Making These Easy Chocolate Cake Recipes Wasn’t Always So Easy

sweets on the table

Imagine walking into your house and smelling the sweet aroma of chocolate.

Can you think of anything better? I know that I can’t. There is nothing better than the smell of a cake baking in the oven — especially an easy chocolate cake that you threw together in no time.

If you are not a baker, then you know just how hard it is to make the perfect…well…anything.

But that does not have to be true in the case of chocolate cake.

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Baking an easy chocolate cake recipe will be one of the most satisfying things that you do.

No, seriously.

It can be fun for even the worst of bakers. You just need some tips and information to help you get started.

Here’s what you need to know:

Baking an Easy Chocolate Cake Hasn’t Always Been Easy

kids baking

Image via: post40bloggers.com

When we think of easy chocolate cake recipes, most of us think of boxed cakes.

Probably because whipping together a boxed cake is quite literally a piece of cake. You only need a few wet ingredients, and you’re good to go.

Some people think that’s cheating. They may even say that you aren’t really baking if you aren’t willing to make desserts from scratch.

Those people are evil, and you should not listen to them.

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Don’t write off the boxed cake as something that is only for the lazy bakers. In fact, you should tell them to learn a little bit about the history of the easy chocolate cake first.

Drop this on them:

At one point, baking a chocolate cake wasn’t even really a possibility.

From Cocoa Bean to Easy Chocolate Cake

Check out the timeline below and find out how so-called “easy chocolate cake recipes” began.

The Chocolate Cake Timeline:

image of eiffel tower

1659

First chocolate-confection maker opens in Paris, France

1674

Chocolate lozenge appears in England

1765

North America finally becomes familiar with the virtues of chocolate

1776

French invents a hydraulic process to grind cocoa beans into a paste, enabling the first large-scale production of chocolate.

1780

The first chocolate factory opens in Barcelona, Spain

factory icon

1828

Coenraad van Houten of the Netherlands produces cocoa powder through a process of mechanical extraction

chocolate bar

1830

Daniel Peter and Henri Nestlé develops milk chocolate and hazelnut flavored chocolate — the first chocolate bar

1847

English company Fry and Sons offers solid chocolate to the public

1879

Rodolphe Lindt develops a method to make silky smooth chocolate

United States of America flag

1886

American cooks begin to make the first chocolate cakes in the United States using Lindt’s method for smooth chocolate and incorporating it into the batter

1929

John D. Duff of a Pennsylvania molasses company applies for patent for a gingerbread cake baking mix

1933

Duff receives the patent

1935

Duff also introduces the white cake, spice cake, and Devil’s food cake mixes to the market, but with the war interrupts further mixes

1948

Pillsbury introduces a chocolate cake mix again

1951

The food chemist Arlee Andre invents Duncan Hines cake mixes and takes control of over 50 percent of the market with this new line of boxed cake

Easy Chocolate Cake Tips, Tricks, and Recipes

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Alright, we’re done. No more chocolate history, I promise. It’s time to get to the tasty bits of this learning experience.

First, we should address those of you who don’t think you can bake.

man sifting the flour

Image via: express.co.uk

It is simply not true. You may think you can’t make anything, but that’s entirely in your head.

We’ve all been there at one point or another. The first brownies I ever made were thin, crispy, and hard to bite into. They were also from a box, so they should have been foolproof. Unfortunately, I failed hard.

There’s good news, though:

Every terrible baking catastrophy has a silver lining.

baking tools and ingredients

Image via: flickr.com

That is, you will be able to something valuable from your mistakes.

After my first brownie disaster, I’ve grown a lot as a home baker. Since then my friends have dubbed me the “mother” of our group.

All because I cook and bake for them so often that they have made a menu of things they want me to make for every group vacation.

measuring baking ingredients

Image via: taste.com.au

The thing is, everyone can bake. Even if you don’t think you can. It’s all about following a recipe and starting small.

Sometimes starting small could be with a boxed cake. Even the professionals appreciate the invention of boxed cakes. They use them just as much as we do.

Even if you aren’t a kitchen guru…

you could still trick them all by learning some baking secrets.

chef hat

Pro baking tip:

Don’t over-mix your batter. Mix until the ingredients are combined entirely and stop. Doing so will help keep your cakes fluffy.

