This is my story of discovering the Best Easy Chocolate Cake. When my six kids were little I often had days when I NEEDED chocolate! It didn’t matter if it was cake, cookies, a chocolate bar, or a bag of chocolate chips. It was a chocolate emergency! There was also the problem of aquiring the chocolate when a trip to the grocery store was an endeavor that I wasn’t always up to. Six kids in seven years did not make going anywhere easy. Often the only things that could get me to the store was needing butter or diapers!

So, one afternoon I needed chocolate and I only had cocoa powder. I also had run out of eggs and butter. I tried not to panic. After a quick search online for ideas, I came across this vegan chocolate cake from Moosewood. Over the years I had collected several of their cookbooks so I knew this recipe was worth trying. Vegan cake didn’t sound too promising but my options were pretty slim at that point.

The Life-changing First Cake

Before long the cake was mixed up and in the oven. It came out looking and smelling pretty great. We cut into it before it was cooled and it was like those moments in movies where time slows down. I had found the perfect chocolate cake recipe! It was fluffy, moist, and very chocolatey and rich. It seemed impossible to make a cake like this without butter and eggs.

Over the years I have made this cake hundreds of times. It works as a layer cake or cupcakes. I’ve made a gluten-free version that was yummy, not quite the same but still delicious. It’s the chocolate cake I make for birthdays and for those days when you just need chocolate cake.

Best Easy Chocolate Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup oil (I use light olive oil)
  • 1 cup water or cold coffee
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (I don’t always add vanilla to chocolate recipes, it’s up to you.)
  • 2 Tablespoons vinegar (white vinegar or apple cider vinegar)

In a mixing bowl stir together the dry ingredients. Measure the liquid ingredients in a measuring cup with a pouring spout.

Dry ingredients for Best Chocolate Cake.
Liquid ingredients for Best Chocolate Cake.

Whisk together the dry ingredients and pour in the oil, water or coffee, vanilla, and vinegar. It doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth but you do want to get it in the oven fairly quickly since the cake rises from the reaction of the baking soda with the vinegar. You will notice the cake batter foaming up as the reaction gets going.

Mixing dry ingredients for Best Chocolate Cake.
Whisking up Best Chocolate Cake.
Best Chocolate Cake ready to bake.

Pour the batter into a greased 8 or 9 inch pan and bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until the cake tests done. Cool on a wire rake for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto the rack to cool completely. Of course you only need to cool it completely if you are frosting the cake. Eating it warm from the pan is never a bad option!

Best Easy Chocolate Cake.

This recipe makes one layer cake or 16-18 cupcakes. It’s easy to double for a stacked layer cake as I did in the photos. I’ve made chocolate cakes from old recipes that I made and loved years ago and can honestly say they don’t hold a candle to this one. And it’s always reassuring to know that with a few simple ingredients I can make an emergency cake at a moments notice!