This is an adorable small 6 inch chocolate cake recipe! If you're looking for a small chocolate cake recipe using cocoa powder, you'll love this mini chocolate cake recipe! And if you're in the mood for chocolate, you'll love my Chocolate Walnut Brownies, my Chocolate Sour Cream Pound Cake, and my Brownie Mix Cookies!
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6 Inch Chocolate Cake Recipe
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 on date night or Valentine's Day, 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 little 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 dry ingredients! You can even sprinkle some fresh berries and dark chocolate chips on top of your single layer cake!
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, the whole cake yields 4-6 servings, which makes it a great recipe for a group of up to three! You can enjoy cake while avoiding too many leftovers!
Mini Chocolate Cake Ingredients
This mini chocolate cake recipe is so easy. You just need a few pantry staples and one key ingredient for this single cake layer -- see the recipe card below for measurements!
- 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. If you don't have any espresso powder, you can replace the hot water below with hot coffee.
- 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 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!
Equipment Needed for Moist Mini Chocolate Cake
The most important tool you'll need for this 6 inch chocolate cake recipe is, of course, a 6-inch cake pan! Here's the one I use and love! Beyond that, you'll just need a few standard cake making tools like a whisk, mixing bowl, parchment paper, an electric mixer, and a cooling rack to cool your cake!
Can I Make this Mini Chocolate Cake without Buttermilk?
If you don’t have buttermilk, you can substitute ⅓ cup of whole milk with 1 teaspoon of the milk replaced with vinegar for this mini chocolate cake!
How to Make a Mini Chocolate Cake, Step-by-Step
This 6 inch chocolate cake recipe 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 mini chocolate sponge 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!
I mean, I'm biased, but in my professional opinion it's a three-way tie between this easy, moist mini chocolate cake recipe, my Chocolate Sour Cream Pound Cake, and my Chocolate Orange Cake.
I call this one a mini chocolate cake, but I imagine you could call it whatever you like! I've also heard small batch cake, 6-inch cake, or just a chocolate cake for two!
This mini chocolate cake recipe yields 4-6 servings, depending on how large you slice your pieces!
A dry cake can be caused by too much flour. Make sure you're measuring your flour by weight. You'll also want to watch this mini chocolate cake to make sure it doesn't overbake.
More Mini and Small Batch Recipes You'll Love
- Mini Carrot Cake
- Mini Vanilla Cake with Easy Vanilla Buttercream
- Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies with Brown Butter and Sea Salt
- Butter Pecan Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies
Equipment you may need
- baking spray
- 1 large egg - room temperature (50g)
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract - (5g)
- ⅔ cup (133 g) granulated sugar - (134g)
- 3 tablespoon (44 ml) vegetable oil - (41g)
- ⅓ cup (80 g) buttermilk - room temperature (81g)
- ⅔ cup (83 g) all-purpose flour - (86g)
- 3 tablespoon (15 g) unsweetened cocoa powder - (17g)
- ¾ teaspoon (3 g) baking powder - (3g)
- ¼ teaspoon (2 g) salt - (2g)
- ⅛ teaspoon (.5 g) baking soda - (0.5g)
- ½ teaspoon (1 g) espresso powder - (1g)
- ¼ cup (59 g) hot water - (59g)
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- ½ cup (114 g) salted butter - softened (1 stick; 113g)
- 1 ¾ cup (210 g) powdered sugar - (210g)
- ¼ cup (22 g) unsweetened cocoa powder - (25g)
- 2 tablespoon (30 ml) heavy cream - (30g)
- 1 ½ teaspoon (7 ml) pure vanilla extract - (8g)
- 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.baking spray
- In a large bowl, whisk together egg, vanilla, and sugar until well combined and thickened.1 large egg, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- Whisk in oil, followed by buttermilk, whisking until smooth after each addition until smooth.3 tablespoon vegetable oil, ⅓ cup buttermilk
- Sift in flour, cocoa, baking powder, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir into batter until just combined.⅔ cup all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, ¾ teaspoon baking powder, ⅛ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon espresso powder, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Stir hot water into batter.¼ cup hot water
- 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
- In a bowl, cream butter with a hand mixer or a stand mixer for 1 minute until it’s light and fluffy.½ cup salted butter
- Gradually add in powdered sugar and cocoa powder, followed by vanilla and beat until smooth.1 ¾ cup powdered sugar, 1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract, ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- Add cream a little at a time and beat until you have the desired consistency. Spread over cooled cake.2 tablespoon heavy cream
Pin this small chocolate cake recipe for later!
