When life calls for small celebrations, this small chocolate cake is the perfect sweet treat to whip up. It's moist and soft with a creamy sunflower butter chocolate frosting on top. Made gluten free, dairy free, and nut free to ensure everyone can enjoy the festivities!
Everyone needs a small chocolate cake recipe. I mean, how many times have you wanted to doing something special to casually celebrate an event but had no desire to make some elaborate cake.
Well, now you can honor every win, big or small, in style with this simple double chocolate cake that's the perfect size for any chocolate lover. It's one 6 inch layer cake with a super easy fudgy frosting to spread over top. And of course, you can't forget the sprinkles!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- SunButter - Used in both the cake and the frosting. It adds a subtle nutty flavor to the cake without being overbearing while keeping the recipe nut free!
- Sugar - White granulated sugar is best but you can also use light brown sugar if needed.
- Egg - This helps bind the cake batter together. I haven't tried it, but I do think a flax egg will work in this recipe.
- Flour - I used gluten free 1:1 flour but all purpose flour will also work.
- Milk - I used a plant-based milk but you can use any type of milk. Use room temperature if you can.
- Coconut oil - Used to add moisture to the cake. Substitute with avocado oil or vegetable oil if needed.
- Hot water - This is poured into the cake batter at the last minute to help "proof" the cocoa powder. You can also use hot coffee but a slight coffee flavor will come through in the cake once it's baked.
- Powdered sugar - Used in the frosting. Make sure it's sifted so the frosting is nice and smooth with no lumps.
How to Make a Small Chocolate Cake
You will need a large mixing bowl for the cake batter and a medium bowl for the frosting, an electric mixer or stand mixer, and a 6 inch cake pan for this small cake recipe.
Step 1 : Whisk the wet ingredients. In a large bowl, beat together the SunButter, sugar, egg, milk, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. You can use a hand or stand mixer for this or a stiff whisk.
Step 2 : Fold in the dry ingredients. Gently fold in the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder to the bowl with a rubber spatula. Only mix until the flour is about 90% incorporated. The batter will be fairly thick, almost like brownie batter, at this point.
Step 3 : Add the hot water. Slowly pour in the hot water and continue to fold into the batter until well mixed. The batter should be thinner now and resemble traditional cake batter.
Step 4 : Bake! Pour the batter into a greased 6 inch cake pan. I also like to place a small circular piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan for easy clean up. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles and then bake it in the oven.
Let the cake cool completely before removing it from the pan. Once cooled, I like to place it in the fridge to chill for a little while which makes frosting it even easier.
Step 5 : Prepare the frosting. In a bowl, beat together the SunButter, cocoa powder, and vanilla until the mixture turns a chocolate brown color. While beating, slowly add the milk, little splashes at a time, to help thin out the mixture.
Then add in the powdered sugar, a ½ cup at a time, and continue to beat the frosting until it's nice and creamy.
Step 6 : Assemble the cake. This is probably one of the easiest cakes to assemble! Simply place the cake layer on your serving platter or a plate and spoon the frosting on top. Use an uneven spatula or a knife to spread the frosting over top.
You can use the back of a spoon to create little swirls in the frosting if desired too! Top with sprinkles and enjoy!
- Swap the sprinkles with mini chocolate chips for an extra chocolaty treat.
- Top the cake with freshly sliced fruit for a pop of color.
- Skip the cocoa powder in the frosting for a creamy peanut butter color.
- Apply the frosting over the entire cake and drizzle chocolate ganache over the top.
- Double the recipe to make two simple cake layers and apply the frosting in the middle and on top.
- Add a pinch of espresso powder to the cake batter and frosting for a subtle "mocha" flavor.
How to Store
Place the cake in an airtight container or cake container with a lid. It will keep for up to 5 days when stored out on the counter. You can also store it in the fridge for the same amount of time.
Frequently Asked Questions
This cake will serve 8 - 12 people, depending on how thick you cut the slices.
Yes, use gluten free 1:1 flour to make this cake completely gluten free.
Use a plan-based milk to make this cake dairy free.
For more small treats, check out my:
Small Chocolate Cake
For the cake
- ¼ cup SunButter
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- ⅓ cup milk - any milk will work
- 1 ½ tablespoon coconut oil - melted, any oil will work
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup flour - gluten free 1:1 or all purpose flour
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ cup hot water
For the frosting
- ⅓ cup SunButter
- 2 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup milk - any milk will work
- 1 ½ - 2 cups powdered sugar - sifted
- Sprinkles - optional
- Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, beat together the SunButter, sugar, egg, milk, coconut oil, and vanilla extract until well combined.
- Gently fold in the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder until the batter is thick like brownie batter. Slowly pour in the hot water and continue to mix until the batter is thin and smooth.
- Pour the batter into a 6 inch cake pan that has been greased with oil. Bake the cake in the oven for 27 - 30 minutes until you can insert a toothpick into the center and it comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely before removing it from the pan.
- Once the cake has cooled, prepare the frosting by beating together the SunButter, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract. Add the milk in intervals as you do this to help thin out the mixture.
- Once the milk is all incorporated, beat in the powdered sugar well until the frosting is creamy and thick.
- To assemble the cake, scoop the frosting onto the top of the cooled chocolate cake and use an offset spatula to spread it all over, leaving a little bit of room around the edges. If desired, use the back of a spoon to create a few swirls in the frosting and top with sprinkles.
- Use a thin sharp knife to cut the cake into slices when ready to enjoy!