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small chocolate tahini buttercream cake

small chocolate tahini buttercream cake

moist chocolate cake topped with a salty sweet tahini buttercream, shaved chocolate and chocolate sprinkles. this small chocolate tahini buttercream cake is the perfect small batch cake to serves 2-4 chocolate loving people!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Cooling Time 1 hr 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Celebrations, Dessert
Cuisine American


  • 2-3 mixing bowls
  • large or medium whisk
  • 6X2 or 6X3 cake pan
  • parchment paper
  • stand mixer with paddle attachment or electric hand mixer with beaters


small chocolate cake

  • 1/2 c (60g) all purpose flour
  • 1/4 c (24g) dutch process cocoa powder see recipe notes
  • 1 tsp (3.5g) baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp (1oz) semi sweet chocolate chips sub with chopped 60-70% chocolate
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) prepared espresso 2 tsp ground espresso, plus 2 tbsp hot water
  • 1/3 c (79ml) canola oil see recipe notes
  • 2/3 c (134g) granulated sugar
  • 1 (57g) large egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 c (61g) sour cream or whole milk greek yogurt, room temperature
  • 1/4 c (59ml) whole milk, room temperature

tahini buttercream

  • 1/2 c (113g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 c (76g) tahini, well stirred
  • 1 c (125g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • chocolate bar shavings for topping
  • small chocolate sprinkles for topping


small chocolate cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350F (177C). Lightly spray and line the bottom of a 6" cake pan with parchment paper.
  • Prepare the espresso according to the package directions. Add the chocolate chips into the hot espresso. Set aside.
    Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a medium sized bowl. Whisk until well combined with no lumps. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk the oil, sugar and egg until smooth and well combined. The mixture should be very smooth and pale yellow in color.
    Whisk in the sour cream until smooth and well combined. The mxiture will slightly resemble egg whites that have been whipped for a few minutes. In other words, the mixture should remain very smooth and will look very pale yellow.
  • In this order, add the dry ingredients and milk to the wet: dry, milk, dry. Whisk each addition until just combined. A few flour or milk streaks is OK.
    While whisking, pour in the melted chocolate/espresso mix. Whisk everything until smooth, almost glossy and well combined.
  • Pour the batter into a prepared 6X2 or 6X3 (preferred) cake pan. The batter will be runny, so this should be easy.
    Bake at 350F (177C) on the center rack of the oven for 35-40 minutes. After 30 minutes of baking, take a look at the cake. If the center still looks wet, let the cake bake an additional 5 minutes.
    At 35 minutes look for the signs the cake is done baking: the edges of the cake will pull slightly away from the pan. A toothpick inserted into the center will yield a few moist crumbs. When a finger is pressed into the top of the center of the cake, the cake should bounce back. If the batter leaves an imprint of the finger, give the cake another 3-5 minutes to bake before checking again.
  • Cool the cake in the pan placed on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes. Invert the slightly cooled cake onto the rack. The cake should easily slide out of the pan. If not, use a butter knife to gently release the edges of the cake from the pan.
    Cool the cake completely before adding the buttercream. After an hour cooling at room temperature, the cake can be moved to the fridge to chill before applying the buttercream.

tahini buttercream

  • In a stand mixer, with paddle attachment, beat butter until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. On the lowest speed, beat in the tahini with butter until well combined. Add 1/2 c powdered sugar, vanilla extract ans salt. Beat on low-medium speed until well combined. Add the remaining half of the sugar, a generous tablespoon at a time, beating until well combined. Once all the sugar is added, beat frosting on med-high until smooth.
  • Apply a light crumb coat the the completely cooled chocolate cake. Chill the cake in the fridge for 15-20 minutes. Apply a thicker final layer of buttercream to the cake as desired. Top with chocolate shavings and/or chocolate sprinkles.


the total weight of this batter is 500g or about 2 1/4 c liquid. This amount fills a 6X3 round cake pan half way. If using a 6X2 cake pan, the cake may require a few more minutes of baking. 
  • if using this recipe to make cupcakes, it should yield about 6 cupcakes. bake for about 18-25 minutes. 
dutch process cocoa powder was used to develop this cake. after many rounds of testing, I can say that if needed, this can be subbed with unsweetened cocoa powder. if this is done, omit the baking powder and use 1/4 tsp baking soda instead.
canola oil was used for its moisture and neutral taste. melted butter, olive oil or vegetable oil can be used as a substitute. 
hot espresso enhances the intensity of the chocolate. if needed, hot water or even chai tea can be used as a substitute.
whole milk and whole fat sour cream or yogurt works best in this recipe. I would not use a fat free or low fat substitute for these ingredients. 
Keyword 6 inch cake, almost one bowl cake, small chocolate cake, tahini buttercream
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