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One-Bowl Chocolate Cake Recipe

One-Bowl Chocolate Cake Recipe

This cake mixes up quickly and bakes while we enjoy our dinner. My son, David, loves to help decorate it. —Coleen Martin, Brookfield, Wisconsin
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Bake: 35 min. + cooling YIELD:15 servings


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup hot water
  • Frosting of your choice
  • Colored sprinkles, optional


  • 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 13x9-in. baking pan. In a large bowl, whisk the first six ingredients. Stir in eggs, oil and buttermilk. Add water; stir until combined.
  • 2. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Frost cake. If desired, decorate with sprinkles. Yield: 15 servings.

Recipe Note

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting: In a large bowl, beat 1/2 cup softened butter until creamy. Beat in 2 cups confectioners' sugar, 1/4 cup baking cocoa, 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 3-4 tablespoons 2% milk to achieve desired consistency.

Nutritional Facts

1 piece (calculated without frosting and sprinkles): 297 calories, 15g fat (2g saturated fat), 27mg cholesterol, 281mg sodium, 39g carbohydrate (25g sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein.

Reviews for One-Bowl Chocolate Cake

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sstetzel User ID: 158954 271816
Reviewed Aug. 15, 2017

"mheaddings you could use two 9" rounds instead of the 9"x13" pan. Be sure to start checking for doneness around the 25 minute mark.

Sue Stetzel
Recipe Support Specialist
Taste of Home Magazine"

burkepa User ID: 4734295 271771
Reviewed Aug. 14, 2017

"This was very tasty. I cut all ingredients in half as there are only two of us, and baked in a 9 x 9 inch pan. Made 3/4 of a frosting recipe and that was enough to frost the cake and lick the spoon. Time in the oven was 35 minutes for my small cake. I would take this to a pot luck and I am really pleased the recipe can be cut in half."

teryn69 User ID: 6818421 256671
Reviewed Aug. 14, 2017

"Such an easy cake to make, and the taste is wonderful! The only ingredient I never have on hand is buttermilk, however that's so easy to make yourself! Put a TBSP of white vinegar, I prefer white wine vinegar, in a cup, and fill with milk to the 1 cup mark, stir and let sit, instant buttermilk! I think the real trick to this cake baking up right, as in not dense, no falling, is your method. The recipe is easy. Simple whisking and stirring, no mixer involved. Also remember in baking to always use room temperature ingredients unless otherwise stated. Oven temps vary, mine usually takes the longest time. This cake only took 35 minutes and it was done, no falling in the center, light and airy, deliciously moist, chocolately cake. No need for frosting. Yum. Thanks Coleen for an excellent recipe! Edited to add I didn't use canola oil. I melted down organic coconut oil...I use coconut oil in most recipes where I can...delicious!"

Lynda1111 User ID: 6101406 271757
Reviewed Aug. 14, 2017

"This recipe was in a church cookbook of my grandmas. I've made it for years & my family loves it. easy as can be & quick to boot. I am glad Coleen shared this because I think it should be in every homemaker's recipe box. Also, I always have every ingredient in the house (no special trips). This recipe is a GEM."

mheaddings User ID: 123431 271737
Reviewed Aug. 14, 2017

"Can this be made as a layer cake"

Maria User ID: 9228417 270025
Reviewed Jul. 26, 2017

"We loved it! I didn't have buttermilk, sadly, but we added a tablespoon of lemon juice to some coconut milk powder I had, then reconstituted with water. I also don't use canola oil, but had some walnut oil (I was hoping it might infuse some walnut flavor, but I didn't taste any). Beautiful, soft, devil's-food type cake is how I would describe this. We will definitely make it again!"

bosque User ID: 2701275 269787
Reviewed Jul. 21, 2017

"Ana, how can you review a cake you having made yet? This cake is excellent .I always add 1 tbsp cider vinegar to milk in place of buttermilk. Put in the vinegar, then fill to 1 cup mark"

genaveve User ID: 7882131 269405
Reviewed Jul. 13, 2017

"looking for the recipe"

LindaMaria User ID: 8100205 263967
Reviewed Mar. 27, 2017

"Excellent cake! I made it for my grandson's birthday and everyone Loved it! It must be the buttermilk that makes it so moist!"

