This easy-to-make chocolate cake is dark, moist, rich--and only dirties one bowl! Not quite as easy as boxed cake mixes, but those often contain trans fats. Our simple “from scratch” recipe gives you a home-baked cake with healthful canola oil and whole-wheat flour.

EatingWell Test Kitchen
Advertisement

Ingredients

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Line the pan with a circle of wax paper.

    Advertisement
  • Whisk flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add buttermilk, brown sugar, egg, oil and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add hot coffee and beat to blend. (The batter will be quite thin.) Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

  • Bake the cake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes; remove from the pan, peel off the wax paper and let cool completely. Dust the top with confectioners' sugar before slicing.

Tips

Ingredient Note: Whole-wheat pastry flour, lower in protein than regular whole-wheat flour, has less gluten-forming potential, making it a better choice for tender baked goods. You can find it in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets and natural-foods stores. Store in the freezer.

Tip: No buttermilk? You can use buttermilk powder prepared according to package directions. Or make “sour milk”: mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup milk.

Nutrition Facts

139 calories; 3.2 g total fat; 0.5 g saturated fat; 16 mg cholesterol; 212 mg sodium. 63 mg potassium; 26.6 g carbohydrates; 1.8 g fiber; 19 g sugar; 2.3 g protein; 23 IU vitamin a iu; 3 mcg folate; 38 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 14 mg magnesium; 18 g added sugar;

Reviews (44)

