Chocolate Dump-It Cake
An old-fashioned recipe for chocolate dump-it cake mixed together in one pot, topped with a tangy cream cheese-chocolate frosting.
Since we talked about chocolate yesterday, I thought today would be a great day to share this new-to-me chocolate cake recipe – chocolate dump-it cake!
I saw this recipe from the New York Times pop up in my Facebook feed a couple of weeks ago and immediately bookmarked it to try. It’s called a chocolate dump-it cake because the entire batter is mixed together (i.e. “dumped”) in one pot, which is very similar to Texas sheet cake, which I love so much. I was also smitten with the recipe since after reading the comments, it became apparent that this is a very old recipe, dating back to the 1930’s or 40’s… I am a huge sucker for old-fashioned recipe, so making this one was a no-brainer!
I read through all of the comments on the recipe and ended up making a few tweaks based on recommendations from those who had already made it. The changes I made:
- The original recipe calls for using a 9-inch tube pan, which is apparently a very old-school type of pan that isn’t sold anymore (it’s different than tube pans that we’re used to for things like angel food cake), so I went ahead and kept with the simple theme of this cake and baked it in a 9×13-inch pan. I think this would also be perfect as a Bundt cake!
- Instead of using whole milk and vinegar, I used buttermilk. I had a quart in the refrigerator so easy substitution! If this was a very old recipe, I’m guessing that buttermilk wasn’t always readily available.
- I increased the amount of chocolate in the recipe from 4 ounces to 5 ounces to give it more of an oomph.
- The original frosting recipe was simply melted semisweet chocolate stirred into sour cream, and the overwhelming majority said it was just way, way to tangy to be enjoyable. I swapped it out with a chocolate-cream cheese frosting – still a bit of tang from the cream cheese, but way sweeter than just chocolate and sour cream would be.
- Another suggestion that I didn’t do, is to swap coffee for the water to help boost the chocolate flavor even more. I love this idea, and will try it next time!
The final result? An absolutely phenomenal, sky-high, moist chocolate cake, and this was my first time trying a chocolate-cream cheese frosting – it might be my new favorite! DELICIOUS!
You’ve probably heard me say a million times that I prefer a high frosting to cake ratio, and this cake turned that on its head. It was great with a big ol’ scoop of vanilla ice cream, and everyone else thought the massive pieces were heaven.
This is a fabulous recipe when you need a quick and easy dessert that is sure to please – I was able to throw it together between Joseph going to bed and hitting the couch for a Netflix binge on Friday night!
One year ago: Top 10 List: Favorite Side Dishes
Four years ago: Sausage, Mozzarella & Basil Stuffed Peppers
Seven years ago: Pizzelle
Chocolate Dump-It Cake
For the Cake:
- 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
- 5 ounces (141.75 g) unsweetened chocolate
- ½ cup (113.5 g) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (250 ml) water
- 1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 8 ounces (226.8 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
- ½ cup (113.5 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 cups (360 g) powdered sugar
- ½ cup (43 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a medium saucepan, stir together the sugar, unsweetened chocolate, butter and water. Place over medium heat and stir occasionally until all of the ingredients are completely melted together. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
- Whisk in the buttermilk and egg. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the pot in three additions, whisking gently to combine after each addition. Add the vanilla and whisk briefly to blend.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 to 40 minutes. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.
- Make the Frosting: Using an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Sift in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder, then add the salt. Mix on low speed until well combined, scrape down the bowl, then increase to medium-high speed and beat until smooth and whipped, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla extract and beat on medium-high for an additional 1 minute.
- Spread the frosting evenly over the top of the cake. The cake can be stored, covered, at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
I honestly cannot fathom there being negative reviews for this cake!
Ever since I made this cake several years ago, it is the only chocolate cake I make, and the only cake I want for my birthday.
Sometimes I make the cake and frosting as directed, and sometimes I add a raspberry curd on top of the cake, under the frosting. I love it both ways!
We can’t have chocolate. Can this be made into a vanilla cake?
Hi Jean, While I have not done it, I think you could omit the chocolate for a vanilla cake. If you try this, I would love to hear how it turned out for you!
Is the chocolate used the unsweetened powder or bar chocolate?
