This mini chocolate cake is perfect for any celebratory occasion - it has two fluffy chocolate cake layers and a silky chocolate buttercream. Made with two 6 inch cake pans, this mini chocolate cake is the perfect size for small get togethers and birthday parties, and is super easy to make.
Why you will love this mini chocolate cake recipe
- The cake. This cake is a butter and oil based cake, so it is super tender and moist, but not dense.
- The chocolate buttercream. This chocolate buttercream is the BEST chocolate buttercream on earth. I can eat the buttercream alone with a spoon. The buttercream perfectly complements the cake for a chocolate explosion!
- Minimal ingredients. This cake has a lot of things you probably already have in your kitchen pantry - butter, milk, eggs, oil, flour, sugar, etc., so it comes together super easy! There are no special ingredients you need to go on a hunt for in the grocery store.
- All purpose flour: all purpose flour is the flour of choice for this cake - it leads to a perfect soft and tender crumb.
- Dark cocoa powder: this recipe calls for dark cocoa powder (AKA dutch processed cocoa powder). It adds an incredibly rich and deep chocolate flavor to the cake.
- Leavener: baking powder is the leavener used in this mini chocolate cake - it will help the cake layers rise perfectly.
- Fats: the key fats in this recipe are the butter, oil, eggs, milk and yogurt. All of these ingredients add moisture so the cake does not come out to be dry and crumbly.
- Sugar: granulated sugar is used in the cake - it adds sweetness, flavor and moisture. We also use powdered sugar in the buttercream.
- Coffee: strongly brewed coffee is added to the batter, which REALLY deepens the chocolate flavor.
- Whisk dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, dark cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
- Beat wet ingredients. Beat together the butter and oil. Then add the granulated sugar and beat until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla extract.
- Combine. Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Then add half of the milk, half of the coffee, and half of the yogurt and mix until just incorporated. Repeat with the other halves of the dry ingredients, milk, coffee, and yogurt.
- Bake. Separate the cake batter into two 6 inch cake pans and bake for 35 minutes.
- Make the chocolate buttercream. Beat the butter on high speed for 5 minutes. Add the powdered sugar, dark cocoa powder, salt, and milk/heavy cream until combined.
- Assemble. Once the cakes are cool, level them off using a cake leveler or serrated knife if they have a dome shaped topped. Frost and enjoy!
Why is my cake dry?
A cake can be dry from over measuring the flour. The best way to measure flour is with a kitchen scale - it is the most accurate. If you don't have a kitchen scale, spoon the flour into a measuring cup, then level it off with a knife.
Over baking can also result in a dry cake. Just a few extra minutes in the oven can turn a soft and moist cake into a tough and dry one, so make sure to keep an eye on it. It is finished when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
Why did my cake sink?
Cakes can sink from over mixing the batter. Make sure to only mix your batter until the dry ingredients are JUST incorporated, not any longer. Additionally, an underbaked cake can sink, so make sure to bake the cake all the way through.
Can I use a different milk instead of whole milk?
Technically, yes. However, I really recommend sticking to whole milk due to its fat content. The fat content of the milk really adds to the moisture and softness of this cake.
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Mini Chocolate Cake
- 1 ¼ cups (157 grams) all purpose flour spooned and leveled
- ½ cup (40 grams) dark cocoa powder (dutch processed cocoa powder)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- ¼ cup (50 mL) vegetable oil
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 eggs room temperature
- ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (60 mL) whole milk room temperature
- ¼ cup (60 mL) strongly brewed coffee room temperature
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) yogurt room temperature, greek or regular works!
- ¾ cup (170 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 ½ cups (300 grams) powdered sugar
- ⅓ cup (25 grams) dark cocoa powder (dutch processed cocoa powder)
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2-3 tablespoons milk/heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 325F (163C) and line two 6 inch cake pans with parchment paper.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, dark cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a medium-sized bowl if using a handheld mixer, beat the butter and oil together until combined and completely homogeneous - this will only happen if the butter is completely at room temperature. About 2-3 minutes on high speed.
- With the mixer on low, slowly stream in the granulated sugar, then turn it up to medium-high speed and beat until light and fluffy. About 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary.
- Then, with the mixer on low, add the eggs in, one at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mixing well in between each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix on low until combined.
- Add half of the dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined. Add half of the milk, half of the coffee, and half of the yogurt and mix on low until just combined. Repeat this with the remaining halves of dry ingredients, milk, coffee and yogurt. Do not over-mix!
- Separate the batter equally between the prepared pans and spread it into an even layer. Bake the cakes for 33-36 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. The cake will be slightly pulling away from the edges of the pan. Let the cakes sit in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then remove them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- While the cakes are baking and cooling, make the buttercream. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a medium-sized bowl if using a handheld mixer, beat the butter by itself until it is light and fluffy. On high speed for 5-8 minutes.
- Add the powdered sugar, dark cocoa powder, salt, and milk/heavy cream and mix on low speed for 30 seconds and then on high speed until completely combined.
- You may need to add more powdered sugar (to thicken) or more milk (to thin) depending on the desired consistency.
- Once the cakes are completely cool, level the cakes using a cake leveler or serrated knife if they have a dome.
- Take one half of the buttercream and spread it into a thick layer on top of the first cake layer.
- Place the second cake layer on top then take the other half of the buttercream and spread it into a thick layer, while frosting the top and sides of the cake. Enjoy!
- Store the cake in an airtight container in the fridge.
- I like to scrape down the bottoms and sides of the bowl every time after I add a new ingredient, this will ensure the cake is properly mixed.
- If you do not want to use brewed coffee, replace the ¼ cup (60 mL) of coffee with ¼ cup (60 mL) of milk.
Tried this recipe? Make sure to rate and review and tag @sturbridgebakery on Instagram!