Who doesn't love chocolate cake? Well, this chocolate cake is just the best because, we don't always have time to whip up fancy layered creations... I get it. Cakes can be daunting and so here's how to make chocolate cake in a hurry with just 5 simple steps! My Easy Chocolate Cake Recipe is so simple to make in just one bowl. It is a super moist chocolate cake made from scratch that is perfect for dessert, afternoon tea or any weekday - cake doesn't need to be just for celebrations. You end up with a wonderful single layer cake with just the right amount of frosting on top to serve a few hungry people or this could be the perfect chocolate cake for two.
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- Easy to make - this chocolate cake is so easy to make. It can be made in one bowl with a whisk! You can make it entirely by hand without any fancy equipment, although I often use my electric hand mixer to make it because it's even faster that way.
- One bowl recipe - you basically add all of the ingredients to one mixing bowl in stages so there is less clean-up involved with this recipe. For the best results, mix the wet ingredients first separately, but in a pinch you can just add them all to the blende dry ingredients and then whisk until smooth, because who doesn't like less dishes?!
- Simple single layer cake - we don't always have for fancy layer cakes, and this simple one layer cake is just as impressive! You dirty less pans and it has a nice thick layer of frosting so the frosting:cake ratio is on point!
- Moist chocolate cake - the cake is super moist and it has the softest texture that stays soft for days without drying out.
- Rich chocolate flavor - you will love the smooth and rich chocolate taste that shines through both the cake and the frosting.
- Fudgy chocolate frosting - the frosting is made with pure melted bittersweet chocolate and it's not too sweet so it has really rich chocolate flavor. If you like chocolate ganache frosting, then you can also check out this chocolate frosting recipe here!
- All purpose flour - you do not need specialty cake flour to make a wonderful chocolate cake. Just be sure to measure your flour correctly! Adding too much flour is the most common mistake and leads to tough and dry cake. The most accurate way to measure flour is using a scale. If you don’t have one then fluff your flour with a spoon, spoon it into your measuring cup and use a knife to level it off. This batter is meant to be quite runny so refrain from adding more flour to make it thicker.
- Granulated sugar - simple white sugar will keep this cake sweet and moist.
- Brown sugar - a bit of brown sugar will add a hint of molasses flavour for extra richness to enhance the chocolate taste.
- Pure vanilla extract - vanilla is essential to enhance the flavour of the chocolate. Do not leave it out!
- Cocoa powder - you can make due with cheap flour, sour cream, milk and oil but you should get your hands on cocoa powder! It’s the main flavor and you want it to shine so use the best you can find. I love to use this Dutch Process cocoa powder for this recipe. Make sure you use unsweetened cocoa powder and not cocoa mix.
- Sour cream - one of the secrets to the best moist chocolate cake recipe is sour cream! Sour cream contributes dairy undertones, rich flavour and body (thanks to its high protein and fat content). The acidity balances the bitter cocoa notes and sweetness while also reacting with the baking soda. I like using sour cream because it is more accessible and common than buttermilk, and you can also substitute with full fat yogurt in a pinch!
- Melted butter - I love the flavor that butter adds to this recipe, and how it enhances the taste of chocolate. It also gives the cake a fudgy texture. You can also make this recipe with oil. I have tested both versions and it works.
- Hot coffee - this recipe is unique just like my Best Moist Chocolate Cake that uses hot coffee in the batter. The hot liquid dissolves the sugar and activates the leavening agents so that the cake begins to rise and set instantly. It is also the reason why this cake is so moist.
HOW TO MAKE EASY CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE: STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
This recipe is SO EASY and you can make it all with a bowl and a whisk -- no mixer required if you don't have one!
- STEP 1). Combine dry ingredients. Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda into a large bowl. Add sugar and salt and whisk to blend well.
- STEP 2). Combine wet ingredients. Combine eggs, melted butter, sour cream and vanilla in a medium bowl and whisk to blend well.
- STEP 3). Mix wet and dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix with a whisk or an electric hand mixer on medium-low until blended. It will be thick and somewhat dry.
- STEP 4). Mix in hot coffee. Add the hot coffee gradually in two stages to minimize clumps forming and beat until evenly combined and the batter smooth.
- STEP 5). Bake. Pour batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cake springs back when pressed gently and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes before inverting onto the rack to cool completely.
- STEP 6). Make the frosting. Beat butter with sifted icing sugar, vanilla and salt in a medium bowl until very pale and creamy. Add cooled melted chocolate and mix on low speed just gently until combined. Add milk and sour cream one tablespoon at a time and mix gently until it reaches a smooth spreading consistency. Use it immediately to frost the cake and enjoy!
EXPERT BAKING TIPS FOR THE BEST MOIST CHOCOLATE CAKE
- If you choose to use oil, then use a neutral tasting oil like pure sunflower oil for the cleanest flavor to let the chocolate taste stand out.
