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!
4.90 from 186 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. This has become my go-to recipe for a chocolate cake. The cake is deliciously chocolately.

    The icing is great since I hate icing sugar.

    It’s fast, too

  2. I bounced around from recipe to recipe for years because I was never quite happy with my cakes. A few years ago I landed on this one. It’s simple. It’s delicious. It’s now my go-to. I also love that it’s meant for an 8×8 so my family can reasonably eat it without going into sugar shock, but it doubles well in a 9×13 if we’re having a few extra guests. I only wish it could bake instantly to satisfy those cravings faster!

  3. I had made this cake today and it is delicious!!!! The recipe is simple and I will make it again whenever I have a craving for something chocolate!!!!❤️

  4. My husband was craving chocolate and I came across this recipe! So glad I did, it is perfect just for the 2 of us and with simple ingredients that I had on hand. Delicious and satisfied our chocolate craving!

  5. This looks delicious. Learned a little tip about boxed cakes. Substitute the oil for melted butter and double it. So if it calls for 1/2 cup oil use 1 cup melted butter. Add one more egg. Substitute milk for water. Your cake will come out tasting like a home made cake. This works on any flavor cake mix. (Probably not angel food though.)

  6. This is the first cake I’ve made from scratch and it’s amazing! I need to double it for a larger cake or even a layered cake. Would the baking time be the same and would it work to just double it? Or even make cupcakes? I’m a newbie here so any advice is greatly appreciated!

  7. LOL I have been craving a cake … but they are so big and I live alone. This is perfect. Made tonight. I HAD to put a little sugar in the icing. I’ve had tongue cancer surgery last summer and need certain things to make something taste good. Without sugar I couldn’t eat the frosting (I did add a little cream cheese as I put cream cheese in anything I can).

  8. I love this recipe of yours, cake is always delicious, it’s a hit with my friends & neighbors when they come over especially the chocolate lovers.
    Your video with your daughter is very cute, she will make a great assistant to all chefs lol.

    Thank you for another great recipe, keep them coming.

  9. Loved it! It reminded me of those snacking cakes of old. Such nostalgia. Definitely making it again.

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