Instant Pot Chocolate Cake Recipe

Instant Pots can be total lifesavers in the kitchen when you are strapped for time and need to quickly whip up a nourishing dinner. They are also impressively useful for cooking a surprising array of dishes that go beyond your standard main courses. Whether you want to make your own yogurt, bake bread, hard boil some eggs, or make soup, an Instant Pot can do all that and more. While an easy dinner is a given when using an Instant Pot, you might be amazed to know that you can even make desserts like cake in this nifty piece of equipment. 

Thanks to recipe developer Miriam Hahn of YouCare-SelfCare, you can follow this simple Instant Pot chocolate cake recipe without breaking a sweat. Aside from the minimal effort required, Hahn says that "my favorite part about this recipe is the fact that you don't have to heat up your oven", a welcome relief in the warmer months. 

Hahn loves experimenting with creative recipes, and remarks "It is crazy to think what you can do in an Instant Pot!" An Instant Pot is especially stress-free since "[it] frees you up to leave the house while it is cooking." After all, who doesn't want to come home to a freshly baked chocolate cake?

Gather the ingredients for the Instant Pot chocolate cake

As far as cakes go, the ingredients needed to make this Instant Pot chocolate cake recipe are straightforward. First, you'll need some all purpose flour, granulated sugar, and cocoa powder. Hahn notes that "you can also use cacao powder which is the raw form of chocolate [...] It is less sweet but full of antioxidants." That could be an attractive option if you're a fan of more bittersweet dark chocolate, too.

Next, baking powder and baking soda are used as raising agents. Skip them and you'll end up with a flat cake! A bit of salt is next, as it's the key to enhancing and balancing flavors in baked goods. 

For the wet ingredients, Hahn uses unsweetened almond milk, though regular milk will work fine. Avocado or neutral vegetable oil ensures the cake is moist. Eggs are traditionally used in cakes for a light texture and to create height. However, for vegan diets or egg allergies, you can successfully substitute a few different things for eggs. Hahn recommends using ground flaxseed in particular. To use flax instead of eggs, she says that you should simply use "two tablespoons ground flax seeds mixed with six tablespoons of water." After 10 minutes, it will form a gel-like egg replacement. Finally, you will need vanilla extract, water, and chocolate frosting to top the finished cake.

Whisk together the dry ingredients

First of all, you'll need to combine the dry ingredients. Start with a large bowl and add in the all purpose flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. 

Using a whisk, combine all of the ingredients properly so that they are evenly distributed. The entire mixture should be light brown to ensure that everything is thoroughly mixed and you will avoid a streak-free cake. Properly mixing the dry ingredients ensures that the cake will rise uniformly and have a delicious chocolate flavor throughout. 

Add wet ingredients and whisk to combine

Next, pour the unsweetened almond milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract on top of the dry ingredients. Crack the eggs on top — or add the flax mixture in its place — and combine the ingredients thoroughly using the same whisk you used earlier. Be careful to make sure everything is evenly blended, but don't overdo it. Overmixed batter can lead to overdeveloped gluten and, therefore, an unpleasantly tough cake.

When you've fully mixed the wet ingredients into the dry ones, pour in ¼ cup of boiling water and whisk until the batter is smooth. Hot water helps to amplify the rich chocolate flavor of the cocoa, so make sure to use boiling water for extra richness.  

Pour the batter into a cake pan and cover

Set out your round cake pan. You'll probably want to use a pan with a nonstick coating, but otherwise, be sure to thoroughly grease the pan first to make sure the cake cleanly leaves the pan at the end of the cooking process. 

You can use a 7- or 8-inch pan, but don't go further. Hahn remarks "if you are using an 8-inch cake pan, it will fit very snugly in the Instant Pot with the trivet inserted." Whatever size you choose, the next steps are the same. Simply pour the cake batter into the cake pan and cover it tightly with aluminum foil.

Pour boiling water into the Instant Pot and set up the trivet

Now, with your cake batter ready and waiting, it's time to set up your Instant Pot. Pour one cup of water into the bottom of the pot and place the trivet inside so that it sits securely. 

Don't worry, the chocolate isn't about to be watered down! Adding water to your Instant Pot is necessary in order to build up the pressure inside of the pot, but it won't mix with your carefully prepared cake ingredients. And, thanks to the Instant Pot, you can't forget it. You'll be reminded soon enough by the tell-tale "Burn" warning on the Instant Pot in case you forget to add the water. 

Cook the cake in the Instant Pot

Carefully lower the tin foil-sealed cake pan to sit on top of the trivet inside the Instant Pot. Secure the lid, ensuring that the nozzle is set to the sealing position. 

Next, turn the dial to the "Pressure Cook" option and set the time to 37 minutes. Hahn notes that the pot will take about 13 minutes to reach optimal pressure before the timer actually begins. When the 37 minutes are up, allow the Instant Pot to naturally release the interior pressure for 10 minutes. Then, adjust the nozzle to vent so that the pot releases the remaining steam from the top of the lid.

Cool the cake before frosting, then serve

When the steam has completely released, carefully remove the cake pan from the Instant Pot. You may need to use tongs to facilitate the removal since the contents will still be hot. Set the cake aside to cool for one to two hours. 

Then, using an icing spatula or similar utensil, spread the chocolate frosting across the top of the cake. If you're feeling particularly decadent you may want to add some frosting on the sides as well. For an extra visual touch and a pop of flavor, consider adding fresh berries to the cake as well. Hahn suggests strawberries, which work beautifully with the rich chocolate flavor of this cake. You would also do well  

When the cake has been decorated to your satisfaction, cut a nice slice and place it on a plate to serve. Enjoy the rich chocolatey flavor with a cup of tea or a glass of cold milk to wash it all down. 

Instant Pot chocolate cake recipe
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Instant Pots can be total lifesavers. This simple, delicious Instant Pot chocolate cake recipe means you can create a great dessert without breaking a sweat.
Prep Time
Cook Time
slice of chocolate cake and strawberries
Total time: 47 minutes
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ cup avocado or vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup boiling water
  • 1 cup chocolate frosting
Optional Ingredients
  • Sliced fruit for topping
  1. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
  2. Add in the almond milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla, and combine with a whisk. Then, add in ¼ cup boiling water and whisk again until thoroughly mixed.
  3. Pour the batter into a 7- or 8-inch non-stick cake pan and cover the top with foil.
  4. Pour 1 cup of water into the Instant Pot and add in the trivet insert.
  5. Put the cake pan into the Instant Pot and secure the lid. Make sure the nozzle on the lid is set to "sealing".
  6. Select the "pressure cook" setting and set the time to 37 minutes.
  7. When the timer goes off, let the Instant Pot release naturally for 10 minutes. Then, carefully switch the nozzle on the lid to the "venting" setting so that the remaining steam releases from the top of the lid.
  8. Remove the cake pan and let cool for one to two hours before frosting.
  9. Frost the cake and top with fruit if desired.
Calories per Serving 324
Total Fat 12.8 g
Saturated Fat 2.7 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 32.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 52.2 g
Dietary Fiber 1.7 g
Total Sugars 39.1 g
Sodium 262.8 mg
Protein 3.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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