One-Bowl Mini Chocolate Cake with Mocha Buttercream

Tiny desserts are the sweetest desserts! This one-bowl mini chocolate cake with mocha buttercream frosting and layers of mini chocolate chips is a chocolate lover’s dream.

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No doubt about it, small desserts are extra enticing. Something about the smaller proportions make them that much more charming, plus I believe when there’s less to indulge in, we’re more inclined to savor each bite. This cake is no exception – a sweet little two-tiered six-inch creation, with layers of rich, tender chocolate cake, the simplest and most delectable mocha buttercream frosting, and mini chocolate chips sprinkled in for good measure.

This cake is a chocolate lover’s dream, and it also happened to be the cake I made for my own birthday this year. It was a gift to myself in many ways:

  • chocolate, obviously;
  • espresso, which is essentially all that keeps me alive (see: toddler);
  • tiny, and therefore adorable, and also therefore possible to enjoy/share with my husband over the course of a few days with minimal guilt;
  • mixed by hand IN ONE BOWL. So easy.

See!? It’s a dream on so many levels.

A mini chocolate cake with mocha buttercream, mixed by hand in one bowl!? That's true love!Click To Tweet

As one more gift to myself, I chose to frost this in my own preferred manner – haphazard but generous. No turntables or fancy equipment to drag out from the pantry, or to wash afterward. Just heap on the frosting, even it out a bit with a spatula, and go!

And feast your eyes on those towering layers of soft, smooth mocha buttercream goodness. When I cut into a cake, that’s what I like to see!

This cake is so simple that I really don’t have any ingenious tricks or tips. What I would strongly recommend is that, if you are interested in simple, utterly delicious baked goods, you add Yvonne Ruperti’s One Bowl Baking to your cookbook wish list. I’ve now made about a dozen things from this book, every last one has turned out wonderfully, and it’s no hyperbole – they really are all made in one bowl. This is simple baking done right!

(I feel a bit like a commercial, so I’ll note this is in no way sponsored. I bought the cookbook myself and Ms. Ruperti definitely has no idea who I am. I just really love it. The above link *is* an affiliate one, which means that if you happened to click through and make a purchase, Nourish & Fete would receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, and I would do a happy dance and be profoundly grateful.)

More Cakes and Cupcakes:

Champagne Layer Cake
Small Batch Triple Chocolate Cupcakes
Everyday Chocolate Snack Cake
Perfect Filled Lemon Cupcakes
Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting
Butter Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream
Blood Orange Snack Cake

A tiny chocolate cake with mocha buttercream frosting and chocolate chips, with candles lit for a birthday.

One-bowl mini chocolate cake with mocha buttercream.

4 votes


One-Bowl Mini Chocolate Cake With Mocha Buttercream




Yield 1 6-inch 2-layer cake

Tiny desserts are the sweetest desserts! This one-bowl mini chocolate cake with mocha buttercream frosting and layers of mini chocolate chips is a chocolate lover's dream.


For the Cake:

  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) sour cream or creme fraiche
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (105 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (28 grams) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For the Frosting:

  • 1.5 ounces (42 grams) unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon instant coffee or espresso powder
  • 16 Tablespoons (1 cup, 2 sticks, 227 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (227 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (170 grams) mini chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Prepare two 6-inch round cake pans by greasing the bottoms and sides with a small pat of butter, then dusting lightly with flour; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, sour cream, oil, egg, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until well-combined.
  3. Add the flour, cocoa, and baking soda, and whisk again until the batter is smooth. Try not to overmix.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between your prepared cake pans and bake just until firm, 20 to 22 minutes. When the cakes are ready, a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center should come out clean, and the tops should bounce back when gently poked with a finger.
  5. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then invert the cakes out of the pans to cool completely before frosting.
  6. To make the frosting, in a large bowl, warm the chocolate with the coffee powder. (This can be done either by setting the bowl over a pan of boiling water, or by microwaving at 50% power in 30-second intervals.) Stir frequently, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Add the butter and whisk again until smooth. 
  7. Whisk in the powdered sugar until the mixture is even and lightens to a pale brown. The the frosting may be too soft to spread at this point; if so, allow it to rest at room temperature for a few minutes, whisking occasionally, until ready to use.
  8. To assemble, set one cake layer on a small plate or cake stand. Scoop about 1 cup of frosting on top, spreading into an even layer. Sprinkle about half of the mini chocolate chips on top of the frosting, then stack the second cake layer on top. Use remaining frosting to coat the top and sides of the cake, and garnish with additional chocolate chips, as desired.


