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Basic Chocolate Cake (8 inch single layer)

This Basic Chocolate Cake is an easy one bowl chocolate cake recipe. Paired with a rich chocolate ganache frosting. Consider this your go-to basic 8 inch single layer chocolate cake recipe with your choice of frosting. 

Finished frosted basic chocolate cake with slices taken out

If you’re on the hunt for a basic 8 inch chocolate cake recipe without multiple layers, just like my Moist Chocolate Walnut Cake, consider this your go-to recipe.

This is a one layer and one bowl chocolate cake recipe with a chocolate ganache frosting.

You can switch up the frosting with a basic chocolate buttercream frosting or an easy icing sugar + cocoa powder + water/milk icing like on my olive oil chocolate cake.

The texture of this basic chocolate cake is fluffy and moist. By creaming together your butter and sugar, you will avoid a dry and dense cake and instead achieve the best results.

🍰 Why You Will Love This Recipe

  • It’s a single layer 8 inch basic chocolate cake recipe.
  • Easy to make in one mixing bowl. 
  • The chocolate flavor is rich and decadent. 
  • A fluffy and moist cake texture. 
  • Bakes in 30 minutes!
  • Frosted with a quick chocolate ganache.
Slice of basic chocolate cake

One of my favourite ingredients to include in chocolate cake recipes is instant coffee as it enhances the chocolate flavor.

Then the addition of extra virgin olive oil contributes to a moist and tender crumb.

If you’re looking for a basic 8 inch vanilla cake recipe, try my Basic Single Layer Vanilla Cake.

For more delicious chocolate cake recipes, try my Chocolate Orange Cake, Classic Chocolate Cupcakes and my Flourless Chocolate Cake.

Close up of frosted classic chocolate cake with slices

📋 Ingredient Notes & Substitutions

  • Cocoa powder: Use natural unsweetened cocoa powder or Dutch-process cocoa powder. 
  • Baking powder: For best results use aluminum-free baking powder and make sure it’s not expired. You can test if your baking powder still works with this handy tip.
  • Coffee: Use instant coffee powder and not coffee granules. 
  • Salt: Use a fine sea/table salt or Kosher salt, not large/coarse granules.  
  • Butter: Unsalted butter works best in this basic chocolate cake recipe. 
  • Caster sugar: You can use either golden/raw or white caster sugar.
  • Eggs: Must be at room temperature before adding them to your batter. Large eggs that weigh between 55g-65g (1.9oz-2.3oz). 
  • Milk: Whole/full fat milk or almond milk can be used. Must be at room temperature. 
  • Extra virgin olive oil: A quality extra virgin olive oil will produce the best results. Don’t use any other vegetable oil as they can add too much flavor that changes the result. 
  • Vanilla extract: A nice vanilla bean extract tastes amazing but a regular extract works just as well. 
  • Dark chocolate: Use a plain dark chocolate block of choice that you would be happy to consume. Cadbury baking chocolate or Lindt works great! 
  • Canned coconut cream or regular thickened/heavy cream: I’ve tested this chocolate ganache using both canned coconut cream and dairy thickened/heavy cream and both work great! The coconut offers a mild coconut flavor which is nicely paired with the basic chocolate cake. 

🥣 Step By Step Instructions

1) In a medium size mixing bowl, add flour, cocoa, baking powder, coffee, and salt. Whisk until well combined. Set aside. 

Process shot of classic chocolate cake, dry ingredients being mixed together

2) In a large mixing bowl, using either electric hand beaters or a stand mixer with the paddle attached, add softened butter to the bowl.

3) Beat butter for a few seconds to break it up and it begins to turn creamy. This makes it easier on your beater when the sugar is added. 

4) Add sugar. Beat with the butter for 2 minutes until pale and creamy. Scraping down the sides as needed. 

Process shot of creaming butter with the sugar

5) Add eggs one at a time, beating for 10 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides as needed. 

6) Pour in milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat for 15 seconds until well combined. Scrape down the sides again.

Process shot of the egg being mixed into the batter along with the liquids

7) Add half of the dry flour mixture and beat until just combined. Scrape down the sides and add the remaining flour. Beat until incorporated, ensuring not to over-mix.

