Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mini Chocolate Layer Cakes

Do you ever have those days where you think to yourself - no, I don't want to make 5 dozen cookies, 2 dozen cupcakes, or a whole three layer cake? Yeah, neither do I. Just thought I'd check though.

However, I must confess a weakness of mine. It's a big one, and it has led to some pretty silly purchases and projects. Sshhh, don't tell anyone, but I like little things. The littler, the better. Small = cute = love. Thus things like mini loaves, mini bundt cakes, teacakes, cup-pies, mini madeleines, carrot cake cupcakes... See? It's a problem. And I have to say, it's one that probably won't go away any time soon.

And that's why I ended up with these. These oh-so-adorable cakes. Baked in 7-oz ramekins, split into three layers, and frosted with plain vanilla frosting. They are my solution to those "I need chocolate. Now." days. In fact, the idea of these is making me seriously consider buying this small batch baking book. Seriously, 2 cakes? Four cupcakes? Six cookies? The ability to mini-size everything without a spreadsheet? I'm right about 65% sold right now.

PS: After writing this, I was photographing and thinking of ways to justify mini desserts (or mini anything) when my engineering background caught up with me. I found myself thinking "Well, when making a regular recipe, you get probably three times more minis than you would get regular sized things. And obviously, quality control is a must in everything, baking especially. If you have three times more minis, your population is larger, so your sample size to get the same degree of confidence would have to be larger too." Voila! Justification for eating more of something when it's mini-sized!

PPS: Please excuse the excessive number of pictures. I'm overwhelmed by cuteness. And they just seemed perfect to commemorate my 100th post. Dear lord that's a lot of baking...

PPPS: Evidently, I missed the boat on a blog event - Laurie's Layers of Cake Event! So yeah, thanks to everyone who clued me in to it, and I'll be sending it on Laurie's way!

Mini Chocolate Cake

adapted from "Chocolate Birthday Cake" from Debby Maugans Nakos' Small-Batch Baking

1/4 cup plus 2 T all-purpose flour
2 T sour cream
1 T strong coffee
Yolk of 1 large egg [I used the whole egg]
1/2 t pure vanilla extract
3 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 t baking soda
1/8 t salt
1/3 cup sugar
  1. Place a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Grease the insides of the cans and lightly dust them with flour, tapping out the excess [I sprayed mine with Pam for baking] Place the cans on a baking sheet for easier handling, and set aside.
  3. Combine the sour cream, coffee, egg yolk [I used the whole egg because I'm not planning on making macarons any time soon] and vanilla in a small bowl, and whisk to mix. Gradually pour the melted butter into the sour cream mixture, whisking constantly
  4. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium-size mixing bowl, and then whisk to blend well. Add the sugar and whisk to combine. Add the sour cream mixture and whisk just until the dry ingredients are moistened.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared cans, dividing it evenly between them. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the centre of one comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the cans to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Then run a thin, sharp knife around the edge of each can and invert them to release the cakes. Turn the cakes upright and let them cool completely on the rack.
  7. To frost the cakes, cut each cake in thirds horizontally. Spread a layer of frosting about 1/2 inch thick on the cut side of one cake third, then stack the next third on top of it. Repeat for next layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake. Repeat with the remaining cake and frosting. Decorate as desired. Sprinkles optional, but definitely encouraged.
Simple Vanilla Frosting (from Chockylit)

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c. sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 T milk
  1. Beat butter at medium-high speed until creamy.
  2. Sift powdered sugar into the mixer bowl (right on top of the beaten butter). Beat to combine.
  3. Add the vanilla and the milk. Beat until combined.
  4. This made much more frosting than I needed, but I wasn't sure if a half recipe would be enough. And there's nothing wrong with extra frosting hanging around, right?


Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

hi caitlin
nice cake, you have made !

Tracey said...

I love your cake! I often want cake but can't justify making an entire layer cake. This is the perfect solution :-)

The Food Librarian said...

