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One Layer Chocolate Cake Recipe on a white cake with a red handled fork

One Layer Fudge Cake

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If you happen to be looking for an easy, decadent chocolate dessert, this One Layer Fudge Cake fits the bill! It’s perfect when you need a smaller dessert. One of my friends served this exquisite chocolate cake last night for a birthday party, and it just reinforced how incredible this Homemade Chocolate Cake recipe tastes! I practically licked my plate clean.

chocolate cake is pretty much a given on December 27. That’s the date of my oldest’s birthday.  Any other day of the year a luscious Chocolate Lasagna would make the family swoon, but for a birthday, it must be cake.  It doesn’t matter that we still had 3/4 of a Chocolate Mousse Torte in the fridge. We had to honor the kid who drew the short straw as far as birthdays are concerned, so the Best Chocolate Cake Recipe was on the menu!.

One Layer Fudge Cake with a rich chocolate ganache topping on a white dessert plate


Note: This post may contain affiliate links; view my Disclosure Policy for details. I earn a small percentage from any purchase you make by clicking on these links at no extra cost to you.

One Layer Fudge Cake

It’s difficult when your special day is so close to Christmas. Mom is tired of cooking, mom is tired of shopping. Sometimes the poor guy gets a lot of IOU’s, but he’s a good sport. But I did make certain there was a chocolate cake. And this rich, one layer cake is perfect when you’ve been overindulging your way through the holidays.

Slice of One Layer Fudge Cake on a white plate with a red handled fork

One Layer Homemade Chocolate Cake

This year, a one layer fudge cake topped with a decadent, glossy ganache was selected for the celebration. When I showed the birthday boy this photo on the Fine Cooking website, he quickly agreed with my choice. You cannot go wrong with an Alice Medrich recipe when it comes to chocolate desserts. But besides birthdays, this single layer cake is perfect for Valentine’s Day. Or if you’re celebrating with your favorite girlfriends, “Galentine’s Day.”

One Layer Fudge Cake on a white ceramic cake stand

Easy Chocolate Cake Recipe

Dense and moist with a glossy coat of ganache, this one layer fudge cake was so easy to put together. No worries about lining up layers, piping decorations or fiddling with leveling. Bake, cool and coat. It was as simple as that. And it was as superb in taste as it was a breeze to assemble.

You’ll definitely want to whip up this single layer chocolate cake for the chocoholic in your life. We sent the leftovers home with Tom. I’m certain he and his roommates finished it for breakfast. That’s a birthday boy’s prerogative.

One layer fudge cake process shots photo collage

Steps to Make This One Layer Chocolate Cake

  1. Melt chocolate and make ganache. Let cool until thick enough to frost the cooled cake.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients. Set aside.
  3. Stir together wet ingredients.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined.
  5. Mix in hot water, then scrape into the prepared baking pan.
  6. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool and frost.
  7. Dig in!!!!

A Few Tips on How to Make This Chocolate Cake Recipe

This ganache chocolate cake is ideal for when you aren’t feeding a huge crowd. Less leftovers (if any!) and no waste, plus the flavor is out of this world!

  • Adding an extra 4 ounces of chocolate will make a thicker ganache if that’s your preference. But remember that the ganache should still pour so you can get a smooth, glossy coating.
  • Purchase an oven thermometeroven thermometer to be sure your oven is registering the proper temperature. No one likes a dry, over baked cake.
  • One of my friends makes a gluten free version of this one layer fudge cake just by substituting Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour for the flour in equal measurements. I’ve tasted it, and you’d never know the difference.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Prep the Baking Pan?

Grease your baking pan, then place a round of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan and grease it as well. No need to flour since flouring the pan after greasing will leave a white residue around the edges of the cake. That's undesirable.

How Do I Know When My Chocolate Cake is Done?

When you start to smell a delicious aroma emanating from the oven, your chocolate cake is almost fully baked. Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake and if it comes out with a few to no moist crumbs when removed, the cake is done. A tapping test is another way of testing. Use an index finger to tap the top of the hot cake while pulled out on the oven rack. If the indentation bounces back up, the cake is finished. If the indentation remains, the cake needs more time in the oven.

When Can the Cake Be Removed from the Pan?

Your chocolate cake should cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Using hot pads if needed, gently shake the pan back and forth to loosen a bit. Then flip the cake onto the cooling rack, and invert back upright if able. If the cake is released too early, it will break apart. If it's left in the pan too long, it will stick.

What if the Ganache is Too Runny or Too Thick Use?

