This easy chocolate loaf cake recipe is moist, tender, and delicious! No stand mixer required! Great with or without frosting!

Chocolate loaf cake with chocolate frosting on a white platter.

Love chocolate cake? I’m sharing this loaf cake version of my favorite Best Chocolate Cake recipe that so many have loved through the years! I think you’ll love it for an even quicker, smaller, and super easy chocolate loaf cake recipe. No frosting is required, but it is oh so good!

How to Make Best Chocolate Loaf Cake Recipe

Ingredients used to make chocolate loaf cake recipe on a marble surface.

Ingredients

Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full listing of ingredients, instructions, notes, and estimated nutritional information.

  • Flour – I use all-purpose flour
  • Sugar – you’ll need granulated sugar
  • Cocoa powder – use unsweetened cocoa powder for this cake recipe.
  • Baking powder and baking soda – you’ll use both baking powder and baking soda as leaveners in this cake recipe.
  • Salt – I use kosher salt
  • Espresso powder – you can use homemade or store-bought espresso powder. It enhances the flavor of the chocolate without leaving a coffee flavor. You can omit it if you prefer or do not have it on hand.
  • Milk – Use whole milk, buttermilk, or a dairy-free milk substitute if you prefer
  • Oil – you can use your choice of canola oil, vegetable oil, melted coconut oil, or your favorite oil for baking
  • Egg – you’ll need one room-temperature egg
  • Vanilla extract – Be sure to use a high-quality vanilla extract and not imitation vanilla flavoring. I love to use my homemade vanilla extract.
  • Water – the boiling water releases the flavor of the cocoa powder and makes the cake so delicious! It will make for a thin batter, but do not worry! The cake bakes into a perfectly moist, delicious cake!
  • Frosting (Optional) – While the cake is delicious served without a frosting, I love to use my Chocolate Buttercream Frosting recipe.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Prep. Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare the loaf pan by buttering and lightly dusting with cocoa powder or flour.
Dry ingredients for a chocolate cake in a glass mixing bowl.
  • Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder to a large bowl. Whisk until combined well.
  • Stir together the wet and dry ingredients. Add the milk, oil, egg, and vanilla extract to the flour mixture and stir together. Carefully add boiling water to the cake batter until well combined.
Cake batter in a loaf pan.
  • Bake the cake. Pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center of the chocolate cake comes out clean. See my guide for how to tell when your cake is done for more tips.
Chocolate loaf cake cooling in a loaf pan on a marble surface.
  • Cool the cake. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely.
Chocolate loaf cake topped with chocolate buttercream frosting on a white platter.

Room Temperature Ingredients

Make sure your ingredients, including egg and milk, are at room temperature for better mixing into the cake batter.

Storage Tips

To store. Cool the cake and store it on a cake plate or platter covered with a cake dome or wrap it at room temperature. If you add a frosting that requires refrigeration, such as cream cheese frosting, wrap the cake well and store it in the refrigerator.

To make ahead. This cake is a wonderful make-ahead cake recipe! Prepare it as directed, wrap it well or store it under a cake dome.

To freeze. Wrap the cooled cake well with wrap and then with foil. Put inside an airtight, freezer-safe container and freeze for up to two months. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator overnight with the wrapping left intact.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use Dutch processed cocoa powder in this chocolate loaf cake recipe?

I use unsweetened cocoa powder, but others have said that they have used Dutch processed cocoa powder in my original Best Chocolate Cake Recipe.

Does this chocolate loaf cake freeze well?

It freezes beautifully! See how to freeze this cake under my Storage Tips section.

Can you make this chocolate loaf cake gluten-free?

To make gluten-free, use your favorite gluten-free flour substitute and make sure all other ingredients are gluten-free.

Can you make this chocolate loaf cake egg-free?

You can substitute 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce for the egg in this recipe.

Can you make this chocolate loaf cake dairy-free?

Use a dairy-free milk substitute such as almond milk or oat milk for the milk in this recipe.

Here’s my Best Chocolate Loaf Cake Recipe! I hope you love it as much as we do!

The Best Chocolate Loaf Cake Recipe

5 from 7 votes
This easy chocolate loaf cake recipe is moist, tender, and delicious! No stand mixer required! Great with or without frosting!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup (120 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (198 g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (42 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon (4 g) baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon (4 g) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1.4 g) kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1.15 g) espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup (113.5 g) milk, whole, buttermilk, or plant-based milk substitutes at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (49.5 g) oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, or melted coconut oil
  • 1 large (50 g) egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (4.7 g) vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (113.5 g) boiling water

Instructions 

  • Prep. Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare the loaf pan by buttering and lightly dusting with cocoa powder or flour.
  • Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder to a large bowl. Whisk until combined well.
  • Stir together the wet and dry ingredients. Add the milk, oil, egg, and vanilla extract to the flour mixture and stir together. Carefully add boiling water to the cake batter until well combined.
  • Bake the cake. Pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center of the chocolate cake comes out clean. See my guide for how to tell when your cake is done for more tips.
  • Cool the cake. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely.
  • Frost the cake (optional). Frost cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, if using.

Notes

Nutrition information does not include frosting. 
If you live in a high-altitude area, adjust to the altitude for your specific area. 
You can omit the espresso powder from the recipe if you prefer or if you do not have it available. 

Storage Tips:

To store. Cool the cake and store it on a cake plate or platter covered with a cake dome or wrap it at room temperature. If you add a frosting that requires refrigeration, such as cream cheese frosting, wrap the cake well and store it in the refrigerator.
To make ahead. This cake is a wonderful make-ahead cake recipe! Prepare it as directed, wrap it well or store it under a cake dome.
To freeze. Wrap the cooled cake well with wrap and then with foil. Put inside an airtight, freezer-safe container and freeze for up to two months. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator overnight with the wrapping left intact.

Nutrition

Calories: 169kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 80mg | Potassium: 150mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 39IU | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Enjoy!
Robyn xo

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About Robyn

Robyn Stone is a cookbook author, wife, mom, and passionate home cook. Her tested and trusted recipes give readers the confidence to cook recipes the whole family will love. Robyn has been featured on Food Network, People, Southern Living, and more.

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Recipe Review




15 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this loaf pan adaption. We are moving and that’s the only pan I could find out of many. Birthdays deserve rich chocolate cakes so loaf cake this year with your help. THANK YOU, you saved the day!

    1. CJ, I’m happy this loaf version of the chocolate cake was a hit for you for your birthday cakes.

  2. Salt is mentioned in your prep comments and in the instructions but I don’t see it in the ingredients list in the recipe. Am I just missing it? Thx.

  3. 5 stars
    Yummy. Years ago a friend who had a restaurant gave me his chocolate cake recipe, was the best ever, moist kinda a heavy cake, not one of those that are like air, It was perfect and so good. Lost the recipe but this one is so close, loved it.
    Thanks Robyn, Douglas

  4. The directions say to add salt with the dry ingredients, but I don’t see a listing or measurement for salt in the list of ingredients. How much salt needs to be added?

    1. Robyn, you add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. The recipe has been updated. I hope you enjoy the cake.

  5. 5 stars
    Excellent cake for quick no-fuss bake. Great for young bakers/new to baking folk as it is straight forward and the steps are not intimidating or overly fussy. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you, Viv. I have had many young bakers tell me how they bake my Best Chocolate Cake, some as young as 12. I’m so glad you found this loaf cake easy to make and think it would be good for young bakers to make.

    1. Patty, the recipe has been updated. It should be 1/2 cup cocoa powder in the chocolate loaf cake. Hope you enjoy!