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Last Updated on June 23, 2021 by Chenée Lewis
If you’re craving chocolate, this mini chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream is for you! It’s got all the chocolatey goodness you want, but in a smaller size, perfect for two, or for one die-hard chocolate lover. You might recognize some of this small chocolate cake recipe from my mini vanilla cake recipe — this is the chocolate version for all you chocolate fans! I personally prefer vanilla, but sometimes you just NEED chocolate! And this cake is for those times. For this mini chocolate cake, you’ll follow the same general process, with just a couple extra ingredients.
How do you make a small chocolate cake from scratch?
This small chocolate cake recipe is so quick and easy! You’ll only need one bowl to put it all together, and it’s always rich and chocolatey with a moist, fluffy crumb. It’s as simple as whisking the wet ingredients together and then sifting in the
6-inch Cake Pan
This small chocolate cake is the perfect size. If you’re just having a few people over you NEED this small cake recipe, unless you want tons of leftovers! Depending on how large you cut the slices, it yields 4-6 servings, which is plenty for a group of up to three! You can enjoy cake while watching portion sizes, limiting sugar intake, and avoiding too many leftovers!
To make this small cake recipe, you’ll need a 6-inch round cake pan. I use this one. You can also try making this mini chocolate cake in a small loaf pan, a small cast-iron skillet, or as a few cupcakes. If you try that, let me know in the comments below how it works for you!
This mini chocolate cake recipe is so easy. You just need a few pantry staples and one key ingredient!
- an egg – make sure your egg is room temperature.
- pure vanilla extract – be sure to use a high-quality pure vanilla extract. Or better yet, check out my post on how to make vanilla extract at home with just 2 ingredients!
- granulated sugar – adds the perfect amount of sweetness to this small chocolate cake recipe!
- vegetable oil – just like with my mini vanilla cake, this mini chocolate cake recipe uses vegetable oil instead of butter to ensure a moist cake every time!
- buttermilk – helps to add to the moist and fluffy crumb, and adds a bit of tangy flavor as well.
- all-purpose flour – make sure you’re measuring your flour correctly, or just weigh out 86 grams.
- unsweetened cocoa powder – this is what gives our small chocolate cake recipe all that chocolate flavor! I like to use Ghirardelli, but any good-quality unsweetened baking cocoa should work well.
- baking powder and baking soda – these leaveners help to give our mini chocolate cake a nice lift.
- espresso powder – this is the key to this small chocolate cake recipe! It brings out the chocolate flavor so much and helps to balance out the sweetness in the batter.
- salt – brings out all the rich chocolatey flavors in this cake!
- hot water – to help to “bloom” the cocoa powder, we’ll add some hot, almost boiling water to the batter just before baking. This step intensifies the chocolate flavor in this small chocolate cake recipe and makes it so irresistible!
For the chocolate buttercream frosting, you just need to gather:
- salted butter
- powdered sugar
- cocoa powder
- heavy cream
- pure vanilla extract
And then you’re ready to put together this lovely small chocolate cake recipe!
This is a ONE-BOWL RECIPE!! To make the cake batter, you only need a bowl and a whisk (and I guess some way to heat up your water). It’s so simple and quick, and makes such a delicious mini chocolate cake. Here’s how to make it:
- Combine your eggs, vanilla extract, and sugar in a bowl. Whisk them together so they’re smooth.
- Whisk in your oil and buttermilk.
- Sift in your dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder, and salt. Gently whisk until just barely combined.
- Stir in the hot water — I just warm mine up for about 45 seconds in the microwave. This helps to bring out the flavor and fudginess of the cocoa powder.
- Then you’re ready to bake!
The chocolate buttercream frosting is even easier!
- Just beat your butter with a hand mixer to get it fluffy.
- Mix in your powdered sugar and vanilla.
- Mix in your heavy cream until the frosting is thick and fluffy.
That’s it! This small chocolate cake recipe is the perfect antidote to your chocolate craving, and it couldn’t be easier.
Tips and F.A.Q.
A mini cake is between 2 and 6 inches. This mini chocolate cake is perfect because it’s small in diameter and it’s only one layer! So it’s ideal for a small group, or just for one! I love making a small cake recipe even for larger celebrations where people may not have too much room for dessert!
There are several ingredients you can use to help ensure a moist cake, but in this mini chocolate cake we’re using two great options — vegetable oil and buttermilk. Vegetable oil is liquid at room temperature, which creates a moister cake even if it’s chilled. Plus, the acid in buttermilk helps to break down gluten and create a more tender cake. Together, they make sure that this small chocolate cake recipe comes out perfectly moist and fluffy every time!
If you don’t have buttermilk, you can substitute 1/3 cup of whole milk with 1 tsp of the milk replaced with vinegar for this mini chocolate cake!
Other than my mini vanilla cake, of course, there are a few cake recipes that I’ve shared that you might like just as much as this mini chocolate cake! For a delicious strawberry treat, check out my fresh strawberry cake — it’s just as easy as this mini chocolate cake, but it’s got the boost of fresh, juicy strawberries to complement its crunchy sugar topping. You should also definitely check out my lavender Earl Grey cake — it’s so easy and the Earl Grey tea flavor works so well with the honey-lemon glaze! Yum!
But if you’re reading this, you’re probably only really looking for one thing — CHOCOLATE. So these triple chocolate pecan brownies are just what the doctor ordered. You can also check out my white chocolate brownie mix cookies, which are another super easy recipe chock-full of white chocolate chunks, roasted pistachios, and dried cherries. A delicious way to get that chocolate fix!
Mini Chocolate Cake – Easy Small Chocolate Cake RecipePrint Pin Recipe Rate Recipe
Equipment you may need
- baking spray
- 1 large egg - room temperature (50g)
- 1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract - (5g)
- 2/3 cup (133 g) granulated sugar - (134g)
- 3 tbsp (44 ml) vegetable oil - (41g)
- ⅓ cup (80 g) buttermilk - room temperature (81g)
- 2/3 cup (83 g) all-purpose flour - (86g)
- 3 tbsp (15 g) unsweetened cocoa powder - (17g)
- 3/4 tsp (3 g) baking powder - (3g)
- 1/4 tsp (2 g) salt - (2g)
- 1/8 tsp (.5 g) baking soda - (0.5g)
- ½ tsp (1 g) espresso powder - (1g)
- ¼ cup (59 g) hot water - (59g)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Spray a 6-inch cake pan with baking spray (the kind with flour) and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together egg, vanilla, and sugar until well combined and thickened.
- Whisk in oil, followed by buttermilk, whisking until smooth after each addition until smooth.
- Sift in flour, cocoa, baking powder, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir into batter until just combined.
- Stir hot water into batter.
- Pour into prepared cake pan. Drop cake in pan from 3 inches onto counter
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick entered into the cake comes out clean.
Prepare Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Gradually add in powdered sugar, followed by vanilla and beat until smooth.
- Add milk a little at a time and beat until you have the desired consistency. Spread over cooled cake.
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