How to Make the Easiest Chocolate Cake From Scratch

You've officially run out of reasons to say you can't bake a cake.

No need to reach for a box cake mix anymore when there's a super-easy, no-fuss, no-baking-skills-required, rich, and chocolatey chocolate cake that anyone can bake from scratch. Even Nicole McLaughlin, aka NicoleMcmom, who says she's not much of a baker, was able to nail this recipe like it's no big deal. If she can do it, you can do it.

Of course, the quality of the recipe makes all the difference. Nicole chose a 5-star chocolate cake recipe from Allrecipes with 4,000+ ratings and 3,000+ reviews, practically guaranteeing success right off the bat. And to prove that the best recipes don't have to be complicated, you can make this cake with one bowl and one pan. You don't even need a stand mixer.

Watch the video up top, follow the recipe below, and scroll down to get Nicole's top tips. Bonus: She'll show you how to turn a sheet cake into a bakery-worthy layer cake.

close up of a slice of One Bowl Chocolate Cake baked as a layered sheet cake with chocolate frosting

How to Make the Easiest Chocolate Cake From Scratch

Get the recipe for One Bowl Chocolate Cake.

Reviewers baked this versatile recipe as a 9-inch round layer cake, a 9x13 cake, two dozen cupcakes, a Bundt cake, and a sheet cake. Get more cake and baking pan size conversions.


  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two nine-inch round pans. OR line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray if you want to bake a sheet cake.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Mix for 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer. Stir in the boiling water last. The batter will be thin. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven until you can insert a toothpick into the cake, and remove it dry. OR if you're baking a sheet cake, bake for only 15 minutes. Cool in the pan(s) for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Nicole's Top Tips

  1. The recipe says to mix all of the ingredients in one bowl, but Nicole chose to mix the wet ingredients in a large glass measuring cup before adding them to the dry ingredients. She also used a simple wire whisk to mix the cake batter instead of using a hand-held electric mixer.
  2. If you're making this easy homemade cake, you'd probably like an easy homemade frosting to go with it. Try this 5-star recipe for the Best Chocolate Frosting. It whips up quickly and takes only 5 ingredients to make. Bonus Tip: If you're making a layered sheet cake, you'll want to double the recipe.
  3. To remove the sheet cake from the pan, cover it with a sheet of parchment paper, lay a cutting board over the pan, then invert the whole thing.
  4. Let the cake cool completely before cutting in half (if you're making a layered sheet cake) and/or frosting.
  5. Tuck strips of parchment or waxed paper all around the cake before frosting to protect your platter and make for a cleaner presentation. Then when you're finished frosting the cake, slide out the strips and feel like a genius.

You can connect with Nicole as NicoleMcmom on Allrecipes and Instagram @nicolemcmom.

More tips, tricks, and ideas from Nicole:

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