Read More Reviews
44 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 34
  • 4 star values: 7
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 4 stars
04/14/2019
This is very good. I topped it with whipped cream and raspberries when serving and it wasn't to sweet. Everyone really enjoyed it. It's an easy way to have homemade cake. I didn't use canola oil. I used walnut oil. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
01/02/2019
I will make this again but will use dark chocolate next time. Not chocolate enough with the type of cocoa powder I used. Very light and fluffy. I was surprised because others were saying it was brownie like and dense. Maybe I mixed it too much. Also I think this will go very well with berries. Not too sweet so a few strawberries or raspberries will make this cake perfect. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
01/09/2018
Used 1/2 cup WW Flour 1/4 cup almond flour 2 TB cornstarch Substituted walnut oil instead of buttermilk ( as that is what I had on hand) As suggested increased cocoa powder And added a few strawberries sliced. The cake was delicious light airy and delicate not heavy or fudgelike as some complained Very easy would definitely make again Read More
Advertisement
Rating: 5 stars
05/02/2017
Doubled recipe to make a two layer Black Forest cake (cherry filling between layers). No problem. Substituted half of Canola oil with Hazelnut oil. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
04/21/2017
Light moist and delicious. I cut sugar in half and just used brown sugar and reduced baking time to about 25 minutes. Perfect for those who do not like overly sweet cake. A dusting a confectionary sugar makes it perfect with a cup of tea or coffee. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
02/06/2017
I used only brown sugar but less than 3/4 cups of sugar altogether. I also added more buttermilk than needed used less oil(olive oil) and skipped the coffee step. To "spice up" the cake I added 75g sour cherries (because I love them in cakes). I baked it for 17-20 min (should've baked it for a little less long though) in a doubletta cooking system and it turned out very fluffy sweet (although i used 1/3 of the quantity of sugar) didn't stick to my pan and this way it had less calories per slice (168 cal-8 slices in total). I tried a variation of this recipe by using 2 bananas instead of too much flour and ditched the cocoa powder. It was very moist and didn't grow (because of the bananas) but it tasted very "bananey" and had less calories/ slice (109 cal -8 slices in total). I baked it for 15 min in the same cooking system turned out great. I will definitely try it again. Pros: easy to make low in calories easily customizable; Read More
Advertisement
Rating: 5 stars
04/19/2015
Very Good Cake! Followed directions as written and it turned out perfectly for me. It was very moist and did not have the heaviness that one would expect from using whole wheat flour of any kind. I go back to this recipe often. Pros: Easy and tasty. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
04/04/2015
easy and delicious I halved the brown sugar and it was so good and tasted even better the next day! Pros: moist and low in fat! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
03/22/2015
too fudgy It tasted like ultra fudgy brownies maybe it was because I left the mixture on the table for awhile instead of baking it immediately. Gonna try this recipe again hope it'll turn out great:\ Pros: rich chocolate taste and not too sweet Cons: waaaaayyy too fudgy Read More
Rating: 4 stars
11/01/2014
Hit the spot Its like a brownie cake and the serving size is smaller than a little Debbie brownie. I mention it because that's what the taste reminds me of. It did sink in the middle but none of us cared. This was used as a birthday cake since hubby and I are dieting. Pros: Easy Read More
Rating: 3 stars
07/10/2014
Good low calorie recipe The first time I made this cake I found it a little dry and sweet so I made the following adjustments which resulted in a deliciously moist and full flavour cake which is still low in calories. I estimate 130 calories per slice allowing 12 slices. I used three quarters of a cup of plain flour instead of wholewheat and I replaced the extra 2 tablespoons of flour with cornflour. I used 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil (i.e. an extra spoon). I reduced each sugar by half (i.e a quarter cup of each) and increased the cocoa to a half cup. I folded in 100g of fresh raspberries just before I put in in the oven. I cooked it at 160C in a fan oven for 30 minutes. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
04/10/2014
It's a keeper! I made this cake for my husband's birthday. We are all watching calories and this was perfect! I used vegetable oil instead and I'm sure made no difference. I also used a 8spring pan. I decorated it with fresh raspberries too! Next time I make it I'm going to add toasted almonds on top or cut the cake and put a low cal filling in the middle like blackberries Pros: Fast and easy to make just the right size too Read More
Rating: 5 stars
03/05/2013
It's A HIt This is a great quick cake to satisfy. I don't make dessert very often so when I do I want it to be good! I did make a few substitutions. I used 1/4 c 2 Tbs Almond flour with the 1/2 c whole wheat flour. Gave the cake a rich flavor and texture. I used a Starbucks Italian bold instant coffee packet. Full packet to 1/2 c water. Perfect to bring out the rich chocolate flavor. That is what the coffee does. Leaves no coffee taste. Just enhances the chocolate flavor. I don't use white sugar. Raw turbinado instead. I baked this in a spring form pan. Made removal easy and no middle fall. Had fresh strawberries and a little whipped cream with it. Decadent. This is a do over for me! Pros: Easy Tasty Read More
Rating: 4 stars
01/12/2013
Good chocolate cake Nice and easy cake I halved the sugar and added some chocolate chips (which -it turns out stuck to the bottom of the cake to the wax-paper and came off when I peeled the wax paper!! But overall good cake Read More
Rating: 5 stars
11/14/2012
Absolutely Delicious! I used 2 shots of Espresso instead just strong coffee. My husband loves this and doesn't need ice cream. Very moist and yummy! Pros: Quick & easy Read More
Rating: 2 stars
05/14/2012
Pretty Bland This cake is pretty bland and just not very good I think boxed chocolate cake mix would be better. This recipe is a DIRECT COPY of Ina Garten's Chocolate Cake cut down to make one layer. The oil has been reduced by half to lower fat and calories. I think this is one of those times when you go with the calories and fat and opt for a smaller piece because this version pales in comparison. Flavor is in the fat and despite being a direct copy of a fabulous chocolate cake recipe it is bland and has very little chocolate flavor. I think it would benefit from the additional 2 tablespoons of oil and perhaps a bit more cocoa. Ina's recipe calls for 3/4 cup cocoa since the EW recipe is half 1/3 cup cocoa is not quite enough it should be 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (or 6 tablespoons) 1/3 cup is only 5 Tablespoons and 1 teaspoon and believe me the 'missing' 2 teaspoons makes a difference. Ina also uses extra large eggs which also adds additional moisture. I may try it again and increase the cocoa and try just one additional tablespoon of oil but I'm really not sure messing with it is worth it. Pros: Easy Cons: Pretty Bland Read More
Rating: 5 stars
05/09/2012
My new go-to cake recipe This was fantastic: moist and chocolately. I didn't change a thing and any future changes will only be to add variety like adding almonds or coconut to the top. It did fall a little in the middle but not enough to be noticeable when inverted on a plate. Superb!! Pros: Easy to make & delicious Cons: None! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
01/09/2012
This cake was amazing. Very moist and decadent. Will definitely make again and again Pros: Yummy!!! Read More
Rating: 1 stars
01/07/2012
Have made this twice and both times it has risen nicely while cooking and when I open the oven to take it out it has sunk in the middle. Looks nothing like the picture. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
