Home » Dessert Recipes » Easy Homemade Chocolate Cake (+Video)

Easy Homemade Chocolate Cake (+Video)

This super simple Homemade Chocolate Cake with creamy vanilla frosting is so moist and delicious, you won’t believe it was made using just one bowl!

ONE BOWL CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE

I am no stranger to boxed cake mixes. I absolutely adore them and if you’ve followed my blog for a while – you know I love to play around with them and make new creations from them. Every now and then though, I get a hankering for some homemade chocolate cake but I still need it to be easy and not create a ton of dirty dishes to wash up.

closeup side photo of a slice of chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Is buttermilk necessary to make chocolate cake?

Absolutely! It is key in this recipe to make it moist. Don’t use substitutions – at all! I know a lot of people suggest mixing milk with vinegar or lemon juice. Trust me, that won’t work properly here because you need the fat. Regular milk does not provide that. Only use that substitute if you have heavy cream. The fat content in real buttermilk makes all the difference! If you have some buttermilk leftover then you must make my Butter Dip Biscuits. They are so good!

Aren’t you supposed to add coffee or espresso to chocolate cake?

You can to get a darker and deeper chocolate cake. For this recipe, we have found we like it just as it is with no coffee. If you want to use coffee, substitute the water with prepared coffee in this recipe. The hot water in the recipe also helps the cocoa tastes richer as well.

Why do you add hot water to the cake batter?

In chocolate cakes, this helps to dissolve the sugar and cocoa powder to create a smoother batter and helps make the cocoa taste richer.

Can this cake be made gluten free?

Yes. Just substitute with a gluten free flour.

Can you freeze chocolate cake?

Yes! The key is making sure to wrap the cake vey well to protect against freezer burn. Usually wrapping in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil will work best.

Can I substitute butter for the margarine?

Yes. Softened salted butter can be substituted. I like the creaminess the margarine provides but butter can. certainly be used.

How do you store leftovers?

Because of the cream cheese in the frosting, this cake should be kept refrigerated.

slice of chocolate cake on a white plate with a bite removed from the cake and mini chocolate chips sprinkled around.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)

  • all-purpose flour – you can use self-rising flour, just leave out the additional baking soda and salt in the recipe since self-rising flour already has it added.
  • sugar – I have not made this with sugar substitutes so can’t say how that would turn out.
  • baking soda – it’s very important your baking soda is fresh – old or expired baking soda will result in a cake that does not rise.
  • salt – just regular table salt.
  • unsweetened cocoa – I usually just purchase Hershey’s cocoa powder (just make sure it is the unsweetened kind).
  • vegetable oil – this is going to add moistness to the cake.
  • eggs – it’s best to have the eggs at room temperature – this helps to create a lighter and fluffier cake.
  • real buttermilk – do not skimp on the buttermilk, the buttermilk adds not just flavor but fat and you need fat for this to come out super moist – do not add lemon juice to regular milk for this – it is not the same because adding lemon juice to regular milk is not adding fat, it’s just adding sourness (and you absolutely need the fat here).
  • hot water – as I stated above in the FAQ, this helps to make the cocoa powder more rich.
  • margarine – I have actually found that I love to use margarine in this frosting – it makes it so creamy but you could certainly use softened real butter.
  • cream cheese – this needs to be at room temperature or your frosting will be lumpy and no amount of mixing will smooth it out.
  • powdered sugar – sometimes called confectioner sugar.
  • mini chocolate chips – this is optional but I think it makes it look nice.
ingredients needed: sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa, oil, eggs, buttermilk, water, margarine, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract.

HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE CAKE:

Preheat oven to 350f degrees. Spray the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix together all the cake ingredients (except the hot water). This part can be done by hand or with an electric/stand mixer.

cake ingredients added to a large white bowl.

Once combined, gently stir in hot water. This needs to be stirred by hand. If you use an electric or stand mixer, the water may slosh right out of the bowl.

hot water added to chocolate cake batter in a white bowl.

Batter will be thin. Pour batter into prepared baking dish.

chocolate cake batter in a clear baking dish.

Bake for about 35-45 minutes (until it bounces back to the touch or a toothpick inserted comes out clean.)

fully baked chocolate cake in a clear baking dish.

