The Best Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Of the hundreds of dessert recipes I have on my blog, I realized that I didn’t have a chocolate cake recipe so I changed that.

With the easiest, one-bowl, five minute, from-scratch chocolate cake you’ll ever make.

If you’re addicted to cake mix, you can break free. I’ve been there.

I made this cake without a mixer and it was ready to go from bowl to oven in less than five minutes with just a couple turns of the whisk.

I’m the first to admit that cake mixes can be great because they’re convenient, the results are nearly guaranteed, and they produce moist and light cakes.

This scratch cake does the same.

Except it’s darker, richer, and more intensely chocolaty than a cake mix chocolate cake, which is a good thing if you like a nice dark, deeply chocolaty, chocolate cake.

One way in which I kept the cake moist was by adding yogurt, which can be replaced with sour cream if that’s what you have on hand. Just don’t use light or diet yogurt or sour cream. Use thicker or Greek-style full-fat yogurt. You’re making chocolate cake, not diet food, so forego the watery diet yogurt.

I also kept the use of baking powder to a bare minimum because I find it dries out cupcakes, muffins, and cakes. The recipe uses just enough to give the cake lightness and lift so that it isn’t confused with the denser and flatter chocolate slab that we all know as a brownie.

Finally, I do love butter and will almost always choose butter over oil in baking; except when baking a cake. Oil produces a moister cake in my experience and since all that lovely buttery flavor is going to be masked anyway from the cocoa powder, you’re not giving up anything in the flavor department and gaining worlds in the moisture category by using oil rather than butter. A win-win for oil.

Not sold on the cake yet? Allow me to sell you on the chocolate ganache.

Ganache is made by heating cream and pouring it over chocolate and I kept this ganache super simple by heating the cream in the microwave. You could heat it over the stove, but why bother.

The beauty of the ganache is that even after it sets up, it still has a juicy quality to it in comparison to say buttercream frosting, which can become a bit hardened around the edges after it’s been exposed to air for a few hours. Crunchy frosting is never a good thing.

If frosting can taste elegant and classy, this ganache is how; as opposed to this frosting which is more along the lines of a finger-lickin’ good frosting.

There’s no sugar added to the ganache and it’s only as sweet as the chocolate you select, which in my case was semi-sweet chocolate chips. Go as milky or dark as you enjoy. Feel free to spike your ganache with a couple tablespoons of bourbon, rum, or a fancy flavored liqueur.

Skylar requested this cake for her next birthday and Scott said, “Good idea, honey. This cake does taste like chocolate birthday cake tastes.”

Yes, of course it does because most chocolate birthday cakes are cake mix cakes.

Now you can bypass the cake mix and make this in five minutes instead.

The Best Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Ganache - The best chocolate cake I've ever had, and the easiest to make! Nothing fussy or complicated & delivers amazing results every time! 

Print Recipe

The Best Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Ganache

This is the best chocolate cake I've ever had or made, and it's the easiest. One bowl, no-mixer, no creaming ingredients, and nothing funny. This cake is fast, easy, and always delivers amazing results. You can bake it as cupcakes, too. The ganache is rich and velvety, and the perfect pairing with this deep, dark, not-too-sweet, and very moist cake. The cake is a reader favorite!

Yield: one 9-by-9-inch square cake, 12 generous pieces

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: about 25 minutes

Total Time: 90 minutes, to allow for cooling


Chocolate Cake

1 large egg

1 cup granulated sugar

6 ounces plain, vanilla, or chocolate yogurt (thicker Greek-style preferred, do not use diet, fat-free or light yogurt; sour cream may be substituted)

1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup brewed coffee, room temperature or warm

1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt, optional

Chocolate Ganache

9 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (about 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips)

3/4 cup heavy cream or half-and-half

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or optionally use 1 to 2 tablespoons rum, bourbon, coffee-, orange-, raspberry-, chocolate-flavored liqueur)


Cake - Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line a 9-by-9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine egg, sugar, yogurt, oil, vanilla, and whisk until smooth and combined. Add coffee, cocoa powder (I used Hershey's), and whisk vigorously until batter is smooth and free from lumps.

Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and whisk vigorously until batter has just combined, about 1 minute. Note about coffee: The coffee does not make the cake taste like a coffee-flavored cake. Rather, it brings out and enhances the flavor of the cocoa powder and adds depth of flavor; I highly recommend coffee but use water if you must. The coffee can be any temperature other than piping hot; you don’t want to scramble the egg.

