6-inch chocolate cake with chocolate frosting

stay awhile // movita beaucoup

6-inch chocolate cake | movita beaucoup

When I crave cake, it is the chocolate variety that I want. Tender, sweet, and old-school. (Like 2.0.) Something that can be made with ingredients I already have in the house. Don’t tell me I need a double boiler, ask me to chop chocolate, or insist upon a crumb coat and piped borders – I will finger jab you in the eye. And with only two of us in the house, I don’t want a 10-inch, triple-decker monstrosity.

6-inch chocolate cake | movita beaucoup

Behold a petit two layer, 6-inch chocolate cake. Simple and delicious. (Like 2.0.) I’m a huge fan of 6-inch cakes as they can easily serve eight people, but are also perfect for small households like ours. The slices are smallish, of course, but I find them to be the perfect serving size. Like, I don’t even want to puke when I’m done eating a piece.

6-inch chocolate cake | movita beaucoup

This cake is a shout out to simplicity – moist, flavourful and light. You might note that it’s the same recipe that I used for these cupcakes. Don’t run out and buy espresso powder if you don’t already have it in your baking stash – this cake is just as good without. (The espresso powder simply gives the chocolate a little boost.)

6-inch chocolate cake | movita beaucoup

The frosting has coffee in it. It makes the texture soft, silky and easy to spread. A hat-tip to the classic, homestyle frosting you probably gobbled up as a child. You get a little of the coffee flavour, but I’m reluctant to call it a mocha frosting as it doesn’t pack a weighty punch. You’ll taste a hint of java which pairs perfectly with the chocolate layers below it. Bonus: you’ll have just enough frosting to fill between the layers and frost the cake. No leftovers, no waste. Just the way I like it.

6-inch chocolate cake | movita beaucoup

6-inch chocolate cake | movita beaucoup

Go on, make yourself some cake. It’ll help you forget all about your checkered sexual history and those pixie pants you bought at Old Navy last week.

. . .

Six-Inch Chocolate Cake

print and bake

Yields one 2 layer, 6-inch cake.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mise en place – start by getting organized. Read through the entire recipe before beginning. Measure out all of your ingredients, grease and line two 6-inch baking pans with parchment paper.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line two 6-inch baking pans with parchment paper.

Place the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, instant espresso (if using) and salt in a bowl, and whisk well to combine.

In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sugar, canola oil and vanilla extract until well combined. Add the flour mixture and whisk until well combined and no large lumps remain. (Tiny lumps are fine.)

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared baking pans.

Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then remove from pans, remove parchment paper, and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

. . .

Chocolate {with a hint of coffee} Frosting

print and make

Yields enough to fill and frost a two layer, 6-inch cake.

  • 2 cups confectioner’s (icing) sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup strong coffee, cooled to room temperature

Mise en place – start by getting organized. Read through the entire recipe before beginning. Measure out all of your ingredients.

Sift together the confectioner’s sugar, cocoa and salt and set aside.

With a hand or stand mixer, beat the butter until light, soft and smooth (a few minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract.

Add the sugar mixture and coffee and beat (starting on low speed and increasing to medium-high) until smooth and fluffy, and no lumps remain.

65 Responses to 6-inch chocolate cake with chocolate frosting

  1. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef March 10, 2015 at 9:11 am #

    I have started making small cakes for just the two of us or even just the 4 of us if I take it to the nursing home for coffee time. It’s much better than eating too much cake or tossing it out. This cake is gorgeous and that icing looks fudgy. Yum.

    • movita beaucoup March 11, 2015 at 7:54 am #

      It really is the perfect size! And you can still serve 8 people handily, so it’s practical for small events as well. Like, say, nursing home parties.

      • Geri Cicero January 29, 2016 at 11:03 pm #

        Made this chocolate cake for a birthday tonight. Incredibly light, moist and delicious. I used a chocolate buttercream/cream cheese frosting. Exceptional.

        • movita beaucoup January 31, 2016 at 9:54 am #

          Wonderful to hear! Thanks so much for stopping by to let me know!

