The Best Chocolate Cake with Ganache Frosting — This truly is the best chocolate cake EVER. It’s topped with a silky smooth chocolate ganache frosting, and it takes just 10 minutes of hands-on prep!
The Best Chocolate Cake with Ganache Frosting
This is the easiest, one-bowl, five minute, from-scratch chocolate cake you’ll ever make. I originally posted this recipe August 27, 2012 and in that time, there have been thousands of very satisfied readers out there who swear by this cake.
If you’re addicted to cake mix, you can break free. I’ve been there. I made this chocolate ganache cake without a mixer and it was ready to go from bowl to oven in less than five minutes with just a couple turns of the whisk.
I’m the first to admit that cake mixes can be great because they’re convenient, the results are nearly guaranteed, and they produce moist and light cakes.
But this chocolate cake from scratch cake does the same. Except it’s darker, richer, and more intensely chocolaty than a cake mix chocolate cake, which is a good thing if you like a nice dark, deeply chocolaty, chocolate cake.
One way in which I kept the homemade chocolate cake moist was by adding yogurt, which can be replaced with sour cream if that’s what you have on hand. Just don’t use light or fat-free yogurt or sour cream. Use thicker or Greek-style full-fat yogurt. You’re making chocolate cake, not diet food, so forego the watery diet yogurt.
I also kept the use of baking powder to a bare minimum because I find it dries out cupcakes, muffins, and cakes. This recipe for the best ever chocolate cake uses just enough to give the cake lightness and lift so that it isn’t confused with the denser and flatter chocolate slab that we all know as a brownie.
Finally, I do love butter and will almost always choose butter over oil in baking; except when baking a cake. Oil produces a moister cake in my experience and since all that lovely buttery flavor is going to be masked anyway from the cocoa powder, you’re not giving up anything in the flavor department and gaining worlds in the moisture category by using oil rather than butter. A win-win for oil.
What is Ganache?
Not sold on the cake yet? Allow me to sell you on the chocolate ganache frosting.
Ganache is made by heating cream and pouring it over chocolate and I kept this ganache super simple by heating the cream in the microwave. You could heat it over the stove, but why bother?
The beauty of the ganache frosting is that even after it sets up, it still has a juicy quality to it in comparison to, say, buttercream frosting, which can become a bit hardened around the edges after it’s been exposed to air for a few hours. Crunchy frosting is never a good thing.
What’s in Chocolate Ganache Cake?
For the moist chocolate cake, you’ll need:
- Granulated sugar
- Canola oil
- Vanilla extract
- Brewed coffee
- Cocoa powder
- All-purpose flour
- Baking soda and baking powder
And for the chocolate ganache frosting, you’ll need:
- Semi-sweet chocolate
- Heavy cream
- Vanilla extract
How to Make Chocolate Cake with Ganache Frosting
To make the moist chocolate cake, you’ll need to whisk together the egg, sugar, yogurt, oil, and vanilla. Add in the cocoa powder and coffee and stir to combine. Then add in the rest of the ingredients and whisk until just combined.
Pour the homemade chocolate cake batter into a greased 9×9-inch baking pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Once the chocolate cake is out of the oven, make the ganache. Heat the heavy cream in the microwave until just starting to boil, then pour over the chocolate chips. Let it stand for about a minute before whisking to combine. Stir in the vanilla extract, then let the chocolate ganache cool for around 10 minutes to thicken up.
Once the chocolate cake is completely cool, pour over the ganache frosting. The frosting will need about 30 minutes to set up before you can dig in.
Can I Use Another Type of Chocolate for the Ganache?
There’s no sugar added to the ganache, so it’s only as sweet as the chocolate you select, which in my case was semi-sweet chocolate chips. Go as milky or dark as you enjoy.
If you don’t have chocolate chips, you can chop a bar of chocolate instead.
Can I Double This Recipe?
Yes, this recipe doubles quite easily. Just note that if you double the ingredients you’ll need to bake this homemade chocolate cake in a 9×13-inch pan.
Can I Make This Into Cupcakes?
Yes that will likely be fine. Cupcakes generally take about 20 minutes to bake, but some are done in 18 minutes, but baking times vary depending on how full you fill your cupcake liners, your oven and climate, and so forth.
Can I Make This Into A Layer Cake?
Many readers have asked me if they can make this as a double layer cake, as a bundt cake, and so on, and the answer to all of those questions is that I’ve only made the cake exactly as the recipe is written below. However, I have had readers write in the comments that they’ve doubled the cake recipe, baked in a 9×13-inch pan, cut the cake in half, doubled the ganache recipe, added ganache on top of the bottom layer, topped with the other half of the cake, and added more ganache on top.