Last Updated on August 25, 2022 by Chenée Lewis
I made this cake for my mom's birthday yesterday but without the icing because I don't have a hand mixer. The cake was so moist and I love the idea of adding espresso powder into the batter, it makes the cake even more chocolatey. Thank you so much for the grams recipe ?
You're very welcome! I'm so glad you and your mom liked the cake!
Hi, I have a question. If I don’t have the espresso powder, should I just use 1/4 cup of coffee in lieu of the espresso powder and water? Thanks.
Yes, that would definitely work!
I made this recipe on a whim for Valentine's Day because we needed something sweet and I happened to have all of the ingredients. It was SO GOOD. I didn't have espresso powder so I used 1/4 cup of hot coffee (reheated what was left in the coffee pot from the morning) and it turned out amazing. Moist and tender and the frosting was creamy and chocolatey, not sugary. 10 out of 10 would recommend and will be making this anytime I get a chocolate cake hankering! This was plenty for 2 nights of dessert for the two of us!
Awesome!! I'm so glad it worked for you two and that it worked out to use hot coffee instead of espresso powder! Thanks for giving it a try!! 🙂
I can’t wait to try this. My favorite chocolate cake recipe calls for hot coffee, so I’ll most likely sub the water for coffee. I’ll still use espresso powder too. I don’t think I could live without either, coffee or chocolate . Thanks for sharing
I hear you on the coffee and chocolate! Together they'll be great in this cake! Let me know how it works for you.
I REFUSE to give up sweets LOL, so I'm all about portion size. making this perfect! Plus it was a moist cake with a perfect frosting.
I'm with you!! I can't stay away from sweets either.
Love me a one bowl recipe! Love that the frosting used salted butter so that the richness of the chocolate is cut through
Me too!! One bowl recipes make it so easy to have a quick dessert 🙂
The addition of that expresso powder is absolutey awesome. The flavor is a bomb. I can have this everyday of the week. I can't resist yummy Chocolate treat s.
Yeah I agree that the espresso powder really gives a kick to the chocolate flavor! Thanks 🙂
Moist, rich, perfect chocolate flavor! I loved how easy this cake was to make and I'll be making it often!
Great to hear that you liked it!!! Thanks!
This cake is perfect for me because I live alone. Love with a sprinkle of sea salt on the frosting!
Me too! It's just enough for my sweet tooth. And yes! Sea salt balances out the sweetness so well!
This chocolate cake was the bomb. com!!
Thank you so much!! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
This cake and the frosting was so quick and easy to put together. I also love the small size since as you said we are avoiding large gatherings!
Definitely! It's perfect for just one or two people who love chocolate 🙂
I used this recipe to make cupcakes and OH MY GOSH! What a treat! My family and I enjoyed these for dessert! They were gone in minutes!
I'm so glad you enjoyed! Cupcakes are a great idea!
This icing was just PERFECT!! Thank you for sharing!
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it! 🙂
Mila Clarke Buckley
I love how moist and decadent this cake tasted! It's definitely on my list again!
Thanks!! I've made it over and over 🙂
I'm a sucker for anything "mini" when it comes to desserts! This was the perfect Friday evening treat. My daughter and I had so much fun creating this and were even happier with the leftover frosting we got to devour too!
Oh yeah that leftover frosting is a big bonus!! Thanks for trying the cake out; I'm glad you enjoyed!
What a beautifully moist cake! It was actually easy to make. The espresso was definitely a great flavor addition!
Thanks!! The espresso really makes a difference.
Made this for my nephew’s birthday and he loved it and so easy to make.
Awesome! I'm glad he liked it!! 🙂
I’ve been into baking more lately and this recipe is spot on. I have never made a buttercream icing and yours looks delicious!
Thanks!! The icing is really what makes this cake so good!
Ohhh how chocolatey. Looks so good.
It's super chocolatey 🙂
This was the perfect size for me to eat by myself in my closet as I hid from my family. I'd thank everyone to not judge me!
Hahaha no judgment here!! 🙂