This easy chocolate cake is a quick and tasty recipe that melts in your mouth. It’s not your traditional layer cake but a lighter, easier-to-make version.

It has a full chocolate flavor and a light orange aroma. Eat it as is, or top it with our easy chocolate ganache for a family-friendly sweet treat.

chocolate cake sliced

Check out our Best Easy Desserts

There are many versions of a chocolate cake, from tall cakes with layers covered with frosting to flatter chocolate sheet cakes.

Our chocolate cake recipe makes a simple, round, soft, and moist cake perfect for when you feel like chocolate or cake but don’t want to spend the whole day in the kitchen.

You can make this soft chocolate cake with simple ingredients, with little effort, and in less than one hour, including baking and topping.

Eat it as is, or top it with our easy, glossy chocolate ganache.

Alternatively, you can cut the cake in half and stuff it with jam or with one of our easy custards, such as classic egg-free vanilla custard, chocolate custard, coffee custard, and pistachio custard.

Chocolate cake on a plate

Ingredients

chocolate orange and flour ingredients

Flour

Use all-purpose flour or a mix of 50% all-purpose and 50% whole-wheat flour. For a gluten-free option, use a 1-to-1 gluten-free flour mix for cakes.

Milk

Any milk works, including soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, and any other plant milk. We use soy milk.

Sugar

You can use white sugar or brown sugar.

Oil

Pick an oil with light color and neutral flavor. Good ones for baking are canola, sunflower, avocado, and light olive oil.

We don’t use butter in our easy chocolate cake to keep the recipe light and suitable for all.

For an oil-free cake, substitute apple sauce or water for the oil.

Cacao powder

Unsweetened cacao powder (best if dutch processed) gives a rich chocolate flavor.

Bloom the cacao powder with hot water before adding it to the batter to maximize its flavor.

You can also use unsweetened cocoa powder.

Chocolate chips

Dark chocolate chips make the cake even more decadent and more chocolatey.

Baking powder

Baking powder makes the cake light and fluffy.

Make sure your baking powder is fresh and hasn’t been sitting in your pantry for too long. Old baking powder might not work.

There’s no need for baking soda in this chocolate cake.

Orange

This is an optional ingredient. However, we love mixing in the grated zest of one orange to add freshness and aroma.

Chocolate and orange are a perfect match, and if you haven’t tried them yet, you are in for a treat.

Chocolate ganache

We make a super quick and easy ganache with dark chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate), water, and vanilla extract.

Note: we don’t add espresso powder to our chocolate cake because we don’t keep it in our pantry. There’s also no need for buttercream, lemon juice, or vinegar, as we don’t use baking soda in this easy chocolate cake recipe.

Instructions

Chocolate Cake

Preheat the oven to 340°F or 170°C. Lightly grease your springform pan with oil, then dust it with flour or line it with parchment paper. Set aside.

cake pan

To a small mixing bowl, add cacao powder and hot, almost boiling water. Whisk until the cacao powder melts. Set aside.

melted cacao and water

To a large mixing bowl, add orange zest, milksugaroil, salt, and the melted cacao powder and whisk the wet ingredients until well combined.

wet ingredients in a bowl

Sift in the flour and the baking powder and whisk for a few seconds until the wet and dry ingredients are just combined, then mix in the chocolate chips.

Tip: don’t overmix the batter. Overmixing develops the gluten, making the cake heavy and gummy. Some lumps are ok.

Chocolate batter and chips

Pour the chocolate cake batter into the cake pan.

Chocolate batter in cake pan

Bake in the oven at 340°F or 170°C for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.

Transfer the cake to a wire rack a let it cool down.

Note: the cake will dome and crack a little, and that’s ok. We are not going for perfect looks here.

baked cake

Chocolate Ganache

Add dark chocolate chips, vanilla extract, and hot water (not boiling).

Stir with a spatula until the chocolate melts.

Note: ganache is a simple chocolate glazing made from melted chocolate and a liquid.

Chocolate ganache

Let the ganache cool down for 15 minutes, then pour it on the chocolate cake. Spread it with the back of a spoon, let it set, and serve.

Chocolate cake with ganache and orange

Variations

Chocolate cake with jam filling

Easy chocolate cake with jam

Orange jam, sour cherry, or strawberry jam are all great flavor pairings for this chocolate cake.

You can also fill it with a hazelnut spread or a simple custard for festive occasions.

Chocolate pound cake

pound cake with chocolate

Use the chocolate cake batter to make a perfectly moist chocolate pound cake. It’s a delicious and week-friendly cake with 9 easy-to-find ingredients.

