Chocolate Caramel Mini Cake
Every once in a while, you just need a little chocolate. And when chocolate chips or miniature candy bars aren’t cutting it, you can whip up this easy, small-batch chocolate cake.
To keep this Chocolate Caramel Mini Cake from being too indulgent, (if that is a thing!), it is topped with a light chocolate whipped cream.
Chocolate Cake for Two
I used an 8-inch round cake pan which really makes this a good size cake, but not so large that you are trying to figure out what to do with the leftovers.
The chocolate cake itself is about as close to divine as you can get. It has a deep, rich chocolate flavor thanks to the cocoa powder. And the secret ingredient in any good chocolate cake is the hot water to keep it tender and moist. You can use hot coffee instead since coffee is notorious for enhancing the flavor of chocolate.
Between the layers of this cake is a sweet surprise – rich and creamy caramel sauce. Because the crumb of the cake is so tender, when you drizzle on the caramel sauce it soaks into the cake. Plus, it leaves the perfect thin layer of caramel to drip down the sides. The caramel sauce alone is a wonderful dessert and can be used for just about anything!
Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting
Even though the chocolate cake and caramel sauce are as close to perfect as you can get for a dessert, I think the chocolate whipped cream is the right contrast. It is light, rich in flavor and I still consider it frosting! I love buttercream, but sometimes it can be too much. One of the many wonderful things about the chocolate whipped cream is that it is not overly sweet, so you get the full flavor of the chocolate coming through.
Another great thing about this frosting is that you may (if you are lucky), get a small bit of chocolate chip that firmed back up when you mix the melted chocolate with the whipped cream. Rather than obsess on how to make this 150% smooth, I opted to embrace the tiny bits as a delightful surprise. I think you will too. Top it with some shaved semi-sweet chocolate and you’ll be close to tilt on the chocolate scale.
One-Bowl Mini Cake
Making the cake is pretty easy – no mixer required and just one bowl. The whipped cream just takes a couple of extra steps to infuse the chocolate – melt the chocolate, then fold in the chocolate. The caramel sauce can be cooked up while the cake is baking. Or you can always make it ahead of time just to have some caramel sauce in the fridge. From this recipe, you are only going to use a little for the cake from the batch that you whip up. All that said, you can fix your chocolate craving in less than an hour with this cake!
More Mini Cake Recipes
- Irish Apple Mini Cake
- Peppermint Mocha Layer Mini Cake
- Mini Pineapple Carrot Cake
- Mini Cherry Coffee Cake
- Classic Mini Yellow Cake (Neapolitan Cake)
Chocolate Caramel Mini Cake
- 1 – 8-Inch Round Cake Pan
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup canola oil - or any neutral oil
- 1/2 cup sour cream - room temperature
- 1 large egg - room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, Dutch process
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup medium brew coffee, very hot
Chocolate Whipped Cream
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the cake pan. Lay the parchment circle in the bottom of the pan and grease and flour the pan. Tip – Spray a little circle of cooking spray on the bottom of the cake pan first so the parchment paper sticks into the pan. Note – You can also use 2, 6-Inch Round Cake Pans
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar and oil. Add the sour cream, egg, and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth and creamy.
- In another medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Tip – Sift the dry ingredients together first to ensure there are no lumps. You can use a fine mesh strainer set over the mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients in the strainer, and sift into the bowl.
- Sprinkle half of the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients and whisk until just combined. Add the remainder of the dry ingredients, along with the hot coffee, and whisk just until no dry streaks remain.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 18 – 22 minutes – until the cake is springy when touched with your fingertip, and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean.
- Cool the cake in the pan set on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes. Then, invert the cake onto to the cooling rack and gently remove the parchment paper (if it stuck to the cake). Cool the cake completely before frosting and assembling.
Chocolate Whipped Cream
- In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips – stirring every couple minutes – until the chocolate is smooth. Set aside to cool.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add 1/4 of the whipped cream to the melted and cooled chocolate and mix until well incorporated. Then add the chocolate mixture to the remaining whipped cream and gently fold with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is fully incorporated.
- In a heavy bottom saucepan, add the sugar and shake the saucepan lightly to make sure the sugar is an even layer on the bottom. Pour the water evenly over the top of the sugar.
- Cook the sugar over medium heat until it dissolves and turns clear – about 3 minutes.
- Once the sugar is dissolved, turn the heat up to medium-high and cook until the sugar turns into caramel and turns an amber color – about 10 minutes. If you are using a candy thermometer, the temperature should be between 340-350F degrees. Anything higher and the caramel will be bitter.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the heavy cream. The cream will hiss a little and the caramel will solidify. Stir with a silicone spatula until the caramel smooths back out – the residual heat will turn it back into a smooth mixture. Stir in the butter and vanilla until fully mixed.
- Cool the caramel sauce to room temperature. The caramel sauce should be stored in a jar in the refrigerator. It can be reheated in a microwave for about 15 seconds to thin it out into a sauce if it thickens while refrigerated. It will last in the refrigerator for up to one month.
- Assembling the Cake – Once the cake is cool, you can either slice into two layers or keep as one. If making a layer cake, drizzle a thin layer of the caramel sauce on top of the first layer. Then add 1/2 of the whipped cream over the caramel and spread to the edge of the cake. Top with the second cake layer and spread on the remaining whipped cream. If keeping as a single cake, drizzle the caramel sauce on the top and frost the entire cake with the whipped cream. Enjoy!
- Cake Pans – Either 1, 8-Inch Round cake pan will work – or – 2, 6-Inch round cake pans.
- Cocoa Powder – My preference is Dutch processed cocoa powder. I find it is smoother and has a richer chocolate flavor. However, you can swap in Natural cocoa powder with no recipe modifications, if that is all you have on hand.
- Coffee – The strength of the coffee is up to you. I use instant coffee granules to make a small cup of hot coffee because it is a little stronger than what I normally drink. However, I do not recommend super strong coffee – it can overpower the cocoa flavor in the cake.
- Chocolate Whipped Cream – If you use unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate chips, you will want to add powdered sugar while whipping the cream – about 3 – 4 tablespoons – sweeten to taste.
- Caramel Sauce – It will need to be refrigerated because of the cream and butter. It will last in the fridge for up to one month. You can also use store-bought caramel sauce.