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A mini chocolate cake is the perfect cake for two or three! This adorable mini cake is extra chocolatey and moist, and it’s topped with the best chocolate buttercream. Plus, it takes just 20 minutes to prepare!
If you’re on the hunt for the perfect small batch cake recipe for two, this is it! This cake is based off of my popular chocolate layer cake recipe, but modified into a smaller portion. I think this mini chocolate cake for two is perfect for Valentine’s Day, day night, anniversaries, or any special occasion for two!
Just like all my recipes, you can easily make this recipe dairy free, so it’s perfect for those with food allergies.
Why You'll Love This Mini Chocolate Cake
- This recipe makes the best chocolate cake for two! I’m using two 6-inch cake pans, but you can also use three 4-inch cake pans if that’s what you have on hand.
- Since this is an oil based cake, it's super moist and soft.
- I love making this mini chocolate cake with my favorite chocolate buttercream, but you can also use a vanilla buttercream or chocolate ganache!
- This cake is so easy to make and it’s made all in one bowl.
- Flour: I’ve tested this recipe with all purpose flour.
- Cocoa Powder: this chocolate cake is made with dutch process cocoa powder, but you can swap it out for natural cocoa powder in a pinch.
- Hot Water: adding hot water to the cocoa powder causes it to ‘bloom’, giving you a richer chocolate flavor.
- Milk: you can use regular milk or vegan milk if you’re dairy free.
- Oil: this cake uses oil instead of butter. You want to use a neutral oil like sunflower oil, canola oil or vegetable oil.
- Butter: to make this cake dairy free, you can use vegan butter for the buttercream, or regular butter if you don't need it to be dairy free.
Step by Step Instructions
Note: Full ingredient measurements and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this page.
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350°Fahrenheit and spray two 6-inch round cake pans or three 4-inch cake pans with cooking spray. Line each pan with a round piece of parchment paper, so the bottom of each pan is lined.
Step 2: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
Step 3: Add the egg, vanilla extract, milk and oil. Carefully pour in the hot water and whisk until smooth.
Step 4: Divide the batter evenly between the prepared can pans and bake in the middle rack of the oven for 18-23 minutes (if using 6-inch pans) or 25-31 minutes (if using 4-inch pans). A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.
Step 5: Let the cakes cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then run a butter knife along the edge to loosen it from the edge. Flip the cake upside down onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Step 6: Once the cakes have cooled, you can make the chocolate buttercream. In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter and cocoa powder together until smooth.
Step 7: Add the vanilla extract and then the icing sugar, ¼ cup at a time until the frosting is the consistency you want. If the buttercream gets too thick, add in 1 tablespoon of milk at a time until it is creamy and spreadable.
If the frosting is too thin, you can add more powdered sugar (¼ cup at a time) until it is the consistency you want.
Step 8: Frost the cooled cake and enjoy!
FAQs and Expert Tips
This mini chocolate cake makes about 6 slices, so it’s perfect to share for two or even three!
Sure thing, you can just make this 8-inch cake recipe instead!
I recommend using dutch process cocoa powder if you can for the cake, as it interacts with the baking powder and baking soda differently than natural cocoa powder! Plus, dutch process cocoa is much richer and more chocolatey.
- I always recommend using a kitchen scale when it comes to weighing out your flour! It is so easy to add too much flour if you’re using measuring cups, leading to a dry cake. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, make sure to use the scoop and level method to weigh out the flour and cocoa powder.
- Don’t skip lining the bottom of the cake pan with parchment paper! If you don’t line them, it will be difficult to get the cooled cakes out of the pan in one piece.
- Make sure the cake layers are completely cool before adding the frosting, otherwise the buttercream will melt right off.
- Feel free to adjust the amount of icing sugar you add to the buttercream to get your desired consistency!
Storage and Freezing Instructions
Store this mini chocolate cake in an airtight container or cake carrier at room temperature for 3-4 days.
To freeze the cake layers, let them cool completely before wrapping tightly with plastic wrap and foil. Freeze in ziploc bags for up to 3 months, letting them thaw at room temperature.
More Cake Recipes You'll Love
Mini Chocolate Cake
- 2 x 6 inch round cake pans or 3 x 4 inch round cake pans
- Handheld or Standing Mixer
Mini Chocolate Cake
- ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup +2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 6 Tablespoons unsweetened dutch processed cocoa powder
- 1 egg
- ½ cup water, hot
- ¼ cup sunflower oil or canola oil
- ¼ cup milk (regular or vegan)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare two 6 inch round cake pans or three 4 inch round cake pans. Spray the inside with cooking spray, then cut round pieces of parchment paper so that they fit in the bottom of each pan (do not skip the parchment paper lining!)
- Whisk flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda together in a large bowl.
- Add in the egg, vanilla, oil, and milk. Pour in the hot water and mix until smooth.
- Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 18-23 minutes (if using 6 inch pans), or 25-31 minutes (if using 4 inch cake pans), or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then run a butter knife around the outside of the cake to loosen it from the pan and flip upside down onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Make the buttercream. In the bowl of a standing mixer or handheld mixer, beat butter and cocoa powder until smooth.
- Add in the vanilla extract, then add the icing sugar, ¼ cup at a time until desired consistency is reached. If the buttercream is too thick, add in milk 1 tablespoon at a time to thin it out to the consistency you want. If it's too thin, add in more confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar) ¼ cup at a time.
- Once the cakes have cooled completely, frost them and enjoy!
The calorie information provided for this recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.