Check out our chocolate pound cake recipe.

More easy cakes

Lemon cake

Vegan lemon cake with fork

Our lemon cake is an easy recipe; you’ll have a light and zesty treat made with just 8 ingredients.

You can eat it as is or fill it with lemon curd or custard for an indulgent and party-friendly cake.

Check out our lemon cake recipe.

Orange cake

Orange cake on a plate

Make this fruity and light orange cake with freshly squeezed orange juice and easy-to-find ingredients. You can make a quick orange curd as a filling or eat the cake as is.

Check out our orange cake recipe.

Apple cake

baked vegan apple cake

You’ll love this apple cake because it’s soft, moist, light, airy, and easy to make with a few simple ingredients and lots of apples.

This cake is perfect for any occasion and is a sure crowd-pleaser.

Check out our apple cake recipe.

Tips

How to scale this recipe?

This recipe is easy to scale. We calculated the scaling number for you. First, pick the springform pan you want to use for your cake, then multiply all the ingredients in our recipe box by the scaling number in this table.

Pan sizeScaling Number
4 inch (10 cm)0.22
5 inch (13 cm)0.31
6 inch (15 cm)0.44
7 inch (18 cm)0.60
8 inch (20 cm)0.79
8.5 to 9 inches (21 to 23 cm)1 (this is what we used)
10 inches (25 cm)1.23
11 inches (28 cm)1.5
Springform pan sizes and how to scale the recipe.

Questions

How can I make my chocolate cake moist and fluffy?

1) Melt the cacao powder in hot water for 5 minutes before adding it to the cake batter.
2) Do not use butter, not even vegan butter or coconut oil, but just little vegetable oil.
3) Do not over-mix the batter. Instead, mix it with a spatula for a few seconds. Don’t worry about lumps.
4) Add the baking powder last.
5) Prep a springform pan and preheat the oven to bake your cake immediately after mixing the ingredients.

Is chocolate vegan?

Dark chocolate with a 70% and above cacao content is generally dairy-free and vegan. If you are in doubt, read the label. The same is true for cacao powder, cocoa powder, and dark chocolate chips.

Storage

Room temperature: this cake stores well for up to a week. You can keep it on your kitchen counter, wrapped in foil or plastic wrap.

Fridge: If it’s very hot where you live, keep it in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic.

Freezer: you can freeze this chocolate cake, but it would be best to do it before you add ganache or the filling. Let it cool down completely, transfer it into a freezer-friendly bag, and freeze it for up to 3 months.

When you take it out of the freezer, let it thaw in the refrigerator first, then add the ganache or the filling.

Similar Recipes

Get new inspiration from these deliciously moist and fun cake recipes, all of them made with 8 ingredients or less:

For many more easy dessert ideas, check out our desserts category page.

Chocolate cake with orange

Easy Chocolate Cake

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 19 votes
This easy chocolate cake is a quick and tasty recipe that melts in your mouth. It's not your traditional layer cake but a lightereasier-to-make version.
It has a full chocolate flavor and a light orange aroma. Eat it as is, or top it with our easy chocolate ganache for a family-friendly sweet treat.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 12 slices
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American, International

Equipment

  • Springform pan 8.5 to 9 inches (23 to 24 cm) in diameter.

Ingredients

WET INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup unsweetened cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup milk any, we use almond milk
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • ¼ cups vegetable oil sunflower, canola, or other
  • 1 orange the grated zest (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

DRY INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips

GANACHE (optional for topping)

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
  • cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 340°F or 170°C. Lightly grease your springform pan with oil, then dust it with flour or line it with parchment paper. Set aside.
    cake pan
  • To a small bowl, add cacao powder and hot, almost boiling water. Whisk until the cacao powder melts. Set aside.
    melted cacao and water
  • To a large bowl, add orange zest, milksugaroilsalt, and the melted cacao powder and whisk the wet ingredients until well combined.
    wet ingredients in a bowl
  • Sift in the flour and the baking powder and whisk for a few seconds until the wet and dry ingredients are just combined, then mix in the chocolate chips.
    Tip: don't overmix the batter. Overmixing develops the gluten, making the cake heavy and gummy. Some lumps are ok.
    Chocolate batter and chips
  • Pour the chocolate cake batter into the cake pan.
    Chocolate batter in cake pan
  • Bake in the oven at 340°F or 170°C for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.
    Transfer the cake to a wire rack a let it cool down.
    baked cake

CHOCOLATE GANACHE

  • Add dark chocolate chipsvanilla extract, and hot water (not boiling).
    Stir with a spatula until the chocolate melts.
  • Let the ganache cool down for 15 minutes, then pour it on the chocolate cake. Spread it with the back of a spoon, let it set, and serve.
    chocolate cake before cutting

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 slice of chocolate cake out of 12 slices.

