The easiest and best One-Bowl Chocolate Cake recipe is super chocolatey, light, fluffy, tender, and moist and hardly any more work than using a box cake mix. This chocolate cake made from scratch is simply the best!

Love chocolate desserts? Be sure to also check out our Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream, Triple Chocolate Cheesecake, and Best Fudgy Chewy Chocolate Brownie Cookies!

chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and sprinkles missing a slice

We have some serious chocolate cake lovers around our household. These moist chocolate cupcakes are the BEST and get rave reviews in the comments.

And while I have already previously shared my favorite devil's food cake recipe that I use to make a chocolate layer cake, I wanted to share a little bit different chocolate cake recipe with you today because I use them for different situations.

This is the best simple chocolate cake recipe ever and it comes out tasting totally amazing every time. And it's SO incredibly easy to make. It's also a lot like a chocolate cake mix in terms of texture, although flavor here is leaps and bounds beyond a cake mix.

Although if I'm being totally transparent, I prefer the depth of flavor in my favorite devil's food cake. But unlike my devil's food cake recipe, which I almost always do as a layer cake, this one-bowl chocolate cake recipe doesn't require chopping chocolate and melting it or using multiple types of sugar.

An image of a single layer chocolate cake from scratch frosted with milk chocolate buttercream frosting.

I almost always pour it into a 9x13-inch rectangular baking dish for a simple, homey presentation that also makes the process so much easier because then you don't have to deal with frosting cake layers and making it look pretty.

All you have to do its quickly slap on some frosting, spread it real fast with a knife and maybe add some pretty sprinkles (or not) and it's time to eat cake!

You can even rush things a bit and frost the cake when it's still ever so slightly warm since you aren't worrying about cake layers sliding off. And if some of the frosting melts into the cake a little bit, it's no biggie with this approach.

An image of a slice of moist chocolate cake with chocolate frosting on a plate.

So this homemade chocolate cake recipe is definitely simpler and more straightforward. Which means you need it in your recipe arsenal for those times when you need cake ASAP!

Of course, if you want to pour it into round cake pans and make a layered chocolate cake with this recipe, that totally works as well. I've included baking times for the different pan sizes in the recipe below.

An image of a single layer of fluffy chocolate cake frosted with chocolate buttercream frosting and topped with sprinkles.

How to make the best chocolate cake recipe

The best thing about this cake is that it can be made in about 5 minutes in one bowl. You don't even need a stand mixer or a hand mixer, although they will definitely make it easier than just using a whisk.

  1. First whisk all the dry ingredients together in a big bowl - flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Add the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla and mix on medium speed using a hand mixer or stand mixer until combined.
  3. Pour in the hot water and mix until combined. The batter will be thin.
  4. Pour into a prepared pan (or pans) and bake at 350 degrees F for 32-27 minutes for a 9x13-inch rectangular cake or 30-35 minutes for 9-inch round cake pans.
  5. Cool completely before frosting.
An image of an unfrosted chocolate cake made in a rectangular baking dish.
An image of a single layer of moist chocolate cake with a pile of chocolate buttercream on top ready to be spread out to frost the cake.
An image of chocolate frosting swirls on chocolate cake.

Tips for making Homemade Chocolate Cake from Scratch

  • Don't substitute butter for oil in this chocolate cake recipe. I love butter and use it regularly in my baking, but when it comes to chocolate cake, it's oil that gives it the classic moist texture that makes it closer to a box cake mix that seems to be the standard for a lot of people.
  • Cake flour or all-purpose flour both work interchangeably (in my opinion) in this recipe. If you have cake flour, by all means use it. If not, you honestly probably wouldn't even be able to tell a difference using just all-purpose flour.
  • The one sort of "special" ingredient in this cake is buttermilk. But if you don't have any, you can make a great buttermilk substitute by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to an empty 1 cup measuring cup, then filling the measuring cup the rest of the way with milk. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes, then use in place of the buttermilk in the recipe.
  • Be sure not to overbake your cake! Use a toothpick or sharp knife to test the center of the cake. When it comes out clean, the cake is done. Overbaking results in a dry cake and you really want a nice, moist cake with wonderful texture by baking for the proper amount of time.
  • You may substitute coffee for the hot water in this recipe in equal amounts. Some people swear by adding coffee or espresso powder to their chocolate cakes and say that you can't taste it but it adds depth of flavor. We don't drink coffee so I never bother with it, but if you have it and want to use it, go for it.

Chocolate Cake Frosting Suggestions

  • Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:  I mean, obviously. I've adapted the recipe a bit in the recipe card below to be just the right amount for a 9x13-inch rectangular cake like, but if you want to make a layer cake, you will want to make 1.5x the recipe below)
  • Rainbow Chip Frosting The homemade kind. Or the stuff in a can, which is pretty much the only exception I make for canned frosting.
  • Dragon Fruit Buttercream It's exotic and gorgeous and slightly fruity. Try it!
  • Graham Cracker Frosting Then sprinkle with marshmallows for an easy s'mores cake!
An image of a slice of an easy homemade chocolate cake recipe with homemade chocolate frosting and sprinkles on top.

