Happy love month! As with any good Valentine’s celebration, there are hearts and chocolate galore in this easy dessert. The best part is, you can throw this one-bowl chocolate cake together in under an hour and be ready for any last-minute (or not so last minute) night in.
Every year I think to myself, Valentine’s Day isn’t a big deal, I don’t really care much about it. We don’t plan elaborate date nights (we’re lucky if we remember to make a special meal) or exchange gifts. I don’t expect chocolate or flowers any more than I do any other time of the year. But every year the holiday rolls around and I’m in a pool of excitement when I get pick out all of the pink and red clothes in my closet and make heart-shaped sugar cookies like I did with my mom when I was growing up. So, I guess I do care about Valentine’s Day, just not in the romantic, need-a-date kind of way, but more in the share-the-love, let’s-all-be-nice kind of way. In the spirit of sharing the love, this one-bowl chocolate cake is the perfect easy, no-fuss, shareable dessert for anyone you might be with this Valentine’s Day, whether that is a significant other, a group of friends, or yourself! We all deserve some chocolate cake from time to time ;)
I adapted this super simple cake from my one-bowl whiskey chocolate cake from last year. It is my go-to cake that makes a beautiful casual single layer cake, or doubles to make a layer cake. It is so simple and quick to throw together, which makes it amazing to have up your sleeve anytime you need it, and tastes way better than that lackluster box cake that you otherwise might reach for in your pantry.
This one-bowl chocolate cake is perfectly fluffy, but not too airy. The whopping 1/2 cup of coffee, cocoa powder, and dark chocolate chunks give it a wonderfully rich with so much depth. It doesn’t taste like coffee, but the coffee does the job of bringing out the chocolate flavor, and the unexpected chunks of chocolate at the bottom of the cake are my favorite. It doesn’t hurt that the whole thing is swirled with fluffy pink buttercream and topped with sprinkles. The food coloring and sprinkles are optional, but it’s way more fun to include them :) After all, what is a holiday for if not a little extravagance?
Even if a fancy date night out never happens on Valentine’s Day, I’d be perfectly content curling up with a piece of this one-bowl chocolate cake, sprinkles and all.
- 1/2 cup hot coffee
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use dark)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces dark or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped*
- 3/4 cup butter
- 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1-4 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- pink or red food coloring, optional
- sprinkles, optional
One-Bowl Chocolate Cake
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously coat an 8×8-inch pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
In your measuring cup or mug, carefully whisk the hot coffee and the butter together until the butter melts. If your coffee is not hot enough to melt the butter fully, microwave it for 20 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the butter is fully melted. It should smell amazing.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, mix together the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Stir in the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Once the ingredients are about halfway incorporated, but there are still streaks of dry ingredients, mix in the coffee/butter mixture and stir until the batter is smooth. Stir in the chopped chocolate.
Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cake is set in the center and a skewer or cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove it from the pan and place it on a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and powdered sugar until smooth, about one minute. Add the heavy cream, starting with 1 tablespoon. Add the food coloring and vanilla. Beat again until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add more cream, 1 tablespoon at a time if the frosting is too stiff (I used about 3 tablespoons).
Assemble the Cake
Place the frosting onto the top of the cake and use the back of a spoon or an icing spatula to swirl it around and make swoops. I like to get it to the edge of the cake, but not past it. Top with sprinkles of your choice.
*The chopped chocolate melts some but doesn’t always melt fully, especially if it is more coarsely chopped. If you don’t want a few chocolate chunks in your cake, you can melt the chocolate and fold it into the batter in the last step of mixing instead, or leave it out completely (though, who doesn’t want more chocolate?). I love the extra surprise of chocolate in each bite.