A rich and decadent moist chocolate cake with a raspberry jam center paired with the easiest chocolate-sour cream frosting truly make this recipe the best simple chocolate cake ever!

chocolate cake on white plate with raspberries

It feels like I’ve been baking lately way more than cooking.

But I’m not gonna lie, I love baking just a leeeeetle more than I do cooking. This lemon sheet cake and these nutella banana bread muffins are among my latest baking triumphs! You wanna know something funny though? For someone who loves to bake, I don’t have a huge sweet tooth. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love a lil’ cake and chocolate every now and then; but I truly enjoy baking for others. There’s something about making a cake or a baked good for a birthday or as a just because treat for someone. And I’ve also noticed that my baking recipes tend to be more favorited by you lovely readers. You guys love your sweets and I’m more than down with that!

chocolate cake on white plate sitting on marble counter

As I’ve mentioned before on Insta, I’ve been baking and cooking a lot recently from some of my favorite cookbooks. Even though I develop recipes of my own, it’s nice to take a break and make some things from someone else’s perspective. I was browsing through a wonderful cookbook called Small Victories by Julia Turshen and stumbled upon what seemed to be a very easy and basic chocolate cake recipe. I haven’t found (or experimented on my own with) a lot of chocolate cake recipes that are simple and headache-free. I’ve made some of Julia’s other recipes before and they were pretty good, so I just knew her Happy Wife, Happy Life Chocolate Cake recipe was not going to let me down. Yup, that is what she calls this cake in her cookbook, and I couldn’t adore that sentiment more.

close up of raspberries and chocolate shreds on cake

No creaming butter and sugar with this recipe either, not to mention, it whips up in one bowl! That’s right, put your heavy stand mixer back into the cupboard! The chocolate cake is rich and moist but not overly chocolatey with just the right amount of sweetness. Julia calls for the chocolate cake to be paired with a raspberry jam filling which adds a nice touch. In addition to this great chocolate cake recipe, is the chocolate-sour cream frosting. Now I’ll admit, when I first read that it required three ingredients only, I was a bit skeptical. Probably because I was used to making traditional buttercream frosting with typical butter and powdered sugar. The ingenuity of the chocolate-sour cream frosting really seals the entire thing.

two layer chocolate cake on large white platter

All in all, I really enjoyed making this cake from start to finish.

There’s absolutely no fuss involved with making this cake, which basically means, all the quicker for you to enjoy it. Julia has a new cookbook called, Now & Again, coming out soon and I can’t wait to make another one of her recipes. I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as I did. Until next time  ♥︎

slice of chocolate cake on small gray plate with fork
small bite take out of piece of chocolate cake
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The Best Simple Chocolate Cake

The Best Simple Chocolate Cake

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1012 1x
  • Category: Desserts & Sweets
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


A rich and decadent moist chocolate cake with a raspberry jam center paired with the easiest chocolate-sour cream frosting truly make this recipe the best simple chocolate cake ever!


  • 1 1/4 cups [150 g] all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup [200 g] sugar
  • 3/4 cup [75 g] Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 8 tbsp [110 g] unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup [240 ml] strong black coffee, at room temperature
  • 1 cup [240 ml] buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup [160 g] raspberry jam (seeded or seedless)
  • Frosting
  • 3/4 cup [130 g] semisweet chocolate chips or roughly chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup [180 ml] sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • *Fresh raspberries or chocolate curls (as pictured) for serving, completely optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter the bottom and sides of two 8-in cake pans, then line the bottom of each with a circle of parchment paper. For good measure, butter the parchment paper and set pans aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the melted butter, eggs, coffee, buttermilk, and vanilla and whisk until the batter is smooth. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cake pans (I used a small kitchen scale, but you can also use a measuring cup to be accurate).
  4. Bake until the cakes are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer the cakes, still in their pans, to a wire rack an let cool completely.
  5. Once cool, use a dinner knife to loosen the edges of the cakes from the pans and invert them onto your work surface (I had to give the pans a lil’ whack to get them to release from the pan). Peel and discard the parchment paper.
  6. For the frosting
  7. Melt the chocolate (in a microwave-safe bowl) in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each increment. Remove from heat and whisk in the sour cream and maple syrup. The frosting should be smooth and silky. Refrigerate the frosting until the cakes have cooled (about an hour or so). The frosting will thicken as it cools.
  8. Once cakes have cooled, put one on a serving platter upside-down so that the flat side is facing up. Spread the jam over the top. Put the second cake on top of the jam-slathered cake, again flat-side up- this way you get a nice flat top.
  9. Using a small offset spatula, spread the frosting all over the sides and top of the cake. Julia says there is no need to be perfect with this step- you can frost however you like, rustic-looking or smooth. Feel free to garnish and decorate with raspberries or however you like.
  10. Let the cake sit for about an hour before serving. I put mine back into the refrigerator overnight and served cold the next day, it was divine!
  11. Enjoy!


  1. Recipe is from Small Victories by Julia Turshen.