One Bowl Chocolate Cake

12 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cooling Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

One Bowl Chocolate Cake is a cake that you can prepare in one mixing bowl, bake to perfection, frost, and enjoy! Try this yummy cake today!

Looking for the easiest way to make a Chocolate Cake? Follow this simple but delicious Cake Recipe that tastes just as good as classic Chocolate Cake with less work and only one bowl! It’s perfect for a casual event, last-minute party or whenever you get an intense chocolate craving. For another quick, easy way to make a delicious cake, check out my Ultimate Boxed Cake Mix Hack.

Sabrina’s One Bowl Chocolate Cake Recipe

This recipe is a life-saver when you don’t have a lot of baking supplies or the time for lots of cleanup. You don’t need lots of extra mixing bowls or tools to make this decadent Chocolate Cake recipe. In fact, all you need is classic cake ingredients and one large mixing bowl. Plus this cake is filled with dark, intense chocolate flavor, thanks to the special ingredient: espresso powder!

If you love a rich, amazing Chocolate Cake, no need to go all out and dirty all your baking dishes. With my easy recipe, you’ll have a tender, airy chocolate cake that you can frost and decorate and only one bowl to clean up.

This recipe makes enough batter for a two-layer cake and I walk you through an easy homemade chocolate frosting. So, you’ll have everything you need to get the dessert baked, frosted, and decorated. It’s easy, low mess, and absolutely delicious!

Portioned ingredients for One Bowl Chocolate Cake


  • 1 ¾ cups Flour: Flour creates structure and substance for baked goods. You can use all-purpose flour or cake flour for this recipe. Cake flour creates a more delicate and tender cake recipe. 
  • 1 cup Unsweetened cocoa powder: Adding a cup of cocoa powder to the dry ingredients gives the cake its rich chocolatey flavor. You could use dark cocoa powder for a slightly deeper chocolate recipe.  
  • Leavening agents: Use 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda as the leavening agents to make the cake batter rise in the oven. 
  • 1 teaspoon Instant Espresso Powder: A hint of coffee flavor helps to enhance the sweetness of chocolate desserts. Instant coffee doesn’t have any graininess and dissolves completely into the mixture. You can use the regular powdered espresso grounds, but they might be too grainy.
  • 1 cup Boiling Water: Using hot water helps to dissolve the cocoa powder and bring all the ingredients together smoothly. As the water blends with the espresso powder it also has the same effect of adding hot coffee to cake batter. 
  • 2 cups Sugar: Add 2 cups white sugar to sweeten the chocolate batter. 
  • 1 cup Whole Milk: Milk acts as an important liquid ingredient to help blend and soften the other batter ingredients. 
  • ½ cup Vegetable Oil: The fat ingredient is essential to flavor and moisten this cake recipe. 
  • 2 Large Eggs: Mix in two eggs to hold the ingredients together and stabilize the cake structure. 

Kitchen Tools & Equipment

  • Cake Pans: This simple recipe makes a two-layer chocolate cake. Divide the batter evenly into two 9″ circular cake pans to bake. 
  • Baking Spray: To keep the cake from getting stuck to the pan while baking, spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray or use the wrapper from a stick of butter to grease the pan. 
  • Mixing Bowl: Following this recipe, you can create the perfect chocolate cake batter in one mixing bowl. Make sure to use a large bowl that can hold all the ingredients at once. 
  • Whisk: You can use a handheld electric mixer or just a standard whisk to combine ingredients until smooth. 
  • Stand Mixer: Although you only need one mixing bowl for the cake batter, you’ll have an easier time making the homemade frosting if you whip the ingredients in your stand mixer. You could also use a mixing bowl and handheld electric mixer for this portion of the recipe. 

How to Make One Bowl Chocolate Cake

Time needed: 1 hour and 10 minutes.

  1. Prepare Kitchen Tools & Equipment

    Preheat the oven temperature to 350 degrees and grease two cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. 

  2. Combine Dry Ingredients

    Add the flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, instant coffee, and kosher salt to a large mixing bowl. Combine the flour mixture well, then add the granulated sugar and whisk again. adding sugar to chocolate flour in bowl with whisk

  3. Add Wet Ingredients

    Pour in the milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk well to combine the chocolate cake batter. Add water, and whisk the cake ingredients again. whisking in wet ingredients

  4. Bake

    Pour the chocolate cake batter into the two cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes until baked to the center. Let them cool on a wire rack. two 9 inch cake pans with raw batter

  5. Make Cocoa Mixture

    To make the dark chocolate frosting, start by melting butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in cocoa powder, then let the chocolate butter mixture cool. mixing the rest of the ingredients for frosting into pan

  6. Whip Frosting

    Add the cooled chocolate mixture to your stand mixer. Turn the mixer to medium speed and alternate between adding ⅓ of the powdered sugar and ⅓ of the milk. Then, finish with vanilla extract. bowl of ready frosting

  7. Assemble

    Spread a thick layer of the dark chocolate frosting over top of one cake layer.One Bowl Chocolate Cake spreading frosting onto first cake layer for filling

  8. Layer

    Add the second cooled chocolate cake layer on top. Cover the top of the cake with a thin layer of frosting.One Bowl Chocolate Cake spreading frosting onto second cake layer

  9. Frost

    Divide the remaining frosting, adding a good portion to a piping bag. Spread the rest of the frosting over the entire cake.
    One Bowl Chocolate Cake spreading frosting onto cake side

  10. Decorate

    Pipe swirled mounds of frosting around the top of the cake and add a decorative border around the bottom.Decorating the top of the cake with frosting domes

Can This Be Made Ahead?