  2. rockandwool March 10, 2015 at 9:45 am #

    only you would know that brown + blue are my favorite colour combinations.
    chocolate
    + sky
    go well together.
    thank you again for another recipe to print + put in my homemade Movita cookbook
    x-x-x

    • movita beaucoup March 11, 2015 at 7:55 am #

      The phrase “homemade Movita cookbook” is music to my ears!

  3. Lan | morestomach March 10, 2015 at 11:01 am #

    this. right here. i was thinking of your vanilla 6″ cake yesterday and i how i wish there was a smaller version of chocolate cake too. i think 6″ cakes are the most perfect size, without going into the mini cake thing (which makes me want to punch people).

    • movita beaucoup March 11, 2015 at 7:56 am #

      When I see a pretty cake online, and then read that it is only 2-4 inches in diameter? I FREAK OUT. I’m not buying those pans. Also, I’m human, and can eat more than your average mouse.

      • Lan | morestomach September 19, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

        I’m going to make this today. I’m not questioning you or second guessing you, but wanted to be sure: no eggs in this recipe????

        • movita beaucoup September 20, 2015 at 8:01 am #

          NO EGGS!

          • Matt Dalton June 24, 2016 at 9:29 am #

            Hate to mention modifications in someones recipe but I added 1 egg and it was still moist, light and delicious. Sometimes these cakes need an egg to help give it some extra rise and density.

            Thanks!

  4. kerrycooks March 10, 2015 at 11:20 am #

    Oh dear lordy this looks so good! As a kid we always made chocolate cake with cocoa powder and it was so good, I actually find cakes packed full of melted chocolate and ganache to actually be TOO rich and want something simpler! It’s definitely time to give this another go 🙂

    • movita beaucoup March 11, 2015 at 7:57 am #

      Agreed! I like kickin’ it old school in the kitchen. Tried, true and nothin’ fancy!

  5. allythebell March 10, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

    Ughhhh I hate chopping chocolate. I do totally dig those photos, though. And the cake. And you.

    • movita beaucoup March 11, 2015 at 8:00 am #

      I love chocolate, but loathe chopping it. It flies all over the place and manages to get all melty at the same time. Why, chocolate, why?

      Know what I like more than chopping chocolate? You.

      • allythebell March 11, 2015 at 9:09 am #

        <3 The fact that chocolate carries a static charge always blows my mind. Until I find that it has gotten itself stuck in my hair.

  6. Rachel (Rachel's Kitchen NZ) March 10, 2015 at 3:48 pm #

    Yep – the best kind of cake – easy and made with store cupboard ingredients.

    • movita beaucoup March 11, 2015 at 8:01 am #

      I get so sad when I think I’m going to have cake and then find out I have to go to the grocery store. I mean, I’d have to put on pants! Super frustrating.

  7. Liz March 10, 2015 at 5:08 pm #

    I will be adding a couple 6″ cake pans to my shopping list! Perfect for our dwindling household!

    • movita beaucoup March 11, 2015 at 8:01 am #

      I use my 6-inch pans all the time! When I bought them, I wasn’t entirely convinced. Now? I use them as often as my big pans!

  8. tworedbowls March 10, 2015 at 8:09 pm #

    Total perfection. If I ever graduate to real cakes, this 6-inch masterpiece is going to be what I go for first.

    • movita beaucoup March 11, 2015 at 7:28 am #

      Maybe you should just get other people to bake you six-inch cakes? That would be far easier than doing it yourself, and you’d still get to eat cake!

  9. Stacy March 11, 2015 at 2:57 am #

    Pixie pants? Are those what the leprechauns wear? I’ve never heard of such a thing. Chocolate cake with espresso though, is perfection. Possibly like 2.0.

    • movita beaucoup March 11, 2015 at 7:16 am #

      Pixie Pants are huge at Old Navy right now. They are very, very tight. You’d have to be an actual pixie to look good in them. If you wore them whilst eating cake, the seams would burst open. (Which is why I eat cake in my pyjamas. EXPANSION.)

      And yes, 2.0 is perfect.

  10. shannon March 12, 2015 at 10:58 am #

    my favorite cake is a 6-inch cake. Always! because, cute slices. and i don’t feel so bad eating 3 of them.