This recipe is delicious! One small thing—the directions don’t tell you when to add the sugar! I poured the whole thing into the pan (without sugar) and then turned around and saw my two cups of sugar sitting there. I put all of it back in the pan, and added the sugar then—worked out beautifully. Everyone raves about it. Also: I did t have buttermilk or milk, so I added oat milk (which I did have), and two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. The result was moist, and you couldn’t tell the difference.
I have the NYT recipe and have noticed that the main difference is that you require 1 cup of water (readers have substituted coffee). The water is not listed as an ingredient in the NYT recipe. This seems to be a huge difference. Is there a reason?
Hi, love the cake! I was wondering how I could make the frosting a bit sweeter. Any suggestions?
Hi Sharon, Cream cheese frosting definitely has some tang and is less sweet, so I would recommend my go-to all-purpose chocolate frosting: https://www.browneyedbaker.com/best-chocolate-buttercream-cupcakes/
Don’t bother. Just make a real dump cake if you want to save time and a mess. If you want a really good cake, just make the original Mississippi Mudd Cake.
This is the very first ever review I have written.. but I had to! I made this yesterday for my husband the cake connoisseur and after all these years I know how picky he is about his cakes. He is still raving about how absolutely delicious this is, light and moist. I did tweak the initial recipe as suggested by other reviewers, substituting coffee for the water as well as using the ratio of cocoa powder and oil for the unsweetened chocolate. I have just discarded all my other chocolate cake recipes.. no need for them! Thank you!!
Your recipe went together easily. The frosting is fabulous and very tasty. The cake, not so much. The cake was dry and didn’t have much chocolatey taste. It was disappointing. I followed the recipe. Sorry.
Thanks for the recipe! The cake is in the oven and I can’t wait.
I am doing the frosting now, and I think the amount of powdered sugar is wrongly converted to grams. I put ca 240 g sugar in and it was way, way too sweet. I was lucky that the cream cheese package was 300 g and I just added the rest, which made the sweetness bearable. Are you sure your cups to grams converter knows that powdered sugar is denser than granulated?
That amount is actually correct… there are 4 ounces per 1 cup of powdered sugar; 3 cups x 4 ounces = 12 ounces. 12 ounces = 340 grams. Of course, everyone has a different palate and some may find something too sweet or not sweet enough, etc. Feel free to adjust to your liking!
I made this exactly as written and it was the best cake I’ve ever made! Question, Have you tried this unsweetened white chocolate? I love the texture of the cake but my daughter wants a white funfetti type cake. (5 year olds 😆). Also she wants pink frosting which means I can’t have chocolate 😭). Do you think regular cream cheese or buttercream would taste best with this. Thanks!
Hi Amy, So glad you enjoyed the cake! I’ve never heard of unsweetened white chocolate… I think by definition white chocolate is always on the sweeter side of the chocolate spectrum. Either cream cheese or buttercream would be great, but if you use white chocolate, the tang of the cream cheese might help counteract the sweetness of the white chocolate.
I made this cake and it received rave reviews. The cake texture and frosting are phenomenal! Making again today!
Michelle, looking forward to trying this (finally!). I am planning on making it in two round 9″ cake pans to make a layer cake. Would you suggest reducing the oven temp to 350 rather than 375 in that case? Thanks so much!
Hi there! I haven’t made layers, but I do think that might be a good idea. Let me know how it turns out!
So I just took the 9 inch round cake layers out of the oven, I baked at 350 instead of 375. The middles were somewhat sunken (which usually doesn’t happen when I make layer cakes). Maybe this amount of leveners for the layers is too much? Or maybe I overmixed when adding dry ingredients? Or maybe oven temp at 350 was too low for this? Though some say sinking can happen if oven temp is too high while (which others say if too low). Any thoughts are greatly appreciated! Thanks!
But it tasted fabulous!
I’m glad it tasted great! As for the sinking, I’d really have to do some testing, but it’s possible it needed the 375 degrees, although most layer cakes I’ve made are baked at 325 or 350, rarely if ever 375. It could be an issue with the leavening, which I think is more likely.
I always have milk and vinegar, never have bought buttermilk and would rather not buy it for one recipe. Could you give me the original measurements for the milk and vinegar. Thanks!
Hi Mary, It’s 1 cup milk + 1 teaspoon cider vinegar. Enjoy the cake!
I am 84. Could anyone explain why recipes call for unsalted butter then ask to add salt. If using salted butter should you omit salt or just use less?
