night chocolate cravings
- Random Tuesday nights
Chocolate Cake without Eggs
One of the surprising perks of this recipe is that it doesn’t require eggs! It is naturally egg-free and naturally vegan. But whether you came here looking for an egg-free / vegan cake or not, you’ll love this cake. It is rich, moist, and full of intense chocolate flavor.
One-Bowl Chocolate Cake Ingredients
Just six ingredients (plus salt and water) make this world’s easiest (and yet still one of the most delicious I’ve had) chocolate cake:
- Flour – All-Purpose Flour is the best bet here. I’ve also tested with White Whole Wheat flour with great results. (I’d guess that a gluten-free blend / sub would also work really well in this simple recipe, though I haven’t tried it.)
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – Look for natural unsweetened cocoa powder, not cocoa powder labeled Dutch-process. Hershey’s is my go-to. I also tested the recipe with Hershey’s Special Dark and the results were great.
- Vegetable Oil – I keep vegetable oil on-hand for baking, so this is the only oil I used in testing this recipe. I’m sure another neutral cooking oil would work.
- Mini Chocolate Chips – These are optional, but add a great bonus chocolate element. Mini chocolate chips bake into the cake so they are just barely noticeable in each bite of the finished bite and distribute evenly, so I liked them the best in testing. Standard-sized chocolate chips would work too, but would be more noticeable in the final product.
- Sugar, Pure Vanilla Extract, Baking Soda, Salt – Standard baking ingredients.
How to Make One-Bowl Chocolate Cake
I promise this is easy!
- Combine dry ingredients – In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. (I like to put the bowl on my kitchen scale and add ingredients by weight, zero’ing the scale after each addition. Even fewer dishes to wash!)
- Add liquid ingredients at once – Add vegetable oil, water, and vanilla extract all at once and stir just until no dry spots remain.
- Stir in chocolate chips (if using).
- Bake – Bake at 350 degrees for 32 to 35 minutes. (If using a heavy-bottomed baking dish, like one made of glass, you may need an additional 2 to 5 minutes for the cake to be fully set.) Allow to cool completely
- Slice and enjoy!
Toppings for Chocolate Cake
Most of the time when I make this chocolate cake, I simply top it with a dusting of powdered sugar. That’s really all this cake needs. Here are some other topping ideas:
- Powdered sugar
- Creamy Chocolate Frosting (I’ve got you covered with a version that is sized just right for this recipe)
- Vanilla Frosting
- Nutella Frosting
- Peanut Butter Frosting
- Whipped Cream / Chocolate Shavings / Strawberry slices
Make-Ahead Chocolate Cake
Bake this chocolate cake up to two days before you want to serve it. Store it tightly covered in the fridge and bring it to room temperature before serving.
It also freezes well! I like to bake a few of these at a time and store them in reusable aluminum 8×8 pans. I defrost them and top them with a dusting of powdered sugar to take to friends’ houses for dinner or to drop off along with a meal.
Favorite Baking Tools
- Mixing Bowl – Just a basic, large mixing bowl is all you’ll need.
- Kitchen Scale – I use a kitchen scale for so many things, but it makes a baking recipe like this one very easy and precise. I just add each ingredient and zero the scale after each addition.
- 8×8 Baking Pan – If making this for our family, I bake it in this. If delivering to family or friends, I use disposable aluminum baking pans.
One-Bowl Chocolate Cake
One Bowl Chocolate Cake:
- 1 1/4 cup (150 g) All-Purpose Flour
- 1 cup (200 g) Sugar, granulated
- 3/4 cup (60 g) Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (not Dutch-process cocoa)
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
- 1 1/4 cup Water
- 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 cup Mini Chocolate Chips (optional)
- A dusting of powdered sugar (this is really all it needs!)
- Chocolate Frosting
- Whipped cream and chocolate shavings
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spray an 8x8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add oil, water, and vanilla extract all at once and stir just until everything is combined and no dry spots remain.
- Stir in chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into prepared baking dish.
- Bake until the cake is set in the middle, 32 to 35 minutes. (Note: In a thicker pan, like one made of glass, the cake may take an extra 2 to minutes to cook all the way through.)
- Allow cake to cool completely. Top however you'd like (I like a simple dusting of powdered sugar or this chocolate frosting).
- Slice and serve! (This makes 9 generous slices or 12-16 smaller slices.)
9x9 Pan: To bake the cake in a 9x9 pan, reduce bake time to 27 to 30 minutes. As always, check to be sure that the cake is set in the center before removing it from the oven.
Layer Cake: For a layer cake, make a double batch of the cake and divide between three 8-inch round cake pans. Bake for 25 minutes.
Coffee sub: For an even more intense chocolate flavor, try using brewed coffee (cooled to room temperature) in place of the water. The finished cake doesn't taste like coffee, but the coffee really intensifies the chocolate flavor.
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