Easy One Pan Chocolate Wonder Cake


Home made chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting.


Delicious And Easy


Okay people, you want to impress that someone special, right?  Why not bake them a chocolate cake from scratch?  Sound hard?  What if I told you it can be done with one pan, ten  ingredients you’ve probably got in the cupboard, and you could do the whole thing in about 40 minutes (including adding a topping and allowing for sufficient baking time)? This cake is delicious, it’s super easy, it only takes a few dishes, and it’s bound to impress.  And best of all, baking this cake is a good option to remind your significant someone you care.


The Incredible One Pan Chocolate Wonder Cake


What’s the main secret to baking?  It’s all about measuring.  We’re talking basic chemistry here, which means it’s all just a matter of putting the right ingredients together in the proper proportions.  Baking works well if you follow the instructions and usually flops if you don’t—it’s really that simple.  Okay, you ready?



Here We Go


Preheat the oven before you bake in it.

Turn on the oven!


Step 1: Turn on your oven and set the temperature to 350 degrees. It’s a good idea to check the wire racks inside the oven before it gets hot as they’re easier to move without burning your fingers.  You’ll want to cook the cake in the center of the oven.  Adjust as needed.

Step 2: Find a 9 x 9 square baking pan. My pan is ceramic bake ware, but a good glass or metal pan works just as well.  Be aware your cake may take a little more or less time to cook depending on the type of pan you use.  Metal might cook a little faster so you may want to check to see if your cake is done a few minutes early.


This cake takes 10 basic ingredients.

Check the cupboards. You probably have these ingredients.


Step 3: Gather up the following ingredients. If you are missing an item and need to go shopping, check Step 5 below before heading to the store.


Cake Ingredients

1 ½ cups of flour
1 cup of sugar
3 tablespoons of cocoa powder (the type used for baking)
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons of extra light olive or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (real is better than imitation, but either works).
1 cup of cold water



Get all the lumps out.

You can mix it with a fork.


Step 4:  Putting it all together. I mix my ingredients in my pan.  That makes one less dish to wash.  However, you may find it easier to mix your items in a bowl and then pour it in the pan.  Either way works.


a) Pour the flour, sugar, cocoa, soda and salt into your 9 x 9 baking pan.  Take a fork or spoon and stir until these dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed.


Get the lumps out.

Adding the oil.


b) Pour your oil, vinegar, vanilla and water over the top of the dry ingredients. Stir it all together by hand until you get the lumps out.


c) Grab a napkin or paper towel and run a corner of it around the top of the pan to clean up the edge.  This isn’t critical, but it does look a bit nicer once the cake is baked.


d) Check to see if your oven is pre-heated.  If you haven’t done any baking before, there should be a little light on the oven that either goes on or off as the oven reaches the desired baking temperature.


Your pan could affect the cooking time.

Did you set the timer?


e) Grab an oven mitt so you don’t burn your fingers and place the pan on a rack in the center of the oven.


f) Set your timer to 30 minutes (or 25 if using a metal pan).


Have a toothpick ready.

Poke with a toothpick to check if it’s done. If the pick comes out clean you’re good to go.


g) When the timer goes off, pull the cake out of the oven (using oven mitts) and then grab a toothpick and insert it into the middle of the cake.  If the toothpick comes out gooey the cake needs more cooking.  Reset the timer for 5 minutes and then test again.  When the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done.  Set the hot pan on a cool stove burner or hot pad to cool.


Step 5: Decorating your cake. The odds are about ninety percent in your favor that if your significant other likes cake, he or she likes frosting even better.  In fact, if the’re anything like me you could almost skip steps one through four and serve them a large bowl of frosting, instead. With this in mind, you’ve got several options for decorating your freshly baked home made cake.  I’ll start with the easiest first, though the last is my favorite:


Frosting in a can is quick and easy.

Super easy option!


Option 1: Frosting In A Can. Search the cupboards or run to the store for a can of pre-made frosting.  All you need to do with this stuff is slather it on top your cake once the cake cools.  If you try this while the cake is warm, the top of the cake is likely to break apart and the whole thing will turn into a big, crumbly mess.  Be patient, let it cool first.


Option 2: Chocolate Chips. Search the cupboard for chocolate chips.  If you’ve got a package of these, they make a simple and delicious way to top the cake.  As soon as you pull the cake out of the oven, sprinkle a layer of chocolate chips over the top.  Let them rest a couple minutes and they should soften and melt.  If you feel adventurous you could try carefully spreading them with a butter knife.  However, as the top of the cake is very soft when it’s warm, you run the risk of messing it up with your knife.  Be forewarned—this technique takes a steady hand.   My preference:  “Let the chips fall where they may.”


I love peanut butter frosting on chocolate cake.

Oh, yeah, peanut butter frosting!


Option 3: One Bowl Peanut Butter Frosting: This is far and away the most delicious option for your cake.  Gather the following ingredients—we’re about to make frosting!


Frosting Ingredients:

1/2 cup “creamy” peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar (FYI—the bag might also say confectioner’s sugar)
½ stick of room temperature butter—Butter tastes better than margarine and mixes better with the peanut butter.
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract


Mixing Your Frosting:


Grab a medium-sized glass bowl—one you can use in the microwave.  FYI: The first time I did this I used a small bowl and ended up spilling powdered sugar all over the place. A bigger bowl is better.  Mix the peanut butter and real butter together in the bowl with a spoon or fork.  Mixing your “butters” by hand will be much easier if you throw the bowl containing them into the microwave and “nuke it” about 20 seconds on high.  Warning: Don’t leave a metal fork or spoon in the bowl when you put it in the microwave.


Powdered sugar comes next.

Use a glass bowl so you can put it in the microwave.

Once the mix is softened, add the sugar, milk and vanilla.  Stir well.  If the mix seems too sloppy, it may stiffen as it cools or you can add a little more powdered sugar.  If the mix is too stiff, add a tablespoon of milk and stir.  Keep adding more milk if you need to, until the frosting is a creamy, spreadable texture.  You can also try microwaving it another 15 or 20 seconds and then stirring if it just doesn’t want to cream up.  Hey, you’re ready to frost!  Use a butter knife or rubber spatula to spread your frosting over the top of the cake.


Job Well Done

This cake tastes awesome

Yum! A little ice cream on the side and we’re ready.

Good going!  We did it. Oh, and in case you were wondering, here’s the nutritional value of the One Pan Chocolate Wonder Cake topped with One Bowl Peanut Butter Frosting:

Calories: A Gazillion.
Fat: Absolutely.
Cholesterol: Probably enough to shut down the arteries.

Think you’ll both be going back for seconds?  You bet!


If you enjoyed this post, you might also like reading:
Chocolate Dipped In Chocolate
5 Minute Black Bean Party Dip
Bliss Bars.  Yum!
Java Deen’s Green Bean Casserole

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