Hi Judy, Different brands of butter use different amounts of salt, so you really never know how much you will end up getting. By using unsalted butter and adding salt separately, you have complete control over the saltiness of a recipe. If you use salted butter, you can omit the salt.
Can I use cocoa for the cake instead of chocolate. Thank you.
I did, but I put 1 Tbl oil for 3 Tbl cocoa. 3 Tbl cocoa + 1 Tbl oil =1 oz unsweetened chocolate. The cake came out great!
The unsweetened chocolate is chocolate bar or chocolate powder.
Hi Stella, It should be in bar form.
FYI : Bundt pans are not old school! Though they have been around a long time, like most pots and pans. You can find them just about anywhere, and on-line. They also come in different shapes and sizes too! 😉
Just made this recipe for the umpteenth time, halved it this time and made cupcakes for work tomorrow, excellent! I always use 90% dark chocolate and this time I also used 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar stirred in to 1/2 cup full fat milk for the ‘buttermilk’ (1 tsp to 1 cup), didn’t change a thing, still tasted delicious and still comes out so moist, this is the most versatile recipe I have found, have passed this on to so many family and friends to enjoy making and eating their own, cannot thank you enough brown eyed baker for just the best recipe ever, Angela, West Auckland, New Zealand
Hi Angela, I’m so thrilled that you love this cake, thank you so much for the kind words, xo.
This recipe was FANTASTIC! I am currently eating the leftovers and writing this review. I had exactly one hour between when my boyfriend left the house to when he was expected to come back to make this surprise birthday cake, and absolutely everything worked out perfectly. The recipe creates a deliciously moist cake.
I did do one substitute though… I didn’t have buttermilk, so I mixed 1/4 cup 1% milk with 3/4 cup plain yogurt and it worked wonderfully. It keeps really well covered with plastic wrap in the microwave. Highly recommended!
Thank you so much for such an awesome recipe! I have made this cake 3 times in the last month and it always come out the same… Amazingly soft, moist, extra thick and yummy! I’ve doubled the recipe because I had to make a bigger cake for my ‘bigger’ family and used 90% chocolate and even doubled the recipe comes out the same… my house smells delicious every time I bake this, like right now, I am baking this for work tomorrow… yep, definitely getting brownie points there…
This recipe makes me look sooo good… Ha ha ha… I’m definitely keeping this one – thank you
I have made this three times for crowds. I doubled the recipe and baked it in a half sheet pan. It ran over just a bit into the 2/3 sheet pan placed on the lower shelf. It was a huge hit every time.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org your answer . I don’t understand why you put so much space between your instruction that it take 3 pages to print out. I always have to copy move and redo. It is such a hassle and a waste of paper when you have all this space. can you please think of us an make a small as possible so where don’t have to rework. I’m sure some just pass it over due to this. I would appreciate it and I’m sure others would too.
Made the Choc dump cake. Huge success, highly recommend. Both cake and icing were great
I thought the flavor was good but it was a bit salty for my taste. My cakes only needed 30 minutes in the oven and definitely butter and parchment paper your cake rounds.
This was yummy! I loved the texture- moist and not too light or too dense. I used coffee instead of plain water. It wasn’t super sweet or chocolatey so I thought the icing really shines. Thanks for the recipe!
Loved the recipe! Kids loved it too :) Thanks for sharing it. It’s a pretty easy one, so I add to my list of favorite recipes :) (Hubby excuse me for the mess in the kitchen :P you might help me with the cleaning)
This is similar to a family recipe we have. I call it “Grampy’s Favorite Chocolate Cake” because it’s my Grampy’s favorite! Our recipe uses a “pudding” of cocoa and hot water instead of unsweetened chocolate. It called for sour milk, which is something you can’t get any more because of pasteurization, but we use a substitution of either milk and lemon juice or buttermilk. The recipe calls for a tube pan, and everyone in our family says it’s not Grampy’s chocolate cake if it’s not in a tube pan. We’ve always used an angel food cake pan, but I’m looking at an actual tube pan because the angel food cake pan leaks a bit and I hate cleaning the pan after that. Amazon has quite a few tube pans – Nordic Ware and Fat Daddios are 10 inch, but there are 9 inch as well. (Grampy’s cake is made with a cooked buttercream frosting and chopped walnuts are put on the outside.)