good easy and so satifying Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Delicious and not bad for you! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Very moist and nice chocolate flavor. It still has 1 cup of sugar so i wouldn't say it is "good" for you but it is better than most other chocolate cake. Will make often. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Tasty and moist; will add this recipe to my collection. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Came together easily - I love a recipe I can make in one bowl. Tasted a little heavy on baking soda - I'd reduce that amount by half next time. Easy cake for when you're feeling lazy. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Excellent recipe. Tastes very good it- s soft and moist easy to make and overall quite healthy. I- ll definately make some more! Katie H. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Sooo Good! This is going to be a regular at our house.: ) Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
FAB! It was my MOthers Day treat made by one of my daughters. She forgot the oil....it was STILL delic! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Great flavor but mine did NOT turn out moist like everyone else's. And I even cooked for less than the recommended time. Perhaps it was my oven but I would definitely recommend checking it early to make sure it doesn't dry out. I also agree with the baking soda comment - maybe cut that in half. Overall very easy to make and tasty! In order to help with the dryness I served the cake with hot "cook n serve" chocolate pudding drizzled over it (the sugar free kind) and a little whipped cream. Yummm! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Excellent! Very moist. I was looking for a simple chocolate cake for better-than-sex cake. This worked perfectly! only differences I did: Used basic cake flour splenda and instead of coffee I used diet coke! The coke gave it a tasty flavor. I also agree that the cooking time should be less than called for. I did 4 minutes shy of the 30 minimum and it was perfectly done. So do try and at least check on it after 25 minutes. For a twist make a better-than-sex cake! just add fat free coolwhip fat free ice cream caramel sauce and heath bar bits for on top of the cake. Delish! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Super easy to make and very tasty! Will be making this one over and over! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Just amazing. This is going to be a family staple. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
I thought this cake was so moist and it realy kicked my chocolate cake craving but I thought it needed some "Kicking up" so I added 1/2 c. cocoa powder instead of just 1/3 c. and used 1 c. Splenda rather than 1/2 c. sugar. This slashed calories by a large margin but it made this taste more like a classic fattening "Paula Dean" type cake. If you don't happen to have whole-wheat pastry flour on hand you can use regular whole wheat flour just be careful not to overmix the batter; that's what I did and the cake turned out just fine. I can't wait to enter this recipe into the baking contest at my local fair next month! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
I've made this cake three times--the first two times made a birthday cake for my sweetheart and the second I brought to work to share with office staff. They all loved it! So the third one I kept for myself! I changed only one or two small things: first it cooks in my oven for no more than twenty-five minutes so I decreased cooking time. Second I made an icing of confectioners' sugar neufchatel cheese and orange zest. It rocked! Now if I could only find a lowfat german chocolate cake.... Any suggestions? Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
Finally a chocolate cake that I can make and not feel badly about when I have company. The dusted powder sugar works also instead of icing for me.:-) Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
The receipe sounds divine and the comments made me want to try it even more but.... I'm not a fan of coffee at all so might tea work as well as the soda in its place? Thank you. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
To the person who asked about substituting tea for coffee because they don't like coffee: GO AHEAD AND USE THE COFFEE - you won't taste it. It simply will increase the chocolate taste. This is an old secret trick in baking with chocolate. There is even a famous beef stew recipe that uses both coffee and chocolate to increase the beefy flavor of the beef stew - and you don't taste either the chocolate or the coffee. Tea will NOT do the same thing in your cake it won't make the chocolate taste more chocolate-y and may give it a strange other taste that doesn't fit in at all. So if you don't drink coffee buy a cup to go at your local Dunkin Donuts or whatever put a half cup in your mixing bowl. and discard the rest or freeze it to make another cake in the future! If you like this cake and think you'll make it a lot you can also just buy some instant coffee crystals and keep them in the cupboard. Then whenever you go to make the cake just measure a half cup of water and stir some coffee crystals into it. 1-2 tablespoons of coffee crystals would probably be the right amount for "strong black coffee" as specified in the recipe. I haven't tried this recipe yet but it looks good. I have a recipe that is similar but uses melted semisweet chocolate in addition to the cocoa. That probably improves it. But they're right in that you don't need butter or other heavy fats in order to make good chocolate cake. Am going to try this tonight and have high hopes fo Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
Excellent chocolate cake. I fooled my mother she couldn't believe that I used wholewheat flour only. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
This is a really delicious easy-to-make cake. I cut back on the sugar I bit since we don't like overly sweet desserts in our family. It's moist (I cooked mine for 30 minutes exactly) and chocolatey without being over the top. Very nice for a weeknight treat that doesn't take long to make. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
4 pro points on Weight Watchers plan Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
Fantastic! I thought this cake was great. I made it according to the recipe the first time just to see how it came out and it was good but a bit too sweet for me. I cut out half the sugar next time (halved each of the 2 sugars) and substituted the oil with frommage frais (similar to creme fraiche) and used grahams whole wheat flour. I thought it was just as good the second way and saved a lot in calories and cut back on the sugar (although the second time it cooked much faster: 20 minutes and it was done). Will use this cake for birthdays and celebrations from now on. Best tasting healthy cake I have ever had. Pros: Easy to make tastes great healthy Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
I am in love! Just made this yummy cake tonight! I took another reviewer's suggestion and cut both sugars slightly. I also substituted Raw Sugar for some of the white sugar added maybe a tablespoon or two more coco and threw in about 3/4 cup frozen raspberries. The raspberries added a really nice touch; I would love to try it with cherries as well. Another addition: when the cake came out I sprinkled a tablespoon or so of Grand Mariner on top. Mmmmm moist chocolaty goodness! Definitely a keeper! And so easy! Pros: Easy versatile Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
So simple and so tasty!! I love this cake! I followed the directions exactly accept I used splenda instead of granulated sugar. I baked it in a heart pan and dusted it with confectioners sugar. It was light and tasty! I will definitely make again! Pros: Easy!! Cons: None Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
Delicious & Easy! I made these into tiny cupcakes and piped some buttercream frosting instead of the icing suggested in the recipe! they looked gr8 and tasted even better! The cake recipe is simple to make and very tasty! i would recommend to cut back on the sugar. i added only 1/4 cup of the brown sugar instead of 1/2 cup and it was perfect! highly recommend this quick bake delicious treat! Pros: Fuss free & easy to make! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
AWESOME Chocolate Cake! This cake is to DIE for! Easy delicious moist and decadent! I even used Splenda and it was awesome! I highly recommend this recipe! Per the other reviews I bake mine for 25 to 27 minutes only. It tastes even better the following day! Pros: Easy Delicious Read More