Dry mixture being added into the wet mixture

8) Pour into the lined pan and smooth out the top with a spatula. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean and it’s golden all over. 

9) Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Carefully remove from pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cake batter before and after in baking pan

10) Pour cream into a small pot and gently warm over low heat. 

Coconut cream in saucepan melted

11) Break chocolate down into squares and place it into a small heat-proof bowl. Heat cream until warm and steam starts to come off the surface and small bubbles begin to appear around the edges, do not let it come to a boil. Remove from heat. 

12) Pour warm cream over the chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes. Gently stir the chocolate into warm cream until well combined and smooth. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes until it has thickened up to spreading consistency. 

Warm cream being poured over dark chocolate

13) Spread frosting over the cooled cake. Set aside and allow to set. Slice into triangles and enjoy. 

Spreading the chocolate ganache over the cake

💭 Tips For Recipe Success

  • I highly recommend you use a non stick baking pan. If your cake pan is prone to sticking, please grease it with butter and line it with parchment/baking paper. If you do have a non stick pan that works great, I always love to grease it with a layer of butter and dust cocoa over the butter, then tap out the excess. This will leave your cake with smooth sides.
  • Ensure your refrigerated ingredients come to room temperature before making your chocolate cake. Using cold ingredients in cakes, they will not emulsify and blend appropriately with the rest of the ingredients, which results in problems with the final product. 
  • Do not over-mix this cake batter as it will result in a tough cake texture after baking. 
  • When heating up your cream for the chocolate ganache, ensure it doesn’t come to a boil as it will burn your chocolate. Wait for the ganache to thicken up to a spreadable consistency so it’s easier to spread over the cake. Fasten up this process by transferring the ganache to the refrigerator. 
Slice being removed from the chocolate cake

⏲️  Storing Instructions

  • Store your chocolate cake in an airtight container, at room temperature, for 3-4 days. Transfer to the refrigerator after a few days if needed to keep it fresh from humid temperatures. 
  • Freeze this basic chocolate cake by allowing it to completely cool after baking. Do not add the chocolate ganache frosting. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then wrap it again in tinfoil. Freeze it for up to 3 months. 
  • To defrost your cake, remove it from the freezer and place it in your refrigerator, it’s wrapped up, for a full 24 hours to slowly thaw. 
Bite taken of of cake slice

Recipe FAQ’s

How many does an 8 inch cake feed? 

You will get 8 triangle slices out of this 8 inch single layer chocolate cake. You can feed more people by cutting the slices smaller or cutting the cake lengthways and into smaller squares. 

How long does an 8 inch cake need to bake?

This single layer 8 inch chocolate cake takes 30-35 minutes in the oven at a temperature of 180ºC (356ºF). 

How to make a cake moist and fluffy?

– Cream the butter and sugar together for 2 minutes.
– The refrigerated ingredients MUST be at room temperature before starting your chocolate cake. 
– Extra virgin olive oil adds moisture and contributes to a moist and fluffy cake texture. 
– Do not over-mix your cake batter. 
– Do not over-bake your cake. 

Can I use a chocolate buttercream frosting instead of chocolate ganache?

Yes absolutely! I love the simplicity of chocolate ganache on a basic chocolate cake but you can also use a chocolate buttercream or another frosting/icing that you like instead.

If you enjoy this recipe, please consider leaving a ⭐️ star rating and a comment review below. I love to hear what you think and it’s much appreciated. Thank you! Your email address will not be published. Sam x

Basic 8 inch Single Layer Chocolate Cake

Basic Chocolate Cake (8 inch single layer)

Samantha Pickthall
This 8 inch Single Layer Basic Chocolate Cake is an easy one bowl chocolate cake recipe. Paired with a rich chocolate ganache frosting.
4.42 from 50 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Cake, Dessert, Snack
Servings 8 slices
Calories 576 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

Chocolate Cake

  • 1 cup (150g) plain all purpose flour, scoop & leveled
  • 1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt or Kosher salt
  • 125 g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup golden or white caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature, (approx. 55g-60g in shell)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Ganache

  • 200 g plain dark chocolate block, use a quality dark chocolate
  • 200 ml thickened/heavy cream, or canned coconut cream