Pour batter, which is a loose and fairly runny batter, into prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until top has set and a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in pan completely, at least 30 minutes, before adding ganache or frosting the cake, or before slicing and serving. Unfrosted cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or store frosted cake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Chocolate Ganache - Place chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl and heat on high power for 1 minute to soften chocolate; set aside.

In a small microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup, heat the cream (I used half-and-half) on high power just until it begins to bubble and show signs of boiling, about 60 to 75 seconds.

Pour hot cream over chocolate and let it stand about 1 minute. Whisk vigorously until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth and velvety.

Add vanilla or optional flavorings and stir to combine. Set bowl aside for about 10 minutes, allowing ganache to cool and thicken a bit. Whisk mixture briefly before pouring all of it over the cake. Lightly smooth and spread the ganache with a spatula or offset knife. Allow ganache to set up for at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving the cake; or speed this process up by placing pan in the refrigerator or freezer briefly.

Related Recipes

White and Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Chocolate Cake Bars – these use cake mix but the preparation method isn’t traditional

Mounds Bar Chocolate Coconut Cake Mix Cookies

Fudgy Nutella Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting – my favorite brownie base recipe which is as easy as making brownies from a box, I promise; and it’s the brownie base I use for all brownies before doctoring them up with other add-ins or tweaks

Frozen Chocolate Pudding and Wafer Cake (No-Bake, 3 ingredients)

Chocolate Cake Batter Milkshake

Do you have a favorite from scratch cake recipe?

Feel free to link it up; chocolate, yellow, vanilla, carrot, red velvet, whatever it is as long as it’s amazing.

How often do you use cake mixes?

I did a 15 Recipes Using Cake Mix (But None of Them Actually Make a Cake) post and since then, I’ve really cut down on the amount of cake mix I use. They have their time and place, and I will always use them I’m sure.

However, I’d like to post more classic type recipes on my blog and an easy, but practical, tasty, and moist chocolate cake from scratch was a good place to start.


  1. This cake looks so freaking awesome! Especially that frosting!

  2. No need to sell me on this cake, because that beautiful, glossy ganache had me at first sight. This is one beautiful cake.

  3. Truly beautiful cake, Averie!! And that ganache…so rich looking. My favorite cake recipes (from scratch) would be my mom’s Texas sheet cake or my mother in law’s German chocolate cake. I’ll certainly do a boxed mix because most are actually pretty moist, but I do love baking from scratch because all ingredients can be controlled! That luscious frosting got me wondering about a white chocolate ganache (and even a white chocolate version using full fat coconut milk). Hmmm….oh the possibilities!

  4. Most of my favourite cake recipes are from scratch, but I do use cake mixes for cake pops, and a lemon cake that I make occasionally.

  5. Could I use a non-dairy yogurt in the cake?
    And almond milk in place of half and half for the ganache?
    This cake looks amazing and moist.

    • I’m sure you could try it and see what kind of results you will get – I don’t think they will be bad, and in fact probably decent, if you need to keep this cake dairy-free for a certain reason, but because I haven’t made it that way, I can’t speak to the exact results you’ll get.

  6. Oh my goodness…I’m reeealllly wishing they had flavor-capable computer screes. You know, ones I could lick to taste that frosting. *Swoon*

  7. Hi Averie,
    What a wonderful pics of Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache you have here.
    Perhaps you’re interested to submit your food photos on our food photography site that has tagline “Food Photography that will make you hungry” :)
    It’s free to submit, free to join, and a lot of members can enjoy your creation!

  8. that looks delicious, averie! I love the use of coffee as a cake ingredient!

  9. This chocolate cake was a-MAZING! I made it on a whim, at 11:00 P.M. and since I didnt have any chocolate chips, I whipped up a quick Nutella flavored ganache using heavy cream and nutella. If that’s your kind of thing, you should definitely try it! :)

    • You are officially the first person who’s made it and reported back – and so glad you loved it. AND that you doctored it up with a Nutella + heavy cream ganache. Now THAT sounds amazing!

  10. Pingback: the easiest chocolate cake with chocolate ganache. | Cooking Pics

  11. This looks supremely amazing, gorgeous shots and so much chocolatey goodness in this post!

    I haven’t used cake mixes in awhile, the last one I had was a freebie from the FB fest that wasn’t vegan friendly, so I gave it to my sister. For some reason I never think to buy them.

  12. Goodness, that crumb looks absolutely perfect! Seriously mouthwatering. I want some for breakfast RIGHT NOW.

    I had no idea that baking powder can dry such recipes out. Thanks for the tip!

