Chocolate Ganache Cake (a.k.a Lazy Chocolate Cake)

For those days you want to sink your teeth into something delicious, rich, and decadent but don’t have all day to prep and bake, my Chocolate Ganache Cake is just for you! This ultra-moist chocolate cake is so easy to make, we can also call it the Lazy Chocolate Cake. We’re topping it with a simple chocolate ganache and digging in in less than two hours of pulling out ingredients!

Slice of chocolate cake on a white plate.

Chocolate Ganache Cake

Friends, you are going to LOVE how easy and equally delicious this chocolate cake recipe is. If you’ve been around here a while, you know this chocolate cake is my absolute favorite and a favorite among readers too! We’re topping this incredibly rich and moist chocolate cake with a decadent, two-ingredient ganache. You’ll be sitting down and digging into this cake in less than two hours from starting. In fact, it’s so easy, we could also call it the Lazy Chocolate Cake!

A slice of chocolate cake taken out of a full cake.

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

This chocolate cake truly is the best chocolate cake! It’s incredibly moist thanks to a combination of buttermilk, oil, water (or coffee – you pick), eggs, and high fat cocoa powder. It’s also incredibly flavorful thanks to the dark chocolate we’re using (read more about the cocoa below).

For this recipe, I’m using half of my normal chocolate cake recipe. We’ll fill one 8-inch pan with batter, bake, top with ganache, and THAT’S IT! No layers. No decorating. And no waiting around for the cake to cool completely. You can serve this one warm with a slather of chocolate ganache and fresh berries.

Chocolate cake on a plate with a bite taken out of it.

How to Make Chocolate Ganache

If you’re new to baking, a ganache is made by heating whipping cream and then pouring it over chocolate and stirring until the chips are melted and you’ve created a silky smooth chocolate ganache.

To make chocolate ganache, you can heat the cream in the microwave (in a microwave safe bowl), or over the stove in a double boiler. I like to keep it simple and just use my microwave.

Top view of a chocolate cake with chocolate ganache on it.

Frequently Asked Questions

While this cake is SUPER SIMPLE to make, there are a few questions I want to answer to make sure it’s truly as easy as possibly for you.

What Type of Chocolate Should Be Used in Chocolate Ganache Cake?

When it comes to chocolate and baking, I think it’s incredibly important to use good quality chocolate. Chocolate is a flavor that we want to stand out and make an impact. Regular store brand or no-brand chocolates really won’t cut it if you want the best chocolate cake.

What are we looking for? For this chocolate cake and the chocolate ganache, we want to use DARK chocolate. Don’t let that scare you off if you’re not typically a dark chocolate fan. When we use dark chocolate in baking, we’re adding other ingredients that tone down the bitter flavor of dark chocolate, while also allowing the chocolate flavor to stand out. If you start with a milk chocolate or regular cocoa powder, you’ll lose so much of the chocolate flavor once you add the other ingredients.

When choosing your chocolate, you also want to look for the fat content. Higher fat chocolate (higher fat anything, actually) helps create and retain moisture in our cakes.

Brands of Chocolate I Recommend

I also think Guittard and Valrhona make excellent dark chocolate.

Chocolate cake on a plate.
Can I substitute the dark chocolate for regular chocolate?

I would highly advise against it. As I mentioned above, you’ll lose a lot of the chocolate flavor. Try the dark chocolate first, and then if it’s just too strong for you, compare it to a regular cocoa.

Can I double the recipe?

Absolutely! If you do, you’ll want to bake the cake in two 8-inch pans for about 20 to 25 minutes.

Can I bake this recipe in a square pan?

For sure! If you use an 8″ x 8″ square baking pan, use the same bake time as recommended below. If you use a 9″ x 9″ square baking pan, reduce the bake time by 5-ish minutes.

Remember: your cake is done when you insert a toothpick in the center and it comes out with a few moist crumbs on it.

Chocolate cake on a plate with a fork and cake crumbs.

More Favorite Chocolate Cake Recipes

A slice of chocolate cake taken out of a full cake.

Chocolate Ganache Cake

5 from 5 votes
Tender and moist chocolate cake with chocolate ganache

Ingredients
 

FOR THE CAKE

  • 1 cups (120 g) all-purpose flour
  • 7/8 cup (175 g) granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (44 g) dark cocoa powder, see notes above for brand
  • 1 teaspoon (4 g)  baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 g) baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 g)  buttermilk at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (118 g) hot water or coffee
  • 1/4 cup (55 g)  vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.1 g) pure vanilla extract

FOR THE GANACHE

  • 1/2 cup (115.5 g) heavy whipping cream, more if needed to thin mixture
  • 5 oz. dark chocolate chips

Instructions
 

FOR THE CAKE

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray one 8-inch round cake pan with non-stick spray, line with parchment paper, and spray again. Set aside.
  • Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.
  • In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, water (or coffee), oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  • With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumsb on it.
  • Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely or serve warm with ganache.

FOR THE GANACHE

  • In a microwave safe bowl, heat the cream for about one minute. Pour over the chocolate chips and stir until mixture is smooth. Allow to cool slightly.
    Mixture will thicken slightly as it cools.
Cuisine Cake
Course Dessert
Keyword Beginner, chocolate, Chocolate Cake, chocolate ganache, chocolate ganache cake, ganache

Courtney Rich

I’m a self-taught baker, obsessed with cake.

I long ago ditched box mixes in pursuit of melt-in-your-mouth, to-die-for flavor combinations, fillings and textures. I believe cake must be decadent, life-changing and worthy of celebration! And I believe anyone should be able to bake that kind of cake – and I’m here to teach you just that!

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Everything you need to know about decorating a cake like a pro!

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Comments

  1. Is the coffee hot or room temperature? Is there a specific type of coffee to use? Regular? Decaf? Flavored? I know its probably just simple Folgers coffee but since all I have is flavored coffee, am wondering if it would make a difference.

  2. 5 stars
    Made this cake today because I was having a craving and it was amazing! Didn’t have buttermilk so used water down Greek yogurt and also did not have heavy cream so used almond milk for the ganache everything came out perfect!

  3. Hello, I am making this cake now and it smells great. It’s been in oven going on 36 minutes, though, and I was just wondering how long yours took to bake? At 30 minutes it was still very wet in the center.
    Thanks!

  4. If using an 8X8 glass pan do I still need parchment paper? And can I double this and use and 9×13 glass pan?

  5. 5 stars
    Made this cake for family dinner and it was wonderful! So moist and delicious. Everyone loved it. And, it’s so easy!

  6. 5 stars
    This was easy and BIG hit with the entire family! YAY!
    Only question I have is, mine sank a little in the middle. What would that be caused from?