The Best Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache
The Best Homemade Chocolate Cake with Ganache Frosting — This truly is the best homemade chocolate cake EVER. It’s topped with a smooth chocolate ganache frosting, and it requires just 10 minutes of hands on prep!
The BEST Homemade Chocolate Cake
This is the easiest, one-bowl, five minute, from-scratch chocolate cake you’ll ever make. I originally posted this recipe August 27, 2012 and in that time, there have been thousands of very satisfied readers out there who swear by this cake.
If you’re addicted to cake mix, you can break free. I’ve been there. I made this chocolate ganache 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.
But this chocolate cake from 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 this homemade chocolate 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 fat-free yogurt or sour cream. Use thicker or Greek-style full-fat yogurt. You’re making a moist chocolate cake recipe, 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. This recipe for the best ever homemade chocolate cake 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.
What is Ganache?
Not sold on this easy chocolate cake recipe yet? Allow me to sell you on the chocolate ganache frosting.
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 frosting 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.
What’s in Chocolate Ganache Cake?
For the homemade chocolate cake, you’ll need:
- Granulated sugar
- Canola oil
- Vanilla extract
- Brewed coffee
- Cocoa powder
- All-purpose flour
- Baking soda and baking powder
And for the chocolate ganache frosting, you’ll need:
- Semi-sweet chocolate
- Heavy cream
- Vanilla extract
How to Make Chocolate Cake with Ganache Frosting
To make the moist chocolate cake, you’ll need to whisk together the egg, sugar, yogurt, oil, and vanilla. Add in the cocoa powder and coffee and stir to combine. Then add in the rest of the ingredients and whisk until just combined.
Pour the homemade chocolate cake batter into a greased 9×9-inch baking pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Once the chocolate cake is out of the oven, make the chocolate ganache frosting. Heat the heavy cream in the microwave until just starting to boil, then pour over the chocolate chips. Let it stand for about a minute before whisking to combine. Stir in the vanilla extract, then let the chocolate ganache cool for around 10 minutes to thicken up.
Once the homemade chocolate cake is completely cool, pour over the ganache frosting. The frosting will need about 30 minutes to set up before you can dig in.
Can I Use Another Type of Chocolate for the Ganache?
There’s no sugar added to the ganache, so 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.
If you don’t have chocolate chips, you can chop a bar of chocolate instead.
Do I Have to Use Brewed Coffee in the Batter?
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 using coffee in the chocolate cake batter, but use water if you must.
Can I Double This Recipe?
Yes, this recipe doubles quite easily. Just note that if you double the ingredients you’ll need to bake this homemade chocolate cake in a 9×13-inch pan.
Should I Refrigerate Homemade Chocolate Cake?
Once the ganache frosting is on the cake and it’s had 30 minutes at room temperature to set up, yes, I refrigerate the leftover cake I have.
Tips for the Best Chocolate Cake
When adding the brewed coffee to the cake batter, note that it can be any temperature other than piping hot. If you add the coffee while it’s still hot, you’ll scramble the egg!
I typically use vanilla extract in the ganache frosting, but feel free to spike your ganache with a couple tablespoons of bourbon, rum, Kahlua, or a complementary liqueur.
Note that the unfrosted homemade chocolate cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or it can be frozen and thawed for later. If freezing the chocolate cake, I recommend making a fresh batch of chocolate ganache frosting just before you plan on serving it.
- 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
- 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**
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- *Note about the 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.
- **Or optionally use 1 to 2 tablespoons rum, bourbon, coffee-, orange-, raspberry-, chocolate-flavored liqueur.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 372 Total Fat: 17g Saturated Fat: 8g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 8g Cholesterol: 33mg Sodium: 238mg Carbohydrates: 45g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 33g Protein: 4g
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