(Last Minute Valentine's Day) Quickie Chocolate Cake

Quickie Chocolate Cake

Omg omg omg!  You forgot it was Valentine’s Day, whaddya do?!  (Totally have done that, thank you.)

Or:   omg omg omg I gots no time but I need something for my sweetheart and is it too late?!  What do I do?!

Or:  oh crap, my baby unexpectedly did something for me and I am a schlub who did nothing, what can I do?!?! Besides apologize lamely. And feel a louse.

We’ve all been there.  Or somewhere similar.

Well have no fear my friends, I am here with the assist.  In some contrast to the route travelled on my birthday, this cake is a breeze, a sweat- and stress-free breeze I tell ya.  It’s an omg chocolatey chocolate symphony of cake that comes together in a jiff, saving your butt, the day, and you won’t be sleeping on the couch.  Promise.

Back to the cake at hand, I know, we’re in a rush.  Came across this recipe over ‘dere (hey, I’m from Chicago) on King Arthur Flour’s site. Check that site, it’s a booby trap of drool-worthy recipes. I lost hours there, many an evening or Sunday a’-lazin’ on the couch.  Elsewhere too yeah and not just baking ones; it’s like an affliction.

Which if you know me, that’s kinda odd.  One, I’m terrible at lazing.  Busy bee, busy bee. (No idea what prompted me to look that up, I’m such a dork.)

Two, gimme some power tools and a paintbrush.  Or ok, I dunno, baking, power tools, it’s truly a toss-up.
Three, generally speaking, cooking blows.  Or very very very rarely do I enjoy cooking.  Like maybe once every six months.

Just one a’ those things I kinda suck at.  Mike claims I’ve gotten better; he jokes that I burned water when we met.  I mean, c’mon, I wasn’t thaaaat bad.

I married him (partly duh of course) because he cooks, and well, I thought I was golden.  Not so much.  Mike-made-meals are heh, like an every six month rarity.  He grills though, year ’round, in the snow even.  You should try his grilled whole turkey. *eyes fluttering*

But I am strangely, eternally prowling for easy, non-taxing dinner recipes therefore I have a stupidly large collection of things I don’t make.  Obviously, honestly, dinner recipe searches are a ruse.

I’m actually seeking cakes or cookies or desserts or breads, ya know, anything with sugar or that requires baking.  Because in my Heaven on Earth, dessert is breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  And dessert.  And late night snack.  And afternoon snack…..Clearly that’s ugh not healthy though so pffft siiiigh, fine, I’ll keep perusing those dinner recipes too.  *wipes tear*

Oh, by the way, I use Paprika as my recipe keeper.  I had drunk the MacGourmet kool-aid for years but it caused massive premature aging so we broke up.  If you haven’t checked out Paprika, you should.  I waited for a sale in case it didn’t pan out (plus it is pricey, sorry) but it’s fantastic.  You can download recipes right off a web page clean into the app, it’s phenomenal.  Download from this blog too even!

Paprika app and printed recipe
True, I still print recipes.  I’m old school.  I also mark my faves with a star.  I’m a weirdo but it works.
But omg, seriously, what the hell, why am I holding up this train?!  Holy crap, we gotta get some cake made and stat!

Several times this quick chocolate cake has been made and consumed in this household.  It’s a guaranteed five star winner each and every go, eye-roll-into-the-back-of-your-head chocolatey, so rest assured your Valentine’s Day is saved.

Or any day, make this any time for any, or no, reason at all.  This cake is the very definition of easy. And it is sooooo good.  So good.

What’s great here is you’ll likely have everything on hand and if it’s important (also read: doable on an empty fridge) the cake is butter and egg-free.  Ok, go grab everything you need and let’s do this!

Heat that oven to 350° while you prep the batter and grease up a 9″ round or 8″ square pan.  I personally prefer the round.  In a large bowl, dump all the dry ingredients, yep all, and whisk it until the color is uniform. You can also do this in a mixer.   I skip the espresso powder; not a coffee person.

dry ingredients in bowl
My grandma’s mixing bowl. Still getting a workout.

whisked dry ingredients in bowl
Post whisking, everything's evenly colored.

Into a smaller bowl, pour all the wet ingredients. Yep, all. Give ’em a quick stir around.

vanilla, oil, vinegar, water mixed
All the wet.  I did use water as called for but next time I'll try milk.  Hey, if you're gonna go rich, go rich, right?

Now, this is ridiculously easy people, pour all the wet ingredients into the dry, yep seriously, pour it all in and with a sturdy whisk or your mixing tool of choice, combine everything until it’s completely blended.

chocolate cake batter mixed
I do this by hand because I like the pretend calorie burn arm strengthening before I ingest an entire cake.

Pour the batter into your pan, toss that puppy (not a real puppy, mmk?) into the oven, and bake for 30-35 minutes.  I know, right?!  I told you this was easy.  You can breathe now, you’re good.

