| | | |

Anytime Fudgy Picnic Chocolate Cake

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This Picnic Chocolate Cake is a rich and fudgy, slightly decadent anytime cake you’re going to love. And easy? Oh my, yes! Made in one bowl with a spoon and baked in an 8 x 8 square pan in 30 minutes, it’s a delicious picnic cake, perfect for the season.

Closeup view of a slice of Anytime Fudgy Picnic Chocolate Cake on a white plate with a red and white picnic linen

Want to save this recipe?

Enter your email, and we’ll send it to your inbox. Plus, you’ll get delicious new recipes from us every Friday!

Save Recipe

Anytime cakes are a favorite around here. And I know you love them too! If you’re unfamiliar with our “anytime” cakes, they are precisely what the name implies. Simple to make cakes that are perfect anytime, for almost any occasion.

That they are also delicious is what makes us love them so much!

This Picnic Chocolate Cake is especially lovely for summer picnics, outdoor eating, backyard BBQ… desserts you need to bring for gatherings, or simply anytime you’re craving chocolate cake, whether it be summer or the dead of winter.

Side view of serving a Picnic Chocolate Cake with more in the background

What to Love About Picnic Chocolate Cake

Here are a few standout reasons we love this snack size Chocolate Cake recipe:

  • Just the right size for picnics, backyard, or BBQ gatherings
  • Fudgy, chocolaty, and so, so tender
  • Easy to make in one bowl with a spoon!
Top view of Picnic Chocolate Cake ingredients on a round wood board

Picnic Chocolate Cake Ingredients

You can find the exact ingredient measurements in the recipe card below, but here is the simple list of items needed; and a few thoughts.

  • All-purpose flour: you will not need cake flour in this simple recipe.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Leavening: a combination of baking powder and baking soda gives a perfect rise to this Anytime snack cake.
  • Salt: I prefer fine sea salt for flavor but table salt works fine too
  • Buttermilk is a delicious, tenderizing ingredient in this chocolate cake. Regular dairy milk or non-dairy milk works well too.
  • Vegetable oil: use your preference of neutral oil in the recipe
  • Large egg to thicken, provide body, and stabilize the cake
  • Vanilla extract for enhanced flavor (I cheat sometimes and double the measurement)
  • Liquid and Espresso: While you can substitute the water for strong brewed coffee, I prefer using water with instant espresso powder for a richer more decadent flavor.
  • Chocolate chips for ultimate chocolate flavor. I’ve been using dark chocolate chips, which give the cake a nice flavor balance and color.
Top view of Chocolate Cake in a square baking pan, cut into 16 squares and ready to serve

Tips for Picnic Chocolate Cake

As mentioned above, this is a super easy chocolate cake recipe. It doesn’t require any special techniques and bakes effortlessly. Here are a few observations made during the testing of this recipe:

  • Electric Mixer: If you use a mixer to blend the ingredients, it will add air to the cake and have a higher rise. Mixing for 2 minutes is usually sufficient.
  • Mixing by Hand: My preferred way of making this cake is mixing the ingredients by hand with a whisk (for the dry ingredients) and then a spoon or spatula to make the batter. It gives the cake a more dense texture and fudgy crumb.
  • Chocolate Chips: As we are not frosting this picnic cake, including chocolate chips in the batter provides a richer chocolate experience.
  • Be Careful Not to Overbake. As with all cakes, overbaking can lead to a dry cake. In my oven, 28 minutes is perfect.
  • Servings: An 8 x 8 square pan can yield up to 16 servings when cut into 4 horizontal and 4 vertical rows. If you want more generous servings, you can also cut them into 9 squares.

How to Make Picnic Chocolate Cake

More detailed instructions are in the recipe card below, but here is a brief overview with photos:

Top view of dry ingredients in a glass bowl
Top view of chocolate cake batter in a glass bowl with chocolate chips
Top view of unbaked chocolate snack cake in a square metal baking pan
Top view of baked Chocolate Cake in a square pan with a red cutting knife

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line an 8 x 8-inch square baking pan with parchment.

In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.

Add the egg, milk, oil, water, and vanilla to the same bowl and mix until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips, and then transfer the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Stacked Picnic Chocolate Cake squares on a cream color plate with a picnic basket

More Recipes You May Also Enjoy

SAVE THIS AND PIN IT FOR LATER!

Make sure you don’t lose track of this recipe by pinning it for later! If you are not already, you can follow me on Pinterest, as well as keep up with me on FacebookInstagram, and YouTube. If you make this recipe, I would also love it if you’d tag me in your photos and leave a star rating below!

Side view of a slice of Picnic Chocolate Cake on a white plate with more in the background

Fudgy Picnic Chocolate Cake

This Picnic Chocolate Cake is a rich and fudgy, slightly decadent anytime cake made in one bowl, baked in an 8 x 8 square pan in 30 minutes.
4.7 from 9 votes
Print Pin Save
Prep Time: 10 minutes
30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 16 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line an 8 x 8-inch square baking pan with parchment.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
    Top view of dry ingredients in a glass bowl
  • Add the egg, milk, oil, water, and vanilla, mix until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips, and then transfer the batter with a spatula into the prepared pan.
    Top view of chocolate cake batter in a glass bowl with chocolate chips
  • Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
    Top view of baked Chocolate Cake in a square pan with a red cutting knife

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 173kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 135mg | Potassium: 89mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 33IU | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

Tried this recipe? Pin it Today!Follow me on Pinterest for more and use the "Pin" button at the top of the recipe card.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate cake, chocolate cake recipe, fudge cake, chocolate snack cake

2 Comments

  1. In the “Picnic Chocolate Cake Ingredients” section, it mentions almond flour on the line with all-purpose flour but it looks like the rest if the sentence was cut off.

    1. You’re right! Sorry about that. My recipe notes found their way into the text. I was testing the cake with almond flour. Because the cake is already dense and fudgy, almond flour requires a few more modifications. I’m going to write a post soon on that recipe!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating