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One Bowl Chocolate Cake

  • Yield: Makes 2 eight-inch square or 3 eight-inch round layers
One Bowl Chocolate Cake

Source: Martha Stewart Baby, Spring


  • Unsalted butter, for pans
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pans
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter round or square cake pans, and line bottoms with parchment; butter parchment, and dust with cocoa.

  2. Into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, stir in eggs, 1 1/2 cups warm water, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla until smooth, about 3 minutes.

  3. Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake, rotating once, until tester inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes for 8-inch layers, depending on amount of batter.

  4. Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely, right side up on rack.

Cook's Note

Cake can be made in advance and stored up to 1 day in refrigerator.

Reviews (19)

  • Stillsmillingca 24 Oct, 2014

    I LOVE this chocolate cake, easy, moist and perfect crumb. Nice and sturdy if you want to decorate with fondant but not heavy. It rises very nicely... two high 9" layers. I will never search for another chocolate cake recipe again. Pair it with swiss buttercream...perfect!

  • joojey 9 Apr, 2014

    Hey Martha, plz help me out tht whether this cake is suitable to covered in fondant? i want to make two 9" cakes n then covered in fondant, so can i go ahead?

  • gracemcardona 11 Feb, 2014

    I would
    like to know if I could skip the paper part just because I am using a football shape baking pan.

  • Marlene81 5 Aug, 2013

    Hi everyone! Does anyone know much this cake rises and if you can bake it in one 8 inch pan and than slice it too? If not, how long can the rest of the batter be left in the bowl or the tins before baking? Thanks!!

  • Riska Samtoy 4 Sep, 2012

    I make this cake for my son 4th bday. It was turn great. Followed the methode , yes add water asnintruction, moist. Thanks Martha

  • pj1515 25 Jun, 2012

    I LOVE this recipe and have forwarded it on to so many friends. Only thing is that I would love to be able to make this in advance for some events-has anyone tried freezing this and if so how did you wrap i/defrost it?

  • Susan94 2 Mar, 2011

    I think Martha needs to add 1 1/2 cups of water in ingredient list. I forget to look when I pull out all the ingredients and do measuring ahead of time. Just a little quirk. I made it a few times so I remember about the water but someone new might miss it and mess up and waste the whole cake. Ingredients are expensive.

  • Lilpriness1978 7 Feb, 2011

    I did this cupcake recipe...Just UMMM !! My daughter and i got a lot of succes in school...
    Thanks Martha

  • rosebengal 12 Aug, 2010

    FYI - calumsmom - Martha's recipes NEVER include water in the ingredient list when called for in a recipe. Just a quirk you eventually get used to but it can make you crazy the first few times!

  • petalsjw 5 Jul, 2010

    I brought up one-bowl chocolate cake and found a recipe done in 2010, poossbily a correction?? This recipe only make one 8" cake, but when you double the recipe it would be 1 1/2 Cup buttermilk and 1 1/2 Cup warm water. So I guess that would be the correct liquid amounts!!?? Hope this helps Calumsmom!!!

  • calumsmom 5 Jul, 2010

    The directions say to add 1 1/2 cups water, but there is no water in the ingredient list!

  • evanderd 3 Nov, 2009

    This is my go-to chocolate cake recipe! It's easy to make, light, and delicious! It makes excellent layer cakes as well as cupcakes. I love it!

  • miniMartha-me 18 Mar, 2009

    My 11-yr old daugther followed the recipe exactly and made the most delicious and moist chocolate cake. It was so easy and simple. We made 2 9-in round cakes and it did sink slightly in the middle but not enough to cause a problem. It was still moist after 3 days. This has become THE family-favorite chocolate cake!

  • sarah2303 9 Feb, 2009

    this recipe turned out horrible with the strange out-of-place 1 1/2 cup warm water that is not in the ingredients but is in the recipe. without it, the recipe worked just fine and actually tasted really good for such an easy recipe!

  • debbiekitson 7 Feb, 2009

    I tried this cake in a sheet pan 11x15 and it is wonderful. larger than a regular 9x13 and turns out wonderful. Takes about 25-30 min to cook. Smells heavenly. Gread idea for a decorated birthday cake

  • sedazh 19 Oct, 2008

    Right now the cake is baking in the oven; it's been 1 hour and the center is still very gooey :( I accidentally used more water than the recipe called and although I added more flour and the mixture looked like a proper cake mix in the end, the center insists on not cooking!!!
    I also prepared swiss meringue buttercream but after I added half of the butter it splited, maybe not "splited" but it looks like that. Can anyone help....?

  • nadjya 23 Jul, 2008

    I used this recipe for the Monkey Cake that is posted on this site and it was a hit. I agree it is a great standby and so moist!

  • SunflowerRae 17 Jun, 2008

    This cake is my all-time favourite standby best chocolate cake ever! It always gets rave reviews and it's so easy to make. I think the buttermilk makes it.

  • SunshineBee 7 Apr, 2008

    where is the actual recipe?

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