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Easy Chocolate Cake

5 from 3 votes
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posted: 04/17/22

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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

This Easy Chocolate Cake is the answer to all your chocolate cravings. It is simple to make and has the best easy frosting. If you eat it straight from the pan, I will not judge you.

easy chocolate cake on a plate with a bite missing

This easy Chocolate Cake recipe went through a few rounds of testing, and this was by far my kids’ favorite version. They literally wanted to take more forkfuls right from the pan.

This cake is beyond easy to make. In fact, this is the perfect baking activity with kids because it comes together so quickly. It will be so satisfying for kids to be able to enjoy their creation so quickly after making it.

Our amazing chocolate cake is most and delicious. And it comes with the most perfect chocolate frosting. It’s okay if you, the parent, wants to call dibs on licking the bowl. I understand.

How to Make Easy Chocolate Cake

  1. Mix the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Combine the wet ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine the milk, vegetable oil, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and eggs.
  3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.
  4. Pour into a greased 9 by 9 inch baking dish. The size of the baking dish matters in this recipe. Read more about this below.
  5. Bake and allow to cool. We are going to frost the cake, but you need it to fully cool before you can add the frosting.
  6. Make the frosting. Whisk together melted butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and milk. Spread the frosting over the cake and enjoy.
overhead of the best chocolate cake recipe in a square baking dish

Baking Dish Size for Chocolate Cake

The size of the baking dish matters when it comes to cake recipes. In this recipe, we are using a 9 by 9 inch square baking dish. If you were to use an 8 by 8 inch baking dish, that would be 25% less volume. This cake will fit in that pan, but it will be too thick. This can result in your cake rising a lot in the middle, but not having the support it needs and falling after baking.

Easy Chocolate Frosting for Cake

This cake comes with a melt in your mouth easy frosting. In it we are combining five simple ingredients to make a perfect frosting. This chocolate frosting comes together in less than five minutes and just requires a bowl and a spoon. You will love it and fall back on it for so many different cake recipes.

Tips and Tricks for this Easy Chocolate Cake

  • Measure your flour correctly. Scoop the flour into a dry measuring cup with a spoon. Then level the flour off with the flat edge of a spatula.
  • Double check you are using baking powder and not baking soda. The two react differently in recipes, and for this one – because we aren’t working with something acidic – we need to use baking powder.
  • Ensure that your baking powder is still reactive. Drop a little into some water. It should bubble immediately. If it doesn’t, it likely needs to be replaced. Baking powder needs to be replaced approximately every six months.
  • Use the correct sized baking dish. As mentioned above, it is important for this recipe to use a 9 by 9 inch baking dish and not an 8 by 8 inch baking dish.

Storing Chocolate Cake

This homemade chocolate cake will keep on the countertop for about four to five days, though it will be best when eaten in the first 48 hours. Be sure to cover the cake with aluminum foil for storing.

Freezing

If you would like to make this cake ahead of time and freeze, bake it completely and allow to cool completely. Do not frost the cake. Then cover the cake with aluminum foil. Wrap it three times in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to three months. Allow it to thaw completely overnight before frosting and serving.

pice of moist chocolate cake with a fork bite missing

Other Chocolate Desserts

If you make this chocolate cake recipe or any of my other recipes, leave me a comment and let me know what you think. I love hearing from you.

easy chocolate cake on a plate with a bite missing
5 from 3 votes

Easy Chocolate Cake

Serves: 12 pieces
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 1 hour 50 minutes
to make and has the best easy frosting. If you eat it straight from the pan, I will not judge you.

Ingredients

For Chocolate Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup milk see note one about fat content
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Chocolate Frosting

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 2 cups powdered sugar scooped and leveled, not packed
  • 2 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Instructions

For Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray an 9 inch by 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together the milk, vegetable oil, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and eggs.
  • Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until they are just combined.
  • Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35-38 minutes or just until a toothpick comes out clean.

For Chocolate Frosting

  • In a medium bowl, mix together the butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and milk until smooth. Spread over cooled cake and serve.

Notes

  1. In this recipe I used skim milk. In general it is okay to go up in fat content in baking recipes, but not down. So any milk will work well in this recipe.
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
easy chocolate cake on a plate with a bite missing

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Easy Chocolate Cake

I’d love to see what you made! Tag me @lisasimplejoy and hashtag it #simplejoyrecipes!

Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

Reader Interactions

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  1. Liz @ The Lemon Bowl says

    Pass me a giant slice!

  2. Eliza Smith says

    Wow It’s look is so yummy and delicious. I will try to make it.

  3. Melody Ringo says

    Oh my gosh I finally found the best snack cake like my mom made for years .. this is the very best …. raises like really big..and the frosting is soo good too

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad to hear that you like it!

  4. Julie says

    5 stars
    Made this exactly to the recipe, turned out great! My teenage daughter wanted some chocolate cake, and I already had everything needed. She loved it so much she had a small piece with breakfast too! Thanks for the recipe :)

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed this!

  5. Kelli says

    This cake sounds amazing! One question though…I only use skim milk but it’s lactose free. Would this make a difference? Thanks :)

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’ve never gotten this question before! So I actually had to look it up. It looks like it is totally fine to use lactose free milk in place of regular milk! Some people think it is a little sweeter, but I don’t think that will be an issue with this cake.

  6. Debbie Gourlay says

    This recipe looks awesome. I was wondering if I could bake in an individual brownie pan. I love recipes for this type of pan as makes perfect snack for lunch bags

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m sure you could! I haven’t tired it though. You could also try as cupcakes. But again, I would want to test these before telling you it will be no problem.

  7. John Morrison says

    I can’t wait to try this recipe thanks, I will let you know how it turns out

    • Lisa Longley says

      I hope you enjoy it!

  8. judith judge says

    in the directions it calls for baking soda but its not in the ingrediernts how much do you use

    • Lisa Longley says

      Thank you for catching that, Judith! There isn’t any baking soda and I’ve corrected that error.

  9. Sherry says

    Not only was the cake great. It was so moist. But my guys really loved the icing. The two together what a great combo! Thanks for all the great mains, sides, and desserts! Best to you and yours.

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so happy to hear that it was enjoyed in your house, Sherry!

  10. Karen says

    Could this recipe work for cupcakes? Baking times would be different but would the texture be the same.

    • Lisa Longley says

      Sometimes cake recipes translate perfectly to cupcakes, and sometimes they just don’t. Unfortunately, I haven’t tested it with this recipe.

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