Cool the cake for about ten minutes and turn it out onto a cooling rack then a nice plate.  Or you can leave it in the pan but c’mon, this is Valentine’s Day. 

Really though, Nerd Becky, even an ordinary day is special, use the nice plate, be good to yourself.  Both you and this quick chocolate cake deserve it.

Never flipped out a cake onto a spiffy plate?  Here’s how, easy peasy lemon squeezy:

flipping cake out of pan onto rack

Put your cooling rack on top of the pan. Holding the rack and the pan flip everything over together.

flipping cake from rack to plate

Remove the pan from the cake and set the plate upside down on the cake’s bottom.  Holding the plate and the rack with the cake sandwich, flip again and remove the rack.

chocolate cake flipped onto plate
Make your frosting next which is more a bezerkly obscene ganache by dumping the chips and cream (or liquid of choice, see the recipe) into a microwave safe bowl and zap for thirty seconds, stir, zap, stir, repeat until smooth and pourable.

mixing up frosting
Omg, you're never going to forgive me for this part of the recipe.

Try with all your might to get the frosting onto only the cake, pour and spread.  If you skitter off to hide with the bowl, slow licking it spotless, I will not begrudge you.

pouring on frosting
An offset spatula* is handy here. If you use your hand…..Iiiii can’t stop you.

Serve immediately or, I know this is hard, it’s better after the frosting has set a bit which I know, means waiting.  You can do this.

frosted chocolate cake with ganache
Oh my.  Oh my.  All the cake, please.  Mine. Crap.  Valentine's, have to share.  But voila, quick chocolate cake!

I won’t even bother asking Mike what he thinks of this one, I already know. With a full mouth, he grunted out a “this is good.” That’s my hit it beacon, folks, that’s my victory sign.

finished cake plated

Ok ok, for sh*ts and giggles, I’ll ask again as he may have a pithy response.

“Hey babe, you know that quick chocolate cake with the thick chocolate frosting?  What’s your opinion on that?”

plated finished cake

I got a “please, are you seriously asking?!” side eye.  “It was good.” …pause… “It was goooooooood.”
 Take it from Mike, it is good.  As you will be on Valentine’s Day now.  You are so welcome.

Note:  This content originally appeared on Flaky Bakers.

Quickie Chocolate Cake

Quickie Chocolate Cake

8 slices
Prep time
10 Min
Cook time
35 Min
Total time
45 Min
You’ll want to make this luxurious yet effortless and reliable chocolatey chocolate cake as often as possible.


  • 1 1/2 cups (180 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup ( 198 g) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (21 g) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 (6 g) teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3.5 g) espresso powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) white vinegar (or cider)
  • 1/3 cup (79 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (237 ml) cold water (or milk for a richer cake, or cooled coffee)
  • 1 cup ( 170 g) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup (79 ml) heavy cream (or milk, or half & half, or other liquid, see below)


  1. Flip the oven to 350° F (176° C) and grease either a 9” round or 8” square pan, preferably 2” deep. I find the 9” works perfectly.
  2. In a large bowl or in a standing mixer, add all of the dry ingredients and whisk or mix on low until the color is even throughout.
  3. In a smaller separate bowl, combine all the wet ingredients and give a quick whip with a fork to blend.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry all at once and stir with a strong whisk (or mix on low) until everything is completely incorporated.
  5. Pour into the greased pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean from the center, save a few crumbs, approximately 30-35 minutes.
  6. Cool the cake for about ten minutes if you plan to remove it from the pan (suggested). Once it has cooled entirely, frost the cake.
  7. Note:  To make a cupcake version, divide the batter between 12 greased paper cupcake liners in a muffin tin.  Baking time is 18-20 minutes at 375° F (190° C), again when a toothpick tester in the center comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the tin and cool on a rack before frosting.
  1. In a microwave safe bowl or large glass measuring cup, add the cream (or half and half or milk) and the chips. Cook on high for thirty second intervals, stirring after each block of time until smooth and pourable. Coat the cake and serve or wait for the frosting to set.
  2. For a non-dairy version, try a nut milk, coffee, or water, reducing the liquid to a heaping 1/4 cup. Add more liquid as necessary to achieve a pourable but not runny consistency.


Adapted from King Arthur Flour.



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Please see the "info" section for nutrition details.

cake, chocolate cake
Created using The Recipes Generator

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Share your thoughts :

  1. AnonymousMay 07, 2023

    I swear by this recipe, I love cooking and baking and this is by far my favorite cake recipe, this has proven to be best chocolate cake, it is so easy and quick to make and absolutely delicious, it doesn't call for eggs and is literally made with what I have in the cabinet with no worrys of if I have enough of anything.

  2. Oh fantastic, thanks for the ringing endorsement! It absolutely is everything you say it is! Thank you very much!


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