6 Inch Chocolate Cake

Moist and fluffy chocolate cake is layered up with creamy chocolate frosting in this super easy 6 Inch Cake! It may be half the size of your average cake, but it’s guaranteed to make every chocolate lover fall head over heels in love.

A chocolate layer cake on a speckled cake stand with one slice missing

Mini Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

This recipe is for all of you chocoholics who’ve been looking forward to my chocolate version of this 6 Inch Vanilla Cake. I promise that it will be well worth the wait! It’s a mini version of the World’s Best Chocolate Cake, so you already know it’s going to be downright irresistible. The moist, rich, tender cake and the smooth, creamy frosting will have you licking every little crumb off of your plate!

And you don’t need any fancy ingredients to make it happen. Hot water is used in the cake to “bloom” the cocoa powder, or draw out its flavor and richness. As a result, the chocolatey goodness in this dessert is unmatched! If you have a chocolate lover in your family who prefers a small cake, this is the annual birthday cake they need in their life.

Why Make a 6 Inch Cake?

There are many reasons why you may not want a full 8 or 9 inch cake. Maybe you want a smash cake for your baby’s birthday, maybe you have a small family, or perhaps you just want to try something new and not have a ton leftover! All excuses to make this cake are completely valid.

A slice of chocolate layer cake on a plate with a bite on a fork

What You’ll Need

Let’s talk ingredients. We’ll start with the cake and move on to the buttercream.

For the Chocolate Cake

  • All-Purpose Flour: You can use cake flour, as well.
  • Sugar
  • Cocoa Powder: Natural and unsweetened.
  • Baking Soda: Not baking powder. They are not interchangeable.
  • Salt: For flavor. Definitely don’t leave it out.
  • Egg
  • Milk: I use 2 %.
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Hot Water: To “bloom” the cocoa powder.

For the Chocolate Buttercream

  • Butter: Brought to room temperature.
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Cream: Or water.
A close-up shot of a piece of chocolate cake with chocolate frosting on a white plate

How to Make 6 Inch Chocolate Cake

Putting together this cake is incredibly simple. First, we’ll work on making the batter. Once the cake is baked and cooled, it’s frosting time!

Make the Cake Layers

  1. Prep for Baking: Prepare three 6 inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom and grease the sides. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  2. Combine Dry Ingredients: Add all of the dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk until combined.
  3. Add Egg, Milk & Oil: Add the egg, milk and vegetable oil to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Combine Vanilla & Water: Add the vanilla to the hot water, then add the mixture to your batter. Mix well.
  5. Bake: Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans and bake the layers for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few loose crumbs.
  6. Let Cool: Remove your cake layers from the oven and allow them to cool for about 3-5 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.

Make the Frosting

  1. Beat Butter: Once the cake layers are cool, make the buttercream. Add the butter to a large mixing bowl and beat until it’s nice and smooth.
  2. Start Adding Powdered Sugar: Add half of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
  3. Add Vanilla, Cocoa & Cream: Add the vanilla extract, cocoa powder and 2 tablespoons of cream or water. Mix until the frosting is well combined and smooth.
  4. Finish Adding Powdered Sugar: Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
  5. Adjust Consistency: Add additional cream or water as needed to get the right consistency.

Build the Cake

  1. Level Cake Layers: Use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the top of the cakes so that they’re flat. These cakes don’t have large domes, but I like to make sure they’re completely level before I start stacking them.
  2. Frost First Layer: Place the first cake layer onto a serving plate or a cardboard cake round. Spread about half a cup of frosting evenly on top of the cake.
  3. Add Another Layer: Add the second layer of cake and another half cup of frosting.
  4. Finish Layering & Frosting: Top the cake with the remaining layer and frost the outside and top of the cake. Refer to my tutorial for frosting a smooth cake if needed.
  5. Decorate: Press chocolate sprinkles into the sides of the cake if you’d like. Pipe a shell border along the top and bottom edges of the cake. I used Ateco tip 847 to do this.
  6. Serve: Slice, serve and enjoy!
A 6 inch chocolate layer cake with a frosting border on top and sprinkles pressed into the sides

Tips for Success

Before you recreate this crave-worthy cake at home, be sure to check out the tips and tricks below.

