This is it: you have found THE recipe for an easy chocolate cake from scratch that comes together in under an hour, requires no fancy ingredients or equipment, and is incredibly moist, chocolatey, soft, and scrumptious!
THE STORY BEHIND THIS EASY CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE
It all started with my Chocolate Malt Cake, which is the single best chocolate cake I've ever made or eaten. That recipe went mega viral, and hundreds of people recreated and loved it just as much as I do. However, I also kept getting hundreds of messages from people who couldn't get their hands on Ovaltine, sour cream or cream cheese, and wanted to know how the cake could be simplified.
So I began the process of creating a simpler version of that chocolate cake which used the most basic ingredients but was as close in texture and flavor as possible. When I finally got the recipe right, it was mind blowing! This cake is SO incredible, soft, and unbelievably easy to make.
This recipe has already been tried my many, and here are just a few of the amazing reviews I have received:
Beautiful recipe! Made the cake and it was a hit with the family, super moist and delicious!@minibakesbyrabs
We tried this yesterday and it came out AMAZING!! It's exactly like a Layers Bakeshop chocolate cake that I absolutely love. This is definitely going on our Eid dessert email@example.com
Made this today... oh my God! Delicious.. thank you for the recipe of a perfect quick one bowl cake!@lubna_ke
Check out this video to see how moist and soft the cake is!
THE INGREDIENTS USED IN THIS CAKE
This cake uses no-fuss ingredients you already have in your pantry:
- All purpose flour - no explanation needed! Just make sure you fluff up the flour before measuring it so you don't add excess
- Granulated white sugar - you can also substitute caster sugar
- Baking powder and baking soda - a combination of the two raising agents leads to the lightest, fluffiest texture
- Salt - a small amount to balance the sweetness
- Egg - ideally, use a room temperature egg, but it won't make a big difference since this is an oil based cake
- Vegetable oil - I love to use oil in my chocolate cakes as they turn out a lot more moist than butter based cakes. You can use any neutral tasting oil, like canola or Avocado (love this one)
- Buttermilk - if you have buttermilk, great! If you don't, don't worry. I always make my own buttermilk by simply mixing whole milk with white vinegar or lemon juice
- Boiling water - this *blooms* the cocoa powder, enhancing its chocolatey flavor
- Instant coffee - a small amount amplifies the chocolate flavor. If you don't have it, skip it!
- Cocoa powder - you can use any 100% unsweetened cocoa powder, like Hershey's, or you can use dutch processed cocoa powder, like Valrhona!
And then I cover the cake in a simple ganache, using heavy cream and chocolate. But, to be honest, the cake is great even without the ganache!
HOW TO MAKE THIS EASY CHOCOLATE CAKE FROM SCRATCH
Let's talk through the very simple process of making this chocolate cake. I have also made a detailed video you guys can watch below!
1. Mix the dry ingredients except the cocoa powder
This is a no-fuss one bowl recipe. Simply mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Sift the ingredients to make sure there are no lumps, and use a hand whisk to combine them.
2. Add the wet ingredients except the water
Now break in an egg, and pour in the oil and buttermilk. If you want to be on the safer side, you can whisk these ingredients in a separate bowl and pour them in, but I always add them directly and have never had an issue. Use a hand whisk to gently mix until everything comes together and no visible streaks of flour remain.
3. Bloom the cocoa powder
If you wanted, you could have added the cocoa powder in step 1, and the water in step 2. But I like to add the boiling water to cocoa powder and instant coffee separately, as this helps "bloom" the cocoa powder. It sounds fancy, but it basically just means activating the cocoa powder. As you do this, you will notice the cocoa powder becomes more chocolatey in color and gives off a rich, beautiful aroma.
4. Bring it all together
Now add the cocoa powder mix to the rest of the batter, and gently fold to combine. As always, don't over mix, as you don't want to develop too much gluten.
I like to bake this cake in a 9" round cake pan, like this one. It makes a medium-height cake, but using a larger pan like this helps ensure the cake bakes quickly (20-25 minutes), and rises more evenly.
6. Cover with ganache
This is optional, but not really 😉 Ganache is the easiest frosting to make for chocolate cakes, and adds just that extra yumminess. Just pour boiling cream over chopped chocolate, wait 5 minutes, and then mix. You can use any plain chocolate you like the flavor of! I like to use a milk chocolate like this one as the cake itself is quite rich.
HOW TO AMP UP THIS EASY CHOCOLATE CAKE
This is an incredibly versatile recipe, as you can use this chocolate cake as a base for any kind of cake you want. For example:
- Double the quantities and turn it into a 9x13" sheet pan
- Double the quantities, bake in two 9" pans, and make a layered chocolate cake
- Swap the ganache for a chocolate buttercream or chocolate cream cheese frosting so you can pipe patterns and make a prettier cake
- ... and many more!
If adjusting the quantities and pan size, just make sure to also adjust the baking time and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
It's very easy. Simply add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar for every 1 cup of whole milk, and mix. Since this recipe needs only ½ cup buttermilk, add ½ tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice to ½ cup milk.
The cake is done baking when it visually looks set, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached (instead of wet batter).
A few things can cause cakes to become dense or tough:
- You could have added too much flour. Make sure you fluff up the flour before measuring, or use a weighing scale
- Your baking powder or soda could be stale
- You overmixed the batter, causing the flour to develop too much gluten
You can keep the cake in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days, or refrigerate for up to a week! If needed, it can also be frozen and will keep well for several months.
Although I am not experienced in eggless baking, you can make a flax-seed egg (1 tablespoon flax seed powder + 3 tablespoon water) and use that in place of the egg.
Any heavy cream will do! Meaning liquid cream, not whipped cream.
Try to let your cake cool for ~15 minutes after coming out of the oven, and let your ganache sit for 5-10 minutes to slightly cool down before pouring it over your cake. If you want, you can cool your ganache more to make it thicker and control the spread more.
Ready to dive in? Let's go!
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