This homemade Chocolate Fudge Cake is made with hot coffee and sour cream for a decadent and super moist crumb. It’s topped with a rich fudge frosting for double the chocolate flavor. You don’t need a mixer to make this easy one-layer cake that’s the perfect weeknight dessert.
After lots of testing and perfecting my chocolate fudge cupcakes, I made a few tweaks to transform them into this one-layer Chocolate Fudge Cake. It’s an irresistible combination of light, fluffy chocolate cake, and fudgy frosting.
The secret ingredient? Coffee! Make an extra cup in the morning and save it for the cake batter. It’ll intensify the chocolate flavor, and no one will be able to resist it!
Fudgy birthday cake brownies and white chocolate brownies are my go to for satisfying a chocolate craving. But everyone needs a staple chocolate cake recipe. And as a busy mom, I love making this chocolate fudge cake for my friends and family for a weeknight treat or a last-minute dessert.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Easy to make. You'll have this no-fuss one-layer cake in the oven in under 15 minutes. No mixer necessary!
- Decadent. The combination of moist chocolate cake and rich fudge frosting is a chocolate lover’s dream come true!
- Fudgy chocolate frosting. A simple fudgy frosting tops this moist chocolate cake. Chopped chocolate and butter melt with the cream and mix with powdered sugar for a smooth and creamy frosting.
Ingredients You'll Need
Ingredients for the Chocolate Cake
- All-purpose flour. Gives the right amount of tenderness to the cake (not too dense and not too cakey).
- Granulated sugar. Sweetens the cake batter.
- Cocoa powder. Adds a rich chocolatey flavor to the cake. I prefer Dutch-processed cocoa powder since it has a milder and smoother flavor than natural cocoa powder. Make sure to sift your cocoa powder to remove any clumps.
- Baking soda and baking powder. Leavening agents that contribute to the rise of the cake for a light and fluffy texture.
- Salt. Enhances the flavors of the other ingredients, especially the sweetness.
- Sour cream. Adds moisture and richness to the cake and creates a tender crumb. The acidity of sour cream activates the baking soda. Use full-fat sour cream for the best results.
- Coffee. Enhances the flavor of chocolate without adding a coffee flavor to the cake. You can use regular or decaf coffee.
- Vegetable oil. Adds moisture to the cake and creates a soft and tender cake. The oil gives a lighter texture to the cake compared to butter. Use vegetable oil or any mild oil.
- Eggs. Adds richness (especially the extra egg yolk) and contributes to the rise of the cake.
- Vanilla. Always use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
Ingredients for the Fudge Frosting
- Chocolate. I recommend using a semi-sweet chocolate baking bar, as it’s made from blocks of chocolate, whereas chocolate chips have stabilizers to maintain their shape. Chocolate bars melt smoothly and create a more decadent frosting.
- Butter. Adds richness to the frosting. I use unsalted butter, but you can also use salted if you prefer.
- Heavy cream. Adds a creamy consistency to the frosting.
- Powdered sugar. Adds sweetness to the frosting and produces a smooth texture without any graininess. It helps the frosting set with the proper consistency.
- Vanilla. Enhances the chocolate flavor.
- Hot water. If you prefer to omit the coffee, you can substitute it with hot water.
- Natural cocoa powder. You can use natural cocoa powder if that’s what you have stocked in your pantry. It has a more acidic flavor compared to Dutch-processed cocoa powder.
- Buttermilk. You can replace the sour cream with an equal amount of Greek yogurt or buttermilk. Both work well as substitutes and will contribute to the richness and moisture.
- Whole milk. You can replace the heavy cream with whole milk. I wouldn’t recommend another milk. The fat in the milk adds richness and helps the frosting set.
Equipment & Tools
- 9x9-inch square pan. If using a dark metal pan, set the oven temperature to 325°F/177°C.
- Parchment paper. If you don’t have parchment paper, you can grease your pan with butter and lightly flour it.
- Digital kitchen scale or measuring cups. Using a scale will give you the most accurate measurements.
- Measuring spoons.
- Whisk. Used to whisk the cake and frosting ingredients.
- Large bowl. Used for both mixing the cake and frosting. Wash between uses.
- Medium bowl. Used for mixing the wet ingredients for the cake and melting the frosting ingredients. Wash between uses.
- Small saucepan. Used to simmer water to create a double boiler for melting the chocolate and butter.
- Rubber spatula.
Before you begin: Bring the sour cream and eggs to room temperature and read the recipe from start to finish. Preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C and line a 9x9-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
Instructions for the Chocolate Cake
Whisk dry ingredients. Whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Whisk wet ingredients. Whisk the sour cream, coffee, vegetable oil, egg, yolk, and vanilla in a separate bowl.
Combine ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk.
Fill and bake. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake.
Instructions for the Fudge Frosting
Melt the chocolate. Add the chocolate, butter, and heavy cream to a bowl set over a small pot of simmering water. Stir frequently until melted and smooth.
Add sugar and vanilla. Transfer the chocolate to a large bowl and whisk with the powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Allow it to cool, stirring occasionally, until thickened to a frosting consistency.
Note: Make sure to stir the frosting occasionally while it cools. If it sits too long, it will form a crust.
Recipe Tips & Tricks
- Weigh your ingredients. It is more accurate to weigh your ingredients and easier to measure them directly into the bowl.
- Room temperature ingredients. Ensure all ingredients are at room temperature so they incorporate easily and evenly.
- Refrigerate the cake. To quickly cool down your cake to frost, you can set it uncovered in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
- Use frosting while soft. As the frosting sits, it will begin to set. Use it once it’s cooled while still soft so you can easily spread it over the cake.
- Switch up the frosting. Rich, fudge frosting is decadent and delicious, but sometimes you might want to switch it up. Vanilla buttercream and strawberry cream cheese frosting pair well with this moist chocolate cake.
- Serve à la mode. Celebrations call for an extra special treat, and we love serving this fudgy chocolate cake with vanilla or funfetti ice cream.
- Bake a 6-inch cake. Want to make a layer cake with the same amount of batter? Divide the batter evenly between two 6-inch round cake pans.
Storage & Freezing Tips
This recipe is a favorite weeknight cake, but when I make it for hosting a party, I love baking it ahead of time. Here’s how to prep it and store any leftovers:
- Leftover cake. Store cake covered at room temperature for up to 1 day or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- In the freezer. Wrap the leftover cake with plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
- Make ahead. Wrap the completely cooled cake in plastic wrap and store it at room temperature overnight. Make the fudge frosting just before decorating the cake.
Notes: I don’t recommend freezing a whole decorated cake. For the best texture, freeze the cake and decorate it up to 1 day before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s not necessary, but I highly recommend using the double boiler setup. It will protect the chocolate from high heat, which can cause chocolate to seize and become thick, lumpy, and grainy.
Yes, you can fill cupcake liners halfway and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
The cake will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. When you gently press into the top of the cake, it will spring back.
Please leave a starred rating and comment below if you make this Chocolate Fudge Cake. I love reading your feedback! And if you’d like to make this recipe later, don’t forget to pin it on Pinterest! Happy Baking!Print