Simple One-bowl Chocolate Cake

Simple one-bowl chocolate cake

Looking for a simple one-bowl chocolate cake?

This is it. The chocolate cake you need when you need a cake in 40 minutes.

That’s all it takes, from start to eating.

Both the cake and the icing are made with cocoa powder (rather than chocolate), so it is pretty important to use the best quality cocoa powder.  But it’s more important to choose one with a flavour you love! Try out the Valrhona or Equagold brands (we love both!) or something like this one from Essential Ingredient.  It’s something we have as a pantry staple. To understand the difference between ‘Dutch’ cocoa powder and the non-dutched version, read this

We also like to have a carton of buttermilk in the fridge – it lasts for ages and has lots of baking uses. We use it for our Buttermilk Scone, Buttermilk Rusks (The Feast Goes On) and Muesli Rusks (It’s Always About the Food).

This is a half version of the original simple one-bowl chocolate cake which came to us from Paula’s sister Jo which we published in The Feast Goes On. It has always been the birthday cake of choice in Jo’s family and we can see why.

Simple one-bowl chocolate cake

Quick Glazed Chocolate Cake

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Sweet Things
Cuisine International
Servings 8 people


  • 150 g plain flour 1 cup
  • 230 g caster sugar 1 cup
  • 125 ml water 1/2 cup
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons best quality cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons oil
  • 60 g Unsalted Butter 2 tablespoons
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 60 ml buttermilk 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda baking soda
  • pinch salt


  • 30 g butter (unsalted) 1 1/2 tablespoons
  • 1 tablespoon buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon best quality cocoa powder
  • 80 g icing sugar 1/2 cup


  • Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F) .
  • Line a 20 cm (8 inch) square cake tin.
  • In a bowl, combine the flour and sugar with a wooden spoon.
  • In a small saucepan combine the water, cocoa, oil and butter. Heat until combined and the butter is melted.
  • Add the warm mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and bicarbonate of soda. Add to the flour and butter mixture in the large bowl and mix well until combined.
  • Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through and a skewer in the middle comes out clean.
  • While the cake is in the oven, prepare the icing by melting the butter and mixing with the buttermilk and cocoa. Stir well to combine. Add the icing sugar, mixing well until the icing is super smooth.
  • As soon as the cake is removed from the oven, pour the icing over the top.
  • If you wish, decorate with chopped honeycomb or maltesers.


*If you don't have buttermilk, you can make 1/2 cup of substitute buttermilk as follows:  1/2 cup (less 2 teaspoons) milk and 2 teaspoons lemon juice/white vinegar


  1. Sarita Gold

    Looks delicious!

  2. Hanna Farber

    Should be 340°F rather than 240°F.

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      Ahhh yes, thanks so much Hanna. Oops! Appreciate this! Have updated the recipe 🙂

  3. Bianca

    Very good cake. Super easy! Thank you for sharing the recipe

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