How to make a boxed chocolate cake taste homemade

chocolate cake on pans

Image via: thisisinsider.com

The major trick of the trade is the fact that you can make a boxed cake taste like it was homemade. Nobody will ever know.

On their own, boxed cakes can be a little dry or extra sweet. But in general, they’re fantastic. Although, it all depends on the kind you get. In the case of cake, don’t go for off-brands.

Chocolate cake is serious business people. Spend an extra couple of dollars.

No matter which boxed cake tickles your fancy, you can try out these tricks to make it seem homemade.

A Dozen Tips to Make an Easy

CHOCOLATE CAKE IN A BOX

Taste Homemade

Milk egg flour

MILK: Use whole milk or buttermilk instead of water for a dense texture

EGGS: Use 3 or 4 eggs instead of 2 for a richer flavor.

FLOUR: Add anywhere from a ¼ cup to a ½ cup self-rising flour, and ½ cup of sugar to your cake mix. Make sure to add an extra tablespoon or two of liquid to even out the consistency. It will help your cake rise and give it a smooth texture

coffe bean

COFFEE:Use strong black coffee instead of water to deepen the flavor

SOUR CREAM: Add ½ cup of sour cream to add a dense, rich flavor

PUDDING MIX: Add one small box of instant pudding mix to the batter for added moisture and extra flavor

Salt and butter icon

SALT:Including ¼ teaspoon of salt in your mix will balance out the sweetness with a little acidity

BUTTER: Use melted butter instead of vegetable oil for a richer taste

MAYO: Add 2 tablespoons of mayo to your mix to give it a richer, more homemade flavor and texture

chocolate bar

CHIPS:Consider adding your own ingredients, like chocolate chips, to make it unique

ICING: Make homemade icing rather than using a store-bought 

MOUSSE: Consider using a chocolate mousse as a filling, or a frosting substitute

Delicious and Easy Chocolate Cake Recipes for Any Occasion

sliced chocolate cake

Southern Living: Chocolate Layer Cake

Image via: southernliving.com

Now we’re getting to the good stuff. Easy chocolate cake recipes that are to die for!

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We picked a mix of the top chocolate cake recipes. They were voted on by the public, by people who have fallen in love with these recipes.

Here’s the deal:

We understand that everyone’s baking level is a bit different. However, we will be providing an instructional video for each recipe. So if you are a visual learner and are concerned about forgetting ingredients, the videos will be a huge help.

You could get all your ingredients measured and ready to go. Then follow the video as you combine everything.

The most nerve-wracking thing when I first started baking was the fact that I might forget an ingredient.

baking ingredients

Image via: rubiesoftruth.blogspot.com

It is a genuine fear for me every time I add my ingredients. After all, I have missed an ingredient before — and I will probably do it again. My sister had something really unfortunate happen to her.

Once my sister was making a brownie-bottom cheesecake. She made it three times before she got it right.

In one of those attempts, she forgot an ingredient that helped thicken the batter. So when it started cooking, it leaked out of the springform pan.

All over the inside of the oven.

baking easy chocolate cake in the oven

Image via: sweeteatscakes.blogspot.com

Whoops.

That goes to show that missing a single ingredient could change your cake completely.

We are talking about a potential cake disaster here!

But you have nothing to fear.

Even if you have never baked a cake in your life, we are here to help. We will tell you everything you need to know, from specific ingredients to the individual utensils you will need for each cake.

Let’s get to business!

chef hat

Pro baking tip:

Don’t spray your cake pans with non-stick spray. Instead, grease them with butter and sprinkle with flour. Shake the flour around until it sticks to the butter on the bottom and sides of your pans. When the time comes to pop your cakes out of the pans, they will slide right out. No cake left behind!

One bowl chocolate cake

If you’re interested in making a moist, delicious, and extremely easy chocolate cake, this is the recipe for you!

It has simple ingredients, and you can add your own twist.

Remember those tips for boxed chocolate cake? Well, they can be applied here too, for any of these recipes.

For instance, you could consider adding strong black coffee in place of the boiling water. You could even add chocolate chips or nuts depending on your preferences.

hot black coffee and easy chocolate cake

dessert : hot black coffee and chocolate cake with cinnamon , coffee beans, and anise star

Image via: es.123rf.com

Don’t be scared to tweak a recipe. If you make a recipe and find it lacking in a certain area, make a note for next time. Hone in any recipe you try to make it perfect for you. Think about it, this is the third version of this recipe. So there have been some major tweaks over time. It’s only getting better with small changes. So make it the way you like it.