Allow to cool completely before making frosting. When ready, in a medium bowl, mix together all the frosting ingredients. This is easiest using an electric mixer.

margarine, cream cheese and powdered sugar in a small white bowl

Spread frosting onto cooled cake.

frosting added to the top of the chocolate cake.

Sprinkle mini chocolate chips on top.

mini chocolate chips sprinkled evenly on top of frosted cake.

Slice and serve! Cook’s Notes: This cake will need to be kept refrigerated.

a slice of chocolate cake being held up by a spatula.

CRAVING MORE RECIPES?

Easy Homemade One Bowl Chocolate Cake

Easy Homemade Chocolate Cake (+Video)

This super simple Homemade Chocolate Cake with creamy vanilla frosting is so moist and delicious, you won't believe it was made using just one bowl!
4.84 from 12 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients

For the cake:

For the frosting:

  • ¼ cup margarine
  • ½ block (4 ounces) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (also called confectioners sugar)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • mini chocolate chips (for topping, optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, mix together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 cups granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, 3/4 cup vegetable oil, 2 large eggs and 1 cup buttermilk until combined well. This part can be done by hand or with an electric/stand mixer.
  • Once combined, gently stir in 1 cup hot water. This needs to be stirred by hand. If you use an electric or stand mixer, the water may slosh right out of the bowl. Batter will be thin.
  • Pour batter into prepared baking dish.
  • Bake for about 35-45 minutes (until it bounces back to the touch or a toothpick inserted comes out clean.)
  • Allow to cool completely before making frosting.
  • When cake is cooled, in a medium bowl, with an electric hand mixer, mix together 1/4 cup margarine, 1/2 block (4 ounces) cream cheese, softened to room temperature until smooth.
  • Then slowly mix in 2 cups powdered sugar along with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth and combined well.
  • Spread frosting onto cake then sprinkle a few mini chocolate chips evenly on the top. Slice and serve! Keep cake refrigerated .

Video

Notes

  • This cake will need to be kept refrigerated.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 497kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 22g | Sodium: 367mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 54g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

Did you make this recipe?Share it on Instagram @thecountrycook and mention us #thecountrycook!

Originally published: January 2017
Updated and republished: February 2022

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16 Comments

  1. Sounds & looks delicious! I’ve heard to add instant espresso powder to boost chocolate flavor. Do you ever do that? If so, would it be added in addition to the cocoa? Can’t wait to make this! Thanks!

  2. 5 stars
    I made this chocolatey cake after the first birthday cake was a bust. I figured simple is better. And it was!! Thank you for an easy to follow recipe that was fast and yummy. I liked the decorations that really had a nice celebration affect. I would bake again.

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you so much! I made it today and
    The result was a fluffy and yummy cake :).
    The only sore points were my frosting
    Which looked so untidy and the chocolate chips
    Which i purchased were giant ones!

  4. 5 stars
    The one-bowl chocolate cake recipe I’ve used for years, always called for buttermilk, and the mayonnaise chocolate cake recipe is virtually the same, but with mayonnaise instead of buttermilk. Such good cakes! Everyone should have one of these cake recipes in their baking arsenal, because they are so delicious and versatile. Wonderful with cream cheese frosting, marshmallow frosting, buttercream frosting, chocolate frosting, peanut butter frosting, chocolate fudge frosting, and even without frosting! This cake works great as a base for hot fudge ice cream cake, too! The cake is even better on the day after baking it, when the chocolate flavor has fully developed, so it is perfect if you need to get some baking done in advance.

  5. 5 stars
    This was so good, hubby can tell eat it fast enough and after 5 days it was still moist and delicious. A winner in my book.

  6. 5 stars
    Fantastic! I just made this today and it came out beautifully, even though my power shut off five minutes after I put the cake in the oven. Instead of cream cheese frosting, I made a more traditional butter cream, with one exception. I didn’t actually have any cream, but I did have some whipped cream, so I put some of that in and it worked SO well. It made for such a lovely light frosting! Anyway, thanks for the recipe!

    1. Yes, definitely! Regular or instant will work. I ALWAYS add coffee in some form to every chocolate confection I make. It really boosts the chocolate flavor to gourmet level..