Stella37073 User ID: 7967817 263265
Reviewed Mar. 9, 2017

"Fantastic cake! I've made it now for a few years and it's my favorite. It's so easy to make and absolutely delicious. I make my own frosting for it but it's delicious all by itself also. Try it, you'll like it!"

bronwynmacisaac User ID: 2666617 261466
Reviewed Feb. 17, 2017

"This is a great cake....easy brainer!! I once again, however, have to ask....WHY do people rate a recipe they have yet to bake?? Please.....stop!!"

sstetzel User ID: 158954 260529
Reviewed Jan. 30, 2017

"Ana you're better off making the buttermilk substitute by putting a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar into a one cup measure and filling the rest of the way with milk.

The acid will curdle the milk, mimicking buttermilk."

Ana User ID: 7769648 260510
Reviewed Jan. 30, 2017

"I haven't made this yet, that's why I just gave it 3 stars. Will probably give it more after I've tried it. But I wanted to know if I can substitute sour cream for the buttermilk?"

gramcayo User ID: 5095727 260325
Reviewed Jan. 26, 2017

"tdhtran, you should fill cup with milk after putting in 1 TBS. of white vinegar OR 1 TBS of lemon juice stir and let sit a few minutes. I never have buttermilk so this is my "go to""

scotland1 User ID: 1426757 259700
Reviewed Jan. 15, 2017

"OMG! Best tasting cake. This is my go to . It made a hit with my older nephew and his family.

I have been told from now on when our families get together, I'm to make the cake."

tdhtran User ID: 5579957 259251
Reviewed Jan. 5, 2017

"teryn69, your direction of making buttermilk is not complete. Putting a TBSP of white vinegar in a cup and fill what to the 1 cup mark ???"

DragonSlayersRosebud User ID: 198468 253506
Reviewed Sep. 1, 2016

"Very good and easy, very moist!"

bonito15 User ID: 6959830 252822
Reviewed Aug. 17, 2016

"This was wonderful and so easy to prepare - they all disappeared in one evening"

Gravell User ID: 1583332 252803
Reviewed Aug. 17, 2016

"This was the worst cake I have ever baked. I followed the recipe exactly. It was very heavy and oily. I let it cool and tried to get a piece out but it just fell apart. I let it sit overnight but it wasn't any better in the morning. I was able to salvage some by making a cake, cherry pie filling, vanilla pudding trifle. I had guests coming and had to think of something."

margaretharms User ID: 8332495 252704
Reviewed Aug. 15, 2016

"This cake is a favourite in our family, it's way better than a box of cake mix! So easy to make, I make this over and over again. We just love it! I made this for a gathering yesterday and they almost fought over the last piece! It's the best ever!!!"

Ziva28 User ID: 5862802 252701
Reviewed Aug. 15, 2016

"easy and really good...will make again!!!!"

[email protected] User ID: 703465 252672
Reviewed Aug. 14, 2016


I couldn't agree more. Wonderful response."

laurabun User ID: 7466708 252668
Reviewed Aug. 14, 2016

"I have added this cake as a go-to in my recipe files. These are recipes that I can make in an instant, since I always have these ingredients in my kitchen. I don't consider this as a waste of time and no labor is too intensive when you're baking for your family. The ingredients listed are all natural, no preservatives or fillers. And I don't care how cheap a box of prepared cake mix costs, it's all worth it to make something good, and from the heart."

