Perfect for date night or Valentine’s Day dessert, this luscious Chocolate Valentine’s Day Cake for Two uses one layer of rich, moist chocolate cake that's cut into four pieces and stacked with silky-smooth chocolate buttercream to make two decadent bakery-quality slices of cake.
Get ready to blow your mind with what is about to come out of your kitchen. Skip a trip to the bakery this Valentine’s Day (or on your next date night). You just found your new favorite Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream for just two people!
I’m telling you, if I can make this, so can you!
This recipe makes two completely decadent slices of rich, moist, tender chocolate cake layered with silky smooth chocolate buttercream and topped with buttercream roses. It’s something you would pay about $10 per slice for at a high-end bakery.
Even though this is bakery-quality, making this treat at home is of course cheaper than buying it. But more than that, baking from scratch really shows that someone special just how much they mean to you.
And this recipe is even more meaningful because it supports a good cause. This year I'm participating in the Good Cookies Food Bloggers’ Valentines Event organized by Julie of The Little Kitchen! Cancer is the leading cause of children’s disease-related death in the U.S. Right now, 40,000 children here are actively battling cancer. And less than 4% of the National Cancer Institute’s budget goes to childhood cancer. This is why Julie got involved.
Our goal is to raise $3000 by March 15. The three event sponsors (Dixie Crystals, MediaVine, and OXO) have each agreed to match the donations up to $3,000, which means when we raise $1, it turns into $4! Please consider donating here.
I have so much respect for Julie for her incredible work supporting such a great cause! And thank you, Dear Readers, for reading and considering donating. Please do what you can, even if it’s just helping to spread the word about childhood cancer awareness. xoxo, Faith
The Inspiration for This Recipe: Quick Chocolate Cake (aka Crazy Cake or Wacky Cake)
I wanted to share my inspiration for this cake recipe because it’s a story in its own right. During the Great Depression, my grandmother made what she called “Quick Chocolate Cake”, which different families have their own name for. I’ve also heard it called Crazy Cake, Wacky Cake, and Depression Cake.
Because of food scarcity, the recipe doesn’t have eggs, butter, or milk. And surprisingly, it comes out incredibly moist and flavorful!
Growing up, it was the chocolate cake my mom always made when an occasion called for chocolate cake. It really is that good!
As an adult, I’ve played with the Crazy Cake recipe many times to make different things, and it always comes out great. Here, I tweaked my grandmother’s Crazy Chocolate Cake to make this Chocolate Valentine’s Day Cake for Two.
This recipe makes two large slices of chocolate layer cake, so it’s really enough for four people. But it’s a heck of a lot better than having a whole cake on hand if what you really want is just a slice for you and a slice for your sweetheart.
Why You’ll Love This Valentine's Day Cake
- It’s romantic. Two gorgeous slices of moist chocolate cake layered with silky smooth chocolate buttercream, and topped with beautiful piped chocolate buttercream roses. I can’t think of a sweeter (pun intended) way to celebrate Valentine’s Day (or any date night) with your sweetie!
- It’s easy. This recipe impressive looking, but what’s equally impressive is how easy it is. Even the roses on top – I promise! And this one-bowl cake is low maintenance, so there’s minimal clean-up too.
- It tastes like something that came from a bakery. You can easily fool your sweetheart into thinking you bought this from a local bakery – it’s that good! But when they find out you took the time to make it from scratch they’ll definitely swoon even more.
The Best Chocolate Valentine’s Day Cake for Two
Ingredients in Chocolate Valentine’s Day Cake
- All-purpose flour: We don’t need any special type of flour for this recipe.
- Granulated sugar: Regular sugar is what we use here.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder: Make sure you’re using unsweetened because otherwise your cake will be too sweet.
- Light brown sugar: This adds subtle flavor complexity in the background. If you don’t have it, you can use white sugar instead and add ¼ teaspoon molasses.
- Baking soda: This is our leavening agent in this recipe.
- Salt: Just a little bit goes a long way and helps balance the flavors in this cake.
- Vanilla extract: This helps enhance the chocolate flavor and creates a nuanced, deeper flavor profile.
- Distilled white vinegar: This sounds like a strange addition to cake, but it’s important for a few reasons: 1) it reacts with the baking soda to help make our cake rise, 2) it reacts with the proteins in the flour to create a fluffy, moist cake, and 3) its sharp flavor helps create a balanced flavor profile for this cake. If you don’t have distilled white vinegar, you can use apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, or red wine vinegar instead.
- Canola oil: Using oil as the fat source in this cake helps make it moist! If you don’t have canola oil, you can use another neutral-flavored oil, or a mild-flavored oil, such as avocado oil or light olive oil.
- Water: You can get all fancy and replace the water with milk or coffee (or a mix of both), but this recipe really doesn’t need it.