What you need:

INGREDIENTS

sack of wheat

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

choco balls

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs

drop of water

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Utensils

  • One large mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Electric mixer
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Two 9-inch round cake pans
  • Toothpicks
  • Cooling racks large enough to fit both round cakes

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees before you do anything else.

  1. Grease and flour two 9-inch round pans.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make sure to use your whisk to combine the ingredients and break up any clumps. Cocoa powder tends to stick together.
  3. Add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla directly to the dry ingredients.
  4. Mix for 2 minutes with your electric mixer on medium speed.
  5. Mix in the boiling water last. Start your mixer on a low speed to avoid splashback.
  6. The finished batter will be thin and watery. Don’t be alarmed, it’s supposed to be.
  7. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.
  8. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven.
  9. Test to see if your cake is done by inserting a toothpick into the center. If the toothpick comes out clean, you will know it is done. If wet batter sticks to the toothpick, leave the cake in for another five minutes before testing again. Make sure to test both cakes. Sometimes one will cook faster than the other.
  10. Allow your cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Then run a butter knife around the edge of the pan. That will ensure that the cakes are successfully detached from the sides.
  11. Carefully flip the cakes over onto the wire cooling racks. Support the cake with your hand while flipping to ensure they don’t fall out or crack. If they fall out easily, lightly smack the bottom of the pan to help them come free.
  12. Let your cakes cool completely before icing or assembling.

At first, this might seem like quite a few steps for an easy chocolate cake. But we just broke it down into as many detailed steps as we could.

The goal is to take any guesswork out of your baking experience.

If you feel more comfortable with a visual guide, feel free to check out the instructional video below for the One Bowl Chocolate Cake III.

chef hat

Pro baking tip:

Cut parchment paper into circles to cover the bottom of your cake pans. It will make removing your cakes a breeze. And before you ask, wax paper will absolutely not work as a substitute. It will melt. Don’t forget to peel the parchment paper off the bottom of your cake before you assemble your masterpiece.

Extreme chocolate cake

I don’t know about you, but I adore a super-rich chocolate cake every now and again. It isn’t for everyone. In fact, many people don’t enjoy dark chocolate or extremely rich cakes. But this is an excellent recipe for those of you who enjoy a slice of rich chocolate cake.

This is another easy chocolate cake recipe that anyone can make. It’s straightforward and uses standard chocolate cake ingredients. You might even have them all on hand in your kitchen as we speak.

sliced easy chocolate cake

Image via: thedailymeal.com

This cake recipe also includes the perfect frosting recipe which will be included in a secondary set of instructions.

However, feel free to choose your own frosting recipe. There are plenty of excellent options, and it’s a great way to personalize your easy chocolate cake creation.

INGREDIENTS

sack of wheat

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

choco balls

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs

drop of water

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water or 1 cup of strong coffee

Utensils

  • One large mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Electric mixer
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Two 9-inch round cake pans
  • Toothpicks
  • Cooling racks large enough to fit both round cakes

DIRECTIONS FOR THE CAKE

  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees
  2. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Consider using cocoa powder instead of regular flour.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Use the whisk to make sure the dry ingredients are well combined and free of clumps.
  4. Add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Mix for 3 minutes with an electric mixer.
  5. Stir in the boiling water by hand. You can use a spoon or spatula, but I prefer a whisk.
  6. Once it is smooth and combined, pour the batter evenly into the two prepared pans.
  7. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven.
  8. Make sure you check to see if the cakes are done by inserting a toothpick. If it comes out clean, take them out of the oven to cool. If the toothpick has residue, allow the cakes to bake for another 5 minutes or until the toothpick come out clean.
  9. Allow your cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Then carefully flip them onto a wire cooling rack. Make sure to support them with your hand as you flip them. It will keep them from breaking or cracking.
  10. Make sure you allow the cakes to cool completely before icing and assembling Extreme Chocolate Cake.

Frosting

man eating

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As we mentioned above, feel free to choose your favorite icing.

You could even use a chocolate mousse. It would cut down on the rich flavor, which might appeal more to some. It would compliment the flavor of the cake while also toning it down a few notches.

