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How to Bake a Quick Chocolate Cake

VirginiaLynne has been experimenting in the kitchen for almost 50 years. She loves to share her recipes, cooking tips, and reviews.

So moist!

So moist!

So Easy, Kids Can Make It!

Need a dessert in an hour or less? Try this moist, easy, rich chocolate cake! You probably have the ingredients right in your kitchen now. With a chocoholic husband and lots of school and church events to cook for, this amazing recipe is one of my staples.

Even better is that my kids can make it because it doesn't matter:

  • What order you put in the ingredients.
  • If your measurements are a bit sloppy.
  • If you can't ice carefully.

Inevitably, this recipe always comes out great. Moreover, even little kids can make it because they can mix it with a fork (mom can help with the boiling water). I've included the photos below to make it easy for kids to follow. Enjoy!

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

30 min

40 min

two 8-inch layer cakes, or 13" x 9" cake


  • 1/2 cup marg. or butter, melted 30 seconds in microwave
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla, or almond flavoring
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt, (can use milk)
  • 1/2 cup boiling water, (use coffee for mocha cake)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups flour


  1. Put ingredients in the bowl in the order given and mix after each one with a fork or mixer. Mix until smooth and not lumpy.
  2. Grease two 8-inch layer pans, or a 13" by 9" rectangle pan. Pour in batter.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until cake springs back when touched in the middle.


Frosting Instructions

Nothing is faster than this quick icing, but you will also never find a better tasting one anywhere. This is my secret recipe for birthday cakes. One friend requests it every year. I also call it "Truffle Frosting" because it is basically made out of the same ingredients that are in Truffle candies. French chefs call this "gauche." Mouthwatering? Here it is:

In a microwave-safe bowl put:

  • 1/2 cup cream (you can use milk but reduce it to 1/4 cup and add 2 more TB butter).
  • 2 TB butter (not margarine).
  • 12 oz package of chocolate chips. Cook in Microwave for 1 minute.


  1. Stir until everything is melted and the mixture is thick and shiny. If the mixture isn't melted yet, put in a microwave for 15 seconds at a time until it is.
  2. For a glaze: Pour this mixture over cake that is in a rectangular pan. For a frosting that you can pour on a layer cake (like my example) mix in with a fork or mixer, and add 3–4 cups powdered sugar.
  3. Mix until the frosting is still soft but holds shape for a while. It will thicken more as it cools and sits. If you want a stiffer frosting that doesn't pour out, you can add 1–2 more cups of powdered sugar.

More Topping Ideas

1. Quick Praline Cake

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)

Cook as directed. The nuts and brown sugar will caramelize and taste delicious!

2. Quick S'mores Cake

After the batter has cooked, put on top of the cake layers:

  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Cook for 5 minutes at 350 degrees, or until chocolate chips have melted and marshmallows are lightly brown.

3. Heavenly Delight Cake

After cake has cooled, pour on top:

  • 1 cup of chocolate fudge or caramel ice cream topping.

Spread on top of that:

  • 2 cups of whipped topping
  • Sprinkle with:
  • 1 cup of any of the following: chopped Oreos, toffee bits, mini chocolate chips, or crushed chocolate candies.

4. White Chocolate Cake

Make the same frosting using white chocolate. You may need to add extra butter and cream.

5. Malted Milk Cake

Make the frosting with milk chocolate chips. Chop up malted milk balls to put on top of the first layer before you add the second layer. After frosting the top, pile on lots of malted milk balls. This cake is quite spectacular and a real hit at parties or even as a groom's cake. You can do the same thing with another favorite candy like Reese's Pieces, Milk Duds, or even a cookie-like Oreos.


Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on September 09, 2012:

John--I've never tried baking a cake on the burners! What a great idea. I just started making pizza that way. Since we live in Texas where it gets so very hot in the summers, I often hate to turn on my oven. I'm going to try your idea.

John Sarkis from Winter Haven, FL on September 09, 2012:

Hi Virginia, and what a great and interesting hub this one is.

Yes, I must try this sometimes. As is, I bake cakes in the burners instead of the oven and they comes out great - less trouble than baking them in the oven.

Voted up - useful


Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on September 09, 2012:

Celina--this is definitely an easy and good cake. In fact, I think I need to make it again this week. With 5 kids and a husband who likes chocolate, a cake goes fast in my house!

CelinaWeemhoff on September 09, 2012:

This sounds absolutely delicious and yummy! I love chocolate cake, though. I'll definitely have to try this when I go home for Thanksgiving break.

Catherine Annis from Texas on August 21, 2012:

This would be great to make for my family when I go home on their birthdays, they will definitely love it! I especially like how easy it would be to make at any time.

Amanda Nicole Lopez on August 21, 2012:

I'm also a chocoholic! This recipe looks so good and easy. I'm going to try this out when I go back home.

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on August 21, 2012:

SaraPledger--great idea to get to know people through chocolate!

SaraPledger on August 20, 2012:

I love Chocolate cake! I am absolutely making this in my dorm room so I can pass some around and have an excuse to meet new people!

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on July 16, 2012:

Thanks Helena!

Helena Ricketts from Indiana on July 16, 2012:

This looks absolutely fantastic. I'm pinning it so I can try this the next time that chocolate attack hits me!

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on July 15, 2012:

Thanks toknoinfor! I'm going to make this again tomorrow in a 13 x 9 pan with chocolate chips, pecans and brown sugar on top--you just sprinkle it on before baking and then when it comes out the frosting is done. I'm hungry now!

toknowinfo on July 15, 2012:

Yum chocolate cake... who could resist. Thanks for this easy recipe. Your pictures are great too! Voted up, beautiful, and awesome.

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on July 07, 2012:

Yes Kissayer--I think of myself as an old fashioned cook, like the ladies on the frontier (here in the U.S. that is the Western States but I'm guessing you had frontiers in Australia as well! Those cooks had a few basic recipes they had memorized and then they improvised with what they had on hand to change them!

Kristy Sayer from Sydney, Australia on July 05, 2012:

I love the topping ideas you've added. Everyone needs a good chocolate cake recipe on hand! :)

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on July 04, 2012:

Thanks Carter06! I really appreciate your encouragement! I may have to go have a piece of that cake right now--that is if there is any left.

Mary from Cronulla NSW on July 04, 2012:

Who doesn't need a quick chocolate cake recipe?? Virginia...thanks for this I might just have to go and make it right now...another well written, well laid out hub...you are a bit of an inspiration:) cheers!