Small 6 Inch German Chocolate Cake
Homemade Small 6 Inch German Chocolate Cake For Two is a moist and delicious one layer chocolate cake you can make from scratch without a cake mix. Top it with a small batch of coconut pecan frosting.
Yesterday I teased you with my Small Batch German Chocolate Cake Frosting. Now I’m here with my Small 6 Inch German Chocolate Cake recipe to go with said frosting.
I wanted to break the recipe into two posts because I repeatedly use my coconut pecan frosting recipe in numerous recipes. I use that recipe so much, I even gave my recipes their own German chocolate category.
I’ve been baking German Chocolate Cake (or some variation) since….well….forever. It’s my dad’s favorite cake flavor.
He always talks about some amazing slice of German chocolate cake he had at Busch Gardens. I’ve never tried that cake for myself, so I’ll never know how it compares. All I know is Dad approves of both.
It wasn’t until now I finally scaled it down into a one layer 6 inch cake, compared to the three layer cakes you find when you search for a recipe.
First, let’s talk about what German chocolate cake isn’t. Despite its name, it’s not German. It’s actually based off of a Texas sheet cake, also a chocolate cake with coconut pecan frosting.
The name comes from a guy named Sam German who discovered a new type of chocolate to use (in a green box strategically called German’s chocolate). It’s purely coincidental his name happened to be the word German and not in any relation to Germany.
The name of the cake started out as German’s chocolate cake, which meant the cake belonged to Sam German. However, along the way the ‘s was dropped, making it seem like the cake came from Germany.
Side note: This is why grammar matters.
On the surface, German chocolate cake may look like my small chocolate cake, but they’re actually not the same.
The difference between German chocolate cake and chocolate cake is the type of baking chocolate used.
For German chocolate cake, you’d use German’s chocolate, which is around 48% cacao. For a regular chocolate cake, you’d use semisweet chocolate, which is around 55% cacao.
No, that isn’t a typo. I really do mean cacao, named after the cacao bean (not cocoa).
So what do these cacao percentages mean? They refer to how much of the chocolate is made from pure cacao beans and how much is added sugar.
The higher the percentage, the higher the cacao bean, which means it’ll be on the bitter side. On the flip side, the lower the percentage, the more sugar is added, which means it’ll be on the sweeter side.
Unsweetened chocolate is 100%, which means it’s all cacao bean and no added sugar. It’s also inedible to eat as a snack (trust me).
Semisweet chocolate is usually around 55%, which means 55% is cacao bean and 45% is added sugar.
German chocolate is 48% cacao bean and 52% added sugar.
An easy way to remember all of this is the higher the percentage, the bitterer it will be.
To sum it all up, German chocolate cake is different than regular chocolate cake because the chocolate used is sweeter.
Most German chocolate recipes call for only German chocolate. However, I added a little bit of cocoa powder to mine.
Not only does it add more chocolate flavor, but I also needed to balance the wet ingredients with more dry ingredients. Instead of extra flour, I chose cocoa powder.
More German Chocolate Recipes
If you’re a big coconut fan, then you’d also love my Small Coconut Cake recipe.
For a full list of small cake recipes, check out my 6 Inch Cake Recipes guide.
Small 6 Inch German Chocolate Cake (Dessert For Two)
Homemade Small 6 Inch German Chocolate Cake For Two is a moist and delicious one layer chocolate cake you can make from scratch without a cake mix.
- 1 ounce German baking chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup buttermilk or whole milk with 1 teaspoon lemon juice added, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons hot coffee or hot water
- 1 recipe Small Batch German Chocolate Frosting (click here for the recipe)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease one 6-inch x 2-inch round cake pan then line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Add about an inch of water to a pan and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat and place a heatproof bowl over top. Add the chopped chocolate and melt until smooth. Remove from the heat and cool 10 minutes.
Alternately, add the chopped chocolate to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, then microwave in 10 second increments until melted.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and cocoa powder. Stir in baking soda and salt.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar and butter until light and creamy, about 1-2 minutes.
- Beat in the egg and vanilla then beat in the cooled melted chocolate.
- While the buttermilk is in the measuring cup, add the coffee and stir to combine.
- Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk mixture, adding the flour in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions (begin and end with dry ingredients). Do not overmix the batter.
- Transfer the batter to the pan. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few crumbs (no wet batter). Cool for about 15 minutes, run a knife along the edge of the pan to loosen, and invert onto a cooling rack. Cool right-side-up.
- While the cake is baking, make the Small Batch German Chocolate Frosting (click here for the recipe).
- Once both the cake and frosting are cool, spread the frosting on top of the cake. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
- Enjoyed this recipe? Check out my full list of 6 Inch Cake recipes including vanilla, yellow, and more.
- Want more? Check out my other German Chocolate recipes.
- Don't have a 6 inch pan? Check out my recipe for Mini German Chocolate Cake or Small Batch Chocolate Cupcakes (substitute German baking chocolate for semisweet then frost with coconut pecan frosting).
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchase.
