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! 

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!


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.

Only Eats

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.

434 comments on “The Best Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache”

  1. Pingback: Homeschool Kindergarten, Week 1 | windowpaynes

  2. made this cake last night and it was amazing. so moist, sweet..and PERFECT with a glass of milk (or my pairing of vanilla ice cream) to balance out the sweetness of the rich ganache. thanks for a great recipe. i’m considering this my bday cake as it was mine on saturday! haha then i can eat extra right? ;)

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  4. WOW!!!Made this for my father-inlaws 87th birthday cake….he was eating the icing with a spoon! I used 0% Greek yogurt and it turned out perfect. Amazing chocolate experience. Thx for sharing! Just had a piece with my am coffee!!!

    • I am TOUCHED to know an 87 year old man was eating the icing with a spoon. Now that is a great story! And thanks for making the cake and for coming back to LMK you did. LOVE stories like this :) The bday cake for an 87 yr old – makes me feel honored. Thank you!

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  8. Would the batter overflow in an 8 inch square pan? I don’t have a 9 inch square pan. Or I guess I could use a 9 inch round pan?

    • Round pans hold much less than square, so I would not use the 9 inch round. I would use the 8 inch square and if it looks like it’s getting high, don’t put in the last 1/2 cup or so of batter. Use your judgment. And possibly reduce baking time a bit. Bake extra batter in a cupcake pan for 20 mins or so. LMK how it goes!

  9. This cake was a dream to make and tasted heavenly!! It was dense and so so so moist. Such a simple recipe! Thank you Averie, you’re brilliant!

  10. This cake was a dream to make and tasted heavenly!! It was dense and so so so moist. Such a simple recipe! Thank you Averie, you’re brilliant!

    One question! Could I use the same batter for cupcakes? :D

  11. Is there any way you could make the recipe printer friendly like the rest of the recipes on your website?

  12. Is it okay if I use plain non-fat yogurt? That’s what I have at home. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Will the consistency of the cake get messed up? Also I tried looking for yogurt that isn’t diet, non-fat, or low fat. I can’t find any that isn’t.

    • If all you have is plain non-fat and you’ve tried looking for other types, then just use what you have. In general, the thicker the yogurt, i.e. full-fat Greek yogurt, the softer the cake will be. Another substitution would be to use sour cream, maybe just slightly less, but use whatever you have. It will be fine. LMK how the cake turns out for you!

  13. This cake is unbeatable – it is fantastic! I have made it so many times and realised I hadn’t let you know. We love it and so does everyone else who tastes it!!

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  17. super cool!!!!!!!!! I made a vegan chocolate mud cake the other day because i just saw this post and was inspired to do so!

  18. Wow. I’ve been baking for years now and I dont think I’ve ever said “this is THE perfect chocolate cake” until I made this. Seriously, thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe.

  19. Thank you so much for this recipe! This is definitely one of the best chocolate cake recipes I’ve ever used. Turned out extremely moist (definitely very chocolate-y) and I used some milk choc chips (ran out of dark!) and some nutella with the ganache, and sprinkled some m&ms on top. So perfect! I’ll definitely be using this for layer cakes or cupcakes :)

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and love your idea of using Nutella and sprinkled M&Ms, too :) The cake is a keeper, I agree. Always turns out and it’s so easy. Thanks for being a fan of it!

  20. I agree a chocolate cake is always best topped with chocolate ganache. I have also made a similar one previously but with a twist in the ganache, hope you can check it out :)

  21. This is the dumbest question, I’m sure..

    You recommend lining a 9×9 square pan with aluminum foil OR using cooking spray to grease a 10″ round cake pan? I just want to do this right. Using the aluminum foil scares me bc of presentation.

    • Well are you really going to present the cake in the same pan you bake it in, as opposed to a cake stand, a pretty plate, or just plating it up? I always do one of the above and with a foil-lined pan, you can just pick the whole thing up so easily without mutilating it, and transfer to your serving plate. Do whatever you think will work best for you, foil or not. I prefer it since it’s so much easier, cleaner, and neater.

  22. Made this cake yesterday, oh my, it is the best cake ever. It’s a cake that makes me want to get up at midnight and “sneak a slice”!

  23. Wow! This cake is AMAZING! I don’t drink coffee so I used Pero (coffee substitute) instead, and it turned out great! Thank you so much for a great recipe!

  24. Well I can honestly say you have sold me on cakes made with oil. I used to only look for cakes with butter, but this cake was absolutely delicious. Already made it 3x. Thanks

    • Thanks for trying this and yes, butter is over-rated in cakes IMO. Think about it. At cool temps, butter turns solid. Oil doesn’t. I want my cakes/muffins/quicbkreads to stay soft and not ‘solid’ so I use oil. It just adds so much moisture and I don’t miss the buttery flavor anyway since it’s masked by all the chocolate :)

  25. hi, i live in the uk and this cake looks ridiculously good, but i’m just wondering- what is half and half? i’m assuming heavy cream is simply double, but i’m a bit stuck when it gets more complex haha.

    thanks for the amazing recipes, this site is definitely saved onto my bookmarks bar!

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