Chocolate Loaf Cake

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This easy chocolate loaf cake is deep, dark, and deliciously moist thanks to the use of Greek yogurt. It is so simple to make and perfect for your most intense chocolate cravings.

a stack of three thick slices of chocolate loaf cake

I happen to have a lot of chocolate lovers in the family so my boys have been pretty happy as I’ve been slowly working my way through my chocolate archives, updating older posts. This dark chocolate tart recently got a makeover, as did this easy sweet and salty chocolate bark, and of course, and these more sophisticated dark chocolate caramel truffles.

I even finally completed a project I’ve been mulling over for years, in this how-to post on the easiest way to temper chocolate, and then used that chocolate to make this chocolate-dipped fruit platter.

But THIS post here is long overdue I think. An EASY, ultra-moist chocolate cake with deep, decadent chocolate flavor, made a little healthier with the use of olive oil as the fat, and Greek yogurt for the perfect texture. It’s perfect for everyday chocolate cravings.

What’s better than an easy chocolate cake that uses simple ingredients and only takes about 10 minutes to prep? I know, it’s a rhetorical question.

I could have gone down the route of a chocolate layer cake but after seeing how much everyone loved this orange loaf cake – a chocolate loaf cake just made sense. I already have some chocolate cake recipes on the blog including this chocolate caramel cake and this chocolate cherry cake that’s made in a bundt pan, but this time around I wanted to make a cake that just screams chocolate loud and clear.

overhead view of a chocolate loaf cake with two thick slices stacked in front of it.

If that’s your thing too, this chocolate loaf cake delivers on that front. It has a rich chocolate flavor and is unbelievably moist thanks to the Greek yogurt. It is also such an easy recipe that you can make it at the last minute. The only thing you want to be careful about is not eating it all by yourself. 😉

Ingredient Notes

ingredients pictured and labelled for chocolate loaf cake

All-purpose flour

I use all-purpose flour, but you can also use cake flour. The most important thing when it comes to flour is not to overpack it. Use the spoon-and-level technique, or weigh it, and you’ll be good to go. I have not tested this recipe with any gluten-free flours, but if you give it a try I’d love to hear how it went!

Cocoa Powder

Make sure you use unsweetened cocoa powder. Whether you want to use dutch-processed cocoa powder or natural cocoa powder is up to you, both will work in this recipe. I use dutch-processed whenever I can get away with it (this Callebaut cocoa powder specifically) as it has a rich flavor and deeper color.

Espresso Powder

If you’ve seen a lot of chocolate cake recipes – this is not so much a secret ingredient. Espresso powder amplifies the rich flavor of the chocolate, making your chocolate loaf cake taste more chocolate-y without you even tasting the coffee.

If you don’t have espresso powder, you can use instant coffee. And if you don’t have either, you can skip this ingredient.

Baking Powder

This helps your chocolate cake rise and not be overly dense. Make sure you use fresh baking powder for the best results! Do not substitute baking soda, they are absolutely not the same.

Greek Yogurt

The Greek yogurt makes this chocolate loaf cake unbelievably moist, really contributing the texture. If you don’t have Greek yogurt on hand, regular plain yogurt will work too. Sour cream is a great substitute for yogurt.

Sugars

I like to add a combination of white sugar and light brown sugar in this cake. You can do all white, all brown, or use dark brown sugar if you prefer.

Eggs

This recipe calls for three room temperature eggs. Room temperature eggs will incorporate better into your batter.

The eggs will help your cake rise and give it structure. I have not tested this recipe using any eggs substitutes like flax egg, and I believe it would be difficult to replace this many eggs and get a good result. That said, let me know if you try it!

Vanilla Extract

A good quality, pure vanilla extract will give the best results.

Olive oil

The fruity, nutty flavor of the olive oil complements the rich chocolate flavor in this cake perfectly – and also makes the cake super moist! You can use any oil in this cake, according to your preference.

Chocolate Chips

I like to add semi-sweet chocolate chips in this chocolate loaf cake, but you can also add milk chocolate chips. The chocolate chips add gooey, melty chocolate pockets to the cake.

You can choose between chips or chunks depending on the texture and chocolate distribution you prefer. I like to mix some into the batter and sprinkle the rest on top for a chocolatey finish.

A loaf of chocolate cake with two thick slices stacked in front of it.

Don’t forget to watch the video!

Most of my recipes include a short step-by-step video tutorial. Just scroll down to the recipe card, or use the “Jump to Video” button at the top of the post!