  11. Sarah DeBoice March 13, 2015 at 8:20 pm #

    I only just discovered your super cute blog and am loving the wonderful photography and genius creations on show! 🙂

    • movita beaucoup March 14, 2015 at 8:47 am #

      Dear Sarah,

      Let’s be best friends.

      xox movita

  12. Renee March 15, 2015 at 6:46 pm #

    Alas, no 6 inch cake pans in my cupboard stash. Looks like I need to get right on that. Lord knows I don’t need to keep eating all those 9 inch cakes by myself…though they do make a dandy breakfast. HomeSense here I come!

  13. Elizabeth March 16, 2015 at 6:19 pm #

    There’s no polite way to ask this — what are the blue balls made of? 🙂

    • movita beaucoup March 17, 2015 at 6:03 am #

      Dear Elizabeth,

      Thank you for my first snort of the day.

      The blue balls are made of chocolate and covered with a pretty candy coating. I found them at a party store!

      Sincerely yours,
      movita

  14. Nancy @ gottagetbaked March 16, 2015 at 9:29 pm #

    In my house, a 6 inch cake is called a “Nancy sized” individual portion. These are beautiful photos, Movita! Thanks for reminding me of my checkered sexual history. I’d buried it deep in my memory but this post has brought it right back to the surface! Now I need cake!

  15. shannon March 20, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

    you know…every day i wake up and i think to myself “shannon: WHYYYY don’t you live in nova scotia? you could be eating like a QUEEN if you did.

    this MUST be remedied someday. I see you all are working on the next Ice Age up there so i guess after that, maybe?

  16. SG March 23, 2015 at 4:22 pm #

    About to make this for my son’s 2nd bday! Just making sure there’s no typo- no eggs at all?

    • movita beaucoup March 24, 2015 at 6:05 am #

      No eggs!

  17. SF May 3, 2015 at 4:13 am #

    This recipe was absolutely fantastic. Any tips on making it in a bigger, rectangular pan? Double the batter? How would the cooking time change? I need to increase the serving size to 35 🙁

    • movita beaucoup May 3, 2015 at 8:03 am #

      I suspect you could double this recipe with no trouble! The baking time won’t necessarily change because there’s more batter – it really depends on the size of your pan (the depth/thickness of your batter) – so I’d keep a close eye on it in the oven. If it were me, I’d do a test run before making it for 35! (Alternatively, I’d look for a larger scale recipe.) I wish I could be more helpful – I haven’t tested this recipe for a large scale batch. Good luck!

      • SF May 5, 2015 at 5:41 pm #

        Thanks for your reply. How would this cake work on an 8-9″ pan instead?

        • movita beaucoup May 6, 2015 at 6:26 am #

          I’m not sure – I’ve only tested the recipe as printed. You could try doubling it!

  18. Madison May 13, 2015 at 8:49 am #

    If I only have 1 6 inch round cake pan, can I pour all the batter in and then cut the cake into layers?

    • movita beaucoup May 13, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

      I’ve only tested the recipe as printed, and can’t guarantee that baking in only one 6-inch pan would work. If you try that method, you’d need to be sure the pan was quite deep (to avoid overflow), and the bake time would definitely increase. The cake is very tender, so I’m not sure that it would hold up to slicing into layers – it’s very delicate. Sorry I can’t be of more assistance!

  19. Rachel July 20, 2015 at 4:26 pm #

    This is the best frosting I’ve ever tasted! Thank you for the recipe!!

    • movita beaucoup July 21, 2015 at 8:05 am #

      You are most welcome!!

  20. rockandwool August 12, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    omyfingerinthefrostinggoodness!
    I made this again, but into cupcakes.

    hmmm. deliciousioso.
    I’m going to be the “hit” at the party.

    Thanks to yOU, my silly northeasterner.

    yum
    teri

  21. Elly October 10, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

    Can i substitute the butter milk with full cream milk instead?

    • movita beaucoup October 10, 2015 at 7:03 pm #

      Buttermilk makes for a more tender crumb and lighter batter, so I’d be reluctant to substitute. The recipe has only been tested with buttermilk, so I can’t personally recommend anything else. The baking soda in this recipe needs something acidic to react with (the buttermilk) in order to work properly. You can make buttermilk out of regular milk by stirring in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar and then letting it stand for about 10 minutes to curdle and thicken a bit.

