This is the best vegan chocolate cake! This mini cake serves only 4 people, and has a rich and deep chocolate flavour, held together with a fudge-like chocolate buttercream. Make this for valentines day, or any other occasion that calls for cake.
Sometimes you really want a delicious slice of cake, but really don’t want to deal with the leftovers of a huge layer cake. I get it, I’ve totally been there.
In this situation I usually turn to cupcakes, however they are really not the same as a slice of cake. Don’t ask me why but they are just not comparable in my mind.
So with Valentines Day coming up, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to experiment with shrinking down a layer cake into something much more manageable for just two people.
This cake is also perfect for those around the world right now that may be stuck at home, unable to celebrate special occasions with family and friends.
And while I had V-Day in mind when developing this recipe, it’s the perfect dessert for any occasion where you need to feed a maximum of 4 people. So make it for a birthday, anniversary or just for the chocolate lover in your life (yes this can be just yourself).
My brother always tells me that I say this too much about food, but here we go anyway: this is the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had. It is super light and soft, but still rich and chocolatey. I honestly think it’s got the best flavour of any chocolate cake on my website.
Oh, and it’s completely vegan. This fact was an accident as when I was making the recipe I ran out of eggs (something that happens to me so often that it really is the reason I started baking vegan as well as dairy-free).
It’s because we don’t have eggs that this cake has a really soft and tender crumb, which is one of the reasons I love it so much. It falls apart a little as you eat it, but yet the cake remains moist, held together by the lashings of rich chocolate fudge-like buttercream.
The secret to the rich, deep chocolate flavour? Coffee. Instead of using milk like we usually would when making a cake batter, we are replacing this with strongly brewed coffee. Firstly, when mixing your cake batter, the smell is incredible, but surprisingly once the cake has baked, all the coffee flavour is removed and instead remains a super rich chocolate cake.
So if you’re not a fan of coffee, don’t let that put you off the cake. You’ll be surprised at how the coffee reacts with the cocoa powder to give the most incredible flavour. Do not try and sub this out, the results simply will not be the same with anything else.
How to make this mini chocolate layer cake
This cake was made using 2 x 5 inch round cake pans as I wanted to create a small layer cake (because 2 layers of frosting – yes please).
If you don’t have 5 inch pans, you can also make this in 2 x 6 inch pans for thinner layers, or 1 6 inch pan for a thicker single layer cake. Either way, you’ll need to adjust the cooking time.
Line the bottom of your cake pans with baking paper and spray the bottom and sides with cooking spray to avoid sticking.
Before starting you’ll want to make a pot of coffee and let it cool to room temperature.
For this recipe you’ll need 2 bowls and a whisk. A rubber spatula will also come in handy for scraping the sides of the bowl.
To make our cake batter, we start by sifting the cocoa powder, plain flour, bicarbonate soda, baking powder and salt together, mixing to combine.
In another bowl, you’ll whisk together the brown sugar, vanilla, coconut oil. Add in the coffee and mix through. Finally, add in the dry ingredients to the bowl and whisk until a batter forms.
This cake batter is quite thin, so don’t worry if you’re expecting it to be thick, this is going to bake up just fine. Evenly pour the batter between your two pans and place into a preheated oven to cook for 20 minutes. The cake will be done when you can lightly touch the top and it will spring back.
Let the cakes cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool completely. If you skip this step and turn them out straight away, they will fall apart so make sure to let them sit first and turn them out carefully.
Once cool, these cakes are ready to frost.
Rich chocolate buttercream (vegan)
The chocolate buttercream is what really makes this cake shine. It holds everything together and gives just the right amount of sweetness to the cake.
I’ve based this frosting off my favourite vegan chocolate buttercream recipe, but reduced the quantity so it’s the perfect amount to cover just the middle and top of this cake, and also swapped out the milk for more coffee.
This frosting is so good, I could eat it with a spoon!
Get your cooled cakes and place one on your serving plate. Using a knife, spread half of your frosting over the cake. Place the second cake on top and again, spread out the remaining frosting on top.
You can use your knife to make swirls on top. I loved the simplicity of the cake so I stopped here, but feel free to decorate with your favorite sprinkle mix.
So whatever you have coming up that requires cake, remember that you don’t need to make a huge one just to enjoy the simple pleasures of diving a fork into a thick slice of cake.
If you do make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and rating below! And tag any of your creations on Instagram with #eightforestlane as I would love to see.
Mini Vegan Chocolate Cake
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup plain flour
- 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup coconut oil melted
- 1/2 cup brewed coffee cooled
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dairy-free butter
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup icing sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon brewed coffee cooled
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease and line 2 x 5 inch (12cm) round cake pans.
- In a small bowl, sift the cocoa powder, plain flour, bicarbonate soda, baking powder and salt together, mixing to combine.
- In another bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, vanilla, coconut oil. Add in the coffee and mix through. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and whisk until a batter forms. The batter will be quite thin.
- Poor the batter evenly between both pans and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched.
- Once the cake is cooked, let cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the frosting by placing all of the ingredients into a bowl and mixing with a hand held electric beater until smooth and creamy. If the frosting is too thin, add a little more icing sugar, and if it’s too stiff, add a little more coffee.
- Assemble the cakes by placing half the frosting on one cake and then sandwiching the second cake on top and finishing with the rest of the frosting. Use a butter knife to smooth down the frosting and create some swirls to finish it off.