When you still want a homemade layer cake without tons of dangerous leftovers begging to be devoured, make this Chocolate Cake for Two.
This mini cake is perfect for Valentine’s Day or any other intimate celebration. The moist chocolate cake is frosted with creamy fudge frosting that is lick-off-the-spoon delicious. It's also super easy to make!
The cake is a single layer mini cake that serves just 2 generous portions. Slice it up to share or just dig in with a forK!
I've made this cake with both fudge frosting and vanilla buttercream. Slice it in half horizontally to create a mini layer cake. Alternatively, slather on decadent, creamy fudge frosting and top with sprinkles.
Here is a quick glance at some of the ingredients needed beyond basic pantry staples. Find a complete list with quantities in the full recipe to follow.
- All-purpose flour
- Dutch processed cocoa poweder
- Granulated sugar
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Sour cream
- Hot coffee or instant coffee
- Canola oil
- Unsalted butter
- Confectioners' sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Sprinkles, for decorating
See recipe card for quantities.
TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
These are the primary tools you will need to make this cake:
- Stand or hand mixer
- Large mixing bowl
- Rubber spatula
- 6-inch cake pan
- Offset spatula
- Piping bag and tip, for decorating
For fun, add extra frosting with decorative rosette swirls. I used both 2B and 1M star piping tips to create the different textures on top.
For the rosettes, holding the piping straight down and pipe tight spirals (starting from the center and going around).
For the kisses, hold the piping bag straight down and give a little squeeze to make the 'kiss.' Release the pressure on the piping bag as you lift up and away. Add a shower of sprinkles and enjoy!
Sour Cream - You can swap out the sour cream and milk for equal parts buttermilk. The taste and texture will be comparable. If you opt for a buttermilk substitute (ie milk + vinegar), the end results will likely be slightly off.
Coffee - You can use instant coffee dissolved in hot water. If you prefer, skip the coffee all together and just use plain hot water.
No, unfortunately you can’t use natural cocoa powder instead of Dutch-processed. One is acidic while the other is neutral. You could try in a pinch, but understand that it will change the results.
Choose a good quality aluminum cake pan with at least 2-inch tall sides.
Yes! Wait until the cakes have completely cooled before wrapping well in plastic. If desired, wrap in a layer of foil or pop the cakes into a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
SERVING AND STORAGE
Serve the cake at room temperature. Store the cake at a moderate room temperature overnight (preferably in a cake box or under a glass cake dome).
Wrap leftovers loosely in plastic and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Freeze unfrosted layers wrapped well in plastic for up to 3 months.
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Chocolate Cake for Two
For the Chocolate Cake
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teas baking soda
- ¼ teas baking powder
- pinch salt
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoon canola oil
- ½ teas vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoon coffee or hot water
For the Fudge Frosting
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 ½ to 2 cups confectioners' sugar sifted
- 3 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teas vanilla extract
- 1 to 2 tablespoon milk or hot coffee
To Make the Cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour one 6-inch cake pan.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl or liquid measuring cup, stir together the sour cream, egg, oil, and vanilla.
- Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture. Stir the batter until combined. Pour in the coffee and mix until smooth.
- Tip the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 24 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool cake on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing it from the pan. Continue to cool completely before filling or frosting the cake.
To Make the Frosting
- Using a hand or stand mixer, cream the butter until soft and smooth. Stop the mixer and add in 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Turn the mixer back on low speed and mix until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Add the milk, vanilla, and salt then turn up the speed and mix on medium-high until smooth and fluffy, 2 to 4 minutes.
- Add more sugar and/or milk until the desired consistency is achieved. The fudge frosting should be soft and silky but not runny.
For the Pink Buttercream Chocolate Cake for Two
Small Batch Buttercream
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, or vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
Beat the butter at medium-low speed with an electric or hand mixer until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.
Gradually add the powdered sugar, vanilla bean paste or extract, and 1 tablespoon of milk with mixer at low speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Mix until blended.
Beat at medium-high speed 3 to 5 minutes, until buttercream is light and airy and nearly white. If needed, add the additional milk until smooth and spreadable. Tint with gel food coloring (reserving some plain for the piping, if desired).
To Decorate the Cake
First, trim the top with a long serrated knife until it is flat and level. Split the cake into two layers by slicing the cake in half horizontally. For even layers, place the cake on a rotating turntable.
Next, score around the middle of the cake with the serrated knife first, then make small cuts (while rotating the cake) towards the center of the cake until it splits into two layers.
Place the bottom layer of cake on a cake board or serving dish. Dollop about ½ cup of buttercream on top of the cake and spread until smooth with an offset spatula. Place the second layer of cake on top and gently press down to seal. Frost the cake in a thin crumb coat of buttercream to trap in any loose chocolate cake crumbs. Chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
Once the crumb coat sets, smoothly frost the cake with the buttercream. Frost the mini cake as you would a large layer cake. Learn how to ice a cake here.
For the classic buttercream piping, fill a piping bag fitted with a medium star tip with the reserved buttercream. Pipe a shell boarder around the bottom edge. For the scalloped piping on top, pipe “C” shaped scrolls. Start by piping a tight spiral that curve out to make a “C” shape with the tail. Start the spiral of the next “C” on top of the precious tail.
Lastly, finish with sprinkles or sugar pearls.