A must-have recipe for chocolate lovers – a simple, one-layer chocolate cake with smooth, creamy, dark chocolate frosting. This everyday chocolate snack cake is just the thing for a classic, crowd-pleasing dessert.
Sometimes I get so tied up trying to think of new and exciting things to make in the kitchen, I forget that simple is often best. One day last week, I was mentally going through aaaall the possibilities for a dessert to make that night. It had to be fast, it had to be delicious (of course), and it had to feed a small crowd, because my stepdaughter was having a couple friends over for dinner. I’ve had in mind several bar cookies, pies, and tarts I want to try, but all of them required multiple steps, too much cooling time, or ingredients I didn’t have on hand. Plus I was already trying a new recipe for dinner, and didn’t really want to experiment with everything, all at once! 🙂
Who knows why it took me so long to remember this oh-so-sweet chocolate snack cake? As simple as can be, it’s also moist, rich, and ridiculously adorable in its casual little one-layer incarnation – especially with a generous layer of frosting and sprinkles.
Now, for whatever reason, I decided to make this particular cake in an 8″ round cake pan – it works equally well in a 8″ or 9″ square – and cut it into small squares rather than triangles. There really was no particular logic to this. Although, come to think of it, I do have a slight aversion to cutting cake in triangles, probably because my triangles always end up terribly uneven and misshapen. This seems to bother exactly no one besides myself, but who wants to fret about the shape of their triangles at a time when they ought to be focused on eating cake? Straight lines are simple. Simple is good.
The only drawback to cutting the cake this way was being left with those tiny little pieces in the corners. Hardly seems fair to give someone that as their piece…
Better to just eat that smidge quickly by yourself and solve the problem.
There, much better. 🙂This sweet, simple chocolate snack cake will definitely brighten up your week! Click To Tweet
We did not share this particular treat with Henry, as he was en route to bed by the time it was frosted, and I still limit his sweets as much as possible, anyway. Still, I imagine small squares are a good strategy for serving toddlers or preschoolers, too. Cute little squares are easy to grasp with tiny fingers and thumbs. Though let’s be honest, they’re just going to lick off all the frosting and move on anyway, right?
Easy Cake, Easier Frosting
The cake recipe is perfection, of course, as are all things derived from Smitten Kitchen. I’ve made it before with the simple frosting that goes with the original cake recipe, which is delicious, but, well… I have no real excuse for myself. I was so eager to make this as easy as humanly possible – which in this case meant avoiding the need to haul my food processor up onto the counter – that I swapped in a different, even easier, frosting – a scaled-up version of the one that adorns these small-batch triple chocolate cupcakes. And it was so simple and so delicious that I’ll probably make it this way from now on.
And just look at those sprinkles. I could never resist those cheerful little dots. Why even try? ♥
This was just enough cake for my husband, stepdaughter, her two friends, and me to enjoy one night, with a little leftover for just the three of us to have the following night. I have to say, it was nice having a chocolate cake to enjoy without the temptation to devour an entire sheet cake or large layer cake in the span of a few days. (Which has happened a few times too many in my house. Eek.)
Next time you need a cheerful, crowd-pleasing, everyday dessert – with chocolate, of course – this snack cake is there for you. Imagine how happy your family and friends will be to wander into the kitchen and see this on the counter!
Everyday Chocolate Snack Cake
For the Cake:
- 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (41 grams) Dutch cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cup (145 grams) packed brown sugar light or dark
- 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk*
- 3/4 cup (175 ml) buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Frosting:
- 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons, 1 stick, 4 ounces, or 115 grams) unsalted butter very soft
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder I used Hershey’s Special Dark
- 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Coat the bottom and sides of an 8 or 9-inch square or round cake pan with butter, then lightly dust with flour. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk briefly to combine, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, use a hand or stand mixer to beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl, then add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Beat until well-combined, then add the buttermilk and beat again. Scrape down the bowl once more.
- Add the dry ingredients to the egg-sugar mixture, and mix on low just until combined. Avoid overmixing - a few streaks of flour are OK! Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with the back of a spatula.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Let cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan, then flip the cake out onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
- Prepare the frosting by placing the butter in a small bowl. If it is not yet very soft, microwave on medium power for 10-20 seconds, then stir. It’s OK to have a few pools where the butter has melted. Add the cocoa powder and stir with a spatula to combine. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk, and stir until the frosting is even and thick. Add a pinch of additional powdered sugar or milk to reach your desired consistency. Frost and garnish cooled cake as desired.