I just put this in the oven. The batter is extremely thin. Are you sure 2 cups of flour is right? You said spread it on the pan. What’s to spread? It was like thinner than pancake batter. I guess I’ll find out in about 30. I’m nervous.
I had the same problem. Did you ever get an answer?
Same issue, we added 3 tablespoons of cake flour… Will report back in 30 minutes.
Hi Michelle.. i tried ur recipe n this ws my First cake.. and it turned out so yummy… thank u dear…
I found some outdated chocolate and added one of those with the new package. My family and I loved the cake. I will make it again.
can you give me a recipe with normal milk and coco powder substituted for buttermilk and chocolate. Thank you.
Michelle, I am not real happy about it but thank you so much for your answer. If I was not handicapped would go and get more myself.
Sent my husband to get the chocolate this morning. Live in a tiny town and our grocery store only had Bakers Unsweetened and it was only 4 OZ. Will that work or should I send him back for another box.
Hi Linda, I used 5 ounces in the recipe, but you should be okay with 4 ounces, just a tad less chocolatey.
What will I need to alter if I make this in a normal 9 inch pan?
If you’re using a 9-inch ROUND pan, cut the recipe in half. If you’re using a 9-inch SQUARE pan, you’ll need to use ⅔ to ¾ of the original recipe.
I made this cake for a 4th of July barbecue. This is the best chocolate cake that I have ever eaten, (and I always make cakes from scratch). It really is easy, and the cream cheese icing is the best! My husband (who rarely eats sweets cause he is always watching his weight) couldn’t resist it. I highly recommend that you substitute freshly brewed coffee for the water. A very dear friend of mine who passed away last year always used coffee in her chocolate cake, and I always thought her cake was the best…..until now! Thanks Michelle!
I’m so glad that I came across your site with this chocolate cake recipe. I made it two days ago; it was easy and .. it .. turned .. out .. SUPER! My niece took a pic and posted it on Snapchat. I’ll add that it was totally enjoyed both at room temperature and later from the fridge. Yummm.
The cake sounds great but It’s not a dump cake. Dump cakes are when you dump all of the ingredients in and don’t mix anything. Then place in oven.
at first I read it that way too but it’s a dump-it cake, meaning dump it all in one pot and then pour in baking pan :)
I made this cake for Father’s Day, and it was a HIT! I’ve never had chocolate cream cheese frosting, and oh goodness is it delicious!
Just found this site. Can’t wait to try your chocolate dump it cake. It looks amazing. Thank you so much for your recipe. Look forward to seeing more of them. Regards Jenny Aktila from Sydney. Australia.
We love this cake! I can’t stop eating it; even had a nibble at breakfast when I was packing the cake Into the kids lunch boxes. I didn’t have unsweetened chocolate so used cocoa powder instead which allowed me to skip the heating of chocolate & instead I literally did dump all ingredients into the dish & mixed. I will definitely make again; always have success w your recipes. Thanks
This looks great! Can I use the recipe for cupcakes?
Hi Bee, I have not tried it so I couldn’t say for sure how they would turn out. I do have a favorite chocolate cupcake recipe:
I hope I am not repeating a question as I have not read all the commentsWould like to know if I made it with cocoa instead of chocolate- as Chocolate is not readily available where I am,how much cocoa would I use, and what other adjustments would I need to make pls.
This cake looks yummmmm n would love to try it with cocoa
Hi Taru, I wouldn’t recommend it, as the melted chocolate contributes liquid/moisture to the recipe, which you would be missing if you just use cocoa powder.
I used cocoa powder but added a tablespoon of oil to 3 tablespoons of cocoa and the cake was very good. I also halved the recipe and cooked it in an 8×8 pan for about 30 minutes.
Made this cake this past week for a family treat. It was so easy to put together and turned out fabulous! We loved it! I shared some with a friend and she immediately asked for the recipe. I like it because it is so deliciously chocolate without being overly sweet. Thanks for another great recipe!
I made this last night, and am very pleased with the results. I made a few substitutions based on what I had on hand- substituting sweet German chocolate for unsweetened, and reducing the sugar to 1 1/2 cups. Absolutely light & delicious! Awesome recipe! :)
I just pinned this to be the next cake I make. It looks heavenly!
