The end of September marks a very busy time in my kitchen – not only is it my mum’s birthday, but she shares the very same day with my brother!

One Bowl Chocolate Cake

When we were kids, most of the time my brother’s birthday overshadowed my mum’s. If he wasn’t having a party with his friends, he at the very least was receiving more interesting gifts! Now that we’re (sort of) grown up, I always make a point of recognizing both of their birthdays independently. Lucky for my dad, two birthdays means two cakes!

I asked my mum what kind of cake she wanted, and she didn’t really have an answer for me. I toyed with going really over the top with it, but just having two birthday cakes on one day seemed  plenty over the top. Instead, I followed the recipe for One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes from the tried and true Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook but baked it in 8″ pans, torted and filled the layers with the cherry filling from Tea Time Magazine, and finished it out with an almond buttercream from my Wilton Instructor Fran’s Super Famous Icing Recipe (heavy on the almond extract, as aways!) Simple, but still special, and of course, delicious.

I faced some challenges converting the cupcake recipe to a layered cake recipe (protip: when Martha says 2″ pans, she means 2″ pans. Listen to her. Homey don’t mess around, she has been to prison.) and was thanking my lucky stars I use an oven liner. Beyond that, this is a great recipe, and I’d definitely recommend it for inexperienced bakers looking to try making their first cake from scratch. Another great thing about it is that it doesn’t use any special ingredients – many chocolate cakes will call for buttermilk or large amounts of sour cream, while this one is made with regular pantry staples.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cake


  • 2 1/2 cups ultragrain flour
  • 1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs plus one yolk (large)
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 2/3 cups oil (vegetable or canola)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water


Sift together dry ingredients into the bowl of a large mixer. Add wet ingredients. Using a paddle attachment, beat on low speed until smooth and combined, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

For cupcakes:
Divide batter among muffin cups only filling about two-thirds full. Bake until cake tester inserted comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and cool slightly. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

For cakes:
Coat bottoms of 8-9" extra-deep (2-3") rounds, with nonstick spray. Line bottoms with parchment paper. Divide batter between two rounds and bake for about 45 minutes, until cake tester inserted comes out clean. Cool 30 minutes before inverting and removing cake from pans.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook
Recipe and photographs from Mayhem in the Kitchen!


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