This 6 inch Single Layer Chocolate Cake is soft, moist, and the perfect amount of chocolatey goodness to enjoy by yourself or with someone you love! Enjoy it with a sprinkling of powdered sugar over the top or with this rich, milk chocolate frosting and a handful of rainbow jimmies! Just don't forget the milk!
reasons to love this 6 inch single layer chocolate cake
- It's just one, 6 inch single layer cake
- Soft and moist in texture
- Full of chocolate flavor in each bite
- An easy to make recipe
- Perfect to enjoy on your own or with a loved one, and also for birthdays
- It's frosted with a small batch milk chocolate frosting
- You can add on some rainbow jimmies or sprinkles
I love chocolate and I love cake, but sometimes I simply don't want a 2 or even 3 layer cake. Anyone else? Adapted from my small batch chocolate cupcakes recipe, this 6 inch single layer chocolate cake is the newest recipe to be added to my recipe box. It's an easy-to-make recipe that tastes fantastic!
single layer chocolate cake ingredients
- All-Purpose Flour. Use what you have on hand. My favorite though is King Arthur Flour. It's the best (IMHO).
- Sugars. You'll need granulated sugar and light brown sugar for this recipe. The light brown sugar should be lightly packed if using measuring cups.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. I used Hershey's, but use what you have on hand. Using extra dark cocoa powder from Hershey's will work fine too. I did not test this with dutch process or black cocoa.
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda. The usual players. Make sure they're still fresh and haven't expired.
- Salt. Just a pinch!
- Egg. Just one is needed, and at room temperature is best!
- Milk. I used 1%, but you could also use fat free, 2%, whole, or lactose free milk. I did not test this with almond, soy, or any other non-dairy milk.
- Vegetable Oil. You don't need a lot, but it gives the chocolate a little more of that moist consistency.
- Vanilla Extract. Pure is the best or you can sub it out for this cocoa vanilla extract from Heilala Vanilla! All of their flavored extracts are awesome!
- Hot Water. It should be hot to the touch, but not boiling.
The following ingredients are optional with this recipe. The first two definitely add more amplified chocolate flavor to the cake. The jimmies just make it cheery and fun!
- Dark Chocolate. You don't need much at all. Using chocolate chocolate chips or a bar of chocolate is perfectly fine. I used 2 squares of Ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate.
- Espresso Powder. This needs to be dissolved in the hot water before adding to the rest of the wet ingredients. You can skip this, but you still need to add in the hot water. Another substitute for this is instant coffee. Same amount and same method.
- Rainbow Jimmies. Perfect for sprinkling over top of the milk chocolate frosting. Of course, if you're just going with the powdered sugar, you can skip these.
how to make the best chocolate cake
Skip the mixers. For this single layer cake recipe you don't need any mixers. Just some mixing bowls, whisks, and a spatula will do the trick. To make the milk chocolate frosting, however, I do recommend using a hand mixer or stand mixer.
Prep your cake pan. Nothing stinks more than a cake that won't easily come out of the pan. Enter Baker's Joy. I'm not being paid to say this at all, I just love this product and swear by it for all my cakes! I've gotten it online and also at Walmart.
Don't over mix the cake batter. Skipping the mixers does help reduce the chance of over mixing the cake batter, but it can still happen. Mix the ingredients until they're just combined—meaning until you can no longer see it. This really comes into play when you mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients.
Add in the optional ingredients. I've mentioned above that the melted chocolate and espresso powder are two optional ingredients to this recipe. The melted chocolate adds more chocolate flavor, while the espresso powder gives it a nice boost.
If you use the melted chocolate, take note that it might cause the top of your cake to sink ever so slightly or pucker in the middle. I know ordinarily that can mean a whole slew of cake issues, but for this it is okay.
I still recommend doing the toothpick test after baking because yes, you can still run into baking issues. If the inserted toothpick (at the center of the cake) comes out clean, you're good.
Use cake strips. I don't mention this as often as I probably should with my cake recipes, but using cake strips helps tremendously with getting a nice flat cake surface. I have a bunch from Wilton which I use regularly with my cakes and love them.
Cool the cake completely. And only cool the cake in the pan for about 10 minutes. You will then want to invert it onto a wire cooling rack to finish cooling. It's one of my favorite steps because you get this fabulous smell of chocolate cake when turning it over.
It's also worth noting that if you are frosting your cake the same day as making it, then it's definitely good to let it cool completely.
Keep it simple. If the thought of making the milk chocolate frosting stresses you out, then simply sprinkle over the top a dusting of some powdered sugar. Either way you will still satisfy your chocolate cravings!
can I make this recipe in advance?
