Five minute chocolate cake

Dark, moist, delicious and simple. Adapted from “Old-fashioned chocolate cake with cocoa frosting,” Bon Appétit, September 1995.


3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups cold water
1 cup corn oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (more if desired)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter and flour baking pans.
    • Three 8″ or 9″ round cake pans (great for a three layered cake, or a two layered cake for the party and a single round reward to the baker)
    • One 9″x13″ Pyrex pan plus one round cake pan (see note on two layered cake above)
    • Two square/rectangular pans (a combination of 8″ square, 9″ square or 11″x7″ rectangular – two squares also makes a great layered cake)
    • One jelly roll pan (10″x15″ flat pan with 1″ rim – makes a nice big flat sheet perfect for a child’s birthday party)
  3. Add dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt) into large mixing bowl.
  4. Add water, oil and vanilla. Whisk to mix well.
  5. Divide batter among pans. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over batter in each pan.
  6. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 25-35 minutes depending on pan. Test often toward end of cooking time so as not to overbake.
  7. Cool completely. Chill for a couple of hours in the refrigerator for additional moistness.
  8. Dust with powdered sugar or frost, if desired.


  • If making layered cake, cool cakes in pans on racks 15 minutes; cut around pan sides to loosen cakes; turn cakes out; cool completely before frosting (can also chill cakes in refrigerator before layering to make them a bit firmer).

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Corbie 25 October 2010 at 12:33 pm

This is my new favorite go-to for parties and pot lucks! So easy, quick and versatile (can use just about any pan) so i have made it for a party, a girl’s night and a thank you gift already. Love it.


Christy 28 June 2013 at 10:45 am

What measurement of cup r u using?


cg 28 June 2013 at 2:13 pm

hi christy – US customary cup… hope that helps!


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