If the ganache is too runny, let it cool at room temperature a bit longer. If the kitchen is very warm, place the ganache in the refrigerator, stirring frequently until it's the right consistency. If the ganache is too thick, microwave for about 10-15 seconds, then stir. Repeat as needed.

One Layer Chocolate Cake Recipe on a white cake with a red handled fork

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe for ANY Holiday

Some of my blogger friends shared some recipes that are perfect for any celebration. Be sure to check out all the delectable offerings:


Blood Orange Bourbon Fizz with Fried Sage from Lauren of Climbing Grier Mountain

Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Martini from Shanna of Pineapple and Coconut

Ladies’ Night Rum Punch from Lindsay of The Live In Kitchen


Sweet Potato Cornmeal Waffles with Bourbon Cream and Pecan Butter from Susan of Girl in the Little Red Kitchen

Chocolate Dipped Donuts from Angie of Big Bear’s Wife

Lemon and Ginger Scones from Lauren of Healthy. Delicious.


Piña Colada Cupcakes from Courtney of Neighborfood

Strawberry Chocolate Dessert Bars from Marly of Namely Marly

Banana Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Chocolate Frosting from Nancy of Gotta Get Baked

One Layer Fudge Cake from Liz of That Skinny Chick Can Bake

Double Strawberry Angel Food Cake with Whipped Vanilla Creme Fraiche from Cynthia of Two Red Bowls

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Ice Cream with Candied Bacon Bits from Steph of Girl Versus Dough

Fruity Dessert Pizza from Morgan of Peaches Please

Secret-Ingredient Chocolate Pecan Bites (Gluten Free!) from Karen of The Food Charlatan

DIY Cheesecake Parfait Bar from Heather of Heather’s Dish

More Chocolate Cake Recipes You’ll Love:

Used in This Recipe:

This post was orignially shared in February, 2014. Photos and text were updated in 2019.

Yield: 8 servings

One Layer Fudge Cake

One Layer Fudge Cake

A smaller version of the perfect chocolate cake!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


For Ganache:

  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

For Cake and Assembling:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) butter, melted and warm
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 cup warm ganache (listed above)


  1. Make ganache. Put the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. In a saucepan or via the microwave, heat cream to a simmer. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk gently until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Add sugar and whisk to combine. Set aside and let cool enough to it doesn't all run off the cake when you glaze.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350º. Grease the bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan or line it with parchment.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt. Sift the cocoa into the dry ingredients and whisk to combine.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the melted butter and brown sugar with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs and vanilla; stir until well blended. Add the flour mixture all at once and stir just until all the flour is moistened.
  5. Pour the hot water over the batter; stir just until it’s incorporated and the batter is smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake about 35 to 40 minutes or till toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Cool on rack for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of cake and remove from pan to finish cooling on the rack, removing parchment if used.
  7. Once cool, set the rack over a baking sheet or foil. Pour the ganache over the cake and use an offset spatula to spread it over the top of the cake and down the sides. Let set for about an hour before serving.


Adapted from Fine Cooking. Recipe from Alice Medrich

You may find you have extra ganache. I love to make sandwich cookies with two chocolate chip cookies and a thick layer of ganache as the filling.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 433 Total Fat: 21g Saturated Fat: 12g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 7g Cholesterol: 80mg Sodium: 183mg Carbohydrates: 61g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 46g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 5g
Note: This post may contain affiliate links; view my Disclosure Policy for details. I earn a small percentage from any purchase you make by clicking on these links at no extra cost to you.

147 comments on “One Layer Fudge Cake”

  1. this is incredible!

  2. I made this cake for the lunch today at church. Everyone liked the cake. I used 2 Hershey bars for the chocolate frosting. The frosting was not too sweet and I used about 1/4 cup of heavy cream not a whole cup

  3. This looks amazing & delicious. I love chocolate! Thanks for sharing at Merry Monday.

  4. A plain fudge cake is good any time! Thanks for sharing at #HomeMattersParty

  5. Fantastic recipe! I just wanted a snack cake to share with a few friends, and this was perfect. I paired it with a salted caramel chocolate buttercream, and it was divine!

  6. Can you double the recipe to make two layered cake? 

    • Hi, Eli,

      Yes, you could definitely use the cake recipe to make a two layer cake. Since the frosting is a ganache, I don’t think it’s best suited to frost a layer cake. I’d use a traditional buttercream frosting instead. You could also just fill it with buttercream and try to pour/spread the ganache over the cake (chill so it’s more of a spreading consistency than liquid). You’ll need to make extra ganache, maybe 1 1/2 times the recipe. Hope this helps! and if you try this, let me know how it goes.

