One-Bowl Chocolate Cake for Two (Well, More Like Four)

An easy one-layer chocolate cake that serves four.

Looking for a small chocolate cake recipe that serves two to four? This is it! It’s also the perfect small birthday cake recipe.

I’m taking a minor detour in my French Desserts for Two series to bring you a great (but decidedly not French) dessert I’ve been craving: Chocolate Cake.

Seriously. How many of you have made a great American layer cake in the past six months? Most of us are cooking for two (or a few). Most two-layer cakes serve 12 or more, and even though most two-layer cakes freeze well, that’s just too many leftovers.

So, I took the classic one-layer, One-Bowl Chocolate Cake and scaled it down to serve four.

I know. Four is not two, and I’ve promised desserts for two. However, cakes are going to be the exception. My scaled-down cake recipes will serve four, as paring them down less than that gets into super-tricky, very-hair-splitting, not-really-worth-it territory.

You can refrigerate this cake up to 3 days, and leftovers freeze really well. And cake that serves four will have less leftovers than a cake that serves 12. Any problems?

If you’re so inclined, make the one-layer, one-bowl chocolate cake into a two-layer cake by simply cutting the whole cake into two half-circles and stacking them on top of each other.

You can use any frosting you like, but I suggest you use my Top-Quality Chocolate-Bar Chocolate-Sour Cream Frosting. It’s based on the classic Sour Cream Frosting, but instead of baking chocolate, use your favorite premium chocolate bar, even a flavored one, if you like. Cherry-Chocolate, Orange-Chocolate, Mint-Chocolate – you get the idea. Note, however, that I suggest smooth chocolate bars (not those that are studded with nuts and cherries), because in this case, I prefer a smooth frosting.

My favorite? Milk Chocolate-Sour Cream Frosting, made with a top-quality milk chocolate bar. It’s rich and creamy and contrasts the dark chocolate cake beautifully. However, if you’re one of those people who only like dark chocolate, by all means, go for your favorite dark-chocolate bar. (But someday, please try it my way — if you use a top-quality milk chocolate bar, you might just find it revelatory.)

A few things you should know before you roll up your sleeves:

When making small cakes for two or four, I’ve had good luck with this 6-inch Fat Daddio’s Cake Pan from Amazon.

1. To make a small cake for two or four, you’re going to need a six-inch cake pan. There’s no way around it, I’m afraid. I’ve had great luck with this Fat Daddio 6-Inch Cake Pan that I recently purchased on Amazon.

2. The original One-Bowl Cake (on which this recipe is based) called for one egg. How do you divide one egg? You can either crack a large egg, beat it, and measure out 2 tablespoons; or, use a small egg, which is about 2 tablespoons. I just bought a dozen small eggs from a local farmer and plan on using these for my baking-for-two projects.

3. The cake will dome up a bit as it bakes. If you want a flat-topped cake, simply slice the dome off horizontally with a long serrated knife. Invert the cake on the plate so that the cut side is down (this makes it much easier to frost!).

4. The Top-Quality Chocolate-Bar Chocolate-Sour Cream Frosting recipe has a slight trick to it. Depending on the chocolate you use, you may need more powdered sugar. I find that when I make this with milk chocolate, I end up with a lot more liquid; hence, I need more powdered sugar. If I make it with dark chocolate, I have less liquid, so I need less powdered sugar. Just keep adding powdered sugar (as directed) until you get a frosting of spreading consistency. And it will be wonderful!

Enjoy!

Voilà. A small chocolate layer cake recipe for two to four

P.S.: This is the perfect small chocolate birthday cake recipe for these times.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cake for Two (Well, More Like Four)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 to 4
 
Be sure to read through my tips in the blog post, above. Enjoy!
Ingredients
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process, if you have it!)
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cooking oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 small egg or 2 tablespoons beaten egg (from a larger egg)
  • Top-Quality Chocolate-Bar Chocolate-Sour Cream Frosting (see recipe in step 4)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 6x2-inch cake pan; set pan aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat on low speed of an electric mixer until combined. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Add egg; beat 2 minutes more. Spread into prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes; remove cake from pan. Cool thoroughly on the rack. Frost cooled cake. Store frosted cake in the refrigerator.
  4. For Frosting: In a small saucepan, melt 3 ounces of chocolate (use baking chocolate, chocolate chips, or your favorite high-quality chocolate bar) with 2 tablespoons butter over low heat, stirring often. Cool 5 minutes. Stir in ¼ cup sour cream. Gradually add 1¼ cups powdered sugar, beating with a wooden spoon until smooth. Continue adding powdered sugar, ¼ cup at a time, until frosting reaches spreading consistency.