Ingredients in Chocolate Buttercream
- Unsalted butter: You’ll be able to taste the rich butter flavor, so use good quality butter if you can. We need it slightly softened so it whips up well here, but be careful not to fully melt it.
- Powdered sugar: This sweetens and adds body to our buttercream. Sift it before adding, so that your buttercream is lump-free.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder: Be careful to use unsweetened!
- Vanilla extract: Vanilla is one of those flavor notes that when paired with chocolate, helps deepen the flavor profile.
- Espresso powder: Like vanilla, just a hint of espresso powder helps enhance the flavor of chocolate. You won’t be able to pull out the flavor of coffee or espresso, but it will taste like a very flavorful chocolate buttercream. If you want to be able to taste the espresso, feel free to add more for a mocha flavor.
- Salt: Just a little bit helps balance the flavors here.
- Milk: This will bring everything together so it’s smooth, creamy buttercream bliss. You can substitute with half and half or cream. And you might need to add more or less to get it to a spreadable buttercreamy consistency.
- 70% dark chocolate: A little melted chocolate adds richness and heightens the flavor profile of our buttercream. Make sure you fully beat it into the buttercream so there are no streaks.
Step-by-Step Tutorial for How to Make Two Slices of Chocolate Layer Cake
Check out my video showing how to make this cake in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Make the Chocolate Cake:
Preheat the oven and prep the cake pan.
Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients, and whisk to combine. Be careful not to over-mix!
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake!
Cool the cake to room temperature, and then cover and chill in the fridge for 4 hours (or overnight).
Pro Tip: Make the cake the night before you want to serve it and let it chill in the fridge overnight so you’re not waiting for it.
Step 2: Make the Chocolate Buttercream:
Add all ingredients except the melted chocolate to a large bowl and use a handheld mixer to beat until well-combined.
Add the melted chocolate and beat again until well-mixed.
Step 3: Frost and Assemble the Cake:
Spoon ⅔ of the Chocolate Buttercream onto the cake round, and spread the buttercream as evenly as you can.
Cut the cake in half, and place one half on top of the other.
Cut the stacked cake in half again, and place one half on top of the other. You will have a 4-layer wedge of cake.
Lightly frost the back of the cake with some of the remaining buttercream. If desired, lightly press chocolate sprinkles into the buttercream on the back of the cake before it stiffens.
Transfer the rest of the Chocolate Buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe stars or flowers on the top.
Step 4: Serve the Cake:
Cut the cake in half for 2 large pieces. Each piece is 2 servings, so share it with someone you love!
Tips for Making This Chocolate Valentine’s Day Cake for Two
- Be careful not to over-mix the cake batter. Otherwise, the cake can be gummy or rubbery! In this recipe, it’s better to have a few lumps or streaks than it is to over-mix.
- The cake needs to be fully chilled before you frost it. There are a few reasons for this. Like any other cake, this helps make sure that the frosting doesn’t melt on warm cake. But it’s even more important with this cake in particular! Because we’re cutting this cake in half and stacking it, we need the cake to be more set than it would be at room temperature. Chilling the cake in the fridge is the way we get the job done! I like to bake this cake in the evening the day before I want to serve it. I let it cool to room temperature, and then pop it in the fridge to chill overnight so I’m not stuck waiting for it.
- If you accidentally melt the butter too much for the buttercream. Just pop it in the freezer for a couple minutes to stiffen it up a little, otherwise it’ll make the frosting too loose.
Valentine’s Day Cake FAQs
What is a Good Dessert for Valentine’s Day?
Anything chocolate flavored or red velvet flavored are good choices for Valentine’s Day dessert.
Also, red desserts are considered romantic because of the association with the color red to love.
Additionally, small batch dessert recipes (especially recipes that make just two servings) are perfect for you and your sweetie. And this is true whether it’s Valentine’s Day or any date-night! What could be more sensual and sweet than sharing a decadent piece of cake with your partner with two forks and one plate?
Why is Red the Color of Love?
The psychology behind color is very interesting! The color red is often associate with Valentine’s Day and love because it evokes passion, lust, and excitement. This is why red-colored desserts are common for Valentine’s Day.
Does Chocolate Cake Need to be Refrigerated?
When I lived in a cold climate, I would store chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream wrapped at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Now that I live in a hot climate, I store frosted chocolate cake wrapped in the fridge if there are leftovers on the same day it’s made. Otherwise, the buttercream gets too soft and runny.
Depending on the climate where you live, you can store chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream wrapped at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Note that if you store your cake in the fridge the frosting will stiffen. Just let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving to soften the frosting.
Does Buttercream Need to be Refrigerated?
Different buttercreams need to be stored differently. For example, some types of buttercream can spoil or separate if they’re left out, so they need to be stored in the fridge.