  • Make Sure the Water is Hot: If your water isn’t hot when you add it to the cake batter, it won’t bloom the cocoa powder and intensify its flavor. The hotter it is, the better. I usually heat it in the microwave just until it begins to boil.
  • Bake in Batches if Needed: If you can’t fit all of the cake layers on the center rack of your oven at the same time, bake them in batches. If they’re on the top or bottom racks, one side will cook faster than the other.
  • Adjust the Frosting’s Consistency: You may need to add extra cream or water to your frosting if it’s too thick for your taste. Mix in a little bit at a time until you’re happy with the consistency.
  • Store if Not Serving Immediately: Unless you’re serving your cake right away, you should keep it in an airtight container to preserve its freshness. I like to store mine in a cake carrier to avoid messing up the frosting.
A piece of 6 inch chocolate cake on a plate with the rest of the cake behind it

Variation Ideas

I have based so many different chocolate cakes on the full-sized version of this recipe. You’ll find a few of my very favorites linked below! To make them work in the 6 inch size, simply reduce each ingredient by half.

A frosted and decorated 6 inch chocolate cake on a serving platter sitting on a marble countertop

Saving Extra Cake for Later

Leftover cake should be kept in a cake carrier or another airtight container at room temperature. It’s best if it’s enjoyed within 3-4 days.

Can I Freeze This?

Yes! You can either freeze the cake layers before you add the frosting or freeze the finished, frosted cake. To freeze the layers, simply wrap each one in two layers of plastic wrap and freeze them for up to 3 months. Thaw them out in the fridge before assembling the cake.

To freeze the frosted cake, place it on a baking sheet and freeze the whole thing for about 1-2 hours, or until the icing is hard. If you can’t fit the whole cake in your freezer, cut it into individual slices instead, which can be frozen the same way. Once the frosting is hard, wrap the cake in two layers of plastic wrap and freeze it for up to 3 months. Unwrap it and thaw it out in the fridge before enjoying it.

Print
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A chocolate layer cake on a speckled cake stand with one slice missing
Recipe

6 Inch Chocolate Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Moist and fluffy chocolate cake is layered up with creamy chocolate frosting in this super easy 6 Inch Cake! It may be half the size of your average cake, but it’s guaranteed to make every chocolate lover fall head over heels in love.


Ingredients

For the Chocolate Cake

  • 1 cup (130g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (207g) sugar
  • 6 tbsp (43g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) milk
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) hot water

For the Chocolate Buttercream

  • 1 1/2 cups (336g) butter, room temperature
  • 5 cups (575g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (57g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 23 tbsp (60-75ml) cream

Instructions

Make the Cake Layers

  1. Prepare three 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom, and grease the sides.
  2. Preheat oven to 300°F (148°C).
  3. Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk together.
  4. Add egg, milk and vegetable oil to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Add vanilla to hot water and add to mixture. Mix well.
  6. Divide batter evenly between cakes pans and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
  7. Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for about 3-5 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.

Make the Frosting

  1. When the cake layers are cool, make the buttercream. Add the butter to a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth.
  2. Add half of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
  3. Add vanilla extract, cocoa and 2 tablespoons of cream or water and mix until well combined and smooth.
  4. Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
  5. Add additional cream or water as needed to get the right consistency.

Build the Cake

  1. Use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the top of the cakes so that they’re flat. These cakes don’t have a large dome, but I like to make sure they’re completely flat.
  2. Place the first cake on a serving plate or a cardboard cake round.
  3. Spread about 1/2 a cup of frosting evenly on top of the cake.
  4. Add the second layer of cake and another half cup of frosting.
  5. Top the cake with the remaining layer and frost the outside of the cake. Refer to my tutorial for frosting a smooth cake, if needed.
  6. Press sprinkles into the sides of the cake. Pipe a shell border around the top edge and bottom of the cake. I used Ateco tip 847.

Notes

  • Makes 6-8 servings.
  • To Store: Store in an airtight container. Cake is best if eaten within 3-4 days.
  • To Freeze: To freeze unfrosted layers, wrap each one in two layers of plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before building cake. To freeze frosted cake, place on a baking sheet and freeze whole thing or individual slices for 1-2 hours, or until icing is hard. Once frosting is hard, wrap cake in two layers of plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. Unwrap and thaw in the fridge before enjoying.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 912
  • Sugar: 99.5 g
  • Sodium: 327.8 mg
  • Fat: 50.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 118.2 g
  • Protein: 5.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 117.2 mg

Keywords: chocolate cake frosting, layered chocolate cake, homemade chocolate frosting

Categories

More Chocolatey Desserts to Try

Craving more chocolate? You don’t want to miss out on the decadent desserts below.

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Recipe rating

25 Comments
  1. norma stephens

    I have baked this cake twice and both times it take an additional 10 to 15 minutes longer to bake a 300°F. What is happening to the bake time?

  2. Dominique Cardenas

    Hi Lindsay, I was wondering.. why didn’t you use buttermilk in this recipe like the 8 inch recipe does?

    1. Lindsay

      You can really use either kind of milk in this cake. It’s a touch more tender with buttermilk but not everyone always has that on hand so I often use regular milk too. It such a tender cake either way. Feel free to use either.

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yolk upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29