Other posts you might enjoy:

Crème Caramel for Two: Because It’s Just the Two of You. And Because It’s So Easy.

Chocolate Pot-de-Crème for Two: I’ve never Made a Better Dessert.

French Apple Tart for Two? Done!

How to Serve a Cheese Course — The French Way.

10 Best French Gift Ideas for Food-Lovers and France-Lovers

I hope you found this post helpful. If so, please consider supporting my work on this site. It’s so easy–and costs you nothing: Next time you want to buy something from Amazon, simply go to the Amazon site through one of my links. No matter what you buy, I’ll get a small commission from your purchase–even if it’s not the item I’m advertising. Again, it adds nothing to your costs. So head to Amazon and look around! Thank you so much for your consideration. And thank you for visiting Chez Bonne Femme.

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Crème Caramel for Two. Because It's Just the Two of You. And Because It's So Easy.

Can you freeze crème caramel? Non! That’s why I came up with this perfect Crème Caramel for Two recipe.

J’adore crème caramel. But leftovers? Not so much. After four tests, I’ve come up with the perfect Crème Caramel for Two.

It’s been many months since I’ve cooked for four, which means it’s been way too many months since I’ve had crème caramel. You see, my recipe serves four. And there’s simply no reason to have leftover crème caramel around. It only keeps a day or two in the fridge, and you most certainly cannot freeze it!

And yet, I crave this classic French bistro dessert. The silky-smooth cool custard with its drape of caramel is one of the few dishes in the world that truly deserves to be called “simple and sublime.” I especially love serving it after a stew, roast, braise, or a pasta dish.

If you don’t already own custard cups, I highly recommend these by Anchor Hocking. They’re sturdier than the scalloped ridged cups our grandmothers used. I’ve owned my set for over 25 years.

How do you make crème caramel for two? Developing a recipe for two was trickier than it sounds! You see, my crème caramel recipe calls for four egg yolks and one egg. How do you cut that in half? I suppose you could use two egg yolks and half an egg, but … I really wanted to figure out a way not to use three eggs if I could make it work with two.

One egg and one egg yolk? Nope. Tasted two egg-whitey. Two egg yolks? Almost, but something was missing. Two egg yolks and one egg white? It tasted a little diluted — and still too much egg-white flavor.

Fourth time was the charm. For that test, I used two egg yolks and just one tablespoon of egg white (from the eggs that were separated for the yolks). Plus, I added a little heavy cream (rather than using all milk). This helped make up for the wee bit of richness that I wasn’t getting by using part of a third egg yolk.

Custard cups will do, but if you want something fancier, I love the colors of these 6-ounce ramekins from Amazon.

Voilà! A halved the recipe without having to use that third egg (and wasting half of it).

So, what about the caramel? In France, supermarket aisles offer little packets of caramel liquide, the liquid caramelized sugar that provides the syrup for homemade crème caramel. This allows the home cook to skip the tricky caramelizing step.

I’m following that lead. While caramel liquide isn’t widely available here, good caramel sauces are. So, simply top the chilled, baked custard with an excellent ready-made caramel sauce. (I like Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel Sauce, by the way, though I almost always have some of my own homemade caramel sauce on hand in the fridge).

Frankly, I think real caramel sauce is better than watery caramel liquide, which always seems somehow unsatisfying. Give my version a try, and I think you’ll agree. I’d love to hear from you either way.

Crème Caramel for Two
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Hint: To make it easier to measure the egg whites, first, beat them lightly with a fork to break them up.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • A small pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Purchased or homemade caramel sauce, for serving
Instructions
  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Set two 6-ounce custard cups into a baking pan. Put a pot of water on to boil.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the milk and cream just to a boil; remove from the heat. Separate the eggs, placing the whites in a small bowl and the yolks in a medium mixing bowl. Measure 1 tablespoon egg white and add to the yolks. (Save the remaining whites for another use, or discard).
  3. Lightly beat the egg yolk mixture with the sugar and the salt. Slowly beat in the hot milk mixture until blended. Stir in the vanilla. Divide the custard evenly among the two custard cups.
  4. Slide the oven rack out and place the pan on the rack. Carefully pour the boiling water into the pan until it comes about three-quarters of the way up the custard cups, then slide the rack back in. Bake until the custard is just set (a knife inserted near the center should come out clean, but the center may jiggle slightly), 45 to 50 minutes.
  5. Carefully remove the custard cups from the water bath. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, about 4 hours.
  6. To serve, heat the caramel sauce in a small saucepan just until warm and pourable. Run a knife around the edges of custards; invert onto individual dessert plates. Pour some caramel sauce over the top of each custard.

