A simple chocolate loaf cake that is a cinch to bake up - and you'll love that it is still wholesome enough to have as a special breakfast!
I am always searching for solid recipes that I know I can trust and go back to again and again. When I found this chocolate loaf cake from the Fall/Winter Simple Fare cookbook by Karen Mordechai, I knew I had an instant winner on my hands.
My favorite part about this cake is how simple the ingredients are.
- Cocoa powder - It's surprising that this cake doesn't require a ton of cocoa powder, and yet it is still chocolaty. I've been using Dutch-processed cocoa powder because I feel it has a deeper chocolate flavor, and plus, look at that color! Natural cocoa powder works well here too though!
- Flour - I prefer all-purpose flour for a texture that is sturdy enough that this wonderfully moist cake doesn't collapse the second you slice it, but isn't too tough that the cake turns rubbery.
- Sugar - I prefer regular granulated sugar, but I've heard people using light brown sugar turbinado, and even coconut sugar with success. Just know something like brown sugar will give you a light molasses flavor, which actually does pair well with the chocolate. If 1 cup is too much, you can try cutting back to ¾ cup.
- Baking soda - We use this to leaven the cake. Just the right amount gets us that wonderful texture inside.
- Salt - I like to use sea salt in all my baking. I feel it does the best with bringing out the flavors in everything.
- Oil - The original recipe calls for refined coconut oil, but I use any neutral-flavored oil I have available.
- Espresso - This helps bring out the flavors of the chocolate. I will use regular coffee sometimes. When I made my most recent loaves, I've been using 1 tablespoon instant coffee and enough water to make ¼ cup coffee and the flavor is incredible.
- Vanilla - The vanilla balances the chocolate. If you really want some incredible flavor, you can also add a teaspoon of chocolate extract.
- Vinegar - The vinegar is important to give the cake rise. Since we have no acid for the baking soda to react with when we use Dutch-processed cocoa powder, we have to add in our own acidity. I prefer white vinegar, but apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar will work in a pinch.
- Water - We use it to add more moisture and get the batter to just the right texture without any dairy that can interfere with that pure chocolate goodness.
Why it works
This chocolate loaf cake is actually vegan! I'm not vegan, but I think that's a very big plus because now I have a delicious cake I can serve to more people and trust it will be enjoyed.
It only takes 10 minutes to prep, and is quick to bake up. It is also forgiving enough to withstand a little over baking. In short, it's the perfect recipe for a beginner baker, while still being delicious enough to appeal to everyone.
How to make
Mixing together this cake is ridiculously easy. It's just a matter of mixing together the dry ingredients, then mixing together the wet ingredients before combining the wet and dry together. Liberally grease and flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan and bake!
The most important thing is to remember to preheat your oven so you can bake your loaf cake the moment it is mixed together.
The reaction between the baking soda and vinegar works fast and waiting for the oven to heat up will mean we lose out on some of that chemical reaction resulting in a denser and smaller cake.
I ate mine with a nice dollop of creme fraiche as is recommended in the cookbook and it manages to make an incredible recipe that much more amazing.
You can also toast up slices (although it's my personal recommendation to enjoy how melt-in-your-mouth moist the cake is first) and slather with butter and spices.
The original recipe is also plain, but in my photos, I decided to add a topping of a delicious ganache. It really makes it loaf more decadent and perfect if you want it as a dessert.
Typically, I keep my cake my cake in an airtight container, or wrap well in aluminum foil. It will last for about 4 days this way.
You can freeze this cake, too! Keep it in an airtight container and freeze for up to a month. To thaw, leave it at room temperature for a few hours.
If you love this recipe you may love my coffee-flavored cake or coffee cupcakes. My chocolate olive oil cake is also really good. The chocolate dutch baby, chocolate madeleines, and edible brownie batter are all really popular. You should also check out my chocolate frosting, giant double chocolate cookies, and double chocolate cupcakes.
Chocolate Loaf Cake
- ¼ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup espresso room temperature*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper or grease and flour.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the coconut oil, espresso, vanilla, vinegar, and water until well combined.
- Stir in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for 50 - 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Emma Sestito says
Super easy and delicious cake. No eggs, perfect because they are expensive. I’m really happy with this loaf. I’m going to make it again for Easter
cake looks good except I won't be adding the coffee to it
the cake looks good but I wouldn't add the coffee since I don' drink the stuff
Siddharth dilawri says
Just made it and it’s soooo delicious!! Thank you so much!
This was lovely! I was looking for a quick chocolate hit on a rainy afternoon and this ticked the box. Unfortunately I skimped on the sugar (despite the recipe saying I shouldn't use less than 3/4 of a cup I used only half a cup) and I think I will not be doing that again... It was still a good cake and we all enjoyed it, but it could have been a bit sweeter. Maybe a mashed ripe banana would have worked well too, or some chocolate chunks!
PS- Cool in or out of pan, how long, or on/off rack, or both?
Amanda Powell says
I usually cool in the pan until it is cool enough to the touch, then on a rack.
Katt D says
My new go to chocolate craving crusher! I use allulose in place of sugar, a little less tender, but also good with brown sugar or splenda brown blend of you don't mind splenda...for the top spread I mix 1 cup chocolate chips melted carefully in microwave, stir in 1/2cup sour cream and 1 t vanilla, stir briefly til fluffy...luscious! Thanks for the recipe girl!
I made this loaf for my daughter-in-law (she is a vegan).
I did not have any coffee, and I added a cup of crushed walnuts to the recipe.
Even without the coffee, the recipe got major thumbs up 10+++++
We are having a get together tomorrow and I was asked to make this recipe again.
Thank you for this wonderful chocolate loaf.
BTW, the smell permeating around the house was absolutely fantastic 🙂
Hi! I've seen the recipe and I have to make it! I love chocolate! But I have a problem, I don't know very well to do it using the cup as a measure. Could you tell me the ingredients in grams, please?
Amanda Powell says
Hi Miguel, Here is a super helpful chart that converts all common baking ingredients from cups to grams! https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/learn/ingredient-weight-chart
Thank you very much!
Debra Mylius says
This cake turned out amazing! Super easy to make as well. Thanks so much for sharing. I'm enjoying your site!
Amanda Powell says
Thank you! I am so glad that you enjoyed the cake as much as I do!!
Wendy Aguilar says
Hi!! This looks so good and I want to make it but I don't see a recipe for the chocolate icing/frosting that's seen in the picture.. recipe please?
Amanda Powell says
Hi Wendy, there is no recipe for the ganache as that was just something fun I added to that loaf for the photos and not a part of the original recipe. I did not measure what I used either, but it was roughly 1 1/2 cup chocolate and 1/3 cup heavy cream heated together and mixed
jenny c says
if we dont have cocoa powder on hand can we substitue with baking dark chocolate?
Amanda Powell says
I never made it with anything besides cocoa powder, so unfortunately, I am unsure how it would turn out as it changes the ratios of liquid to dry ingredients and the chocolate would bake differently. I always encourage experimentation, but cannot guarantee success!