This chocolate buttercream is fine to be stored covered at room temperature for up to 5 days. Just note that it will be soft at room temperature, but it will stiffen when it’s cold.
More Perfect Valentine’s Day Desserts
- Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Black Forest Hot Chocolate
- Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting for Two
- Drinking Chocolate (French Hot Chocolate)
- Healthy Dark Chocolate Fondue Recipe (2 Ingredients)
- Fudgy Dark Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches with Raspberry Buttercream For Two
Chocolate Valentine’s Day Cake for Two (How to Make Just 2 Slices of Chocolate Layer Cake!)
- Chocolate sprinkles for decoration
For the Chocolate Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. Place a piece of parchment paper that’s been trimmed to fit inside in the bottom of the prepared pan, and then lightly spray it with cooking spray.
- Whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add the vanilla, vinegar, oil, and water, and whisk to combine, being careful not to over-mix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
- Put the cake pan on a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes, and then turn it out onto a parchment paper-lined cooling rack. Let the cake cool to room temperature (about 30 minutes), and then cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 4 hours (or overnight).
For the Chocolate Buttercream:
- Add the butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, espresso powder, salt, and milk to a large bowl. Use a handheld mixer to beat until well-combined.
- Add the melted chocolate and beat again until well-mixed.
To Frost and Assemble the Cake:
- Spoon ⅔ of the Chocolate Buttercream onto the cake round, and spread the buttercream as evenly as you can.
- Cut the cake in half, and place one half on top of the other.
- Cut the stacked cake in half again, and place one half on top of the other. You should now have a 4-stack of cake.
- Lightly frost the back of the cake with some of the remaining Chocolate Buttercream. If desired, lightly press chocolate sprinkles into the buttercream on the back of the cake before it stiffens.
- Transfer the rest of the Chocolate Buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe stars or flowers on the top.
- Cut the cake in half for 2 large pieces. Each piece is 2 servings, so share it with someone you love!
- Chilling: The cake needs to be fully chilled before you frost it. There are a few reasons for this. Like any other cake, this helps make sure that the frosting doesn’t melt on warm cake. But it’s even more important with this cake in particular! Because we’re cutting this cake in half and stacking it, we need the cake to be more set than it would be at room temperature. Chilling the cake in the fridge is the way we get the job done! I like to bake this cake in the evening the day before I want to serve it. I let it cool to room temperature, and then pop it in the fridge to chill overnight so I’m not stuck waiting for it.
Check Out What the Other Participating Bloggers Made
- Heart Shaped Thumbprint Cookies from Julie of The Little Kitchen
- Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies from Melissa of Persnickety Plates
- Little Debbie Strawberry Shortcake Rolls Ice Cream from Rose of Rose Bakes
- Salted Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cookie Bars from Jessica of A Kitchen Addiction
- Red Velvet Swirl Cheesecake Brownies from Julie of Back To My Southern Roots
- Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberry Latte from Lisa of Taste Cook Sip
- Iced Sugar Cookies from Nina of Crazy for Cookies and More
- Valentine’s Fudge from Raquel of Organized Island
- Pink Gin Fizz from Caroline of Caroline’s Cooking
- Cherry Chocolate Chip Cake from Stefanie of Stef’s Eats and Sweets
- Flourless Chunky Peanut Butter Blossoms from Colleen of Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice
- Valentine’s Day Oatmeal M&M Cookies from Kelly of Kelly Lynn’s Sweets and Treats
- Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies from Holly of A Baker’s House
- Gluten Free Vanilla Cake with Pink Buttercream Frosting from Elaine of Small Farm Big Life
- Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies from Courtney of Courtney’s Sweets
- Small Batch Chocolate Cupcakes from Lisa of Blogghetti
- Valentine’s Day M&M Cookie Bars from Jaclyn of Crayons & Cravings
- Soft Iced Pumpkin Cookies from Laura of Untwisted Vintage
- Guava Pink Peppercorn Margaritas from Courtney of Cook Like a Champion
- Sugar Cookie Cups from Kelsey of Dance Around the Kitchen
- Chewy Buckwheat Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Sea Salt from Lisa of Garlic & Zest
- Shortbread Hearts of Love from TammyJo of The Chocolate Cult
- Valentine Sugar Cookies from Gwynn of Swirls of Flavor
- Best Stout Beer Tiramisu from Linda of Ketchup with Linda
- Creamed Chipped Beef from Rebekah of Kitchen Gidget
- Bakery Style Peanut Butter Cookies from Becca of The Salted Cookie
- Candy Trains from Sarah of Sarah Cooks the Books
- Star Wars Grogu Heart Cookies from Jenn of Just Jenn Recipes
- Peanut Butter Buckeyes from Nicole of For the Love of Food