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The Best Dark Chocolate Snack Cake

Do you ever have a craving for a little bit of chocolate cake, but don't want to commit to the full 9x13 inch deal? Well, do I have the thing for you! This small 6-inch dark chocolate snack cake is tiny enough to satisfy your chocolate craving while packing in all of the chocolatey goodness that you crave!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Cooling and Frosting Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 50 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 4 small slices


For the 6-Inch Dark Chocolate Cake

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (I like Hershey's Special Dark)
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp espresso powder (optional - it really helps bring out the chocolate flavor!)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable or olive oil
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup buttermilk (homemade buttermilk recipe in "Notes" section)

For the Dark Chocolate Buttercream

  • ¼ cup chopped dark chocolate
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp heavy whipping cream (use more or less depending on how thick you want your frosting)


For the Dark Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 6-inch round pan and line the bottom with a round piece of parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper. I like to grease my pans with Pam for Baking.
  • Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, espresso powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the oil, sugar, egg, vanilla extract, and buttermilk together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Do not overmix.
  • Pour the cake batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for around 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Allow cake to cool in pan on a wire rack before frosting.

For the Dark Chocolate Buttercream

  • In a small pan over low heat, melt the chopped dark chocolate. Stir frequently and watch the chocolate so that it does not burn. Once melted remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes, or until it becomes very pale and fluffy.
  • Reduce mixer to low speed and gradually add the powdered sugar. Increase speed to medium-high and beat the powdered sugar and butter together until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the vanilla and salt and beat on medium speed until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Add the cooled, melted chocolate to the mixing bowl and beat on low speed until combined. Increase speed to high and beat until light and fluffy. Add in 1 tbsp. of heavy cream at a time if frosting is too thick. Frost cooled cake and enjoy!


  • Espresso powder is not required, but it does bring out the chocolate flavor in this cake. It does not make the cake taste like coffee. Use an equal amount of instant coffee as a substitute if desired.
  • Cake can be stored at room temperature for 3 days. Cake can also be frozen and then thawed and frosted later if desired. Simply wrap in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and store in the freezer for up to one month
  • Buttermilk substitute - if you don't have any on hand, simply substitute a mixture of 1/4 cup of regular milk and 3/4 teaspoon of white vinegar, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes to curdle and make buttermilk. Magic!
  • If you'd like to make additional frosting to frost the sides of the cake as well as the top (rather than just the top like I did), simply double the chocolate buttercream recipe.
*Recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
High Altitude Adjustments
  • Flour increase by 1/2 tbsp.
  • Baking Soda– decrease to 1/8 tsp. or use a scant 1/4 tsp.
  • Eggs – use 2 eggs instead of 1
  • Increase oven temperature to 360° F
  • Decrease baking time by 5 or more minutes
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Keyword Birthday, Cakes, Chocolate, Easy Desserts, High Altitude Recipes