Chocolate Craving Cake has the most decadent, rich chocolate flavor without a whole lot of fuss. Then, it’s paired with a chocolate frosting that is nothing like I have ever imagined! I wanted a chocolate cake. No, I needed one. But I didn’t want to make a huge cake or get out special cake pans, and this cake fits the bill! Chocolate cravings cannot be ignored, and this perfectly proportioned cake will definitely satisfy every single craving! If you love the chocolate version, don’t miss my White Snack Cake! You may also love my Best Chocolate Cake (sheet cake) and find your favorite recipe on my 50 Best Cake Recipes list!


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How to Make a Chocolate Cake

  • Room temperature ingredients are important. Cold ingredients are harder to incorporate and can result in flat, lumpy, dense baked goods.
  • Sifting dry ingredients is a good thing. When measuring flour, get out your container or bag. Open it and use a fork to stir it, or sift it, loosening it up. Spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup then use the back of a knife to level the cup off. (Or you can measure your ingredients on a scale.)
  • Use the proper tools. You can use a hand-held mixer (or even stir by hand) but make sure the ingredients are fully mixed and incorporated before moving on to the next step in the recipe.
  • Good quality ingredients. Dutch process cocoa or high-quality cocoa, fresh eggs, and good-quality vanilla make a difference! Feel free to upgrade to all organic ingredients. When it comes to substitutions though, I do recommend making the recipe as-is first, then altering it to make it yours.
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Why Warm Water in Chocolate Cake?

This recipe does NOT use coffee. You still need the moisture that coffee would bring, but can achieve the necessary results by using hot water instead. Using warm water when making this chocolate cake recipe will help the baking process. You don’t want to add cold cake batter to a hot oven.

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Chocolate Frosting (Read this before making!)

You will notice that there is no added sugar in the frosting. It is meant to complement and contrast the sweet cake! It is NOT very sweet on its own. If you prefer a sweeter frosting I recommend halving this Chocolate Buttercream recipe.

Can I use a 9×13 Baking Dish?

Yes, you absolutely can. No changes need to be made to the recipe, but it will not be as thick as in an 8×8 baking dish. Bake at 350°F for 28-32 minutes. The cake is done when an inserted toothpick is removed with crumbs, but no wet batter.

How to Store Chocolate Cake

As there is sour cream in the frosting, this cake does need to be refrigerated. When in an airtight container or wrapped with plastic wrap, it should last 2-3 days.

How to Freeze Chocolate Cake

I don’t recommend freezing with frosting on. To freeze the cake:

  • First, allow the cake to fully cool in the pan.
  • Next, place a layer of plastic on top of the cake. Then, place a cutting board or cooling rack on top.
  • Flip the cake over. Remove the pan.
  • Wrap the plastic up over the edges of the cake and then add another large piece and wrap it again as tightly as possible without crushing the cake. Make sure that none of the cake is exposed in the freezer as this can cause freezer burn.
  • Finally, wrap it in a layer of aluminum foil, labeling and dating the cake. The cake will freeze well for 1 month and should be fine for up to 3 months.

More Chocolate Cakes

The BEST cake for your chocolate cravings!
4.91 from 195 votes

Chocolate Craving Cake

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Chocolate Craving Cake has the most decadent, rich chocolate flavor without a whole lot of fuss. Then, it's paired with a chocolate frosting that is nothing like I have ever imagined!



  • 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (63 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup (100 g) whole milk
  • ¼ cup (55 g) vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (118 g) warm water, or warm brewed coffee


  • 1 cup (168 g) milk chocolate chips
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract



  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with parchment paper and spray sides and bottom. If using a metal baking pan, heat oven to 325°F.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Add in egg, milk, oil, and vanilla. Mix on low until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 2 additional minutes.
  • Add in warm water and gently stir. The batter will be very thin.
  • Pour batter into the prepared dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a clean toothpick is inserted and removed with a few crumbs, but no wet batter.
  • Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Then, continue cooling on a rack until room temperature.


  • In a medium microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate chips in the microwave at 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring after each heating, until they are fully melted.
  • To the melted chocolate chips, add the sour cream and vanilla. Stir by hand until frosting is well combined and fluffier.
  • Spread over cooled cake.


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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. No replies to anyone from I Am Baker….why post something if you’re not willing to answer anyone’s questions? Isn’t that kinda what this is all about??

    1. Hi Donna~
      I have replied to over 100 comments on this recipe. What was your question? Is it possible the question is answered in the post? I often try to anticipate the needs of people and to test the recipe and answer questions ahead of time so you are able to get in the kitchen and get baking! 🙂 Sometimes, when I have taken the time to answer the question right in the blog post and then someone asks a question I have already answered, I will move on the questions that I can actually be helpful in answering. I hope that cleared things up for you.

  2. I thought had better get around to commenting as I have had the privilege of making this cake with the buttercream icing many times for birthdays etc. Thankyou, it is a beautiful cake.

  3. For the frosting can you substitute the sour cream because I live on an island in Greece and there’s no Sour Cream here anywhere!!

    1. Do you have Mascarpone? Or full fat greek yogurt? This isn’t a sweet frosting. You can always use your favorite chocolate frosting in place.

  4. I know you say it is ok for 13×9 but will it be thick enough? I am hesitating because seems like a big discrepancy from 8″. Oh , I’ve made it twice and the cake is so good!

  5. I’ve never had a cake recipe use boiling water and was very skeptical, but this turned out good! I omitted the coffee because I didn’t want to be up all night and I didn’t have decaf, lol, but a chocolate cake recipe that includes coffee is always a great addition. Thanks for sharing!!

  6. I love this cake. It’s quick, easy and delicious. I haven’t tried the frosting yet, I typically just throw together a quick chocolate buttercream, but will definitely give it a try.

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