Cake will keep well for 2-3 days at room temperature if tightly covered.

Recipe adapted from One Bowl Baking, by Yvonne Ruperti, via Hummingbird High. (I originally found this recipe years ago on HH, and only last week found the post again and realized that Michelle had herself adapted this from Ruperti's cookbook, with which I had fallen in love independently in the interim. Fate!)  I cannot recommend Ruperti's cookbook highly enough - everything I've made from it has been delicious, and really truly mixes up quickly in ONE BOWL. Amazing.

Six-inch round cake pans are not expensive, and more useful than you might think. See again - tiny desserts are universally loved!

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 slice

Amount Per Serving

Calories 454

% Daily Value

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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One-bowl mini chocolate cake with mocha buttercream | A sweet, tiny dessert, mixed by hand in one bowl, perfect for chocolate lovers! #minicake #onebowl #chocolatecake

One-bowl mini chocolate cake with mocha buttercream | A sweet, tiny dessert, mixed by hand in one bowl, perfect for chocolate lovers! #minicake #onebowl #chocolatecake


  • Reply
    April 24, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    that cake cross-section picture made me want to make this today. soooo glad i did! i cut the white sugar in half since i find all cake recipes way too sweet. i also used a different frosting (looked up a chocolate ermine frosting recipe, cut the sugar in half and added instant coffee powder to that) since i’ve always had problems with gritty buttercream. i also used improvised buttermilk (milk and vinegar) because i didn’t have sour cream. i even thought i overbaked the cake but it was still moist and delicious. thank you for this recipe 😚 will definitely make it again ❤

    • Reply
      Monica | Nourish and Fete
      April 25, 2018 at 5:50 am

      Hi Jan, thanks so much for your feedback, and for the info on those modifications – so glad to know it worked well for you! I will have to try it with less sugar next time myself! 🙂 I appreciate your note!

  • Reply
    November 15, 2017 at 1:44 am

    Seriously!? This is WAY too cute to be this easy. The perfect recipe- thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    November 14, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    This cake looks amazing! Yum!

  • Reply
    November 14, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    Monica, this frosting looks heavenly creamy. I’ll have to proof my resistance to not eat the frosting before frosting the cake 🙂

  • Reply
    Albert Bevia
    November 14, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    This cake looks so good! and that Mocha Buttercream sounds devine! I am not much of a baker but this recipe is easy enough for even me to try, thank you 🙂

  • Reply
    November 14, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    I don’t know if this could be any sweeter…and I don’t mean that just in the literal sense! Your decoration and presentation is adorable and so enticing.

    • Reply
      November 14, 2017 at 1:52 pm

      Thank you so much, that is really kind of you to say!

  • Reply
    November 14, 2017 at 1:40 am

    That is so gorgeous. It looks moist and that thick frosting knocks my socks off. 🙂 It’s such a simple way to decorate the top wth chocolate chips but it looks so good especially when you cut the piece.

    • Reply
      November 14, 2017 at 1:52 pm

      Thank you so much, Ginny!

  • Reply
    Mary // Chattavore
    November 14, 2017 at 1:20 am

    First of all, ADORABLE. Second, I am obsessed with one-bowl baking! This looks so amazing!

    • Reply
      November 14, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      Mary, thank you! I know, one-bowl baking is so amazing, it makes me half wonder why I ever make more complicated things, ha! Definitely check out Ruperti’s book, if you don’t have it, for a resource!

  • Reply
    November 13, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    I love the idea of a smaller cake as there’s no way we’d get through one otherwise in our house without giving half of it away. And one bowl is even better!

    • Reply
      November 14, 2017 at 1:54 pm

      Exactly!! I give away a LOT of dessert; there was something pleasant about enjoying this one just between us. 🙂

  • Reply
    November 13, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    Oh god, this cake. Chocolate cake is my weakness, plus mocha buttercream is a dream come true. Love the recipe and pictures absolutely made me drool. 😀

    • Reply
      November 14, 2017 at 1:54 pm

      Thank you so much, Deepika!

  • Reply
    November 13, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    I was starting to get hungry for dinner, but now I just want cake! This cake! And all the chocolatey goodness that comes with it. Gorgeous!

    • Reply
      November 14, 2017 at 1:55 pm

      Haha! Well, if you just have this cake for dinner, I won’t tell a soul! 😉

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