The recipe uses cocoa powder for a super chocolatey flavour and butter to make it rich and moist. You can convert it into any of the desserts listed above by adjusting the baking time and temperature. You'll find the recipe card below these directions and photos. Skip to the bottom of the page to watch a video if you prefer!
How to make this small chocolate cake recipe
Start by creaming room temperature butter and sugar together, which takes about 5 minutes at medium speed. I prefer to use a handheld mixer rather than a stand mixer for small recipes. You can angle it to incorporate all of the ingredients, even if they're stuck to the sides or bottom of the bowl. A stand mixer tends to be more effective for bigger batches with larger quantities of ingredients.
At the beginning, the butter and sugar mixture will look gritty or chunky, like this:
Keep mixing until it gets lighter in colour and starts to look fluffy and creamy. Add an egg and the vanilla, mixing until they're incorporated. You’ll notice the mixture getting lighter in colour and runnier and smoother. Your mixer will leave trails behind and the batter will look similar to pudding:
Now whisk together hot water with cocoa powder. The hot water will help the cocoa powder dissolve easily but you’ll need to let it cool before adding it to the butter so you don’t melt it.
In another bowl, whisk together all purpose or plain flour with baking powder and baking soda. The reason for mixing them together is to make sure they mix evenly through the batter later.
Add the cocoa powder mixture to the butter mixture first and mix it in. Then use a spatula to scrape around the bowl to make sure there isn’t any butter stuck to the bottom or the sides of the bowl.
Next, add the flour mixture. Don’t overmix the batter! Stop mixing as soon as you don’t see any white flour in the batter.
Now just transfer the batter into whatever pan or mold or dish you want to use!
How to convert this small chocolate cake recipe
Look at all of the different things you can bake with this recipe!
You can use this small chocolate cake recipe for a 6 inch cake bydividing the batter between two 6 inch pans. Bake at 350F for 16 minutes.
For a tall 4 inch cake, divide the batter into three 4 inch pans and bake at 350F for 21 minutes. If you prefer, you can make two short 4 inch cakes by dividing the batter into four 4 inch pans. These will bake at 350F for 18 minutes.
You can make 7 cupcakes with this small chocolate cake recipe. Fill the wrappers 3/4 full for a slightly domed cupcake. Bake at 375F for 14 minutes.
For mini bundt cakes you'll have enough batter for 6. I like to pipe the batter to divide it evenly and neatly between the molds or cavities without getting batter all over the pan! Bake at 375F for 19 minutes.
For a super easy cake that you can bake, frost and decorate in the pan, make a tray bake cake. This small chocolate cake recipe will fill a 9" x 6" casserole or baking dish. Bake at 350F for 29 minutes.
Frosting and decorating ideas
Of course, there are endless ways to frost and decorate all of these! I love my 4 Minute Buttercream for filling and frosting cakes, piping swirls on cupcakes, and piping gorgeous textures on tray bake cakes.
Chocolate ganache is delicious on mini bundt cakes and it's very easy to make. Heat 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream or double cream in the microwave for 30 seconds and then add 2/3 chocolate chips to the bowl. Push them under the surface of the cream and leave for 5 minutes. Stir together until smooth and then drizzle over the mini bundt cakes with a spoon.
This small chocolate cake recipe is not only versatile, it’s also absolutely delicious! It’s rich and moist and super chocolatey but not too sweet - I can’t wait for you to taste it! Please leave a comment below when you do!
This small chocolate cake recipe is not only versatile, it’s also absolutely delicious! It’s rich and moist and super chocolatey but not too sweet. Follow these directions to use it for small cakes (4 inch or 6 inch), cupcakes, mini bundt cakes or a tray bake cake!
1/2cup hot water
1/4cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4cup unsalted butter
1/2cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. In a small bowl, whisk cocoa powder and hot water together until the cocoa powder dissolves. Set aside to cool.
2. In a mixer, cream butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg and mix to combine.
3. In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. Add to the mixing bowl and mix on the lowest speed setting for one minute. Scrape down to the bottom of the mixing bowl with a spatula to loosen any ingredients. Mix again until you can't see the flour in the batter.
4. Add the cocoa powder mixture to the mixing bowl and mix on the lowest speed until the batter is smooth. It will be runny!