This frosting is to die for.

It matches the flavor profile of the cake so well that it’s hard to imagine picking anything else. However, it is another strong flavor to add to an already bold chocolate cake.

INGREDIENTS

butter icon

  • 3/4 cup butter at room temperature

choco balls

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 5 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar

drop of water

  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS FOR THE FROSTING

  1. Cream butter with your electric mixer until it is light and fluffy.
  2. Combine the cocoa and confectioners’ sugar.
  3. Alternate between adding a little of your dry mixture and the wet ingredients to the creamed butter.
  4. Beat until it reaches a perfectly spreadable consistency.
  5. Cover the top of each layer with frosting and stack them on a serving plate. Then use the remaining icing to frost the outside of the cake.

The Extreme Chocolate Cake is another fantastic easy chocolate cake recipe. There are a lot of steps, but that’s only because we are trying to be thorough. The goal is to give you every single step to make this into an easy chocolate cake recipe you can make for any occasion.

If you need a visual guide, we are also including an instructional video below:

Chocolate truffle cake pops

Just when you though making an easy chocolate cake couldn’t get any easier. Along came cake pops.

These bite-sized morsels are perfect for a party. Kids and adults alike will love them.

Cake pops can be made with boxed cake and pre-made frosting. However, you could also make everything from scratch. It isn’t necessary, but any of the easy chocolate cake recipes we have listed so far would work the same way.

Although, just using a boxed cake would cut out a ton of extra steps. So it all comes down to how much time you have. Personally, I use every party I go to as an excuse to try new recipes without having to eat the whole cake myself.

INGREDIENTS

butter icon

  • 3/4 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1 can of pre-made icing
  • 2 cups of milk chocolate chips
  • A topping of your choice

UTENSILS

Before you start, prepare the cake according to the directions. Again, using cake mix or homemade cake is entirely up to you. Then let it cool entirely before using it for your pops.

You may also want to consider making them in two 9-inch cake pans.

baking pan

Image via: farberwarecookware.com

It would make it super easy to use half of the cake and store the other half. Half a cake will probably make more than enough of these treats unless you’re making them for a party.

DIRECTIONS

  1. Once your cake is ready and cooled, crumble it into your large mixing bowl.
  2. Add ¼ a cup of the frosting. But do this step little by little. Mix the frosting into your cake crumbs until it begins to hold together. You don’t want it to be too dry or too wet. It’s all about finding the right balance.
  3. Once it has reached the perfect consistency, take blobs of your cake mix and roll it into balls. Make your cake balls about the size of a ping-pong ball or smaller. You don’t want them to be too heavy for your sticks.
  4. Once they are rolled and ready to go, melt the milk chocolate in your microwave safe bowl.
  5. Dip one end of your lollipop sticks into the chocolate and then poke it into a cake ball. Repeat this step for each cake ball. The chocolate will keep your sticks in place. However, that will only work if you allow them to cool and harden completely before proceeding.
  6. Then all you have to do is dip the individual cake pops into the chocolate.
  7. Before the chocolate hardens this time, roll them in the topping you chose.
  8. Once they are rolled, dipped, and topped, your styrofoam or stand will come in handy. You can poke the sticks into the foam and let them harden completely. All without marring their perfectly dipped finish.

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Fun Fact:

chocolate cake pops

Cake pops were invented in 2008 by a woman who goes by Bakerella. They increased in popularity between 2009 and 2012. After more than 10 years they are still going strong as one of the newest easy chocolate creations.

Overall, cake pops are an easy chocolate cake treat. It helps mix things up and adds a little variety to the party. You could even use a few different toppings if you intend to make a bunch of cake pops for a party. Cover some in nuts like a Ferrero Rocher and others in sprinkles, cookie crumbles, or whatever else you can imagine.

Don’t be afraid to mix it up and get creative. They are the perfect treat for a kids party so you could even add cute decorations based on the theme of the party.

But don’t write them off for an adult get-together either. To make them look classy, you could even remove the sticks and place them in a cute dish. Although, they wouldn’t really be cake “pops” then. But there are no rules so do whatever you want!

No matter what you want to do with your cake pops, they make easy chocolate cake treats for any occasion.

