Cocoa Cake

I try to keep things simple in my kitchen and on this blog. You won’t find a lot of complicated, time-consuming recipes here. Sure, I get overly ambitious from time to time, but I generally like to keep things a bit more approachable and attainable.

I actually resisted making this cake for a while. It seemed almost too simple. I mean, it’s a no-frills chocolate cake. I’m as much of a fan of chocolate as anyone, but most of the time I prefer it with just a little extra interest.

Cocoa Cake is a simple and delicious cake that's big on chocolate flavor!

Then, today I decided I would finally make this cake. It is not “just” chocolate. The simplicity of it is also the beauty of it. It’s much like what cake mixes wish they could produce.

Sometimes simple is best, like with this easy to make Cocoa Cake. It's all about the chocolate! - Bake or Break

Every dessert has its place. This is not necessarily a cake to make if you want to wow a crowd. But, it’s a great cake to whip up when you want to revel in a bit of pure chocolate goodness.

Cocoa Cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Yield: 8-10 servings

Cocoa Cake


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 & 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 & 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 & 1/3 cups water
  • confectioners sugar, for dusting


Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 9-inch round (2 inches deep) cake pan. Dust with flour and knock out excess.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla.

Add flour mixture to butter mixture in batches, alternating with water. Begin and end with flour. Mix just until combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 55-60 minutes, until cake is springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in pan for an hour. Invert onto rack, then onto serving plate. Dust with confectioners sugar before serving.


Recipe adapted from Gourmet.

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  1. Ryan January 5, 2012 Reply

    Yummm sometimes the simplest things are the best, this looks awesome!

  2. movita January 6, 2012 Reply

    I’ve been looking for a simple chocolate cake to break in a couple of new pans. I think this is the one! Thanks…

  3. This sounds lovely! I adore simple cakes like this. Perfect!

  4. Jennifer January 6, 2012 Reply

    Sounds great! I am craving chocolate and was going back-and-forth between making a Texas sheet cake and a pudding cake, but now this sounds even better.

  5. Abby January 6, 2012 Reply

    Perfect for those nights when my husband jokes, “And where’s my chocolate cake?” What an awesome surprise this would be.

  6. Mern George January 7, 2012 Reply

    the best things are simple.This cake looks like those heavenly group of cakes I eat.

  7. betty January 7, 2012 Reply

    a plain cocoa cake sometimes is better than over decorated and full of different ingredients cake, simple is better and the cake looks simple and delicious

  8. Bunny January 8, 2012 Reply

    This maybe simple but it’s absolutely killer !!

  9. perudelights January 9, 2012 Reply

    Love this recipe and the pictures. The cake looks amazing, and I like that it´s not complicated to make. Thanks for sharing.

  10. The Food Hunter January 9, 2012 Reply

    Simple and chocolate can’t get much better than that.

  11. Stephanie January 10, 2012 Reply

    Amazing cake. I love chocolate so much.

  12. TiKi February 9, 2012 Reply

    This looks so good. I was going through the recipe but can’t seem to figure out where the water comes into it. Am I missing something?

    • jennifer February 9, 2012 Reply

      TiKi, it’s in the 4th step. It’s added alternating with the dry ingredients.

  13. Lisa January 15, 2014 Reply

    Let me preface with the fact that this is my favorite site!! LOVE IT! I am a baker and enjoy every photo you put on! Have had a slew of friends sign up for it! Now, made this today. Although I love most of the goodies on this website, this was just too bland. I ended up putting chocolate frosting on top just to give it some “oomph”!! Nowhere near chocolatey enough for me! Also, I would love it if people would post comments on this site that are constructive to the actual item. 95% of the comments are how good it looks or how hungry the picture makes them! Why don’t we put things that matter- like, “too sweet”,or “delicious?”!! I wish people would comment AFTER they baked the item! Just Sayin’!!

  14. Shalini Manesh September 24, 2014 Reply

    Awesome recipe. Simplicity rocks as always.

  15. Tayyab September 29, 2015 Reply

    I am a house husband.
    Tried this cake today.
    350 º what ??
    I tried 350 cº & then came to know that it is 350º F =180º C.
    Feeling Low !!

  16. Sarah November 18, 2015 Reply

    Looks like a yummy but quick to make chocolate cake recipe. I love recipes that use ingredients I am likely to have in the cupboard. Thanks for sharing :)

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