Mini Chocolate Layer Cakes

My best friend is home and I wanted to try a mini “naked” cake.

America’s Test Kitchen


1.5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee powder
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 sour cream, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
Frosting, as desired


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease your pans. I used Crisco vegetable shortening to grease two 4 inch ramekins, and two 2 inch ramekins. The recipe calls for two 6 inch pans.
  3. Combine chocolate, cocoa, and espresso powder in a small bowl. Pour boiling water over mixture, cover, and let sit until chocolate is melted, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Whisk mixture gently until smooth. Let cool to room temperature then whisk in sour cream and vanilla.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.
  6. Using a mixer at low speed, beat butter (softened) and sugar until sugar moistened, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and beat mixture until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  7. Add egg and beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 2 additions, alternating with chocolate mixture. Give batter final stir by the hand.
  8. Divide batter between the pans, smooth tops and gently tap each pan on counter to release air bubbles.
  9. Bake cakes until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking.
  10. Let cakes cool and use spatula to remove cakes from pans. Let cool outside of pans and frost.

Recipe made two mini 2-layer cakes: 4 inch cake on the bottoms and 2 inch cakes as top layer.


I’ve used this recipe at least 5 times and it works every time. It’s easy to do and makes a beautifully moist chocolate cake. The best part of the cake (for me) is that it isn’t overly sweet.

When frosting, I typically wait until the cake is completely cool and then do an initial “crumb” layer, refrigerate, then do another final layer. This time, I wanted to go for the more naked cake look and use minimal frosting. I waited until the cake cooled (which I expedite by putting it in the freezer until it’s cool, but not cold), then frosted it with a thin layer of vanilla frosting.

I finished the cake off with some fresh blueberries and sifted some confectioners sugar on top.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s