Easy Chocolate Cake


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The best (and easiest) chocolate cake recipe! Made in one bowl, no mixer needed, and baked in an 8×8 pan. 

a piece of chocolate cake on a white plate

If you’ve been following this site for some time, you know that my favorite type of recipes are quick, easy, and weeknight friendly. And this chocolate cake is IT. Whether you’re an experienced baker or not, you will love this easy chocolate cake.

What makes this chocolate cake so easy?

This chocolate cake recipe uses just one bowl and the cake is naturally dairy-free. No milk, eggs, or butter needed. You can mix it all by hand and it bakes in under 30 minutes.

What is a Depression Chocolate Cake?

This style of cake is known as a Depression Chocolate Cake because it doesn’t use milk, butter, or eggs – ingredients that were expensive and difficult to find during the Great Depression. However, the resulting cake doesn’t taste like any sacrifice has been made – it is rich, moist, and incredibly delicious.

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This is my go-to cake recipe. It’s easy, delicious, and endlessly adaptable for different occasions! – AB

Chocolate Cake in a white enamel baking pan

This Chocolate Cake is perfect for:

  • Taking to friends with a new baby, new house, or who just need a little love
  • Potlucks
  • Baking with kids
  • Late-night chocolate cravings
  • Birthdays
  • St. Patrick’s Day (try this Guinness version with an Irish twist)
  • 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 tender and full of chocolate flavor.

This was amazing! First time baking without eggs! Me and my family loved it.

– Jenni

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mixing chocolate chips into cake batter


  • 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. Regular Hershey’s Cocoa Powder is my go-to, but I also make this recipe with Hershey’s Special Dark and the results are great.
  • Vegetable Oil – I keep vegetable oil on-hand for baking, but any other neutral oil would work.
  • Mini Chocolate Chips – These are optional, but add a great bonus chocolate element. Mini chocolate chips work best – they bake evenly into the cake and you get a little in each bite. Standard-sized chocolate chips would work too, but will be more pronounced in the final product.
  • Sugar, Pure Vanilla Extract, Baking Soda, Salt – Standard baking ingredients.
Ingredients for One Bowl Chocolate Cake on a grey countertop

How to make chocolate cake

  1. Prepare a baking pan. Spray it with nonstick cooking spray. You can line it with parchment paper to make the cake easy to remove.
  2. Combine dry ingredients.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F. until the cake pulls away from the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Allow cake to cool completely.
  7. Just before serving, add frosting (optional).
  8. Slice and serve!
mixing ingredients for cake in a white bowl

Best Toppings for Chocolate Cake

All chocolate cake really needs is a dusting of powdered sugar, but it’s also great with any of these

frosting a chocolate cake

Storing Leftovers

Store frosted or unfrosted chocolate cake in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If the cake is not frosted it can also be stored at room temperature, but with this chocolate cake recipe, I prefer the fudgy texture it gets in the fridge. 😉


Can you freeze cake?

Yes! Allow a baked cake to cool completely at room temperature. Wrap or cover it well and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for a couple of hours. Frost just before serving.

Can this cake be baked in a Bundt pan?

I haven’t tried it, but I’m sure it would work. Just keep a close eye on it as it bakes because the cook time may vary. Or just use my favorite recipe for the Best Chocolate Bundt Cake.

Can this be baked as cupcakes?

This recipe works great as a batch of cupcakes. Divide the cake batter between the spaces in a muffin tin. Update the baking time to between 13 and 17 minutes.

Can I make it vegan?

Yes! It’s naturally vegan. Just be sure to use dairy-free chocolate chips if you choose to add some to the recipe.

Can it be made as a layer cake?

Yes! Bake multiple recipes in separate cake pans and let cool completely before completing the frosted cake.

a piece of chocolate cake with a fork on a white plate

More Easy Cake Recipes

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Creamy Chocolate Frosting
4.42 from 92 votes

Easy Chocolate Cake Recipe

This rich, moist chocolate cake is mixed by hand in just one bowl and is naturally dairy-free. No butter, eggs, or milk needed. The cake is great the day of baking, but even better a day or two later. It bakes in an 8×8 pan.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 9 servings


  • Mixing Bowl
  • 8-inch square or 9-inch round baking pan


One Bowl Chocolate Cake:

  • 1 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour (150 grams)
  • 1 cup Sugar, granulated (200 grams)
  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (not Dutch-process cocoa)
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 1/4 cup Water
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup Mini Chocolate Chips (optional)

Optional Topping:

  • 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 8-inch square or 9-inch round 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, 27 to 30 minutes. (Note: In a thicker pan made of glass or ceramic, the cake may take up to an extra 5 minutes to cook all the way through.)
  • Allow cake to cool completely. Once cool, 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.)