More Chocolate Desserts You Need In Your Life

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.

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Best One-Bowl Chocolate Cake Recipe

4.93 from 13 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Cake
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
The easiest and best One-Bowl Chocolate Cake recipe is super chocolatey, light, fluffy, tender, and moist and hardly any more work than using a box cake mix.  This chocolate cake made from scratch is simply the best!

Ingredients
  

Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Chocolate Frosting

  • 1 cup butter softened (2 sticks)
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ cup heavy cream plus more as needed

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray or line two 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper circles and spray sides with cooking spray.
  • Whisk flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.  
  • Add the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla and mix on medium speed using a hand mixer or stand mixer until combined.  
  • Add the hot water and mix on low speed until combined. Scrape bottom and sides of the bowl and mix on medium speed for 30 seconds.
  • Pour into the baking dish or divide evenly between cake pans. Bake for 32-37 minutes for a rectangular cake, or 30-35 minutes for 9-inch round cake pans until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  
  • Cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Frosting

  • In a large bowl, beat the butter, salt and cocoa powder together until creamy and smooth.
  • Gradually add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, with 1 tablespoon of the cream at a time, mixing between each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add additional cream as needed and continue to beat for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy.

Nutrition

Calories: 566kcal | Carbohydrates: 97g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 586mg | Potassium: 236mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 74g | Vitamin A: 624IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. This was fantastic! I've never had much luck with homemade cake; they always seem drier and heavier than a box mix, but this was perfect. I almost wish I didn't put any frosting on it so I could enjoy just the cake. Might have to make a batch of these in cupcake form and stick them in the freezer for a quick chocolate fix.

  2. The recipe was really tasty and everyone loved it, however the down side of the cake seems to be somewhat over baked... I must have messed up somewhere so please tell me about the oven details in a very detailed way please.. thank youuu

  3. Omg this chocolate cake is super moist just made it for my family and they loved it. It is so easy made from scratch 💖 beautiful!

  4. WOULD LIKE TO GET AN EMAILED COPY TO ME BUT CAN'T; ALSO WANT TO SHARE WITH A FRIEND WHO WANTS TO MAKE HER 1ST CHOC CAKE, BUT CAN'T!!!

  5. Hi...if im using 8inch pan, can i use this measurement?because i did try using 8 inch pan but my cake kind of end up with crack on top of the cake like a volcano. 😅
    Is it because of the temperature or my batter is too much or the pan size is not suitable. Need your advise.

    1. Did you just use one 8-inch pan? Because if so, then I think the problem is too much batter for the pan.

  6. Hi! Love your cupcakes! Can u tell me on the one bowl cake if u can swap dark cocoa powder for regular?

  7. Hi,
    if I'm using an 11 or 12 inch pan, how long I should bake it? Would the recipe work with so big pan?

    1. Hi Andrea! I responded to your FB message as well, but in case others have the same question, I haven't made this in an 11- or 12-inch round cake pan (like for a wedding cake). I did a little research though and most 10-inch round cake pans hold around 11-12 cups of batter, so you will probably want 12-16 cups of batter for an 11- or 12-inch round cake pan (it's my best guess). I think if you double this recipe it will work. I really need to make it again and measure the batter when I do, but I think it was 8 cups of batter. If you have too much batter, you could always make cupcakes with the extras! Bake time will likely be a few minutes longer with the larger pan size.

  8. This recipe was by far the BEST cake recipe ever. So moist and the flavor was perfect. This was the big hit at my daughter sweet 16 party.

  9. 5 stars
    Followed the recipe exactly, and the cupcakes were perfect! Also used the chocolate buttercream frosting recipe with perfect results.
    Topped half of the cupcakes with chopped Oreos and the other half with chopped Reese’s pb cups. They were the biggest high-dollar seller at the junior/senior bake sale. Thank you!
    Now I just need to figure it which of your chocolate cake recipes to use for a three to four layer groom’s cake. 🙂

  10. 5 stars
    Thank you! The taste and texture of this cake is excellent. I did a trial run using two 9” rounds pans and it was perfect. I also used your chocolate buttercream frosting recipe. For the frosting in between layers, I added about 3/4 cup creamy pb to 1/2 cup of the chocolate buttercream. Frosted the top and sides with chocolate buttercream, and piped on some big stars with half a Reeses PB cup smashed in each. Perfect!
    Here’s my question: how do I adjust measurements to work with a 14.5 x 11 pan?
    I’m thinking that if I increase the ingredients by half, that will work.
    I’ll do that twice to yield two cakes for layering. Somehow, I ended up in charge of making the groom’s cake for a wedding.