That Skinny Chick Can Bake
One Layer Fudge Cake - a decadent, chocolate dessert for when you don't need a huge cake

One Layer Fudge Cake

If you happen to be looking for an easy, decadent chocolate dessert, this One Layer Fudge Cake will fit the bill! Plus, 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 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.

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. There may have been some IOU’s this time around.  But I did make certain there was a chocolate cake. And a 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

Single Layer 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 and Decadent

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.

Tips for Making This One Layer Fudge Cake

This glazed 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!

  • I like lining the bottom of my cake pans with a round of parchment paper. It peels off easily from the baked cake and prevents any cake from sticking to the bottom of the pan. You grease first, add the parchment to the bottom of the pan, then grease the top of the parchment.
  • The ganache is too thin if you glaze your cake immediately after making it. It will thicken to a more spreadable, yet still pourable, consistency as it cools but that takes some time. You can always put the ganache in the refrigerator to hasten the process, checking on it and stirring at regular intervals so it doesn’t get too thick. Gently microwave if it gets too thick.
  • 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.

Baking a One Layer Cake

  • An underdone cake will sink in the middle as it cools. Make sure to use a toothpick to check to see if the cake is done by inserting it into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, or with just a moist crumb or two, it’s done.
  • An additional check is to press or tap the center of the cake with your index finger. If the cake pops back up, it’s fully cooked. If an indentation remains, the cake needs more time.
  • When you start smelling a delicious aroma, it means the cake is getting close to being done. Remember, all ovens bake a little differently. Some have hot spots or cook hotter, and others cook cooler than the temperature setting states.
  • Purchase an oven thermometeroven thermometer to be sure. No one likes a dry, over baked cake.

How to Make A Gluten Free Version

  • 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.


Galentine’s Day

A group of my blogger girlfriends are sharing some of their favorite recipes for a “Galentine’s Day Party.”  A big thanks to my lovely friend, Courtney, of NeighborFood, for gathering us gals together for this Valentine’s Day bash. Be sure to check out all the delectable offerings:

Galentine’s Day Drinks

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

Galentine’s Day Brunch

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.

Galentine’s Day Desserts

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:


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One Layer Fudge Cake - Rich, delectable and perfect when you don't need to feed a crowd!

One Layer Fudge Cake

A smaller version of the perfect chocolate cake!

  • Author: Liz Berg
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert, Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


For Ganache:

  • 812 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (some have found the ganache is too runny unless you add the larger amount of chocolate, but I find that 8 ounces is fine if you let it cool to thicken)
  • 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.
  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 warm 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.

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.

137 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!!

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