Where are my chocoholics at?? This small chocolate cake is perfect for your next chocolate craving. It might be my new favorite chocolate cake recipe. It's a single layer 6-inch cake that's mixed all in one bowl and so easy to make. But it packs a huge amount of chocolate flavor. It's a great size for a small gathering, a dessert for two, or even a single serving if you're ambitious enough!
If you love small batch recipes, check out my favorite gluten free chocolate chip cookies which makes just five large cookies or these amazing gluten free chocolate cupcakes which just makes a batch of six.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- It's easy to make.
- It only requires one bowl.
- No fancy decorating needed, so it's great for beginner bakers.
- It has amazing chocolate flavor!
- It's gluten free & dairy free.
- Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend - I use Bob's Red Mill in most of my recipes. You can substitute with the gluten free flour blend of your choice, just ensure it contains xanthan gum or a similar binder.
- Cocoa Powder - I always use Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder. It is gluten free and available everywhere. Do not use dutch process cocoa as it will react differently in the recipe and produce a different result.
- Baking Soda & Baking Powder - It's important to use both types of leavening agents to keep the cake light in texture.
- Espresso Powder - This enhances the chocolate flavor, but it is totally optional. The cake will still be delicious without it. If you don't have espresso powder on hand, you can replace the hot water with the same amount of hot coffee for a similar flavor enhancement.
- Egg - This cake only calls for one egg and although I haven't tested it with egg replacements, I believe a flax egg or a baking soda+vinegar egg would work well here. You could also try applesauce as a replacement, but the cake will turn out a little more dense in texture.
- Non-Dairy Milk - I used coconut milk, but any non-dairy milk will work. If you're trying to make this egg free, then definitely use soy milk since it has the highest amount of protein. If you're not dairy free, use regular milk in the same measure.
- Oil - I use olive oil, but any light flavored cooking oil will work. You could also substitute melted coconut oil in the same measure.
- Hot Water - This is needed to bloom the chocolate and to help with moisture. The water can be just hot tap water and does not need to be boiling.
For the chocolate buttercream frosting you will need: vegan butter, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, vanilla and more hot water.
See recipe card for full ingredient list and quantities.
Substitutions & Variations
- Make it Vegan / Egg Free - Use a flax egg or baking soda + vinegar egg to replace the single egg in this cake. Be sure to use soy milk if omitting the egg, since it has the highest protein content of dairy free milks.
- Not Dairy Free - Use regular milk and regular butter in place of the vegan ingredients listed in the same measurement.
- Top with another type of frosting - This cake would be delicious with vanilla buttercream, cream cheese frosting or even peanut butter frosting.
This mini chocolate cake is very easy to make and only requires one bowl. I recommend an electric mixer, but you could also mix this by hand if you want. Make sure that you grease and line your cake pan for a good release.
STEP 1: Combine the sugar, gluten free flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt and espresso powder in a large bowl. Whisk until well mixed.
STEP 2: Add the egg, milk, oil and vanilla and beat with a mixer for 2 minutes.
STEP 3: Slowly pour the hot water into the batter and mix for a minute more until it's all combined.
STEP 4: Pour the cake batter into your prepared pan and bake.
See instructions for making the chocolate buttercream frosting in the recipe card below.
Store any leftover cake in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days. (If it lasts that long!)
In this cake, the batter is lightened by both baking powder and baking soda. Baking soda reacts with the acidity in the chocolate to make air bubbles. Baking powder enlarges the air bubbles that are created from both the baking soda reaction and from when the egg is beaten into the batter. It reacts with both liquid and the heat from the oven, that's why baking powder is called double acting.
In this recipe the moist texture comes from the oil, combined with both milk and water. With chocolate cake it's important not to over bake, since you cannot tell when it is too brown. Once the internal cake temperature reaches 200 degrees F, you're losing moisture in the oven.
No, you won't notice the coffee at all. I don't even like coffee, so you can trust me! All it does is enhance the richness of the chocolate flavor. You can leave it out if you don't have it and the cake will still be delicious.
Although I joke about this cake being single serving size, you can get 4 generous size slices from the cake. You could even stretch it to 6 slices and everyone would still be happy.
More gluten free cakes:
If you try this recipe, please leave a 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the comments below.
One Bowl Small Chocolate Cake (6-inch)
- ⅔ Cup Sugar
- 9 Tablespoons Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend I use Bob's Red Mill
- ¼ Cup Cocoa Powder
- ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ teaspoon Baking Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Espresso Powder optional
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 Egg
- ⅓ Cup Non Dairy Milk
- 3 Tablespoons Oil
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- ¼ Cup Hot Water
For the frosting
- ¼ Cup Vegan Butter room temperature
- ¼ Cup Cocoa Powder
- 2 Cups Powdered Sugar
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla
- 3 Tablespoons Hot Water
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line a 6-inch cake pan.
- Combine the sugar, gluten free flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, espresso powder and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together until well mixed.⅔ Cup Sugar, 9 Tablespoons Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend, ¼ Cup Cocoa Powder, ½ teaspoon Baking Soda, ½ teaspoon Baking Powder, ¼ teaspoon Espresso Powder, ½ teaspoon Salt
- Add the egg, milk, oil and vanilla to the dry ingredients. Mix on medium speed with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes until smooth.1 Egg, ⅓ Cup Non Dairy Milk, 3 Tablespoons Oil, 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- Add the hot water and mix for another minute until combined.¼ Cup Hot Water
- Pour into the prepared pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for 30-32 minutes or until the top springs back when gently poked.
- Remove from oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting
- Combine the butter, cocoa powder, powdered sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat, first on low speed, then gradually increase the speed.¼ Cup Vegan Butter, ¼ Cup Cocoa Powder, 2 Cups Powdered Sugar, ½ teaspoon Vanilla
- Once the ingredients are combined, pour in the hot water while continuing to mix. Beat for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy.3 Tablespoons Hot Water
- Spread over the cooled cake in an even layer.
Tiffany is the recipe developer, stylist and food photographer behind Well Fed Baker. As a lifelong baker who had to go gluten free and dairy free in 2016, Tiffany strives to share allergen friendly recipes that never feel like they are free from anything.
Really good and easy to make! The frosting is creamy which helps any gluten free cake be more indulgent! Will make again!
I'm glad you liked it, Hillary! 🙂