Oh, all the mini things! I will gobble them all up!
I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but I think these are going to be our Valentine’s Day dessert. I think. I’m having the hardest time deciding what to make from my 30 days of chocolate collection. It’s been a sweet month, friends, and it’s not over yet!
Not only are these chocolate mini layer cakes undeniably adorable, the chocolate cake is the easiest chocolate cake to make–really. Have you ever heard of wacky cake? I believe it’s called wacky cake because it doesn’t require eggs or milk, but still creates a lovely risen chocolate cake with a soft texture. It relies on vinegar and baking soda as leaveners. I promise you won’t taste vinegar. The other fun thing about using vinegar in a chocolate cake made with cocoa powder is that the reaction makes for an ever-so-slightly red cake.
Quick overview on how easy this cake is: Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and espresso powder. Then, stir in the oil, vanilla, vinegar, and cold water. That’s it. Whisk dry ingredients into the wet ingredients , and then bake it. You can do this! Wacky looks so good on you!
We’re using a standard 8 x 8-inch baking pan today–the same one you bake a large batch of brownies in. I love it when we can make desserts for two using regular pans!
Sorry ’bout that baby bump up there…except I’m not! Camille wanted to say ‘hi’ to everyone. She loves chocolate right now. And spicy food. And creamy tomato soup. Oh oh oh! and Caesar salad. Ok, she’ll stop now.
After baking, let the cake cool all the way, before tipping it out onto the counter.
Next, use a 3″ round biscuit cutter to cut out 4 circles of cake. These are your adorable layers:
The chocolate buttercream recipe I made to go with these cakes is so easy that it leaves me with no excuse for why my nail polish is chipped. If buttercream only takes 3 minutes to whip up, why can’t I have nice nails? Sorry, Mom.
What should you do with those corner cake scraps? Mix them with the rest of the frosting and roll them into cake truffles! If I don’t admit right here and now that this was 100% my husband’s idea, I will be shamed! Thanks, B. You help me be the queen of small/ no-leftover desserts every day. If that isn’t what marriage is about, then I’m lost in life. xo
I adapted this cake from Martha Stewart’s ‘Busy-Day Chocolate Cake.’ And speaking of Martha, I wanted to let y’all know that I’m teaming up with Martha Stewart Weddings to host giveaways for my cookbook next week! We’ll be chatting on twitter about romance, desserts, and all the other things lovely in life in our campaign called #14DAYSOFLOVE. You guys know Valentine’s Day is my favorite time of year, so please, join me and the Martha Weddings team to chat about love and sugar! You just may win a copy of my cookbook, too!
Looking for more mini cakes?
And, finally: the wacky recipe:
For the chocolate cake:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 cup cold water
For the frosting:
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2-4 teaspoon milk (as needed for consistency)
- First, preheat the oven to 350. Lightly spray an 8 x 8'inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, espresso powder and salt.
- Make a hole in the middle of the dry ingredients, and pour in the oil, vanilla, vinegar and cold water.
- Stir to combine very well.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool completely. Once cool, use a 3" biscuit cutter or other round cookie cutter to cut out 4 circles of cake.
- To make the frosting: beat together all of the ingredients until light and fluffy. Add additional milk as needed to achieve a frosting consistency.
- Stack the cake layers and add frosting in between the layers. I do not recommend attempting to frost the sides of the cake--since it is a cut edge, the frosting picks up too many crumbs. If you want to do it anyway, try freezing the cakes first.
- Finally, crumble the leftover cake scraps, and add the leftover frosting to them. Stir to combine very well, and then roll into balls to form cake truffles. Serve these on the side, or keep them all to yourself ;)
*Wacky cake recipe adapted from Martha Stewart u][here[/u].