Cook's Illustrated Best Easy Chocolate Cake

Total Time
2hrs 35mins
Prep 2 hrs
Cook 35 mins

Like grandma's..but better. Moist, delicious, and chocolatey


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray 8" square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in large bowl. In separate bowl, combine cocoa and chocolate; pour hot coffee over cocoa mixture and whisk until smooth; let cool slightly. Whisk in mayo, egg, and vanilla. Stir mayonnaise mixture into flour mixture until combined.
  3. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake until wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean with few crumbs attached, 30-35 minutes.
  4. Let cake cool in pan on wire rack, 1-2 hours. Dust with confectioners sugar, cut into squares, and serve straight from pan, or turn cake out onto serving paltter and dust with confectioners' sugar.
Most Helpful

As is I would give this cake 3 stars. I made some changes so now I will give it 4 to 5 stars. I was asked to do a grooms cake for someone and started trying different chocolate cakes recipes. I tried about 7 different recipes and really liked this one the texture and dinceness should hold up to the fondant I am having to use. The changes I made were minor. First time I tried it I did the recipe as is. Everyone I had taste it thougt it was to dark. The cocoa I used was the Hershy special Dark Dutch process cocoa, which was the only dutch cocoa I can find in my area. Everyone really liked the texture and the flavor over all it was just dark and a little bitter. I made the cake again and used regular cocoa (adding 1/4 tsp. baking sodoa to compensate for not being dutch cocoa) this cake had amazing flavor. I made the cake like that for the bride to taste, I also made another one and added 6oz of mini simi sweet chocolate chips. The melted chips really added a nice flavor and gave it a kind of moistness. The bride chose that cake. I will be doing this cake a lot. You should try it with the changes I made you will like it! I'm also putting a chocolate ginache in the middle and a chocolate buttercream on the outside, (topped with fondant for the wedding.)

Nathan Whitmire June 18, 2009

I made this yesterday, after finding a copy of the recipe I printed from Cook's website in my overflowing recipe drawer. I made the cake EXACTLY per the recipe, so my rating is an accurate reflection of the recipe that was originally posted. This cake is AWESOME the day after it's baked!! Last night it was good, but honestly nothing special. I baked it in my 8x8 Pyrex baking dish (it *did* take longer to bake than the recipe states-- probably closer to 45 minutes) and after trying it last night, I left the cake in the dish and covered it with foil. I left it out on the counter, and when I tried a piece this morning I practically SWOONED... it's taking all my willpower to keep from getting a fork and that dish and eating every last crumb! Sitting covered overnight transformed it into a super-chocolatey, moist and decadent treat. My 16 year old daughter who liked it okay yesterday told me today "Make this again Mom!" I definitely will, and will wait to cut it until the next day. I would give this 10 stars if I could!

LianneNC January 30, 2011

I gave this cake 5 stars because it worked for me!! Needed an easy chocolate cake base to make turtle cake, and this fit the bill. It was easy, moist and delicious. It also used ingredients that I usually have on hand, a definite plus! Thanks for posting, KathyP53, I will be making this recipe again!!!

cookin mimi February 08, 2015