- Do not reduce the sugar - the right amount of sugar will make cake moist because it binds water so that it stays tightly in the batter and doesn't evaporate excessively during baking.
- Keep an eye on the baking time. Set a timer for the first time stated in the recipe and check with a skewer - it should come out clean.
- Do not over-mix the frosting. When using melted chocolate in frostings, it is important to mix it in gently because chocolate can set quickly to a very firm consistency once the cocoa butter solidifies and it will make the frosting difficult to spread.
- Use the frosting immediately. Once it is ready, spread the frosting over the cooled cake immediately so it doesn't stiffen up.
Can I make easy chocolate cake recipe with oil instead of butter?
Yes, you can make this recipe by substituting butter with an equal amount of oil. I recommend sunflower oil for its clean and neutral taste, but any other oil such as canola or vegetable will do. You can even use olive oil, but keep in mind that it will add the taste of olive oil to the cake. Make sure the oil is fresh.
What is a substitute for sour cream?
Sour cream really makes this cake delicious, but if sour cream is not available to you where you live, you can also make this recipe using an equal amount of full fat Greek yogurt. I have tested this and it worked well! and if you can't get sour cream where you live then you can substitute with fill fat Greek yogurt. Another suitable substitution is crème fraîche - a type of fermented dairy product somewhere between yogurt and sour cream.
Can I make this recipe without coffee?
Yes! You can use hot water if you cannot drink caffeine. Or, you can use decaf coffee. You can also make instant coffee instead of brewing a fresh pot, and for this I suggest using 1-2 teaspoons of instant coffee for 1 cup of hot water.
What is the secret to super moist cake and how do I make my cake more moist?
It's not more fat! Moisture comes from liquid, not fat. So you can add more butter and more oil, but it will really just make the cake more dense and more tender by shortening the texture. Fat will not make a cake moist as only liquids can add moisture. This cake is moist because of the amount of liquid.
Why did my chocolate cake come out dry?
If your cake comes out dry, then it is either because you have measured too much flour or it has been over-baked. Make sure to check on the cake at 25 minutes or just earlier. It is done when a skewer or a toothpick comes out clean. Use a scale to weight the flour to make sure you have an accurate measurement.
Why did my chocolate cake sink in the middle?
If the cake sinks in the middle, it is because the batter sat for too long before baking. It is important to bake cake batter as soon as it is mixed, especially when the hot liquid is added. If the batter sits for too long, then the leavening will react before the cake structure sets so it will not have the opportunity to build a crumb network around the air bubbles, leaving it dense.
It could also be that you have added too much baking soda. Too much leavening means that the cake will rise so quickly that the integrity of the batter cannot set fast enough hold the air bubbles in so that when it cools, the air bubbles collapse and the cake falls. Another obvious reason for sinking is that the cake is under-baked.
How do you add moisture to a chocolate cake?
This cake is developed to use oil instead of butter because liquid fat will make the texture very soft, which often gives the perception of "moistness".
How do I store chocolate cake?
This cake keeps in an airtight container for up to 4 days at room temperature, or store it in the fridge to keep it longer. If you refrigerate the cake, then let it come to room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
Can I freeze chocolate cake?
Yes! First let the unfrosted cake cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool, wrap it in plastic wrap, and then wrap it in tin foil. Place it in a resealable freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST CHOCOLATE FROSTING
We haven't even discussed this frosting yet. Ohhhhh... this frosting. It, too, is made with sour cream and holy heaven! It is rich. I highly recommend you top this cake off with this recipe for the BEST Chocolate Frosting.
If you love cake, check out these recipes!Ultimate Moist Chocolate Fudge CakeSticky Toffee Date CakeMoist Lemon Blueberry BreadOlive Oil Chocolate Bundt CakeBest Vanilla Cupcake Recipe with Chocolate Fudge FrostingChocolate Chip Banana Cake with Creamy Milk Chocolate FrostingBlueberry Peach Upside Down Cake
Easy Chocolate Cake Recipe
Chocolate cake batter:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper.
- Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda into a large bowl. Add sugar and salt and whisk to blend well.
- Combine egg, melted butter, sour cream and vanilla in a medium bowl and whisk to blend well. Pour it into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix with an electric hand mixer on medium-low until blended. It will be thick and somewhat dry. Add the hot coffee gradually in two stages to minimize clumps forming and beat until evenly combined and the batter smooth.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until cakes spring back when pressed gently and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes before inverting onto the rack to cool completely.
- For the frosting, beat butter with sifted icing sugar, vanilla and salt in a medium bowl until very pale and creamy. Add cooled melted chocolate and mix on low speed just gently until combined. Add milk and sour cream one tablespoon at a time and mix gently until it reaches a smooth spreading consistency. Use it immediately to frost the cake and enjoy!