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4.5 from 2 reviews

Classic Mini Chocolate Cake

This small batch recipe for Classic Mini Chocolate Cake makes a moist and tender 6-Inch chocolate layer cake, rich in cocoa flavor.  The classic flavor and texture make this chocolate cake the perfect base for any flavor combination.  This recipe features a homemade caramel sauce drizzle and a light chocolate whipped cream for a truly decadent dessert - perfect for two!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time22 mins
Total Time32 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Caramel, Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Whipped Cream, Layer Cake, Mini Cake
High Altitude Adjustment: May not require full bake time. Start checking for doneness at minimum bake time if noted.
Servings: 1 6-Inch Layer Cake
Author: Erin Cernich

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake

  • 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 chocolate chips, any kind

Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Instructions

Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Cut two pieces of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the cake pans. Lay the parchment circle in the bottom of the pans and grease and flour the pans. Tip – Spray a little circle of cooking spray on the bottom of the cake pans first so the parchment paper sticks into the pan.
  • 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 pans and bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until the cake is springy when touched with your fingertip, and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean.
  • Cool the cakes in the pan set on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes. Then, invert the cakes onto to the cooling rack and gently remove the parchment paper (if it stuck to the cake). Cool the cakes 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.  

Caramel Sauce

  • Store bought caramel sauce is also an option instead of making your own.
  • 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 to 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 cakes are cool, set one cake layer on your serving dish. Drizzle a thin layer of the caramel sauce on top then add 1/2 of the whipped cream and spread to the edge of the cake.  Top with the second cake layer, drizzle a little more caramel sauce and spread on the remaining whipped cream. Enjoy!

Notes

  • 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 to 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.