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Creamy Chocolate Frosting
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4.4 from 53 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 8x8 pan.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dessert
Keyword: chocolate cake, easy cake, no mixer required
Servings: 9 servings
Calories: 320kcal
Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $3.00


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


One Bowl Chocolate Cake:

  • 1 ¼ cup (150 g) All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup (200 g) Sugar, granulated
  • ¾ cup (60 g) Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (not Dutch-process cocoa)
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 ¼ cup Water
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ 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!
9x9 Pan: To bake the cake in a 9x9 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