Blueberrynut User ID: 8878413 252650
Reviewed Aug. 14, 2016

"It's a great choc cake, what I changed was the water to hot coffee, makes the cocoa mix in better"

DaughterofLight User ID: 5208379 252276
Reviewed Aug. 6, 2016

"This is a rich and moist cake! My go to when I want a chocolate cake for anything!"

djade1123 User ID: 6548421 250625
Reviewed Jul. 19, 2016

"Really good and very easy"

chPassword24201610742 User ID: 8760313 250373
Reviewed Jul. 13, 2016


chocolateformyfour User ID: 7643589 248155
Reviewed May. 13, 2016 Edited May. 15, 2016

"This is a perfect chocolate cake! So simple and easy and comes out perfect every time! I did find the flavor needed kicked up just a bit and always use a rounded 1/2 teaspoon of salt and vanilla. After we had to go gluten and dairy free I also succesfully modified the recipe to meet those needs. Noone can ever tell it's gluten free! Ever!

I have also found that this cake does not seem to fall if I only mix it at medium speed JUST until mixed. Like quick breads, mix as little as possible."

KimberlyRL User ID: 4851499 246492
Reviewed Apr. 2, 2016

"Yummy, quick desert. Reminds me of what my mom made us as kids."

ahrensj8822 User ID: 5965877 245879
Reviewed Mar. 23, 2016

"This looks yummy. I hope the author, Coleen, reads the reviews because I want to say, "Hi." I was David's third grade teacher."

stephrae User ID: 6656051 245876
Reviewed Mar. 23, 2016

"I made this cake on Sunday and it was a huge hit. Very moist. Will absolutely be making this again (probably a lot!)"

Jellybug User ID: 53068 245239
Reviewed Mar. 10, 2016

"I love, love this recipe..easy and not a bunch of dirty dishes at the end...The cake is chocolaty and moist. I have made this cake several times. Today, I decided to substitute 1 cup of hot coffee for the 1 cup of water...Amazing Grace!!! My mom just moved to California from Georgia and ate a good portion of the cake...Thank you for such a wonderful old fashion chocolate cake..."

Mugga1 User ID: 8223941 244199
Reviewed Feb. 20, 2016

"This is a fantastic chocolate cake. easy TO MAKE AND SO WONDERFULLY MOIST AND CHOCOLATEY! Yummy!!!!!"

Bhagya User ID: 6726718 243676
Reviewed Feb. 12, 2016

"I loved this recipe... easy to make and tastes awesome :)"

JGa2595176 User ID: 496732 241465
Reviewed Jan. 10, 2016

"My cake fell in the middle as well, but we live in Colorado and I did not adjust for altitude, just made as directed. The cake was very chocolate-ly and well received by both adults and kids. I also think I could have made in a larger pan (it rose almost over the edge in the 13 x 9 that I used.) Overall, a keep of a recipe....easy to prepare and better than a boxed mix by far."

Jdimatteo User ID: 8666527 239620
Reviewed Dec. 17, 2015

"Excellent! This is my go-to chocolate cake. I've made it I half a dozen times, each time with complete success. It's moist and light with a rich chocolate taste, yet it's amazingly simple! (Truth be told, I "make" buttermilk by putting a tablespoon of vinegar in a cup of milk. Also, I seldom have whole milk around, so I use fat-free half-and-half, skim milk, or a combination of the two.)

Well, there's the timer! :-)"

kramerstacey15 User ID: 5709757 229836
Reviewed Jul. 19, 2015

"Simple, easy to halve the recipe. Nice and moist."

EileenCu User ID: 2888735 229579
Reviewed Jul. 14, 2015

"This is the best recipe ever and so simple!"

FawnC79 User ID: 8438907 229071
Reviewed Jul. 6, 2015

"This is my go to chocolate cake now. I get dirty looks if I even think about using a cake mix. Mine drops a tiny bit in the middle, but nothing major. It just gets a bit more icing. ;) I've done this gluten free as well and it turned out exactly as if I'd used All Purpose Flour. It is always posted on my fridge since I bake it once a month at least. I've passed this recipe on to several people; it is now their go to cake as well."

lpotterusa User ID: 6424150 228883
Reviewed Jul. 3, 2015

"My fave cake for 39 years! No matter where I take it, there are never any leftovers!"