  13. I use brewed coffee in almost ALL of my chocolate recipes. It brings out the flavor of the chocolate in such an incredible way that makes me drool just thinking about it! Haha

  14. Ha! So true.
    I hardly have any chocolate or even vanilla recipes on my blog.
    Your cake looks gorgeous, and easy is sometimes the best tasting in my opinion.
    As long as the frosting is spot on, then all is fine. LOL

  15. If I don’t use the coffee should I use more cocoa in water or milk? Coffee doesn’t agree with me. Thanx for your help.

    • I would just replace the coffee for water. Possibly add a little extra vanilla extract and if there’s any way to use the coffee, I reallllllllly would. Even decaf, whatever – it’s a flavor thing and water is just not going to be the same but you know that going into it….

    • I used buttermilk instead of coffee, worked nicely. Also used some sea salt in the ganache made a 3 layer cake each layer topped with ganache and covered it with a cocoa whipped cream “icing” best cake ever!

    • Great feedback on the buttermilk rather than coffee. You can never go wrong w/ buttermilk in cakes, muffins, quickbreads, pancakes, etc b/c it just tenderizes everything so beautifully. And if you like a saltier vibe (which I’m guessing from the sea salted ganache), buttermilk is just perfect for you then!

      The fact that you topped the ganache with cocoa whipped cream – oh I want to lick the bowl :) Thanks for the feedback!

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  17. Perfection. That’s the only word to describe this cake… I love the use of yogurt to add moisture to the cake and that there’s no butter involved. And no mixer required. So awesome… I’m featuring this post in today’s Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution as always). Thank you so much for keeping me inspired with such delicious creations…

  18. love the frosting!

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  20. Omg I made the chocolate cake that requires coco and coffee. Amazing. Eat. Cake. Ever.

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  23. Goodness gracious, this looks SO good! PS. I’m catching up on my blog reading and don’t know exactly when this happened, but your new blog design looks awesome – I love it!

  24. I made this cake this week for my birthday. It is so moist and so delicious. I don’t like frosting, so the ganache was perfect! I sprinkled mini m&ms on top to decorate it. I generally let my husband and kids buy me a cake every year, but this year I insisted I would bake my own. It was the best birthday cake I’ve had for my own birthday in years!

    • Well Happy Bday to you AND I am so glad that this was a big hit for you and that you had such good success with it! Comments & stories like this just make my day and the fact that it turned out to be the best bday cake you’ve had in years…just awesome! Thanks for making it and the feedback!

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  26. Averie, would substituting full fat coconut milk or Silk work in the gnache in place of the creamer/ half and half?


  27. This is a question I always have. For the chocolate cake recipe, would it be possible to reduce the sugar to one half cup or don’t do it. Also, is there any substitute in the nut milk world for the heavy creme in the ganache? Thanks for everything. Great blog.

    • No, don’t halve the sugar. The cake is *perfect* as written, both in sweetness and in texture; playing with sugar ratios will throw other things off. This is NOT a sweet cake. It’s rich, not sweet per se. Coconut milk or cashew milk would be good substitutes, almond milk in an absolute pinch.

  28. Thanks Averie. Thank you for everything that you do.

  29. Hello!!
    I made this cake today and it was AMAZING!! I made it in an 8×8 pan and made two cupcakes because I didn’t have the right size pan. I gave a piece of just the cake to my husband and he loved it. Usually it takes him forever to eat sweets but he ate it right up. I used half and half for my ganache and it never set. It stayed runny even in the fridge. Do you think I should use heavy whipping cream next time or do you think I did something wrong? Thanks so much! Again AMAZING!!!

    • So glad you loved it as well as your hubby! Ganache like this stays very soft and ‘goopy’ and never really fully sets. That’s the beauty; it doesn’t turn hard and crunchy like a buttercream or anything with powdered sugar in it. You did it just right!

      You could cut back on the ratio of half and half to chocolate ratio a bit, thereby having a thicker and less runny ganache, but it will simply be thicker rather than thicker + setting up solid. It will still stay on the soft side.

      If you like a solid-setting frosting, use a favorite buttercream or one you love; but this one stays drippy and oozing which I love with this cake but of course, do what you like best! Thanks for the field report and glad it was a hit!

    • Thanks!! I think I’ll just cut back on the half and half next time. The ganache was AMAZING even though it was runny! Thanks!

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  31. THE best cake I have ever made!! You have me converted; no more cake mix. This was as easy to make as a mix and so, so, so, SO much better tasting.

