This one-bowl chocolate cake, so easy to make, is perfect for any occasion. It has a soft but slightly fudgy texture that can’t be beaten – a moist and tender texture that makes it so indulgent.

  • Made in one bowl
  • Softy, fudgy and so addictive
  • One simple square baking tin
  • No stand mixer required
  • No creaming butter and sugar
  • A rich chocolate fudge frosting

You will need to wash that bowl out to make the frosting if you truly want everything done in one bowl but I’m pretty sure you won’t mind that technicality one little bit because the cake is THAT GOOD.

You’ll love this vanilla sponge tray bake too or if you want a chocolate cake with a soft and fluffy texture, you can’t beat this black magic cake.

This recipe was first published here on 7th November 2019 and has been updated with new information.

Squares of chocolate cake, covered in sprinkles.

Easy for anyone, any time

If all that didn’t get you over the line, it’s an easy chocolate cake recipe for kids or for beginner bakers wanting to start out easily but even a seasoned baker will love the richness and simplicity of this cake. We sure do.

This is the cake you can turn to when you promised to make a dessert but you’re running out of time or when you want to create a gorgeous birthday cake for your bestie. It’s reliable, it’s delicious and it’s easy.

A square of chocolate cake sitting on a piece of parchment paper.

Ingredients you’ll need

Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.

  • Flour: You’ll need plain flour (all-purpose flour) for this cake.
  • Cocoa powder: I use dutched cocoa powder for this recipe which gives it a dark colour and good chocolate flavour.
  • Baking powder: Make sure to use baking powder, not baking soda as they are different and work differently.
  • Salt: A little touch of salt intensifies all the flavours.
  • Butter: Stick to unsalted butter for this one.
  • Sugar: There are 2 types of sugar in this cake. White sugar gives a traditional sweetness while the brown sugar adds to it’s fudgy texture.
  • Eggs: I use large free-range eggs.
  • Vanilla extract: Use pure vanilla extract as opposed to vanilla essence. Vanilla actually works to intensify the chocolate flavour.
  • Buttermilk: Buttermilk is what gives this cake it’s moist texture.
  • Icing sugar: Also known as powdered sugar, icing sugar is used in the fudge frosting.
  • Chocolate: I use a good quality dark chocolate (50% cocoa) in the frosting.
  • Sprinkles: Totally optional, but I love loading the top of this cake with sprinkles

You can also feel free to add a little espresso powder (just a teaspoon dissolved in a tablespoon of hot water) which will intensify the chocolate flavor even further.

How to make one-bowl chocolate cake (step-by-step)

A collage showing how to make one bowl chocolate cake.

Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.

  1. Make sure your eggs and buttermilk are at room temperature but if not that’s ok. Just sit the eggs in warm water for 5 minutes and heat cold buttermilk in the microwave for 15 seconds.
  2. Beat together melted butter and sugars, then add eggs (photo 1), buttermilk and vanilla.
  3. Now measure in the dry ingredients – see my notes on measuring below – and mix to a batter (photo 2).
  4. Tip it into your baking pan and level it out (photo 3), then bake. Cool it on a wire rack before adding the frosting.
  5. For the chocolate fudge frosting, everything gets mixed in one bowl (photo 4). I’ve used a stand-mixer here but you can use an electric beater too. Then just simply spread it over (photo 5).

How to correctly measure flour

This is important, don’t skip this or you risk any cake going all wrong. Where a weight is provided in a recipe, weighing the ingredients will ALWAYS give you the best result.

Kitchen scales are cheap and it really won’t add a lot of time to your recipe to use them, in fact I prefer using scales not only for accuracy but also because weighing ingredients means I don’t have to wash a bunch of measuring cups.

Weigh it if you can, or spoon and level if you can’t.

You may still not be convinced, maybe you don’t have kitchen scales and you want to make this cake right this second. To measure ingredients correctly using cups;

  • always fluff the ingredients up in their tub first with a spoon
  • Now spoon the ingredient into your measuring cup
  • Use the back of a knife to scrape along the top of the cup measure to remove the excess.