    • I as m 63 years old and have never made a “scratch” cake before or ganache. A good friend had a birthday today and won’t eat anything but chocolate soafter reading the reviews, I settled on this cake. OMG great decision, wonderful cake! Moist and chocolatey and the ganache was fantastic, my friend thought she had died and gone to chocolate heaven! Can’t wait for my choc9loving husband to try it. Thank you skinny chick, you’re the bomb🤗

  7. Great cake BUT 4 ounces is NOT 1\2 cup…

    • Hi, Nancy,

      In many cases, 4 ounces of an ingredient is not 1/2 cup, but if you go look at a stick of butter, you’ll see that the weight is 4 ounces and the label will also show that it’s 1/2 cup/8 tablespoons. Glad you enjoyed the cake! It’s perfect when you want a smaller sized cake. Have a great weekend!

  8. Hi, can I use hot coffee instead of water for this recipe?

  9. hi, can I use hot coffee for this recipe instead of water?

  10. Can you freeze this cake?

    • I have not tested freezing this cake, but it should work. I’d make sure it’s well chilled so you can wrap it with plastic before freezing. Then defrost in the refrigerator. I’d take off the plastic wrap before it’s defrosted so it doesn’t stick. Good luck!

  11. Hi! I’ve got the cake in the oven right now. I decided to bake a cake at 4am in the morning,lol! Had a really bad chocolate cake craving. I noticed that you didn’t have any baking powder written down for the recipe. I found that to be a little different. Why is that? Just wondering. It baked for exactly 35 minutes. I actually melted 3 ounces of dark chocolate along with the butter. I’m hoping for maximum fudginess,lol! Now it is 4:40am and it is out of the oven. Looks and smells amazing! I will comment on it when I cut it,after it cools. Thank you Soo much for sharing the recipe.

    • Hi, Sarah,

      I have those sort of nights, too, LOL. This is an Alice Medrich recipe, that I slightly adapted. She used baking soda, so I didn’t want to mess with the baking chemistry. It must be the cocoa powder providing alkalinity to activate the baking soda that makes it work. Hope you love this cake as much as we do!!

  12. Liz,
    I came across your recipe on Instagram, fast video had me tempted into baking this simple yummy moist cake. My oven took 35mins/170C , 8” square, used 1:1 – cream : Hershey’s sweet chips.. (125 ml :125 gms was perfect to cover the cake n sides) Thanks for this keeper recipe for family of 4.👍🏻❤️ 

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed, Purnima! It’s perfect for a small group or family. Thanks for sharing your tips and review as I’m sure that will help others!!

  13. Hi! 

    I love this recipe.
    I was just wondering if I can make a few adjustments. 
    Can I lessen the hot water to 1/4c instead of 1/2c? Also, can I replace the 1/2c butter with 3/8c of oil? 

    • Hi, Nicole,

      I don’t recommend changing the amount of water. The oil for butter amount should work, but I haven’t tested it myself. Good luck and I hope you enjoy.

  14. This looks amazing! I only have 1 egg!  I am not sure if I can still make it. I saw some use applesauce as a sub but I don’t have that.  I need Chocolate Cake!!!  Help!  🤣🤣🤗🤗

    • Oh, no! I hate when that happens! You need to scurry to the market and pick yourself up some eggs!! Or ask a neighbor and promise a slice of cake in return 🙂

  15. Broke down. Got more eggs. That Gnache frosting is so scrumptious it was hard not to eat just that!  Thank you!

  16. My dear Mom’s husband’s birthday was December 15 and because it was so close to Christmas, he had never had a birthday party! My Mom threw him is first at the age of 60! He would have loved this cake, he adored chocolate.

  17. Yum! I am certain I would be licking my plate clean, too! I love this — straight up chocolate. 🙂 ~Valentina

  18. this looks absolutely delicious Lizzy !! here love chocolate

  19. My son wants to help me cook  since I broke my ankle , this would be the perfect recipe for a chocoholic and easy for him to do with my supervision. Pinned. 

  20. OMG Liz, this cake looks amazing…and so easy to make…I will definitely give this a try…thanks for such a simple recipe. Have a wonderful week!

  21. I loved your tip for gluten free version, my son has intolerance will love. Thank you!

  22. This is such a fantastic cake Liz! I think I’d like to double the ganache and just have extra on the side (to drink) if that ‘s ok? Well, I’d use a spoon just to be more polite!

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