    Maybe the best chocolate cake I have ever eaten, and I made it myself. You are a genius! :)

  32. This cake is literally the best cake I have ever made or had. It’s like when you walk into a cafe or bakery and you see all those decadent looking chocolate cakes, and then you taste them, and you’re disappointed because they’re never nearly as good as what you had imagined in your head, but this cake exceeds that; it’s better than you could ever imagine it to be. It’s so indulgent, it’s a luxury to eat. And the best part is, you can follow the recipe exactly and without a doubt, it will turn out perfect. Thank you for you’re beautiful recipe, I will make this time and time again :)

    • Jacqui, you just made my day. I love this comment and that you had such success with the recipe.

      That it’s the best cake you’ve ever had, or made; and that it ranks right up there with decadent-looking bakery cakes (and I totally concur, they are usually mediocre at best, and almost always a disappointment and underwhelming).

      I took a ridiculous amount of time in creating this recipe with research, testing, trialing to make sure it was *the best* chocolate cake I have ever had and that’s easily re-creatable by others without 17 different types of specialty ingredients, flours, milks, etc. I am so glad you love it :)

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  35. I don’t usually comment on a blog post but here I am munching away and wanna salute you on this amazing recipe! It’s so simple and yet results in awesomeness. Btw I truly appreciate how you continue to reply each and every comment on here, not all bloggers do that. Keep up the reachable-ness, if that’s even a word. Kudos.

    • I try my best to reply to comments; especially those in which someone told me they made something of mine. That person took the time to try a recipe, spent their time, money, and energy on something I recommended and whether they loved it or not, the fact they tried it and came back to tell me about it – I definitely feel like I want to and should at least reply! But thanks for the encouragement to keep up with it.

      And thanks for trying this recipe and glad that you love the simplicity + awesome results! Me too :)

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  37. I found this by way of Pinterest and just had to make it the next day. I have a husband who is diabetic so I needed to make it sugar free. I used agave nectar, oh my did this cake turn out scrumptious and it was truly sugar free, no sugar in the cake and none in the ganash! Thanks for a wonderful recipe that can be made gluten free. P.s. I used a half cup of agave nectar in place of the one cup of sugar.

    • Thanks for finding me and for making this and so glad that you love the recipe – AND that you were able to make it totally sugar free, wow! By way of 1/2 cup agave nectar. I love agave and usually use it in all my no-bake/raw cookie dough balls and glad to hear you had success with it in this cake. Thanks for the feedback!

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  39. I made this last night, sold on the recipe based on all of the good reviews, and I agree – the cake was amazing. I had someone tell me that they hate chocolate and they never eat it, yet they loved the cake so much they wanted the recipe. Thank you!!

    • I am so glad to hear you made it, you loved it, AND the chocolate hater (<— baffling!!) loved it and wanted the recipe. Now that’s success! Thanks for making it and for coming back to let me know your field report!

  40. Well I made this cake again last week and took it to friends who are diabetic, they loved it, I told them I had made it sugar free with the agave, they couldnt belive how moist and rich it was! I then again made it tonight for dessert again with the agave for my husband so he can enjoy it.. We love this cake! I have to make it as the recipe calls for sugar I just know it is good! The very best chocolate cake ever, and I have been baking for over 40 years!

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  46. Hi Averie! Thank you for this fabulous recipe! I made this cake, and it was the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had! I stored the leftovers in the fridge and the frosting became rather stiff. I could peel it off. I LOVE chocolate, but when the frosting becomes hard, it’s too much. I know, I can’t believe I just said that! :-) Does the cake need to be refrigerated? Thank you again for this awesome recipe!

    • I don’t refrigerate the cake but do as you enjoy. If your frosting becomes stiff, you could possibly increase the volume of milk or cut back the amt of chocolate just slightly, that will thin it out a bit and probably keep it from becoming stiff. Or use whole milk or half and half rather than a heavier cream so it stays thinner. But glad to know you love, love the fake and it WAS the best chocolate cake you’ve ever had. Thanks for telling me! :)

  47. I tossed this together this evening, almost as an afterthought to a simple dinner, and it was just lovely! I halved the recipe and made minor adjustments to make it a cozy dessert for two (for a few nights). Thank you very much!

    • So glad to hear you made it, April, and that you were able to halve it and it turned out so well for you…what a sweet thing to make dessert for two with it. Glad you enjoyed and thanks for the feedback! :)

  48. Do I have to change anything about this recipe if I were to make this into cupcakes instead of a cake?

  49. This looks lovely and I am planning to make it for a friend’s wedding tomorrow (she wanted me to help out with baking some sweets). I am also planning on making a personal, layer cake just for her and I was wondering if this recipe would work fine as a layer cake?


  50. So delicious! I had a hard time waiting for the cake to cool and the ganache to set, but it was so worth it. Definitely will be making this recipe again.


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