Last modified on May 11th, 2018 at 10:00 PM

Basic Chocolate Cake Recipe

This basic chocolate cake recipe uses simple, old-fashioned ingredients and turns out perfectly every single time! Chocolatey, chewy, and delicious! It’s a timeless chocolate cake that can be used so many ways, it’s the perfect chocolate cake recipe!

Closeup, side view, of a slice of basic chocolate cake topped with blueberries.

I am sharing one of my BEST baking secrets with you today – my Basic Homemade Chocolate Cake Recipe. This cake is literally perfect. And that is no exaggeration!

Forkful of basic chocolate cake recipe with the slice on a place with some ice cream in the background.

I have been making this homemade chocolate cake recipe for years, and I guess you could say it is my signature cake recipe. It’s based off my grandmothers “Wacky Cake” recipe, except I use olive oil. I love the depth and texture the olive oil gives the cake.

Top view of basic chocolate cake recipe topped with blueberries.

PROMISE. It’s just that good!! It’s a moist chocolate cake, it’s dense but not too dense, and it can be made in a layer cake, a single layer cake {like I did here} or even a 9×13 sheet cake. You will not believe how basic these ingredients are.

Sifting dry ingredients for basic chocolate cake recipe.

Dry ingredients are basic – flour, baking soda {do NOT substitute baking powder}, salt, and cocoa.

Making a well in the dry ingredients for basic chocolate cake recipe.

After those are sifted, whisk in some sugar and then create a lovely well for the wet ingredients. Oh yeah, this basic chocolate cake can be made in ONE BOWL. It’s just as easy as using a cake mix!!

Adding water to the dry ingredients in basic chocolate cake recipe.

Pour all those wet ingredients in there and then give it a whisk!

Whisking dry and wet ingredients for basic chocolate cake recipe.

Pretty, pretty.

Now, you shouldn’t have to whisk long. One very important baking tip is to NOT overmix your batter – whisk it together until it’s combined and there are no lumps, and then stop. The sifting and creating a well in the dry ingredients will help eliminate lumps, so you shouldn’t need to whisk more than a minute or two.

Batter falling back into the bowl for basic chocolate cake recipe.

This is a very LOOSE batter, it’s not thick like other cake batters. It should have this ^^^ consistency.

Pouring basic chocolate cake recipe batter into a springform pan lined with parchment paper.

I usually keep this basic chocolate cake recipe…well, basic. So I just bake it in a springform pan instead of making a layer cake. That way I can get away with a light dusting of powdered sugar or ganache instead of making an icing. #lazybaker

BUT! If you are going to ice this baby up, I highly recommend this whipped chocolate buttercream recipe.

Loosening the sides of the baked basic chocolate cake from the edges of the springform pan.

Whatever pan you use, be sure to loosen your basic chocolate cake from the sides of the pan before you turn it out or take the springform edge off.

Close-up, top-view of the whole cake with a piece missing.

I usually just top the cake with powdered sugar and fruit and let this delicious chocolate cake be the star of the show. LOOK AT IT! It looks so good!

Slice of basic chocolate cake and scoop of ice cream on white plate next to the whole cake.

I mean, c’mon. You should really go make this today! And if you need a quick homemade ice cream recipe to make with this easy chocolate cake, check out this easy homemade vanilla ice cream recipe! Which reminds me, neither of those recipes have eggs! I love my eggs, but if you ever run out, you can still have dessert ;).

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Closeup, side view, of a slice of basic chocolate cake topped with blueberries.
5 from 2 votes

Basic Chocolate Cake

The easiest, fool-proof cake that everyone will love! One bowl, packed with chocolate flavor, easy to assemble. 

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword basic chocolate cake, homemade chocolate cake, moist chocolate cake
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 16 people
Calories 279 kcal
Author Longbourn Farm • Alli Kelley


  • 3 cups flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cups olive oil see note
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar white or apple cider
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). 

  2. Sift dry ingredients together.

  3. Whisk sugar into the dry ingredients and form a well in the center. 

  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the well of the dry ingredients. 

  5. Whisk until just combined and there are no lumps. 

  6. Pour batter into a greased and parchment lined (just the bottom) 9 1/2-inch springform pan OR two greased and parchment lined 9-inch cake pans OR a greased 9x13 cake pan. 

  7. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and bake the springform pan for about 45-50 minutes, checking at 40. 

    Bake two 9 inch pans for 20-25 minutes, checking at 20. 

    Bake 9x13 pan for 40-45 minutes, checking at 40

  8. The top of the cake will appear set and a toothpick will come out clean. 

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Olive oil should be used in this recipe, other oils may be substituted but they will change the flavor and texture of the cake. 

Nutrition Facts
Basic Chocolate Cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 279 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 15%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Sodium 285mg 12%
Potassium 66mg 2%
Total Carbohydrates 44g 15%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 25g
Protein 2g 4%
Calcium 0.8%
Iron 8.5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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This basic chocolate cake recipe uses simple, old-fashioned ingredients and turns out perfectly every single time! Chocolatey, chewy, and delicious! It's a timeless chocolate cake that can be used so many ways, it's the perfect chocolate cake recipe! #chocolate #chocolatecake #cake #homemade #homemadecake #homemadechocolatecake #dessert #baking #bakingcake #cakebaking #easyrecipe #easycake #bakingdessert #fruit #simplecake #singlecake

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  • Reply
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    September 17, 2018 at 6:38 PM

    […] Basic Chocolate Cake – Longbourn […]

  • Reply
    July 26, 2018 at 7:07 PM

    What size spring form pan do I use?

    • Reply
      July 30, 2018 at 7:11 AM

      I used a 9 1/2 inch pan. You can see all pan sizes and options in Step 6 in the recipe card at the bottom of the post. 🙂

  • Reply
    April 22, 2018 at 8:13 PM

    The recipe halved beautifully. Super moist, easy, and delicious!

  • Reply
    March 14, 2018 at 10:05 AM

    Super moist and easy to make! Love it.

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