To make this cake recipe in advance, follow the original instructions and bake the chocolate cake as usual. After letting the cakes cool for a few minutes, flip them onto a cooling rack to continue cooling. Once the chocolate cakes have cooled, you can wrap them carefully in plastic wrap to keep them frozen. The day before you plan to serve, defrost the premade cakes in the fridge. Make fresh frosting and decorate the cakes as close to the event as possible. 

Nutritional Facts

Nutrition Facts
One Bowl Chocolate Cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 685 Calories from Fat 324
% Daily Value*
Fat 36g55%
Saturated Fat 18g113%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
Monounsaturated Fat 9g
Cholesterol 96mg32%
Sodium 343mg15%
Potassium 296mg8%
Carbohydrates 95g32%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 84g93%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 809IU16%
Calcium 113mg11%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

What to Serve with Chocolate Cake

To enjoy your rich Chocolate Cake with contrasting flavors, pair it with a scoop of Strawberry or Vanilla Ice Cream. The homemade cake also tastes amazing, topped off with Whipped Cream or real Strawberry Topping

Baking Chocolate Cake Tips

The perfect chocolate cake is just a few steps away with these easy guidelines!

  • Watch the Baking Time: Baking chocolate cake can be difficult because the dark color makes it hard to tell when the cake is done. To make sure your cake bakes properly, use an oven thermometer to make sure that yours has preheated to the proper temperature. Using the oven light, look at the surface of the cake. The baked cake will start to pull away from the sides and rise to the top. Finally, use a toothpick to check that the center of the cake is baked through. 
  • Stick to the Listed Measurements: Baking relies on certain reactions with the ingredients to create the perfect rise for a delicious and moist cake texture. This won’t happen if your measurements are off. Double-check the recipe, and use exact measurements when adding your wet and dry ingredients to the batter. 

How to Store

  • Store: You can enjoy leftover cake directly from the fridge or let it sit on the countertop to come back to room temperature before serving. If you have any leftover Chocolate Cake, wait, cover it in plastic wrap, or place the leftover slices in an airtight container or ziptop bag. As long as the recipe is properly sealed, it can stay good in the fridge for up to 5 days. 
  • Freeze: To freeze leftover cake, wrap individual slices in plastic wrap and place them in a large freezer bag. The recipe can stay good in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge before serving. 

Frequent Questions

Can I make this into cupcakes?

Yes. You can use the same bowl of chocolate batter from this recipe to make delicious chocolate cupcakes. The small cakes will bake faster, so be sure to keep an eye on your oven time. 

Can I leave the coffee out?

Yes, if you don’t want the added caffeine, you can leave the espresso out of the recipe and instead just add the hot water. Alternatively, use decaf espresso coffee grounds. (Note: Espresso grounds are incredibly fine, almost like powder. The instant coffee style is used because it doesn’t have any potential graininess.)

Recipe Card

One Bowl Chocolate Cake

One Bowl Chocolate Cake is a cake that you can prepare in one mixing bowl, bake to perfection, frost, and enjoy! Try this yummy cake today!
Yield 12 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


One Bowl Chocolate Cake:

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder , or instant coffee
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Dark Chocolate Frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
  • 1 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


One Bowl Chocolate Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray two 9-inch cake pans with baking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, instant coffee and salt.
  • Whisk well, add in sugar and whisk well.
  • Add in milk, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract and whisk well.
  • Add in water, whisk well until combined.
  • Pour the batter into the cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Dark Chocolate Frosting:

  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan and whisk in the cocoa powder then remove from the heat and let cool.
  • Add the cooled chocolate mixer to your stand mixer and whip on medium speed adding the powdered sugar and milk, alternating them ⅓ at a time, and finally add the vanilla in last.
  • If the frosting is too thick, add a bit more milk.
  • Spread onto the cooled cake, top with second layer and frost the rest of the cake from the top to the bottom.


  • Change Serving Size: Click on the yield amount to slide and change the number of servings and the recipe will automatically update! 
  • Conversion: To convert measurements to grams, click on the Metric option next to Ingredients in the recipe card.      
  • Kitchen Timer: Click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking. 


Calories: 685kcal | Carbohydrates: 95g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 343mg | Potassium: 296mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 84g | Vitamin A: 809IU | Calcium: 113mg | Iron: 2mg

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  • Frosting: This recipe walks you through making decadent dark chocolate frosting. But, if you prefer, you could top the simple cake with classic Buttercream Frosting, Cream Cheese Frosting, Peanut Butter Frosting, or any other frosting recipe that you like. 
  • Extra Rich Chocolate Cake: To make your cake recipe richer and moist, you can swap out half of the milk for heavy cream and replace the vegetable oil with melted butter. 
  • Mix-ins: Change up One Bowl Chocolate Cake by adding your favorite mix-ins like a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of almond extract, a bit of peanut butter, chopped nuts, or miniature chocolate chips. 
One Bowl Chocolate Cake collage, frosted cake slice and frosted whole cake on stand. Recipe name in blue banner across center.

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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