I love that this did not make a huge cake. This was the perfect size for our family of 4 (I know you said two, but it was so decadent)!!
The cake does make 4-6 slices, so it just depends on how much on eat. Thanks for the feedback!
Been looking for a german chocolate cake recipe. This one is it!
Oh good! Let me know if you try it.
Small batch desserts are great for me because my daughter has moved out of the house and we’re down to just two! This cake looks so scrumptious — I might eat the whole thing myself.
I find a lot of people are in your situation, so I’m glad my small batch desserts are helping with that transition!
Your cake looks amazing Carla! Although I’m living in Germany I’ve only learned through you the difference between German and regular chocolate cake. Good to know, Thank you:)
Yes the name is definitely misleading! Now you need to make it to try for yourself ;)
Would you mind sharing the brand of chocolate you used.? Thanks
Baker’s Chocolate in a green box labeled German’s Chocolate
I made this as a Valentine’s day dessert and it was very, very appreciated :) Honestly, I didn’t even know what a German chocolate cake was but I’m happy I decided to go for it today! It seemed dry at first so I was afraid that I’d overbaked it, but it was still so moist and chocolatey! I think you’ve struck a great balance between the chocolate and the cocoa powder.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Matilda! Glad you enjoyed the cake.
I baked this today and it is wonderful. It was not difficult to make, it’s not overly sweet and it’s not a heavy cake – perfect for a weeknight. My husband has been asking for a german chocolate cake for a while now, but every recipe I found made much too large of a cake for the two of us; this being sized for two is perfect. We both agree that this recipe is a keeper. This is the second recipe I’ve tried from Homemade In The Kitchen (first was the Maple Roasted Chicken Quarters) and they were both winners – I am looking forward to trying more!
Oh that’s wonderful to hear, Frank! Thank you for sharing your feedback.
Hello, I have no where that sells German chocolate what can I use as a substitute?
You can use semisweet chocolate.
Hello there! If I want to make two 6 inches layer cake, do I just double the ingredients?
Yes, that is correct.
My CAKE keeps sinking in the middle. What am I doing wrong? I followed the recipe exactly.
Oh no! Did you change any of the ingredients? Did you change any of the techniques or directions? What size pan did you use?
I did notice you live near Boise, Idaho. It looks like Boise has a higher altitude than most cities (including where I live in Pittsburgh). And it looks like it’s enough to affect your baking. I highly recommend looking into this and seeing how you can adjust. I found this link that explains it more: https://www.buyboiserealestate.com/blog/relocating-to-idaho-altitude.html
Is the german baking chocolate semi-sweet or bitter sweet?
German’s chocolate is its own chocolate at 48% cacao, but if you can’t find it, semisweet is the closest. https://www.myfoodandfamily.com/product/00043000055526/bakers-premium-germans-sweet-chocolate-baking-bar-4-oz-box?categoryid=0000074023
So good. I made a double layer and it was too much. I’ll go with just the one layer next time. It did take about 30 minutes to cook and oven is correct on temperature
Glad you enjoyed the cake! The great thing about this recipe is you can make as many (or as little) layers as you like.
Hi Carla. Will cake flour work in this recipe? I have quite a bit that I need to use up.
Yes, but it’s not 1:1 substitution. Use 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon cake flour for 1/2 cup all purpose flour.
WOW! What a great recipe. Being one to reduce sugar whenever possible, I used 70% chocolate instead of the traditional, higher sugar German Chocolate. Although this is the hallmark of German chocolate cake, I felt we would enjoy it more with a darker chocolate. I also use unsweetened coconut in every recipe…its sweet enough on its own! Anyway, this was a HUGE success! I made a double recipe of cake and frosting for a 6 inch double later cake. When the frosting was cooling, I was concerned about its very yellow color (looked like lumpy scrambled eggs LOL) so in a fit of creativity, I mixed in about a half teaspoon of cocoa powder. BOOM! It gave it just a twinge of chocolatey flavor along with the color I was looking for. I also sprinkled the frosted cake with more shredded coconut for a beautiful and tasty result. THANK YOU for such a great recipe… the perfect cake for my husband’s birthday.
Glad you were able to adjust the cake to your liking! The frosting is yellow thanks to the egg yolk, but I do love the idea of a chocolate-based German frosting.
I doubled the recipe to make 2 6” layers and if’s perfect!!
Wonderful! Thanks for the feedback.
I made this for a friend and her husband who took me in for three days during a power outage! It was the perfect “thank you,” They loved it and I love having such a great collection of recipes for those of us who live in “small batches,” Thank you so much!
Oh wonderful! I think this cake makes the perfect thank you.
Could I leave out the cocoa and just use the German chocolate???!!!
No. You would need to go buy some or substitute for it. I have not personally tried this in my cake recipe so I cannot be responsible for results, but here’s how to substitute for cocoa powder: “For every 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder required, use 1 ounce of unsweetened chocolate. The chocolate should be melted before being added to the recipe. Additionally, because the chocolate contains more fat than cocoa powder, reduce the fat in your recipe, such as shortening or butter, by 1 tablespoon”