This Easy Single Layer Chocolate Cake is utterly moist and topped with melt-in-your-mouth Chocolate Frosting! The perfect dessert for date night in, small birthday celebrations, and intimate gatherings. And no electric mixer required!
Single Layer Chocolate Cake Recipe
Today’s new recipe comes to you by popular demand! In the past month, I’ve received countless emails and instagram messages asking for scaled down, small batch recipes. The most popular request by far being for a small and easy chocolate cake. And as an avid chocolate lover with a small household, I get it.
So here’s my go-to chocolate cake recipe. It’s the kind of chocolate cake that’s special enough to bake for celebrations. But humble enough to be whipped up on a weeknight! The month my mom passed away… I made this cake more times than I can count. Between the moist chocolate crumbs and intensely fudge chocolate frosting, it’s was just what I needed. Comfort food, in cake form.
This 9″ Chocolate Cake is:
- soft, fluffy, and ultra moist
- loaded with rich chocolate flavor
- a breeze to whip up – no mixer required
- not too sweet
- covered in fudgy chocolate frosting
- perfect for any and all parties, picnics, potlucks, etc!
Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success: How to Make Chocolate Cake
- Step one is prep your pan! We don’t want your cake sticking to the sides or bottom, so I STRONGLY suggest lining the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper and then spraying the baking pan with nonstick spray. To make removing the cake from the pan super easy, I prefer to use a 9″ springform pan for this recipe. But a regular 9″ cake pan should work fine!
- Sift the dry ingredients (all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt). This helps ensure a smooth batter!
- Bring your eggs, milk, and sour cream to room temperature before baking! Because cold ingredients don’t bond!
- Be sure to stir your batter just until it’s combined. You do not want to over mix! So I actually suggest you stop mixing when you can still see the tiniest trail of dry ingredients.
- For an extra flavorful chocolate cake, use hot coffee in place of the hot water. It adds great flavor!
- Don’t over bake! Start checking on your cake at 45 minutes. It’s ready when a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Place cake pan on a cooling rack and be sure to cool for at least 30 minutes in the pan, before removing and cooling on the rack completely.
Can I make this Gluten Free?
Personally, I’ve never tried. But, if you wanted to, I would suggest using a cup for cup GF flour in place of the all-purpose flour. Other than that, I unfortunately cannot make any suggestions.
As you know by now, I prefer to top this cake with a thick layer of decadent chocolate ganache. It’s smooth, fudgy, and bittersweet. Exactly what I want with this type of cake. But if it’s not what YOU want, no worries! You can always top this cake with another variety of frosting. Or, for a very humble and treat, a simple dusting of powdered sugar and some fresh raspberries!
Since this is a smaller cake, I would suggest cutting any frosting recipe you use in half, so that you’re not stuck with a massive amount of frosting. Although if that happens, you can always pop it in the fridge for a few days.
Jump to the recipe below and happy baking!
More Chocolate Cake Recipes:
If you try this recipe for Easy Chocolate Cake, let me know! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #bakerbynature on instagram! Seeing your kitchen creations makes my day ♥
Easy Single Layer Chocolate Cake
For the Chocolate Cake:
- 1 and 1/4 cups (150 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (43 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup (149 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (106 grams) light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (99 grams) vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup (170 grams) sour cream
- 1/4 cup (57 grams) milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup (74 grams) freshly brewed coffee or freshly boiled water
Chocolate Ganache Frosting:
- 1 cup (170 grams) high-quality semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) heavy cream
- Shaved chocolate, for decoration (optional)
- Fresh raspberries, for decoration (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a 9" cake pan with non-stick baking spray, set aside.
- In a large bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, both sugars, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, sour cream, milk, and vanilla.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in thirds, stirring gently with a rubber spatula until just combined. Don't over mix here!
- Add in the hot water (or coffee) and stir until evenly incorporated. Your batter will be dark, thin, and velvety.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and place in the oven. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Place the cake pan on a cooling rack and cool for 30 minutes before removing it from the pan and cooling completely.
- Once cool, top with your frosting of choice and serve!
Chocolate Ganache Frosting:
- Place chopped chocolate and espresso powder in a medium-sized heatproof bowl and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, over medium-heat, warm the cream just until it comes to a simmer.
- Remove from heat and pour the cream over the chocolate. Stir to combine, then set aside for 2 minutes.
- Resume stirring until mixture is smooth and glossy.
- Place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Then gently whip ganache with a whisk until slightly fluffy.
- Spread on top of cooled cake. Top with chocolate shavings and raspberries, if using, and serve!
- Do not use Dutch-process cocoa powder for this recipe
- Full-Fat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt will work as a substitute for sour cream
- Canola oil or melted coconut oil can be used instead of vegetable oil
- This cake is best served the day it's made, but will keep, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days.
- You can freeze this cake (unfrosted) for up to 1 month.