Chocolate Cake with a Single Layer and Chocolate Ganache.

Single Layer Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Ganache

It’s the ideal cake for weeknights, date nights, birthdays, and small dinner gatherings because it only has one layer and is covered in chocolate ganache. No mixer, butter, or eggs needed, and it just takes one bowl to prepare! If using a 6-inch round cake pan, decrease the recipe in half. This one-layer cake can be baked in an 8-inch round, 9-inch round, or 8-inch square cake pan.

Please take note that this recipe was first released on February 12, 2018. I’ve updated the following as of March 2022: (1) a few of the images, (2) the recipe itself to include a few other cake pan sizes you may use plus a couple variations for the ganache, and (3) a video. I still consider this to be one of my all-time favourite dishes, and I hope you do too! It was the first of a series of recipes for single-layer cakes. For more taste inspiration, take a look at my one-layer carrot or lemon cakes!

a chocolate cake with one layer.
My is a true story; I had not intended to post the one-layer, miniature chocolate cake recipe on this site. In fact, I wasn’t going to share it even after Brian and I cooked it for my birthday one weekend and ate almost half of it in a day.

It’s…simple. Humble. Unassuming. Simply a good, back-pocket mini chocolate cake with a soft, light crumb—nothing earth-shattering. And chocolate ganache, which despite sounding fancy is the simplest ingredient to prepare.

Single Layer Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Ganache

I wanted a straightforward, uncomplicated cake for my birthday, so we prepared this one. Every year for my birthday, Brian bakes me a baked cake, and I try not to make it too difficult for him. He actually does fairly well at baking, but he needs very specific instructions and only a few steps before he calms down. I avoid giving him challenging recipes in the hopes that he will cook me cake more frequently.

The issue is that most recipes for chocolate cake yield a LOT of cake for just two people. Some could argue that having this issue is okay. But I also recognised a challenge: I wanted to make a chocolate cake that was smaller but yet as gratifying and rich.

And that marked the beginning of my series on one-layer cakes. This series of smaller cake recipes, which are only available in one layer 8 inch or 9 inch proportions, absolutely delivers on texture and flavour.

Where the Recipe came from.
The “cake pan” cake from King Arthur Flour is the inspiration for this recipe. It’s an old cake recipe that uses vinegar and baking soda instead of butter and eggs to produce the reaction that gives cakes their characteristic rise and soft crumb. This recipe is also known as wartime cake or wacky cake.

It was the perfect size for two people to have cake for a few days or for a small dinner party. The original recipe is combined AND baked in an 8 inch square pan. I had previously cooked this recipe a few times and remembered enjoying it, but I knew there were certain improvements I could make to make it even better.

Single Layer Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Ganache


  • 1 8- or 9-inch round or square cake pan


  • 1 and 1/2 cups for the cake (188g) universal flour
  • 1/4 cup (21g) (21g) powdered cocoa without sugar (can use natural or Dutch process)
  • Almost 1 cup (185g) refined sugar
  • 0.5 teaspoons of salt
  • One-half teaspoon of espresso powder (optional; brings out chocolate flavor)
  • one tablespoon of baking soda
  • 1 cup (237ml; 227g) (237ml; 227g) made coffee (regular or decaf, can be hot or cold) *\s 1/3 cup (78 ml; 67g) (78 ml; 67g) olive juice
  • Vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar made from apple cider (or white vinegar) regarding the ganache
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml; 113g) (118 ml; 113g) thick cream
  • 3/4 cup (4 oz; 127g) (4 oz; 127g) semisweet chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate

To make the cake:

Set the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare an 8-inch square pan or a 9-inch circular cake pan with grease. To further ensure that the cake will come out without a mess, I also like to line the pan with parchment paper. Simply draw the outline of the pan’s bottom on a piece of parchment paper, cut it out, and then insert it.

Single Layer Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Ganache

Mix the dry ingredients—flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, espresso powder, and baking soda—in a big basin.

The wet ingredients—coffee, olive oil, vanilla, and vinegar—should be added. It should all be whisked together to create a smooth batter. You’ll notice that it might start to foam a little; that’s the result of the baking soda/vinegar combination. Don’t overmix the batter or the cake will be tough; stop whisking when the mixture is incorporated and there are no lumps left.

The cake should bounce back when touched and a tester put in the centre should come out clean after baking for 28 to 32 minutes in a 9-inch round pan or 32 to 34 minutes in an 8-inch round or square pan, depending on the pan size.

After 10 minutes, turn the cake right side up onto a cake plate by inverting the pan onto the rack, releasing the cake, and removing the parchment from the bottom. While you make the ganache, let the cake cool.

Single Layer Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Ganache

For the ganache, heat the heavy cream for 30 to 40 seconds in my microwave, or until it bubbles but does not boil, in a measuring cup or bowl that is microwave-safe. It can also be heated on a stove.

Chop the chocolate and place it in a medium bowl while the cream is heating. After adding the hot cream to the chocolate, wait for about 30 seconds. For about 30 seconds, whisk the mixture until a glossy, smooth ganache forms.

You have two options: either pour the warm ganache over the cake right away, or let it cool to room temperature for one to two hours before spreading it on. It tastes good either way.

Notes. *You can substitute water or milk for coffee if you don’t like it. You won’t notice the chocolate flavour in the cake; it is enhanced by the coffee.

Storage: A cake sans ganache keeps nicely at room temperature for up to 5 days when properly wrapped. It doesn’t become dry! Cake with ganache needs to be chilled after 24 hours because of the cream. Before serving, gently reheat any leftover slices in the microwave or let them come to room temperature.

For a 6-inch chocolate cake, reduce all of the ingredients by half. In a 6-inch round cake pan, bake the cake for 18 to 21 minutes at 350 degrees, or until it barely springs back when touched and a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean or with a few crumbs. Then, spread or pour ganache on top and serve!

Recipe adapted from the cake pan cake from King Arthur Flour.

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