Yes, for sure! You can make both the chocolate cake and the frosting in advance.
The 6 inch chocolate cake can be made up to 2 months in advance when properly stored in the freezer.
The milk chocolate frosting can be made up to 2-3 days in advance when kept in a tightly sealed container in your refrigerator. You might need to place it back into the mixing bowl of your stand mixer to bring it back to life a bit before adding it to your chocolate cake.
how to freeze a single layer cake (unfrosted)
Freezing this single layer chocolate cake requires only a few steps.
- Allow the cake to cool completely.
- Wrap it tightly in 2-3 layers of plastic wrap.
- Place it in a freezer storage bag then into a flat part of your freezer.
- Make sure to write what it is along with the date on the storage bag, so you remember what it is!
To defrost this single layer chocolate cake, you will want to put it in your refrigerator 2-3 hours before frosting. This will not completely defrost the cake, but this is a good thing! A fully defrosted cake will give you more crumbs as you try to frost it.
can I freeze frosted cake slices?
Absolutely! I used this chocolate cake recipe for my birthday cake and froze the remaining slices to have for later.
To freeze frosted cake slices, tightly wrap each individual cake slice 2-3 times in plastic wrap. Then add one layer of aluminum foil. Gently write on the outside in permanent marker what it is in case you forget.
Once packaged up for the freezer, you can arrange them on a baking sheet, plate, or a flat surface in your freezer. The slices will last up to 2 months.
To defrost the frosted cake slices, let them come to room temperature on your kitchen counter or in the refrigerator.
recommended baking tools
Here are just a few baking tools I recommend when making this moist single layer chocolate cake! Scroll through the carousel below for more!
- 6 inch Cake Pan. Mine is from Wilton which came in a set of four. You can find them online or at any craft and baking supply stores.
- Mixing Bowls. Works well for the dry ingredients and wet.
- Glass Measuring Cup. I used this for melting my chocolate!
- Whisks and Spatulas. Always good to have a few of these on hand while you bake this chocolate cake! I swear by GIR whisks and spatulas. They also make spoonulas which are a combination of a spatula and a spoon. I love them when using cake batters!
more small batch desserts to enjoy!
Single Layer Chocolate CakeAuthor:
6 inch single layer chocolate cake
- ½ cup All-Purpose Flour
- ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
- ¼ cup Light Brown Sugar, lightly packed
- ¼ cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- ½ tsp Baking Powder
- ½ tsp Baking Soda
- ⅛ tsp Salt
- 1 Large Egg
- ¼ cup Milk, any type (I used 1%)
- ⅛ cup Vegetable Oil
- ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
- ⅛ cup Hot Water
- 1 oz Dark Chocolate (optional), melted
- ½ tsp Espresso Powder (optional), dissolve in the hot water
- ½ cup Rainbow Jimmies (optional), for cake garnish
small batch milk chocolate frosting
- 2.5 oz Milk Chocolate Chips
- 6 tbsp Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- ⅓ cup Sifted Powdered Sugar
- ¼ cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- ⅛ tsp Salt
- ⅛ cup Light Corn Syrup
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
6 inch single layer chocolate cake
- Adjust your oven rack to the 2nd level position (just above center) and preheat your oven to 350ºF. Generously spray a 6 inch cake pan with a flour based baking spray or grease and flour. If you choose, you can also add a 6 inch parchment paper circle to the bottom of the pan as well. Set to the side.
- Using a microwaveable bowl or measuring glass, melt the dark chocolate in 30-45 second increments at full power until smooth and creamy. Set to the side to cool slightly.
- With a small mixing bowl and a whisk, blend together the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set to the side.
- In a separate medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and hot water dissolved with the espresso powder.
- Add in the melted chocolate.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk together until just combined. Be careful not to over mix the cake batter.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 25-28 minutes at 350ºF or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool the cake in the cake pan for 10 minutes before inverting it onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- Once cooled, dust with powdered sugar or frost with this small batch milk chocolate frosting and top with rainbow jimmies, then enjoy!
small batch milk chocolate frosting (optional)
- In a microwaveable bowl or measuring glass, melt the milk chocolate in 30-45 second increments at full power until smooth and creamy. Set to the side to cool slightly.
- Using your hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment mix the unsalted butter, sifted powdered sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, and salt on medium speed until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add in the light corn syrup, vanilla extract, and the melted chocolate, and mix until the frosting is well blended and smooth in texture.
- Frost your cake once it's completely cooled.