Make Ahead: The cake can be made up to three days ahead and stored (covered) in the fridge. It can also be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 3 months. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.
Vegan: For a vegan cake, skip the chocolate chips or use vegan chocolate chips.
Kitchen scale: If you have a kitchen scale, this is a great place to use it – just put the bowl on the scale and add the ingredients by weight (zero’ing the scale after each addition). You’ll have almost no dishes to wash if you make the cake this way!
9×9 Pan: To bake the cake in a 9×9 pan, reduce bake time to 23 to 25 minutes. As always, check to be sure that the cake is set in the center before removing it from the oven. 
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 intensifies the chocolate flavor.


Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 276mg | Potassium: 336mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 27g | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $3.00
Calories: 320
Keyword: cake, chocolate cake, easy baking, easy cake, no mixer required, one bowl recipe
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at InquiringChef.com. She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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  1. I made this wonderful cake last night and was very skeptical as it had no eggs in it. But it was the best cake ever!!!! I frosted it with whipped icing and it’s to die for. I made the 8 x 8 pan size, think next time I will double it to do a larger cake. The chocolate chips were the best thing to add to this recipe as it really added to the chocolatey almost brownie texture. . My husband and I have only 1 piece each left, will make another one over the weekend! Thanks for posting this recipe, already book marked on my tablet!

  2. 5 stars
    I had my serious doubts that this cake would be good. No eggs?! Well I must say that this cake turned out AMAZING. The crumb is very light and fluffy while the flavor is deep, rich chocolate. And that frosting! Wow!! Maybe the best chocolate cake I’ve ever made. Thanks so much for sharing your awesome recipes!

    1. It’s so surprising right!? It’s my favorite cake too, and no one can ever believe that it’s vegan!

  3. 5 stars
    Amazing cake! I love the rich, decadent, fudgy cake. It has an amazing chocolate flavor, and the perfect balance between sugar and cocoa. 100% deserves 5 stars! It is small, but mighty in the best possible way. Great job!

    1. I do think it would work in a bundt pan, but it might need to be doubled to fill the pan. And definitely just keep an eye on it as it bakes – it will definitely take longer if you double the batter. I haven’t tried it, but would love to hear how it goes!

  4. I live at high altitude- about a mile above sea level. Are there adjustments you’d recommend? I made this and while delicious, it fell in the middle. Help!

    1. 5 stars
      Hi. Just wanted to say thank you for this easy, “EASY CHOCOLATE CAKE”. It was a perfect day for means I was in the mood for chocolate cake and I only have Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder and half of the semi-sweet chocolate chips. I wanted something small and simple to make just for me. (Lol). I was not in the mood to go to the grocery store to buy other ingredients. This was perfect as everything on the mixture recipe I already have. ( Thank goodness) However, the semi-sweet chocolate chips were optional, so I didn’t put those chocolate chips in the cake mix. Instead, I use the leftover semi-sweet chocolate chips as a frosting glaze. I melted the chocolate chips and pour melted chocolate over the cooled-down cake. Very perfect small glazed chocolate cake. Thanks for sharing the recipe as this will be my emergency cake.

      1. Thanks so much for the note, Yvon. I’m so glad you liked it and that you were able to make it without a run to the store!

  5. 5 stars
    This is by far the easiest chocolate cake that I have ever made I actually sell my cupcakes using this recipe instead of veggie oil I use Olive oil for the frosting I use Coconut milk to sub for milk and its just perfect as a vegan dessert but its just so decadent that people can’t believe no dairy whatsoever. Do you have a vanilla cake version like this? Thank you for creating such wonderful food. You take the guesswork out of cooking by creating these recipes and posting them.
    Rosie from Rosie’s Homecooking catery LLC.

  6. 5 stars
    This is my go-to cake recipe. It’s easy, delicious, and endlessly adaptable for different occasions!

    I’m hoping to make it for a large group next week. Could I double the recipe for a 9×13 pan? Are there any other adjustments you would recommend?

    1. I actually have never baked this cake in a 9×13, but I would guess it might work. I’ve baked larger batches and made it into a layer cake, but I always bake it in multiple square pans. If you try it in a 9×13, just start testing it for doneness at the recommended cooking time, but continue baking it as long as needed until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. I’d love to know if it turns out!

  7. Hello, regarding the above chocolate recipe, could I still make this cake with eggs? If yes, how would I do it? Skip the oil and the water?

    1. I’ve never tried it with eggs, but I imagine it would change the result considerably. It’s great without them!

  8. 5 stars
    I made. this cake and I love it Quick and easy and DELICIOUS.THIS IS A GOOD COMPANY COMING CAKE ! I DID USE THE COFFEE TIP .

  9. 5 stars
    I was looking for a small cake to bake for my daughter’s birthday and came upon this recipe and I am so glad I did!! It is so moist and it kind of reminds me of a brownie with frosting. I put cream cheese frosting on top because it is my daughter’s favorite and it was delicious. I have already given this recipe to 3 friends!
    Have you had ever made cupcakes with this batter? If so, what do you think the baking time would be?
    Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. Yes! I’ve made cupcakes with this batter and they turn out great. I believe the bake time at 350 was between 13 and 17 minutes…though I remember I had to play around with it a bit. I love the cake (and the cupcakes) with cream cheese frosting too!