Watch the video below to get an idea of how to make cake pop truffles like the ones in the recipe above:

Why You Should Have Chocolate Cake at Every Event

To some, chocolate cake is only for birthdays, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Chocolate has come such a long way and only seems to grow in popularity. You can basically guarantee that there will be plenty of chocolate lovers at every party.

Plus, there are so many variations of chocolate cake:

milk and chocolate splash

Milk chocolate

dark chocolate blocks

Dark chocolate

peanut butter and bread

Chocolate and peanut butter

chocolate and strawberry

Chocolate with berry flavors like raspberries

The possibilities are endless.

Everyone has different tastes and opinions on the perfect flavor. So you might want to go with a safe bet. An easy chocolate cake is a great option.

Although you should probably steer clear of an extremely chocolaty dessert. At least, unless you know your crowd well enough to know they will enjoy it as much as you do. But even then, I usually make what I want, rather than what other people will want. You’ll get to bring all the yummy leftovers home. So in my world, it’s better if you really love what you’re making.

If you already know your party will appreciate it, then you should go for gold. Who can say no to death by chocolate anyway?

a slice of chocolate cake on plate

Image via: bakerbynature.com

Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s day, summer parties, and any party in between. They just wouldn’t be complete without a decadent chocolate dessert.

Pick the Perfect Frosting for Your Easy Chocolate Cake Recipe

If you want to mix things up, choose a unique frosting for your cake. It’s a surefire way to set your cake apart from the rest.

cake with lemon frosting

For my husband’s birthday, I made an Oreo mousse as the frosting on a dark chocolate cake. It was the perfect combination. Although, he wasn’t very excited at first. He assumed it was going to be cookies and cream flavor. Since we aren’t even remotely fans of cookies and cream, I was devastated. I had ruined the birthday cake.

That is until he finally blew out his candles and we tasted it.

It was like a giant, creamy oreo, and was probably the best cake I’ve ever made.

That experience showed me that picking the right icing or taking a chance on a new idea could make all the difference in the world.

chocolate icing

Image via: marthastewart.com

There are plenty of fantastic choices when it comes to frosting. My grandmother makes an amazing mocha icing that pairs with any easy chocolate cake like a dream. Other people may prefer peanut butter, coconut, buttercream, or even a ganache. It all depends on what you enjoy. The key is to pick an icing that will compliment the flavor of your cake.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

Image via:gnom-gnom.com

Choosing to make a chocolate cake can limit your options a little bit. A simple buttercream or cream cheese icing can be safe options, but they aren’t very unique. In fact, they can be a little generic. They tend to be the best on carrot cake, spice cake, red velvet, or yellow cakes.

However, even with these suggestions, there is no right or wrong answer. Plus, the possibilities are endless, especially if you’re willing to experiment.

Easy Chocolate Cake: What More Do You Need?

a slice of chocolate cake on plate

Image via: sugarspunrun.com

We have certainly covered a lot of ground on easy chocolate cake.

Some of you might have been rolling your eyes at the “history of chocolate.” But it’s important to know where things began. The ingenuity that people have had throughout history is what brought us here in the first place. Chocolate is just one aspect of that.

It’s a pretty tasty aspect of history if you ask me.

Easy chocolate cake is just one variation of a chocolate dessert. We haven’t even covered the other delicious chocolate cakes like:

bundt cake

Bundt cakes

cupcakes with berry frosting

Cupcakes

two sheets of sheet cake

Sheet Cakes

Delicious ice cream cake

Ice Cream Cake

That would make this post a mile long. And while I could go on about chocolate forever, I’ll spare you this time.

However, I’d like to finish everything off with a pep talk. Which is, remember that you can bake anything.

strawberry chocolate cake

Image via: giverecipe.com

Baking isn’t as hard as some people make it out to be. It’s all about following directions and learning from your mistakes. It’s what we do in every area of life. Whether you’ve had any luck in the past is irrelevant. Our detailed recipes and directions will hopefully make baking less intimidating.

At least, that’s our goal.

You don’t need to be a professional or a seasoned home-baking veteran to make a great cake. And if you simply want an easy chocolate cake on the go, grab a boxed cake. They are delicious and have been around for decades. There’s no shame in taking advantage of that.

Plus if you use our tips on making a boxed cake taste homemade, nobody will ever know the difference.

So go wild, chocolate cake lovers. We would love to hear about your best and worst chocolate cake adventures. As well as your favorite easy chocolate recipes in the comment box below!

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