This mini chocolate cake is perfect for a small birthday party or easy dessert for a family. It’s incredibly moist, rich and full of chocolate flavor. Gluten free and dairy free friendly! Makes a 6 inch two layer small chocolate cake.
Cakes are without a doubt my favorite recipe to make for the blog. And my favorite to photograph. But they’re also just my favorite to eat!
Some may classify this more as a small chocolate cake than a mini chocolate cake. A mini chocolate cake is usually only about 4 inches, whereas this recipe uses two six inch cake pans. Each layer will bake up to about an inch, with some frosting between each layer.
This cake serves 8, so it’s perfect for a small party or celebration. It’s moist, rich and topped with a chocolate cream cheese frosting.
It’s the perfect balance of fluffy and dense, which any good chocolate cake should be in my opinion! If you love this recipe, try my vegan chocolate cake next!
How to make a mini chocolate cake
WHISK WET. Whisk together all wet ingredients aside from the coffee and whisk together until smooth.
WHISK DRY. Whisk in the dry ingredients, making to spoon and level the flour.
Whisk in the coffee.
BAKE. Add to the prepared pans and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
I have tested this recipe in two different ovens and the cook time varied by about 10 minutes, so be sure to keep an eye on yours.
COOL & FROST. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then flip onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
Frost with the homemade chocolate cream cheese frosting and enjoy!
How to store cake
Once frosted, this cake stores best at room temperature or in the fridge covered with a cake pan cover or foil for about 3-5 days. If you’re worried you’ll have too much leftover, just halve the recipe and make one layer instead!
Once it’s sliced, it will dry out faster, so I like to put some parchment paper or plastic wrap on the part that is sliced to keep the air out.
Once baked, you can freeze both cake layers and frost when you’re ready to serve. Just be sure to let them cool completely, then wrap each layer in plastic wrap and place in a freezer safe bag. You can frost right when it’s frozen!
FLOUR. I of course used gluten free all purpose flour to make this a gluten free chocolate cake. If you are not gluten free, just sub for regular all purpose flour with no problem. I do not recommend whole wheat flour.
DAIRY. You can easily make this cake dairy free by using non-dairy milk in the cake, then non-dairy butter and cream cheese in the frosting. Promise you won’t be able to tell a differene!
EGG. Since this cake only has one egg, you should be able to sub for a vegan alternative. I would suggest a flax egg (mix 1 tablespoon of ground flax with 3 tablespoons of water and let thicken) or a store bought egg replacer.
3 tablespoons of apple sauce should also work. The cake will be more dense and less fluffy, but with a chocolate cake I think that’s ok!
SUGAR. This recipe calls for a mix of white sugar and brown sugar to help create the perfect texture. You can try subbing for coconut sugar for a refined sugar free option. I do not recommend any liquid sweeteners such a maple syrup here.
Frequently asked questions
Can I make cupcakes instead?
Yes! This recipe will make about a dozen cupcakes. Follow all of the same instructions except add to a lined cupcake tray and bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Why do you use coffee?
I used boiling water in my first test of the recipe, which is used to help ‘activate’ the cocoa powder. However, it didn’t help achieve the richness that I was hoping for.
The coffee is simply used to enhance the chocolate flavor, but it doesn’t add a coffee taste, I promise. You can sub for boiling water and add 1-2 teaspoons of espresso powder instead.
How do you make cake more moist?
I promise, no adjustments are needed to make this mini cake more moist! It is moist thanks to the oil, egg, molasses in the brown sugar, milk and coffee. We aren’t using too much flour which would dry out the cake.
Try these cakes next!
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Mini Chocolate Cake
by: claire cary
- ½ cup oil
- ¾ cup white sugar
- 6 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup milk of choice
- ½ cup hot brewed coffee can sub boiling water
- 1 ½ cups gluten free all purpose flour can sub regular AP flour
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup butter
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Whisk together all wet ingredients aside from the coffee and whisk together until smooth.
- Whisk in the dry ingredients, making to spoon and level the flour.
- Whisk in the coffee.
- Add to the prepared pans and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. I have tested this recipe in two different ovens and the cook time varied by about 10 minutes, so be sure to keep an eye on yours.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then flip onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
- To make the frosting, beat together the butter and cream cheese for 2 minutes.
- beat in the cocoa until well combined.
- Beat in the sugar, followed by the vanilla. If it is too thick, add a splash of milk, if it's too thin, add more powdered sugar.
- When the cake has completely cooled, frost and enjoy! I suggest about 3/4 cup of frosting between the layers, then the rest for the outside and any decorations.