Cooking the perfect romantic dinner is never easy, but once you have kids, it’s nearly impossible. For those who are pressed for time but want a perfect finish to their Valentine’s dinner, this Mini Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake is just the ticket. It’s a small cake — perfect for sharing without leaving too many leftovers. And, it’s a cinch to make, even if you’re not the kind of person who does a lot of baking.
The cake itself has a rich chocolate crumb with a wonderfully dense, fudgy texture that gains a little bit of complexity and depth from coffee. With a mix of bittersweet and milk chocolates, and a tangy swirl of sour cream, the simple frosting is light, yet incredibly flavorful. And since just the top and center of the cake is frosted, with the sides left mostly bare (this style is also known as a naked cake), it won’t send you or your sweetheart into a sugar coma. (Because no one, not even tired parents, want to be sacked out on the couch after Valentine’s dessert.) Finally, the cake is topped with lines of fresh raspberries, which are as festive as they are delicious.
Mini Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake
Makes: 6-inch layer cake (6-8 servings)
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup strong, freshly brewed coffee
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped
- 2 large, room temperature eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting:
- 4 ounces bittersweet baking chocolate, chopped
- 4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
- Pinch sea salt
- 1 1/4 cups sour cream
- 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries, rinsed and patted dry
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Liberally butter two 6-inch cake pans and dust with cocoa powder. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk to combine flour, sugars, cocoa, baking soda, and sea salt.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, pour hot coffee over butter, stirring until butter has melted.
- Fold coffee mixture into dry ingredients, and then stir in eggs. Fold in sour cream and vanilla extract, mixing just until combined.
- Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until cake begins to pull away from sides and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached.
- Cool cakes for 10 minutes, and then run a knife around edges and flip each out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, cake layers can be individually wrapped in two layers of plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 2 months.
- When cake is cool and ready to frost, make frosting. Melt baking chocolate, milk chocolate, and sea salt together in a double boiler over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until chocolate is smooth and completely melted. Remove double boiler from heat, and then stir in sour cream. Frosting will harden as it cools, so frost cakes right away.
- To frost, line edges of a flat cake plate with strips of parchment or wax paper. Set bottom cake layer on cake plate. Place about 1 cup frosting in center and spread out to evenly coat. Carefully position second layer of cake, top with another cup of frosting, and smooth out top. Use a silicone spatula to smooth any frosting on the sides. Arrange raspberries in neat lines on top. Remove paper from edges of cake plate, slice, and serve.
- Cake can be stored, covered in a cake box, for up to 1 day in the fridge.