      • Elly October 10, 2015 at 9:33 pm #

        Noted.Thank you so much for your help!

      • Matt Dalton June 24, 2016 at 9:32 am #

        Almond Milk worked for me in this cake. Helps keep it non-dairy.

  22. Denay January 13, 2016 at 4:03 am #

    This looks like the perfect cake to make for my baby’s first birthday smash cake! That being said…do you know of any substitute for the coffee (which I don’t have around the house anyway) in the frosting that will make it just as smooth and spreadable?

    • movita beaucoup January 13, 2016 at 6:42 am #

      I’ve only tested this recipe with coffee, and I’m reluctant to recommend alternatives that I haven’t tried. If I had to guess, I’d say cream or milk might work, though they would change the texture slightly, as coffee is basically water! The coffee is also in there for flavouring, as it brings out the chocolate tones. You could look for another recipe without the coffee – there are bazillions of frosting recipes out there. You might even want to do a search for recipes that have been specifically made for smash cakes – I’m betting there are some great options out there. Good luck – I hope your baby’s first birthday is perfection!

  23. Doug February 13, 2016 at 8:32 pm #

    I cut the ingredients in this cake in half and make a single layer. After it cools, I pour a chocolate ganache over the top and let it drizzle down the sides. Perfect dessert for 2 or 4. Pic at https://www.instagram.com/p/9CRrGjRvSu/

    • movita beaucoup February 14, 2016 at 8:11 am #

      Genius!

      Also, I’m pretty sure that would be a perfect dessert for 1. (Me.)

  24. Charlotte March 11, 2016 at 10:30 am #

    I made this cake last weekend as the top tier of a 2 tier cake for a birthday party. We loved it!!! I’m making it again today for a birthday party and I’m going to pair it with salted caramel buttercream! Thank you so much for the awesome cake recipe!

    • movita beaucoup March 12, 2016 at 8:45 am #

      This is wonderful to hear, Charlotte! I used this recipe yesterday to make a dozen cupcakes for a party, and they were a hit! It’s one of my favourite recipes. So glad you like it!

      • Charlotte March 14, 2016 at 11:49 am #

        The Salted caramel buttercream paired with the cake was AMAZING! I will definitely try it as cupcakes! Is it the same baking time? Thanks again😊

        • movita beaucoup March 14, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

          You might have to adjust the bake time slightly, as cupcakes tend to bake faster. It will also depend on the colour of your cupcake tin, as dark vs. light pans can affect the bake time a little. Check them at about 18 minutes and go from there!

          • Charlotte March 16, 2016 at 1:19 pm #

            18 minutes was perfect! Thank you:)! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

  25. Brittney March 13, 2016 at 1:45 am #

    I followed this recipe exactly and after 22 minutes it’s so gooey! This is my second time trying and i put it in for twice the amount of time. Still gooey and had to put it in for another 10 min… then the middle sunk in. It’s absolutely delicious but a huge pain in the butt. Is my oven broken or is this recipe off??

    • movita beaucoup March 13, 2016 at 9:27 am #

      Brittney, I can’t answer that. I don’t believe the recipe is off, as I’ve made it many times and haven’t had any problems. In addition, several readers have made it without trouble. Assuming you used 6-inch pans and didn’t adjust any ingredients (even slightly), it could be that your oven is off (test with an oven thermometer) or that your oven requires a longer bake time. I wish I could help you, but given that I’m not at your house, it’s hard for me to know what’s happening!

  26. Dawn April 15, 2016 at 9:05 pm #

    I received my 6 inch pans from Amazon today and will bake this charming beauty tomorrow. The cake calls for cocoa powder and the icing calls for cocoa? Same thing?

    • movita beaucoup April 15, 2016 at 9:06 pm #

      Same thing!!

  27. Sarah Thompson May 23, 2016 at 10:42 am #

    Hi! Greetings from Ireland! I need to make this recipe as one tier in a 3 tier christening cake. Is it suitable for freezing by any chance?
    Regards,
    Sarah

    • movita beaucoup May 24, 2016 at 7:40 am #

      I can’t see why not!

  28. movita beaucoup June 27, 2016 at 7:28 am #

    Comments on this post are now closed as it was published in March 2015.

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