This recipe proves that bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better! I made this cake a few weeks back for my Valentine’s Day dinner with my dear other half. We decided to have a relaxed night in rather than a sappy and overpriced night out. :)
My dear other half was in charge of the main meal whilst I was given the task of procuring dessert. Giving my obsession with all things chocolate, I was not terribly troubled by this. However, I still had to find a cute dessert that be sufficient for the two of us. :)
It was several months ago that I came across the concept of “Small Batch Baking”. These are recipes that are specially designed to give you that sugar fix without burdening you with 6 dozen cookies with which you have no idea what to do. (wait did I just say that a cookie could be a burden? Eek!) But there are some times when all you need is 6 cookies, not 6 dozen, or all you want is a cake to feed 2, not 20!
The thing I like most about this recipe is that the small cakes are baked in old bean tins! Reduce, reuse, recycle, eh? You also are left with an adorably petite little cake. I chose to ice mine in pink icing (okay, maybe I was caving in a little and being sappy), however your options are literally boundless. Next time, I would be tempted to use chocolate icing, or fill the layers with jam.
Also, in the spirit of romance, I decided to top my miniature cake with a single chocolate rose. A tutorial on how to make them can be found here. They look very impressive, but are deceptively easy and just require a bit of patience and practice.
The icing was a bit of a disaster… I couldn’t get the right consistency and in the end I had to make more half way through icing the cake. Bad idea! I had to try and smear the two slightly different colours of pink together whilst on the cake. As a result, I had a very messy, crumby cake. O well. Still tasted all right. I suggest halving or quartering your favourite icing recipe. Any extra you can keep in the fridge (or eat with a spoon…).
So, perhaps you’ll be inspired to make this mini cake for the next time you and your loved one are having a cozy night in… or perhaps even just make it all for yourself!
So, without further ado, the Small Batch Baking Chocolate Cake!
Miniature Chocolate Cake
adapted from pauladean.com
Baby layer cakes are safely baked in cleaned out, label-free tomato or bean cans with the tops neatly removed. Or you can make 4 cupcakes. To measure out the egg, lightly beat a whole egg in a small cup until it is almost foamy, then pour the egg into the measuring spoons.
1/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 tablespoons well-beaten egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 1 tablepoon sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease insides of two clean 14.5-ounce cans. Line bottoms of cans with rounds of parchment paper and set aside. Alternately, line 4 regular-sized muffin cups with paper liners.
- Whisk milk, egg, and vanilla in small bowl.
- Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a wire-mesh sieve placed over a small, deep mixing bowl. Sift dry ingredients into bowl.
- Add butter and half of milk mixture; beat with a hand-held electric mixer at low speed until dry ingredients are moistened. Increase speed to medium, and beat until batter is lightened and has increased in volume, about 45 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add remaining milk mixture, and beat until well blended, about 20 seconds.
- Scrape batter into cans or muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes for cupcakes and 27 to 29 minutes for cakes.
- Cool 15 minutes on wire rack. Loosen edges of cakes from cans using small sharp knife; invert cans and remove cakes. Cool completely. Cut in half crosswise; frost between layers and on tops and sides of cakes or on tops of cupcakes. Makes 2 cakes or 4 cupcakes.