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350°F. Ready an 8.5 x 4.5-inch loaf pan by either greasing it and dusting with cocoa powder or by lining it with parchment paper, ensuring there’s an overhang for easy removal. (Note: cocoa powder has a somewhat bitter taste, so if that bothers you, go the parchment route!)
  1. For the batter, combine the dry ingredients – the all-purpose flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
cocoa powder and flour in a bowl
dry ingredients whisked together in a bowl
  1. In another large bowl, whisk together the plain Greek yogurt with both the granulated and light brown sugars, eggs, and vanilla extract.
eggs, yogurt, sugars, and vanilla in a bowl
egg and yogurt mixture in a bowl
  1. Now whisk in the olive oil until it is fully incorporated. There should be no oily streaks or bubbles in the mixture.
olive oil added to the egg and yogurt mix
whisking wet ingredients for chocolate loaf cake in a bowl
  1. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, stirring to combine.
overhead view of dry ingredients added to the wet ingredients
wet and dry chocolate cake batter ingredients mixed together in a bowl
  1. Gently fold in 1 cup of the chocolate chips, reserving 1/4 cup for the topping.
chocolate chips added to the bowl of chocolate cake batter
overhead view of chocolate cake batter in a bowl
  1. Pour batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the rest of the chocolate chips on top.
chocolate cake batter in a loaf pan
overhead view of cake batter topped with chocolate chips in a loaf pan
  1. Bake the chocolate loaf cake in a preheated oven for 50-55 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs attached, but no raw batter.
  1. After baking, let the cake cool in the loaf pan for about 20 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
overhead view of chocolate loaf cake in the pan on a wire rack

You can serve this chocolate loaf cake with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream or just with a cup of coffee. I love it with just the chocolate chips on top but if you want, you can make it even more chocolate-y with a chocolate ganache glaze.

Recipe Tips to Make the Best Chocolate Loaf Cake

  • Make sure you bring ingredients like eggs and yogurt to room temperature before starting. This helps them blend more smoothly into the batter, resulting in a better texture.
A stack of three slices of chocolate loaf cake with the top one with a bite taken.
  • For the flour and cocoa powder, use the spoon and level method instead of scooping directly with the measuring cup. This prevents overpacking and ensures your chocolate loaf cake isn’t too dense.
  • When combining the wet and dry ingredients, fold them together gently until just combined. Over-mixing can lead to a tough cake because it develops the gluten too much.
a chocolate loaf cake with two thick slices in front of it

Storage Instructions

This recipe yields a super moist chocolate loaf cake, but to ensure it stays that way, you need to store it properly.

Store cake in an airtight container at room temperature, or wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to protect it from air and to retain moisture. It will last about 3 days. Otherwise it will last about a week in the refrigerator, although I prefer to store baked goods at room temperature for deeper flavor and because they sometimes dry out in the fridge.

You can also freeze this cake, well wrapped in foil/plastic wrap, and placed in freezer bag with the air pressed out. It will keep for about 3 months.

Can this cake be made ahead?

Yes, you can make this chocolate loaf cake ahead of time. Once cooled, wrap it well, and it can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days before serving.

Can chocolate loaf cake be frozen?

Absolutely, chocolate loaf cake freezes well. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil, and it can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Can you make this chocolate loaf cake dairy-free?

Yes, you can make it dairy-free by substituting the Greek yogurt with a dairy-free yogurt alternative and ensuring your chocolate chips are dairy-free as well.

Tell me what you think!

If you try this recipe, l’d be so grateful if you’d leave a comment and a rating in the recipe card. I love to hear your feedback, and your tips can help other readers too!

A loaf of chocolate cake with two thick slices stacked in front of it.

Chocolate Loaf Cake

This easy chocolate loaf cake is deep, dark, and deliciously moist thanks to the use of Greek yogurt. It is so simple to make and perfect for your most intense chocolate cravings.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate Save
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 394kcal
Author: Ann Otis

Tools for This Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder I prefer dutch processed but natural works too
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup olive oil or vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 ¼ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks divided

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare an 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pan by greasing it and either dusting with cocoa powder or lining it with parchment paper with an overhang.*
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a large bowl, combine yogurt, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk in the olive oil until fully blended in.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the yogurt mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of chocolate chips.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 50-55 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs (not raw batter).
  • Let cool in the pan for about 20 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Video

Notes

Note: Using cocoa powder instead of flour to dust the pan means no visible flour clinging to the outside of the cake after unmolding, but cocoa powder does leave a slightly bitter taste. Lining with parchment paper (with an overhang for easy removal) instead is a good solution if you think it will bother you.
Storage Instructions
Store cake in an airtight container at room temperature, or wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to protect it from air and to retain moisture. It will last about 3 days. Otherwise it will last about a week in the refrigerator, although I prefer to store baked goods at room temperature for deeper flavor and because they sometimes dry out in the fridge.
You can also freeze this cake, well wrapped in foil/plastic wrap, and placed in freezer bag with the air pressed out. It will keep for about 3 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 394kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 148mg | Potassium: 346mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 83IU | Calcium: 91mg | Iron: 3mg
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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Wow! Have this in the oven right now – baking for a Type A friend who had surgery and needs to chill for a few days and thought something like this would cheer him up. From the smell of it baking, I KNOW it will do the trick! This was so very easy to pull together – had everything on hand – takes longer to bake than to mix together and clean up! I love the clean ingredients of olive oil and Greek yogurt, too. I have already saved this as I am quite sure it will be a go-to recipe for my kitchen. I did leave out the Espresso as we do not drink coffee, but I am sure it will be delightful without that item. Thank you, Ann – your directions are great, along with this beautiful cake!

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