Instructions
 

Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat oven to 180ºC (356ºF). Line a round 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, and set aside. NOTE: Alternatively, if you have a non-stick pan, liberally grease it with melted butter and dust it with a light layer of cocoa. This will leave your finished cake with smooth sides.
  • In a medium size mixing bowl, add flour, cocoa, baking powder, coffee, and salt. Whisk until well combined. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, using either electric hand beaters or a stand mixer with the paddle attached, add softened butter to the bowl.
  • Beat butter for a few seconds to break it up and it begins to turn creamy. This makes it easier on your beater when the sugar is added.
  • Add sugar. Beat with the butter for 2 minutes until pale and creamy. Scraping down the sides as needed.
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating for 10 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  • Pour in milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat for 15 seconds until well combined. Scrape down the sides again.
  • Add half of the dry flour mixture and beat until just combined. Scrape down the sides and add the remaining flour. Beat until incorporated, ensuring not to over-mix.
  • Pour into the lined pan and smooth out the top with a spatula.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean and it’s golden all over.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes.
  • Carefully remove from pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Ganache

  • Break chocolate down into squares and place it into a small heat-proof bowl.
  • Pour cream into a small pot and gently warm over low heat.
  • Heat cream until warm and steam starts to come off the surface and small bubbles begin to appear around the edges, do not let it come to a boil. Remove from heat.
  • Pour warm cream over the chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes.
  • Gently stir the chocolate into warm cream until well combined and smooth.
  • Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes until it has thickened up to spreading consistency. Or refrigerate until it firms up. Keep a close eye on it though, once it thickens and reaches spreading consistency, it will turn solid quickly, at which point, it will be difficult to spread.
  • Spread frosting over the cooled cake. Set aside and allow to set.
  • Slice into triangles and enjoy.

Notes

Make sure to measure your baking ingredients accurately to achieve the best results. Check out my helpful guide on how to measure basic ingredients.
Ensure your cold ingredients come to room temperature before making your cake and frosting. The butter, eggs, and milk. Using cold ingredients in cakes will not emulsify and blend appropriately with the rest of the ingredients, which results in problems with the final product.
Do not over-mix this cake batter as it will result in a tough cake texture after baking.
When heating up your cream for the chocolate ganache, ensure it doesn’t come to a boil as it will burn your chocolate.
Wait for the ganache to thicken up to a spreadable consistency so it’s easier to spread over the cake.
Store cake in an airtight container, in a dry dark pantry, for 3-4 days. Transfer to the refrigerator after a few days if needed to keep it fresh from humid temperatures.
Freeze this basic chocolate cake by allowing it to completely cool after baking. Do not add the chocolate ganache frosting. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then wrap it again in tinfoil. Freeze it for up to 3 months. 
To defrost your cake, remove it from the freezer and place it in your refrigerator, it’s wrapped up, for a full 24 hours to slowly thaw. 

Nutrition

Calories: 576kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 7gFat: 42gSaturated Fat: 22gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 106mgSodium: 110mgPotassium: 449mgFiber: 5gSugar: 26gVitamin A: 854IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 117mgIron: 5mg
Keyword 8 inch cake, basic chocolate cake, single layer cake
Tried this recipe? Let us know how it was!

3 Comments

    1. Hi Sonray, I’m glad to hear that you’re interested in trying the chocolate cake! If you don’t have coffee powder on hand, no worries at all. You can simply omit it without any major impact on the overall flavor of the cake. Alternatively, adding an extra teaspoon of vanilla extract can enhance the cake’s depth of flavor in a different but equally delightful way. Both options work well, so feel free to choose based on what you have available. Happy baking, and I hope you enjoy the cake! Kindest, Sam 🙂

  1. I was looking for an 8” chocolate cake to try with my air fryer. This was perfect. Delicious, moist and perfect size cake for me and my husband. I didn’t cook as long as stated because the very center was browning & toothpick test was good. When my air fryer beeped half way through I rotated the pan a quarter and it cooked very evenly. I made a caramel buttercream icing and it was very tasty with this cake. I’m also going to try the vanilla cake with the caramel buttercream icing – I’m sure it will be delicious as well.

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