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One-Bowl Chocolate Cake

Recipe photo courtesy of Dana Gallagher

Birthday? Anniversary? Going-away party? This super-easy, one-bowl layer cake is the perfect dessert for any gathering of chocolate buffs.

Source: Martha Stewart Living, April 2010



Cook's Notes

Unfrosted cake layers can be stored, wrapped in plastic, at room temperature or refrigerated overnight. Frosted cake can be refrigerated overnight.

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How would you rate this recipe?
  • GreyDove_679
    26 JUL, 2017
    I just made the pound cake and it fell while cooking, not sure what happened but making it again
    • artisurvargmai
      26 JUL, 2017
      Same here. The cake collapses after rising gloriously. The flavor is great though.
  • memunden2003
    7 JUN, 2017
    I have made this cake recipe in the past but stopped making it as it was so liquid it seeped through the tin and took forever to bake. The flavour was great though. Does anyone else have the same problem?
  • CakenGifts12
    24 MAY, 2017
    Awesome recipe! This recipe is very great.Thanks for sharing good cake recipe.
  • anna.moomaw
    31 MAR, 2017
    This cake was really easy to make, I ran out of the suggested oil and ended up using olive oil! it worked great. I also used 3/4 cup of warm coffee instead of plain water for a richer flavor. The temp and bake time of this cake was exact.
  • LoveCakeSF
    7 APR, 2016
    Okay, I've been making this cake for many years now: birthdays, carnivals, work events. I originally got the recipe from a Baby magazine (which I still have). However, I come back to the site for the many variations: this two-layer version and occasionally, the cupcakes. Everyone asks me for the recipe. And I love it because being a busy Mom with two kids, it's the easiest and most flavorful chocolate cake I've ever made. I always use Ghirardelli, Drost or other quality cocoa.
  • jennhuang
    5 OCT, 2014
    I made this cake because I was baking for 40 people and I wanted something simple that wouldn't use every bowl in the house. This recipe definitely comes together simply. I think I spent as much time flouring and cutting parchment for the pans as I did to mix the batter. However, I have to say the flavor is disappointing. It's not very chocolatey, rich, or celebratory, just kind of like an everyday snack cake. Using milk, cream or butter might help, but I will look for another recipe.
    • fraise16
      17 JUL, 2015
      I understand your point, this is why every time I bake, to make sure there is as much taste as possible, I only use the best ingredients as possible such as grass fed butter, grass fed milk, organic eggs, rhum, vanilla, and sometimes coffee. This time, I mixed coffee with chocolate, vanilla, rhum all together in the recipe. The result was amazing! flavors came all the way!
    • daneekaps
      23 OCT, 2014
      Wow I am surprised you didn't like it. I've made this cake for years for every birthday & party I have. Maybe if you used a stronger-artisian- cocoa? It may just be easier to use another recipe as you said but I love this cake. This cake is delicious with Martha's brown sugar buttercream but maybe if you used a ganache between the layers or added a flavored simple syrup to the cake itself it would have felt more elegant and worthy of your party.
  • KWende
    3 FEB, 2015
    This is our go to cake/cupcake recipe. I have used it for Wilton character pans, and I go out of my way to find different frostings to go with it for cupcakes. I use Fry's cocoa powder and the cake is always moist chocolatey and a hit.
  • MS11544957
    13 FEB, 2014
    This cake rises beautifully. I used a 6 inch round spring-form pan and poured the entire batter into one pan. It took about an hour and 10 minutes to bake. Super moist, though a little on the denser side. I cut the cake into three layers and used it for making a black forest cake for my sweetie :)
  • MS11402627
    10 FEB, 2014
    I've saved this recipe for 3 years, waiting for the right occasion; my mom's birthday party seemed like a god fit. This was very easy to make; I agree with the earlier review, I was little concerned with the loose consistency of the bake batter, but it baked just fine. The frosting was really good but pretty much chocolate spackle; I could not get the smooth appearance that the photo with the recipe shows. Fortunately the party goers did not mind, everyone truly loved this cake.
  • Bettz
    24 NOV, 2013
    I have made this numerous times and it comes out perfect. I have also added a bit of espresso and cinnamon for a different taste. Delicious!

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