This mini chocolate cake is a small cake that serves two made in a round 6 inch cake pan. The recipe makes 4 small slices of cake, which is perfect for two people! The ganache glaze on top is so easy to make and is so pretty garnished with fresh fruit. Small chocolate cake for two people is the best way to celebrate.
The last time I made this mini chocolate cake for two, we ate it in the car on the way to dinner. And if I remember correctly, we had burgers and fries.
It's not that this cake is 'light' or 'not too sweet' or whatever it is that people say about dessert to make them feel less badly about eating it. It's a solid, rich chocolate cake.
The cake has a crumb that is one notch closer to pound cake than boxed cake mix, which I love. The ganache on top is my obsession. I almost never remember to put butter on the counter to soften for cake frosting, and a 2-minute chocolate ganache solves that problem.
If you're looking for a more standard frosting, try my Chocolate Buttercream recipe.
- Flour. All-purpose, bleached regular flour is what I used to develop this mini chocolate cake recipe. Do not use cake flour, sifted flour, whole wheat or pastry flour for this recipe. If you make changes such as this, the results will not be the same.
- Cocoa Powder. All-natural, unsweet cocoa powder from the box is what we need, which is not the same as hot cocoa mix.
- Baking Soda. This cake only calls for baking soda for its rise and lift; it does not require baking powder. The two are not interchangeable, by the way.
- Oil. The best cake recipes use oil as the base, instead of butter. This is because oil is fully liquid at room temperature, making for a soft, tender cake crumb. This allows you to refrigerate the cake before serving without any hardening, as well. Any type of neutral, flavorless oil works here: canola oil, vegetable oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, or even safflower oil. Do not use unrefined coconut oil that smells of coconut, because it will alter the whole flavor of your cake.
- Sugar. Granulated sugar is what we need for this cake, not brown sugar or powdered sugar.
- Sour Cream. We're using sour cream for its rich, full flavor, also for the acidity to react with the baking soda and make the cake rise. Sour cream is 40% and it cannot be substituted with anything else. Do not use yogurt, buttermilk, whole milk or even low fat sour cream, if you want perfect results.
- Egg. While a lot of my small batch recipes call for part of an egg, we need the whole egg for this mini chocolate cake recipe.
- Vanilla Extract. The best flavor is found in real, pure vanilla extract. My preference is for one made with Bourbon.
- Coffee. This cake will not taste like coffee, though if you're looking for that, try my Mocha Cupcakes. The coffee here provides moisture and a flavor boost for the chocolate.
- Chocolate. We need chopped semisweet chocolate to melt for the chocolate ganache for this mini chocolate cake. I reach for a baking bar or my favorite bar of chocolate to chop up.
- Heavy Cream. We will melt the chocolate into a small amount of heavy cream.
- Optional: A small amount of light (clear) corn syrup makes the ganache super shiny, but it is entirely optional. I like to use fresh fruit for decorating.
How to Make a Mini Chocolate Cake
I'm going to help you out with all of your Valentine's Day dessert for two needs, but first: you're going to need a 6" cake pan to make this mini chocolate cake. They're adorable. And once you buy one, you can make all of my small cake recipes. (Plus, I even use it to make a small batch of fudge, too!).
- Preheat the oven to 350-degrees Fahrenheit, and have ready your 6 inch round cake pan with 2 inch sides. Line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper, and lightly spray the sides with a non-flavored cooking spray.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together: the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda; set aside.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, sour cream, egg, vanilla and coffee. It's not necessary to use an electric mixer, whisking by hand is totally fine.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together until no streaks of flour remain.
- Pour the mini chocolate cake batter into the prepared pan, slide into the oven and bake for 29-32 minutes. Use a toothpick to ensure the cake is done before removing it from the oven.
- While the cake cools, make the chocolate ganache frosting: in a double boiler, or bowl fitted over a pan of simmering water, combine the chopped chocolate, cream, and corn syrup (if using). Stir over medium heat until melted and smooth. Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate and cream in the microwave in 25-second pulses on LOW power. Stir between each pulse.
- Pour the chocolate ganache over the cake on a cake stand, garnish with fresh fruit, and serve.
If you're looking for something even fancier, can I suggest my chocolate mousse cake?
If you're looking for the vanilla version of this cake, try my mini vanilla cake. It includes a tutorial for making buttercream roses, too!
Mini Chocolate Cake
A small chocolate cake that serves just two people.
For the cake:
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅓ cup neutral oil (like canola or grapeseed)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup full-fat sour cream
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon warm coffee
For the ganache:
- 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- splash of light corn syrup (to keep the frosting smooth, optional)
- pomegranate arils, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350, and position a rack in the lower third of the oven.
- Line a 6" round cake pan (with 2" sides) with parchment paper on the bottom, and lightly grease the sides with oil.
- Next, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, sour cream, egg, vanilla and coffee.
- Combine the two bowls, mixing just until combined.
- Pour the batter into the cake pan, and bake for 29-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. If you under-bake the cake, it will slightly sink, so check it! It will also start to pull away from the sides when it's done.
- Remove the cake from the pan by carefully tilting it into one hand, peel off the parchment from the bottom, and then place it on a small cake stand.
- In a double boiler, or bowl fitted over a pan of simmering water, combine the chopped chocolate, cream, and corn syrup (if using). Stir over medium heat until melted and smooth. *Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate and cream in the microwave in 25-second pulses on LOW power. Stir between each pulse.
- Pour the chocolate over the cake, and garnish with pomegranate arils.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 626Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 193mgCarbohydrates: 73gFiber: 6gSugar: 52gProtein: 7g
Jim west says
FYI: Actually, vailla extract does not have bouron in it unless it is homemade. The term “bourbon vanilla” comes from a major source of fine vanilla beans from the Il De Bourbon, east of Madagascar. It is now called Réunion Island.
The cake is excellent, by the way!
Thank you for that info! I didn’t know that. I’ve always wanted to try using bourbon for making vanilla but have years of making it with vodka. I was afraid I wouldn’t like it.
I will be making this for The Husband for his birthday cake! He loves Sacher Torte so I am splitting the cake, using some all fruit apricot jam, and topping with the ganache. He is diabetic so this is a close to the real one (which I used to make and is now on the “please don’t make that, because I will eat the whole thing” list. Thanks for an alternative!
Daman K says
Thank you so so much for this recipe. I baked this for father's day with my little one (father's day in Australia is in September :-)) i didn't have ganache ingredients so i decorated the cake with fresh berries and powdered sugar. My husband and I loved this cake as it's not too sweet and so so soft. Will be repeating this recipe for sure. Cheers
I made this for my birthday cake and it was perfect for my husband and I...so much better then store bought! Your small batch recipes are much appreciated!
Can I use a loaf pan instead?
Bonnie White says
Hi I just made this cake and the cake is delicious. The ganache is not sweet enough for my taste. I did not use semi sweet choc I used Dark Chocolate 72% cacao chunks melted in heavy cream and the splash of caro. Should I have stuck with semi sweet or perhaps more caro syrup or is this the way it should taste?
I’m single and love dessert so appreciate your site.