This Simple Chocolate Cake Recipe is the Best Chocolate Cake according to the New York Times, and that’s enough to give it a try! With just one layer, it’s easy to make and so delicious!

This One Pan Cake Recipe is perfect for a small group. It’s moist, tender, and topped with a decadent Chocolate Ganache Frosting.

One layer chocolate cake with ganache frosting on a white cake stand.

 Why You Must Make

  • This recipe was featured in the New York Times as “The World’s Best Chocolate Cake” and the credit goes to Helen Goh and Yotam Ottolenghi.
  • The cake batter is whisked together in one bowl. Plus, it only uses one baking pan. Easy as can be!
  • Topped with a rich, glossy ganache, the 3-ingredient frosting is even simpler than the cake.

Ingredient Notes:

  • Chocolate – Do not use chocolate chips. The better the quality of the chocolate, the tastier the cake. Semisweet is called for in the recipe, but you can also use bittersweet for a more intense chocolate flavor. They are interchangeable.
  • Butter – I always use salted butter and adjust the salt amount to compensate for the salt in the butter. If you only have unsalted butter on hand, double the salt in this recipe.
  • Salt – I use table salt when baking. The fine crystals disperse well when mixing the batter. Salt is a flavor enhancer and is a vital ingredient in desserts for the tastiest results.
  • Baking Powder – Make sure your baking powder is fresh. It is not the same as baking soda and most often expires before it’s used up. To check freshness, add a spoonful to a cup of very hot water. If active, it will bubble vigorously.
  • Dutch Process Cocoa Powder – Droste is a brand often found in the baking aisle. Do not use Hershey’s or any other regular cocoa powder.
  • Eggs – Use large eggs, plus have them at room temperature for easier incorporation into the cake batter.
Slice of med cake on a small white dessert plate with a red handle fork.

Expert Tips

  • If you happen to see this recipe on the NYT website, note that the baking temperature is incorrect. As of writing this post, it’s still listed as 350°  which creates a dry cake. The optimal temperature for baking this cake is 325°.
  • PRO-Tip: Be mindful not to overbake. Check by inserting a toothpick into the middle of the cake. It should come out with a few moist crumbs when the cake is fully baked. If there is batter on your toothpick, bake for a few more minutes and recheck.
  • Prep your pan properly by greasing and lining the bottom with a round of parchment paper. There’s nothing worse than having your cake stuck in the pan!
  • PRO-Tip: Use a 9-inch springform pan. This is the type of pan used to make cheesecake where the sides can be easily removed from the base.
  • Chocolate Ganache frosting is just two ingredients, cream, and chocolate. So make sure to use quality chocolate bars for the most luscious results. Ghirardelli bars are a reasonably priced choice but don’t use chocolate chips as they have additives to help them keep their shape.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Makes The Best Chocolate Cake?

A perfect chocolate cake is easy to make, versatile, moist, and has a rich chocolate taste along with a wonderful aroma when you slice it. The crumb is also soft and tender. 

Why Do You Add Coffee to a Chocolate Dessert?

Coffee, espresso, instant coffee, and espresso powder accentuate the chocolate flavor without an overt coffee flavor.

What is the Difference Between Regular Cocoa Powder and Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder?

Regular Cocoa Powder is acidic and is generally paired with Baking Soda which reacts with acids.
Dutch Processed Cocoa, besides being darker with a more mellow flavor, is rendered neutral when processed. Therefore, it won’t react to baking soda and requires baking powder to leaven when making cakes and other recipes.

Is This a Mud Cake?

Yes, this chocolate cake can be considered a mud cake, which is a very dense, almost fudge-like cake. The ingredients for a mud cake include chocolate, sugar, butter, and eggs, along with the usual dry ingredients. ✔ ✔ ✔

How Long Will this Cake Stay Fresh?

If kept airtight by covering it with plastic wrap, foil, or a cake dome, it will stay fresh for 3-4 days at room temperature. If refrigerated, it will be good for up to a week. It can also be frozen for 2-3 months, just defrost overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

With the ganache topping, it’s hard to keep airtight without messing up the frosting. Insert toothpicks across the top of the cake and wrap the cake in a couple of layers of plastic wrap. This will keep the plastic wrap from sticking to the ganache.

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Frosted Mud Cake on a white cake stand with a red handle knife

Simple Chocolate Cake Recipe

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Yield 12

A dense one-layer chocolate cake topped with a rich, luscious chocolate ganache.


For Cake:

  • 1 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter cut into cubes, at room temperature
  • 7 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups hot coffee
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 ¾ teaspoons baking powder
  • ⅓ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • 7 ounces/semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and line with a round of parchment paper.
  2. Put the butter, chocolate, and hot coffee in a large bowl and whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  3. Whisk in the sugar until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking until incorporated, then add vanilla.
  4. Sift flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt together, then sift again into the chocolate mixture. Whisk until combined. The batter will be very thin.
  5. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.
  6. Cool for about 20 minutes before removing from the pan onto a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.
  7. To make the chocolate ganache, place the chopped chocolate into a heat-proof bowl.
  8. Combine cream and corn syrup in a small pan and bring to a simmer. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted, then mix in the butter.
  9. Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the ganache and let cool at room temperature for about 2 hours to get to a good spreading consistency.
  10. Place the cake on a cake plate or cake stand and spread the ganache on top of the cake.


Make sure your baking powder is fresh. It is not the same as baking soda and most often expires before it's used up. To check freshness, add a spoonful to hot water. If active, it will bubble vigorously.

Recipe adapted from Helen Goh and Yotam Ottolenghi.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 345Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 196mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 2gSugar: 41gProtein: 3g occasionally offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe. Also, many recipes on recommend toppings, which may or may not be listed as optional and nutritional information for these added toppings is not listed. Other factors may change the nutritional information such as when the salt amount is listed “to taste,” it is not calculated into the recipe as the amount will vary. Also, different online calculators can provide different results. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information obtained is accurate.


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