Too cute! I love all things mini myself too! Very, very pretty.

Jess said...

Adorable little cake - I'll have to try that for my daughter's birthday cake one of these years.

CB said...

All great things come in small packages! (Thats what I tell ppl when they ask me how tall I am. HA!) Love your mini cakes. Yum. Happy 100th post! PS. You'll have to put in a blurb to your post and submit to Laurie's Layers of Cake event!

Di said...

I thought you were making these for Laurie's event, too. They are absolutely adorable. Before I started blogging, I never really thought about making smaller versions of things, but now I love doing it. Congrats on the 100 posts!

Judy said...

I received the small-batch cookbook from Mary via Blogging by Mail. I've made the cupcake recipe and it turned out perfectly. I finally have 2 clean, 15-oz cans, so I'm planning on tackling the mini-layer cakes this week. Yours look great! And I would suggest you enter them in Laurie's event.

Erin said...

I love the mini cakes! I like small baked goods too- they're so cute! It's really nice to be able to make mini versions because it's almost never good for me to make a whole cake! This cake looks yummy!

rainbowbrown said...

Of all the mini's that I love, and I do love the minis, the mini layer cake is most definitely my favorite. Very nicely done, and a wonderful application for your engineering skills in my opinion.

Pamela said...

These look so great, Caitlin! I have that book, but I confess that I have not cracked it open in quite some time. You're inspiring me! Congrats on the 100th post. I thought you had been doing this for much longer!

Aparna said...

I don't blame you for all those pictures, they're really good looking!
And yes, I love things small, too.
Congratulations on the century here.

MacDuff said...

Love it. You need to put an entire post together on the beauty of sprinkles.

Jules Someone said...

I really want that book as well. I bought a set of three mini cake pans that are about 6" in diameter. I have fun with them!

Cakespy said...

Your mini cakes are making me shriek from being overcome by the adorableness! :-) EEK!

Joy the Baker said...

These cakes are just too darling! Seriously! Now I've got mini cake ideas swirling through my head. And I also want to go shopping for new sprinkles now! So cute! Oh! hapy 100th post!

marla said...

Hey I would really like to make these mini cakes but I'm a little the ingredients list there is no buttermilk but in the recipe it calls for much buttermilk??

Anne said...

What an adorable little cake!

Lisa said...

Now that is one perfect looking cake!

Jacque said...

Those ARE incredibly adorable! They looks so good too... so deep and dark chocolatey.

I've checked out that book at the library before and loved it. What a great idea, and no calculations involved :)

Jaime said...

those are indeed adorable! i find making mini layer cakes is so much easier than the full sized ones!

mimi said...

i LOVE these mini cakes!!

lilandra said...

little things are sooo cute
and are photogenic

um, i myself do feel the need not to bake 1) weight gain
2) so much cookies!!! what to do!!!
3) it's soooo hot to have the oven on and monitoring it and don't you know i live in the tropics
4) i'm tired...let me wrap this dough up and freeze it for some other day

Sandy Smith said...

How precious! A perfect little cake to give to a friend celebrating a birthday. Yours is lovely!

Barbara said...

Congratulations on your 100th post!

Minis are so cute, and also great for storing away for when you need a treat.

SiHaN said...

love the mini sizing.. makes it perfect for snacking on!

Sophie said...

We would like to feature your adapted chocolate layer cake recipe on our blog. Please email if interested. Thanks :)

You can view our blog here:

C-Rett said...

hi! my blog background is same as yours, and i am an engineer too (electrical) and i love baking and eating them... and i love small things too... and i love chocolate cake with vanilla frosting... there are so many other similarity that it kinda spooky... :) i like your blog... well keep blog hopping here...

Melina said...

beautiful! So delicious. SO tiny.

The Storyteller's Daughter said...

Oh I was trying to find a mini layer cake recipe so my girls could frost and assemble them themselves and this is perfect! But what are the cans you are speaking of? I saw someone comment on 15oz cans but how would you invert those? Thanks!