kckamargo63 User ID: 7981779 219613
Reviewed Feb. 3, 2015

"This cake tastes good, but for some reason it collapses in the center when it's almost done baking. I was disappointed. I won't be making it again."

lvarner User ID: 35803 219402
Reviewed Feb. 1, 2015

"This cake recipe is just about as easy as making a cake mix cake. I usually have all the ingredients on hand, and it mixes up quickly. It's a good, basic chocolate cake recipe and one that's easy to "dress up" with frosting, toppings, etc."

dkrupa User ID: 7908923 218980
Reviewed Jan. 27, 2015

"Great easy cake! Mine baked perfectly at 350 for 35 minutes timed bake, it sat in the turned off oven an extra hour, didn't burn, dry out, or fall in the middle!"

map2150 User ID: 8030872 218480
Reviewed Jan. 21, 2015

"If cake is falling try adding 1/4 cup flour to batter."

Gluttongoose User ID: 8197461 218459
Reviewed Jan. 21, 2015

"JLBB - Try adding less water, or cooking a bit longer with greaseproof / foil covering the cake so it doesn't burn. Making it in a round tin, means you can cut the middle out ( just go round a small jar / cup ) if it still sinks, and cover it with a runny icing, so that it drips down both sides of the cake. Crumble the middle to go with banana custard, or put a big dollop of cream on top, some strawberries / raspberries and enjoy the ' cooks ' desserts! If you choose the latter option, make sure you enjoy it before anyone gets home!"

noniet User ID: 645037 218402
Reviewed Jan. 20, 2015

"Just made this cake The batter tastes good I think mine will fall too I think the pan is too small even though it is a 9 by 13 Maybe take some batter out and make a few cupcakes"

alicerobledo User ID: 8138571 213948
Reviewed Dec. 4, 2014

"It is so good my family love it"

sandyr948 User ID: 325451 25283
Reviewed Sep. 7, 2014

"So easy! And so moist! This will be my "go to" cake from now on. Mine also fell in the middle, but so what? (That part got a little extra frosting)"

JLBB User ID: 2520823 25261
Reviewed May. 25, 2014

"I have made this cake for years and the flavor can't be beat. But mine ALWAYS fall in the middle. Can anyone help me with that? Thanks!"

Pulseox User ID: 2055993 26098
Reviewed Feb. 14, 2014

"This was really good! I will make this again."

Loiscooks User ID: 3656565 16371
Reviewed Jan. 29, 2014

"I made this to serve to my daughter who avoids gluten and white sugar. I used non-gluten flour and coconut sugar. It turned out very nice. I frosted it with TOH Glossy chocolate Frosting recipe , and I used coconut sugar for that also. This cake turned out well with these substitutions. I will make this again."

olgaperez User ID: 7122831 202509
Reviewed Feb. 10, 2013

"The best chocolate cake I have ever made. cake lasted not even 5min. I will forever keep this recipe."

Spiffy64 User ID: 5125460 16249
Reviewed Nov. 15, 2012

"Excellent cake! It was the best chocolate cake I've ever made. It was so moist and flavorful. We made it 3 times in one week. My family and our guest loved it! I even substitued applesauce for half the oil with not problem! Best cake is now our go to chocolate cake. I love that all the ingredients are common and simple! My search for an amazing simple chocolate cake recipe is over! YUMMY!"

Phyllis Kesler User ID: 1378574 25260
Reviewed Aug. 12, 2012

"Best I've ever tasted. Stays so moist, I can make it days ahead of time and it tastes like I made it that day. Everyone asks for this recipe and can't believe how easy it is. I can't bring myself to try other chocolate cake recipes because I don't believe they can be better than this one."

gaylene1126 User ID: 1085471 49128
Reviewed Feb. 4, 2012

"I have made this recipe at least 50 times over the years and it has never failed me. It's great also as cupcakes. Many have asked for the recipe as well. It's a keeper!"

dollargirl User ID: 939213 78998
Reviewed Jan. 27, 2012

"So easy to make! Moist and delicious."