Hello there! First, some thanks are in order. I found this blog some time ago, whilst looking for a snickerdoodle blondie recipe reminiscent of a favorite at a local restaurant. (Yours fit the bill nicely!) Since then, I have made many of your recipes…all have been successful and much enjoyed. So, thanks for the good content…well created, nicely curated and clearly explained and illustrated.
Now, for my question on this recipe! In your experience with this batter, and considering the texture of the finished cake: Must this cake be served out of the pan as pictured (is it fragile?), or do you think it would be amenable to being baked in a pan that has been lined on the bottom with parchment, and then turned out onto a plate before frosting? Thanks!
Hi Kris, Thanks for the kind words! I think you could turn this cake out – if that’s your plan, be sure to grease and flour the pan so there is no sticking.
Need to close the loop on this, for the benefit of those wondering.
After I asked the question, I went ahead and made it the night after you posted it, deciding to take my chances in advance of your reply. :)
I sprayed the non-stick pan, lined the bottom with parchment, and sprayed that too. The baked cake released without incident, I’m glad to report.
The portion I brought to the office to share on Friday was devoured well before lunchtime! Thanks again….
My family has an old recipe from around the same time period called “Wacky Cake” which is even easier to make as you sift the dry ingredients right into the 9″X13″ pan and then make 3 small hills where you add the wet ingredients and then mix everything together until combined and bake. From what I understand, it was called “wacky” because there are no eggs and no dairy and were created during WWII as a way of baking while things were rationed since it was harder to get eggs, butter, and milk then. This seems like it was probably created for similar reasons. Looks delicious, I am definitely trying that frosting. We always frost wacky caked with a marshmallow fluff frosting, also delicious.
Hi Julie, Thanks so much for sending it to me, I can’t wait to try it!
Sorry I meant half the recipe.
Could I have the recipe and bake it in a 8×8 pan?
Hi Kathy, Yes, I think I would work just fine.
I just died looking at this cake… oh my, it looks amazing. The cake looks so fluffy with the frosting. I HAVE to make this soon. Thanks for the recipe. :)
I love the cake already just by looking at it!
Michelle, I always get confused when your recipe calls for unsweetened cocoa powder, I don’t know whether to use regular unsweetened or Dutch Processed, so w/c is w/c? Thanks.
Hi Ela, Always use regular unsweetened unless the recipe states Dutch-processed. They are different and are specified as such. I recently did a post in my Baking Basics series about this very question! :)
Classic recipes are often the best recipes! Love the simplicity of the one-pot prep! Perfect for summer days that seem to be busier than we’d like! The cake looks moist and delicious, and the frosting, just scrumptious!
This looks absolutely amazing and I love one pot cakes! Will definitely be giving this one a try. Thanks for sharing about your changes – buttermilk always makes such a moist cake!
My mother had a tube pan. (I am 61) We used to make a very similar cake in it. Mom would cut a circle of cardboard to place over the hole in the middle from the tube. Then she would frost the whole thing. It was an easy way to make a cake that looked like a layer cake. It was our favorite birthday cake.
This recipe sounds phenomenal! I really wish I were able to pin things from your blog, because I sure would love to save this for future use!
The Southern Stylista
There are Pin buttons at the bottom of the recipe, as well as on the left sidebar. What type of browser are you using?
I love an easy chocolate cake recipe and can’t wait to give this one a spin. The frosting looks so fluffy and light!
I am loving this and look forward to baking it!
If I use semisweet chocolate in the cake instead of unsweetened is that going to be a problem or make a huge difference? This looks so good. I can not wait to try it. Thanks.
Hi Marla- Michelle is the expert here but based on yesterday’s chocolate post, I am guessing if you use semisweet it will make the cake sweeter, so you will probably want to cut back a bit on the sugar since this cake calls for 2 cups, which is a lot… hope this helps! her post yesterday is awesome and worth a read!
Hi Marla, That won’t be a problem, the cake will just be sweeter. If you don’t mind, go for it!
Thanks for such a quick response. I really appreciate how you answer questions in such a timely manner. So, having said that I wanted to make the cake exactly as written so I ran out and got the chocolate this morning and baked the cake. OH. MY. It is delicious. I am anxious for morning to come around because I am having a piece for breakfast. We all loved it and it was so easy to throw together. It won’t last long and it won’t be long before I make another. Thanks for a great recipe!
I used sweetened choose and reduced sugar to 1 1/2 cups– it turned out perfect! :)