Other posts you might enjoy:

Chocolate Pot-de-Crème for Two: I’ve never Made a Better Dessert.

French Apple Tart for Two? Done!

How to Serve a Cheese Course — The French Way.

How to Use Crème Fraîche — The French Way.

10 Best French Gift Ideas for Food-Lovers and France-Lovers

I hope you found this post helpful. If so, please consider supporting my work on this site. It’s so easy–and costs you nothing: Next time you want to buy something from Amazon, simply go to the Amazon site through one of my links. No matter what you buy, I’ll get a small commission from your purchase–even if it’s not the item I’m advertising. Again, it adds nothing to your costs. So head to Amazon and look around! Thank you so much for your consideration. And thank you for visiting Chez Bonne Femme.

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French Apple Tart for Two? Done!

Next up in my new “French Desserts for Two” project: Tarte aux Pommes Pour Deux (French Apple Tart for Two).

Tender, sweet-tart apples in a butter crust, with just a whisper of cinnamon. That’s my French Apple Tart for Two.

As I mentioned a couple days ago, I’m off on a new project — French desserts for two. While we’re in this hunkering-down mode, we have to snag great pleasures where we can find them. Second only to l’apéro (the aperitif), desserts bring so much joy to our days. And yet, making a sweet for six or eight just doesn’t make sense — how many leftovers do you need jamming up your fridge and freezer, right?

Why make any old apple pie for two, when you can make a French Apple Tart for Two?

Here’s my next recipe: “Tarte aux Pommes et son Crumble.” It’s perfectly sized for two (or more accurately, for two hungry diners … you could actually split one and save one for up to three days).

French Apple Tart for Two. Time for my close-up!

If Tarte aux Pommes et Son Crumble sounds a bit “franglais” — an English-French mash-up of a dessert, it kind of is. But I didn’t just make it up: While desserts with a crumble topping are quintessentially English, French cooks make them all the time. Translated (more or less) as “Apple Tart with Its Crumble,” this recipe is inspired by a dish I once saw in a French cooking magazine. I’ve made a few changes (such as adding shortening to the crust for flakiness); plus, I scaled it down two make two small tarts (rather than one large one).

Another thing that makes this more French than not: The very light use of cinnamon. It’s so subtle, complementing rather than clobbering the delights of the sweet-tart apples and the buttery crust.

To entrench this even further into French territory, serve with sweetened crème fraîche — though whipped cream will also do. I prefer the tanginess of the former.

P.S.: This requires individual (4 to 5 inches) tart pans or crème brûlée dishes. By the way, this set on Amazon is pretty darned cute! If you happen to have individual pie pans, those would work two.

These cute little baking dishes from Amazon would be perfect for my French Apple Tart for Two. And probably for other French desserts for two I’ll be coming up with.

Other posts you might like:

Chocolate Pot-de-Crème for Two: I’ve never Made a Better Dessert.

How to Serve a Cheese Course — The French Way.

How to Use Crème Fraîche — The French Way.

10 Best French Gift Ideas for Food-Lovers and France-Lovers


Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This means that (at no additional cost to you), I will earn a commission if you make an Amazon purchase through any of the links on my site.

 

5.0 from 2 reviews
French Apple Tart for Two
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
This makes two small tarts. Each tart could serve two if you're not super-hungry. Leftovers will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2½ tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
  • 2 baking apples (I used gala)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Sweetened crème fraîche or whipped cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Make the crumble topping: Combine the ¼ cup sugar, ¼ cup flour, the cinnamon, and the ⅛ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Use a pastry blender or two knives to cut in the 2½ tablespoons butter until the mixture is crumbly (a few pieces of butter the size of peas is fine). Set crumble topping aside.
  2. Make the pastry: Combine the 1 cup flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, and the ¼ teaspoon salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the 3 tablespoons cold butter and the 2 tablespoons shortening into flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few pea-size pieces. Add ice water one tablespoon at a time, tossing mixture with a fork until entirely moistened. Gather dough into a ball. Divide ball in half. Roll each into a 6-inch circle and fit into two 4- to 5-inch tart pans or crème brûlée dishes. Set aside.
  3. Make the filling: Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples. Toss with the 1 tablespoon sugar. Spread into the pastry shells, rounding up in the center (the dish will look really full, but that's OK).
  4. Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the apples, patting down as needed to keep the topping in place. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake another 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the apples are tender. Cover pastry edge with aluminum foil if it starts too brown to quickly.
  5. Serve warm with sweetened crème fraîche or whipped cream.

 

 

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