New This Month

One Bowl Chocolate Birthday Cake


This recipe calls for mixing all the ingredients together into a bowl, then dividing the batter into cake pans, then baking them. How easy is that?

  • Yield: Makes three 8-inch round layers, two 9-inch round layers, one 9-by-13 inch sheet or 3 to 4 dozen cupcakes

Source: Martha Stewart Baby, Spring 2002


  • 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
  • Chocolate Frosting for One-Bowl Chocolate Cake


  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.

Reviews Add a comment

  • 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
    Hi 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!!!