I know this may sound like a lot of trouble but truly, a cup of flour can weigh anywhere from 120g-150g depending on the way you measure it and where you are in the world. A cup in Australia is 250ml while in the US it’s 225ml. Measuring the right way will make this a non-issue but the wrong way and you could be adding 2-3 tablespoons of flour to your batter.

A stack of 3 pieces of chocolate cake.

Do I have to use buttermilk?

Buttermilk has this amazing ability to make baked goods tender so I love using it but if you don’t have it handy you can just use regular milk but add 1 teaspoon of vinegar to the mix as well.

Variations

Yield and storage

This cake makes one square, 8 inch cake. It’s perfect sliced into 9 squares.

This one bowl chocolate cake can be frozen for up to 3 months. Make sure to wrap it well in plastic wrap and then store it in the freezer in an airtight container for the best results.

So, whether you’re looking for the best chocolate cake recipe or a simple one bowl chocolate cake recipe, you’ve found it here. Endlessly customisable, insanely delicious and so easy to make, your family and friends will love this one.

Squares of chocolate cake, covered in sprinkles.

More Simple Cake Recipes

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closeup of a piece of chocolate cake topped with sprinkles on a piece of brown parchment paper

One Bowl Chocolate Cake

5 from 7 ratings
The best ever simple chocolate cake recipe is right here. This one bowl chocolate cake starts with one bowl and some everyday ingredients. Add some chocolate fudge frosting and cover it with sprinkles and you have an easy treat everyone will love.

Ingredients

FOR THE ONE BOWL CHOCOLATE CAKE

  • 115 g unsalted butter, melted (½ cup / 1 stick)
  • ½ cup white granulated sugar (100g / 3.5oz)
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed (100g / 3.5oz)
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (notes)
  • ¾ cup buttermilk, room temp
  • 130 g plain (all-purp) flour (1 cup)
  • 40 g dutch process cocoa (½ cup)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

FOR THE FUDGE FROSTING

  • 85 g unsalted butter, softened (¾ stick)
  • 1 cup icing (powdered) sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa (20g)
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk (notes)
  • 50 g dark (50%) chocolate, melted and cooled to room temp (1.8oz / ¼ cup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cup 100s and 1000s (or sprinkles of your choice)

Instructions
 

FOR THE ONE BOWL CHOCOLATE CAKE

  • Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced. Grease and line an 8 inch square baking tin with baking paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, place the melted butter and both sugars Beat with an electric mixer or balloon whisk until combined.
  • Add the eggs, vanilla and buttermilk and whisk well.
  • Finally, measure in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and stir until just combined.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, then move from side to side to level it out. Give it one light tap on the work top, then bake for 27-28 minutes until a toothpick comes out with just a crumb or two attached (not wet batter).
  • Let it cool in the tin for 10 minutes then use the edges of the baking paper to lift it and transfer to a wire cooling rack.

FOR THE FUDGE FROSTING

  • Beat the butter, sugar and cocoa in a bowl on low speed until it comes together, then beat on medium-high for 4-5 minutes until it’s lightened and creamy.
  • Add half the milk, the melted chocolate and the vanilla and beat for another 3-4 minutes on low until well combined and fluffy. It should be quite soft and not overly gritty anymore.
  • If the mixture is too stiff, add the remaining milk and beat it through.
  • Spread it over the cooled cake and add sprinkles if you like. You can slice and serve the cake immediately.
  • Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.

Notes

  1. Tablespoons: I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (=4 teaspoons worldwide)
  2. For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
  3. All ovens vary – always test for doneness 3-5 minutes before the recipe suggests
  4. Buttermilk: If you don’t have buttermilk handy, you can use whole milk and add 1 teaspoon of regular white vinegar to the mix.
  5. Shape: you can use a square tin as I did, or use an 8 inch round cake pan. The round pan may take 1-2 minutes longer. You can also use a baking dish though it may also take a few minutes longer to bake.
  6. Double: You can easily double this recipe and make a two-tiered layer cake.
  7. I use my stand mixer for this frosting so that I can make it hands free but you can wash out the same bowl you used for the cake batter, then use a hand held beater if you prefer.
  8. The darker the chocolate you use in the frosting, the richer, fudgier and stiffer it will be.
  9. More frosting flavours to try:
MORE CAKE RECIPES!
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