Nutrition

Calories: 300kcal, Carbohydrates: 46g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0.2mg, Potassium: 335mg, Dietary Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 20g, Vitamin A: 65IU, Vitamin B6: 0.1mg, Vitamin C: 7mg, Vitamin E: 1mg, Vitamin K: 10µg, Calcium: 128mg, Folate: 57µg, Iron: 2mg, Manganese: 0.3mg, Magnesium: 32mg, Zinc: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Leave a comment below or mention @theplantbasedschool on Instagram. We are also on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and TikTok.

If you liked this recipe, you might also like the following:


Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

Easy right?

5 from 19 votes (12 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




19 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Thank you, so much, for all of the effort you two put into your recipes!
    Every recipe is just as delicious as your photos look!
    I am learning so much from you. 🙂
    We love you guys!

    1. Sarah, that is wonderful 🎉 Thank you so much for your kind feedback, we are just delighted to have you here.

      All the best, Louise

  2. 5 stars
    It’s so good!! I‘m gluten intolerant so I used gf flour and it works well!! I love how moist it turned out! Love your recipes!!! 🌸💗

    1. Amazing, Nura – I’m very happy you enjoyed the gluten-free version too 🎉

      Thanks for commenting and for leaving a review 🥰

  3. I baked this in an 8 inch springform pan. The batter was very lumpy/thick/hard to mix, I measured everything with a scale so I’m sure I didn’t use too much dry ingredient. The only thing I did differently was I put the sugar with the flour and not the wet ingredients. Could that have been what caused the issue? The cake still came out fine, I just have to cut off the lumpy top part 😅

    1. Hi again Carrie 🙂

      Yes, I’d say mix the sugar with the wet ingredients like we show in the recipe box.
      This way some of the sugar melts making it a lot easier to mix the batter.
      Hope this helps
      Nico

  4. can i make this recipe with oat flour? i think i should put more baking powder or less flour, because oat flour is heavier than the regular one. Is it possible to make this cake soft even with oat flour?

    1. Hi Stefan,

      thanks for your message. I haven’t tried this recipe with oat flour so am not sure if it will turn out ok.
      Sorry I can’t be of help.
      Nico

      1. 5 stars
        Hi,
        My cake got too crumbly when i took it out from the oven. When i tried to move it to cooling rack it lost outer parts 😅
        What did i do wrong?

        1. Hi Ana,

          thanks for your message. Did you substitute any ingredient?

          Also, it’s best to wait 10 to 15 minutes before removing it from the pan and to the cooling rack.
          That could be a reason for crumbling.

  5. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe! It’s so hard to find good recipes for my allergies without lots of costly ingredients, this recipe is perfect! I made it with the chocolate cream for the filling and used almond milk instead of soy, it turned out perfectly! Once again thanks so much for making these recipes 💕

    1. Nara, thank you very much for commenting! I am really happy that you like the cake and the ingredients – wonderful idea with the almond milk, that I have to try!! Enjoy your day!
      Nico

      1. 5 stars
        I made this cake with chocolate custard, I’m Colombian, and my partner, who is Italian, loved it. I love your channel! Greetings from Colombia.

        1. Hi Juliana,
          Oh that’s wonderful, I love that you and your partner both enjoyed the chocolate cake!
          Thank you so much for your kind words, and for following along 🙂
          Kindest,
          Louise

    2. 5 stars
      A really simple and yummy cake! One problem i had though is it didnt rise like it was supposed to.. really want to make the cake again, and make it right this time. Could you give me any tips or guesses why it didnt rise?

      1. Hi Shira,

        thank you for the message…a few guesses:

        – make sure your baking powder is fresh and that it didn’t sit in your pantry for too long.
        – once you add the baking powder to the batter, try to bake the cake as soon as possible, without letting it sit out for too long (it helps to preheat the oven in advance so you don’t have to wait). The baking powder will start losing some of its rising effect once in the batter.
        – are you using the right cake pan? This cake is not super tall, if you want it taller you could use a smaller cake pan 🙂

        – finally, it could be that your baking powder is different than mine, and you might need to add a little more. Try and read the instructions on the back of the package of your baking powder to see how to best use it.

        Hope this helps 🙂
        Have a great day!
        Nico