BarbaraAL User ID: 6377057 47492
Reviewed Dec. 21, 2011

"I have made this recipe several times over the years and it is the best chocolate cake I've ever tip. Don't chinze on the chocolate. Use good chocolate. I use the Hersheys Dark Choc. I tried generic and not good at all. I also use the powdered buttermilk. So convenient."

Sherri Duran User ID: 1383171 78997
Reviewed Oct. 12, 2011

"I agree with Jodie. This cake is fabulous. It is great to have a homemade cake that can be made in one bowl. I also like that it uses ingredients that you would normally have around the house. I have also taken it to potlucks and have had many people ask for the recipe."

jodide User ID: 6249584 25259
Reviewed Oct. 2, 2011

"I LOVE this cake!! I can't even begin to say how many birthday parties, potlucks, and nighttime snack attacks I've made this for. I've been making it for over 10 years. I've tried lots of others but always come back to this one. Great flavor and very moist. I've substituted other ingredients when I'm out of the called for and it still turns out amazing. Definitely the best!!"

Chocolateeyes User ID: 3861604 52090
Reviewed Apr. 4, 2011

"This is the best chocolate cake! My kids always ask to make it again Mom! Keeps well and stays moist. Great with ice-cream of course! I've made it several times. Always turns out perfect!"

BakinGymnast User ID: 5767825 23019
Reviewed Feb. 12, 2011

"Very moist, almost a brownie-like texture. I made the mistake of trying to make this into a layer cake, it did not work. Too dense! The only real problem I had was that it wasn't very chocolatey."

shailey User ID: 3084837 21333
Reviewed Jan. 20, 2011

"cake was moist and tasted great too; made two times and both times center fell that was the only problem"

msmimir User ID: 5356252 52088
Reviewed Aug. 18, 2010

"I tried this because of it's simplicity and it came out perfect."

gaylene1126 User ID: 1085471 52086
Reviewed May. 7, 2010

"I have made this recipe over and over and it turns out great every time! This is the cake I always make for birthdays to ice and decorate or I put it in cupcake tins and bake for 18 minutes for awesome chocolate cupcakes. I wouldn't be able to count the number of times I have made this recipe over the past number of years."

Missionary User ID: 1191169 45461
Reviewed Apr. 28, 2010

"I love making this cake. It is fun and easy and oh so moist. It's almost just as easy as a box mix without all the preservatives. It's delicious and my new "go-to" recipe for chocolate cake. Thank you for sharing. Oh yeah, one more thing... only one bowl to wash... Bonus! :)"

rvsd User ID: 4727621 50534
Reviewed Apr. 18, 2010

"Absolutely delish! Moist and super easy."

luvya848 User ID: 3894072 202508
Reviewed Mar. 13, 2010

"This is the recipe I turn to when I need to make a chocolate cake."

gmezz User ID: 4947239 26094
Reviewed Mar. 7, 2010

"This is the best cake I ever had. Beats bakery made cakes. When I tell my family I'm bringing the cake they can't wait. When I bring this cake to an event they love it.

G Mezz"

rhiler User ID: 2066529 44923
Reviewed Dec. 3, 2009

"Amazing! So easy and very moist. I will definitely be using this recipe often."

khegeman User ID: 2379383 23018
Reviewed Nov. 16, 2009

"Other than the recipe taking 15 minutes longer to bake than the suggested baking time, the cake was excellent."

vewebber58 User ID: 998755 47491
Reviewed Nov. 2, 2009

"I've made this cake twice now, and it was moist and delicious each time. I have a feeling that this recipe will be the one I'll turn to most often when I want to make a chocolate cake. It's not only yummy, it's quick to make."

misssixx User ID: 3683409 52084
Reviewed May. 8, 2009

"I have 5 kids and I make this cake almost every other day!! easy , moist... GREAT cake.


qtpie4u User ID: 1703467 20705
Reviewed Dec. 8, 2008

"This recipe was quick and easy!

The cake is so moist.
omaha, NE"

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