My Best Moist Chocolate Cake recipe is the most popular recipe on this site, and also the #1 rated moist chocolate cake on the internet according to Google! It truly is the best, and this One Bowl Chocolate Sheet Cake is based on that recipe. It is so moist, easy to make and fuss free with rich chocolate flavor and an ultra cream delicious chocolate cream cheese frosting. I top it with sprinkles because obviously this is the ULTIMATE party cake!
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- EASY one bowl recipe - this recipe is so easy to make and the cake is basically ready in just 2 steps! Just mix the dry ingredients and then mix in the wet ingredients. You will never make another chocolate cake recipe again!
- Moist chocolate cake - the cake is SO super moist! It has the softest texture and stays moist for days without drying out.
- Perfect crumb texture - the crumb structure on this cake is so even that it looks like a store-bought cake that is full of emulsifiers, except this is homemade with real, simple ingredients!
- Rich chocolate flavor - you will love the smooth and rich chocolate taste that shines through these cake layers.
- Fudgy chocolate frosting - I use a rich chocolate ganache made with sour cream for the frosting. It is so easy to make and you don't need softened butter nor icing sugar. It's simple and so decadent and fudgy! Many people have told me this is the best frosting they've ever made!
- No buttermilk - buttermilk is a great ingredient, but it is also not a common ingredient and many people do not stock this in their refrigerator regularly. So, luckily you don't need buttermilk to make the best chocolate cake recipe!
INGREDIENTS FOR THE BEST MOIST CHOCOLATE CAKE
- 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 flavor 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.
- Eggs - two whole eggs will set the structure of this cake and help emulsify the batter.
- Sour cream - one of the secrets to the best moist chocolate cake recipe is sour cream! And a lot of it. Sour cream contributes the dairy undertones, rich flavour and body (thanks to its high protein and fat content) that oil-based cakes lack. Full fat sour cream adds richness and dairy notes to this cake in the absence of butter.
- Butter - this recipe uses a combination of oil AND butter. Butter will add great taste and also give this cake a fudgy texture.
- Oil - blending some oil with the butter will make this cake extra soft and moist since it is liquid at room temperature.
- Hot coffee - this recipe is unique in 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.
- Dark chocolate – you'll need pure dark chocolate to make the cream cheese frosting. Anything between 50 and 70% cocoa solids will work, but I highly recommend bittersweet chocolate with 70% cocoa solids. These bittersweet chocolate callets which are very convenient.
HOW TO MAKE BEST MOIST CHOCOLATE CAKE: 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 both sugars and salt and whisk to blend well, pressing out any lumps of brown sugar.
- STEP 2). Combine wet ingredients. Combine eggs, oil, 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 bake for 28-33 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. Place cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer on medium speed until very smooth. Add a tablespoon of sugar and mix until smooth. Then add a couple of tablespoons of cream and mix until smooth again. Gradually add remaining cream and beat until whipped and thick. It should hold soft peaks. Beat in sifted cocoa powder and vanilla, then beat in remaining sugar. Add cooled melted chocolate and beat until thick and fluffy. It will look like mousse.
- STEP 7). Decorate. Dollop frosting onto the cake and spread it out to the edges. Decorate with rainbow sprinkles if you wish.
EXPERT BAKING TIPS FOR THE BEST MOIST CHOCOLATE CAKE
- 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.
- Use very soft cream cheese. Pull it from the fridge 2 hours before making the frosting. Soft cream cheese is crucial to having a smooth, lump-free frosting.
What type of oil is best for chocolate cake?
Firstly - use a fresh oil! Do not use anything that's been opened for a long time and when you store oil, it should be in a cool dark place. Light and heat accelerate oxidation reactions that can make the flavour turn rancid. My oil of choice for baking is sunflower oil for its clean and neutral taste, but any other oil such as canola or safflower will do. You can even use olive oil, but keep in mind that it will add the taste of olive oil to the cake.
Can I make this chocolate cake with all butter?
Oil will make cakes softer and give the perception of being more moist, and this is due to the simple science behind fat composition. Oil is made up of mostly unsaturated fats that are liquid at room temperature. Butter contains more saturated fats that are solid at room temperature, therefore the texture of a butter cake will be more crumbly and firm. BUT, I've developed a recipe that makes up for this.
Can I make this chocolate cake with all oil?
If you prefer to make an all-oil based cake, you can make my Best Moist Chocolate Cake recipe. This sheet cake is made with some butter for a slightly more dense and fudgy texture as well as added flavor. Don't get me wrong, it is still very soft - the butter gives it a bit more of a bite.
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.
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".
Can I freeze chocolate cake?
Yes! I often make the cake layers in advance and freeze them for when I need them. To do this, let the cake layers cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool, wrap them individually in plastic wrap, and then wrap them in tin foil. Place them in a resealable plastic bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
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
One Bowl Chocolate Sheet Cake
- 1 cup 240ml strong hot coffee
- 1 ⅔ cup 235g all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup 56g cocoa powder (I prefer this one)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup 200g granulated sugar
- ½ cup 110g packed light brown sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- ¼ cup 60ml sunflower oil
- ¼ cup 56g unsalted butter, melted
- ⅔ cup 160ml full fat sour cream
- 1 teaspoon 5ml pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour a 9x13-inch cake pan and line the base with parchment paper.
- To make the cake batter, first prepare the coffee. Brew a pot or make instant coffee – measure out 1 cup of boiling water and stir in 1 tablespoon of instant coffee or 2 teaspoons of espresso powder.
- Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda into a large bowl. Add both sugars and salt and whisk to blend very well, pressing out any lumps of brown sugar. Add eggs, oil, melted butter, sour cream and vanilla and mix with an electric hand mixer on low speed until mostly blended. It will be quite thick and a bit dry and crumbly. Gradually add hot coffee in three stages to minimize clumps forming and beat until evenly combined and the batter is smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl once during mixing.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 28-32 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Transfer to a rack and cool in the pan for 15 minutes before transferring the cake onto the rack to cool completely.
- To make the frosting, place cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer on medium speed until very smooth. Add a tablespoon of sugar and mix until smooth. Then add a couple of tablespoons of cream and mix until smooth again. Gradually add remaining cream and beat until whipped and thick. It should hold soft peaks. Beat in sifted cocoa powder and vanilla, then beat in remaining sugar. Add cooled melted chocolate and beat until thick and fluffy. It will look like mousse. Dollop frosting onto the cake and spread it out to the edges. Decorate with rainbow sprinkles if you wish.
If you love chocolate...
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