Definitely give the comments section a read if you have a very specific question about turning this chocolate cake recipe into anything other than a 9×9-inch square cake.
And if you do switch up this recipe and are successful, please leave a comment so you can help future readers!
Do I Have to Use Brewed Coffee in the Batter?
The coffee does not make the cake taste like a coffee-flavored cake. Rather, it brings out and enhances the flavor of the cocoa powder and adds depth of flavor.
I highly recommend using coffee in the chocolate cake batter, but use water if you must.
Can I Make This in a 9-Inch Round Cake Pan?
Tips for the Best Chocolate Cake
When adding the brewed coffee to the cake batter, note that it can be any temperature other than piping hot. If you add the coffee while it’s still hot, you’ll scramble the egg!
I typically use vanilla extract in the ganache frosting, but feel free to spike your ganache with a couple tablespoons of bourbon, rum, Kahlua, or a complementary liqueur.
Yield: 12 servings
1 hour 15 minutes
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 ounces plain, vanilla, or chocolate yogurt (thicker Greek-style preferred, do not use diet, fat-free or light yogurt; sour cream may be substituted)
- 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup brewed coffee, room temperature or warm*
- 1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, optional
- 9 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (about 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips)
- 3/4 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract**
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 9-by-9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl combine egg, sugar, yogurt, oil, vanilla, and whisk until smooth and combined. Add coffee, cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s), and whisk vigorously until batter is smooth and free from lumps.
- Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and whisk vigorously until batter has just combined, about 1 minute.
- Pour batter, which is a loose and fairly runny batter, into prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until top has set and a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in pan completely, at least 30 minutes, before adding ganache or frosting the cake, or before slicing and serving. Unfrosted cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or store frosted cake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Place chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl and heat on high power for 1 minute to soften chocolate; set aside.
- In a small microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup, heat the cream (I used half-and-half) on high power just until it begins to bubble and show signs of boiling, about 60 to 75 seconds.
- Pour hot cream over chocolate and let it stand about 1 minute. Whisk vigorously until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth and velvety.
- Add vanilla or optional flavorings and stir to combine. Set bowl aside for about 10 minutes, allowing ganache to cool and thicken a bit.
- Whisk mixture briefly before pouring all of it over the cake. Lightly smooth and spread the ganache with a spatula or offset knife.
- Allow ganache to set up for at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving the cake; or speed this process up by placing pan in the refrigerator or freezer briefly.
*Note about coffee: The coffee does not make the cake taste like a coffee-flavored cake. Rather, it brings out and enhances the flavor of the cocoa powder and adds depth of flavor; I highly recommend coffee but use water if you must. The coffee can be any temperature other than piping hot; you don’t want to scramble the egg.
**Or optionally use 1 to 2 tablespoons rum, bourbon, coffee-, orange-, raspberry-, chocolate-flavored liqueur.
Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 372 Total Fat: 17g Saturated Fat: 8g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 8g Cholesterol: 33mg Sodium: 238mg Carbohydrates: 45g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 33g Protein: 4g
More Easy Chocolate Cake Recipes:
Flourless Chocolate Cake – A classy, elegant cake that’s ultra rich, fudgy, and tastes better than what you’d get in a fancy restaurant and it’s so EASY!! Your friends and family will think you slaved over it and be so impressed!
Cabernet Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache – Now you don’t have to choose between dessert or wine since this is BOTH!! Rich chocolate cake spiked with Cabernet and topped with a silky ganache that also has Cabernet in it!
Better-Than-Anything Chocolate Cake — This is an amazing cake, worthy of its alter-ego name, one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever had, and so easy.
Triple Chocolate Cherry Cake — This cake is loaded with juicy cherries and topped with an easy homemade chocolate frosting. I used a few shortcuts in this recipe to save time, but this cake tastes completely homemade!
The Best Triple Chocolate Layer Cake — This is the chocolate layer cake to beat all and the best. It’s rich, decadent, and everything you want in a chocolate cake.
Chocolate Turtle Cake — This decadent poke cake is topped with whipped topping, salted caramel sauce, mini chocolate chips, and chopped pecans. It’s so easy to make, and a huge hit at parties!
Peppermint Chocolate Cake — The cake is soft, moist, decadently chocolaty, and perfectly pepperminty, and the ganache is fudgy, silky, smooth, and rich.
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