A Tiny but Intense Chocolate Cake

18 May
A Tiny but Amazing Birthday Cake. Photo by Jess B.

A Tiny but Amazing Birthday Cake. Photo by Jess B.

No birthday is complete in our family without a birthday cake. As I was in Philly for my birthday this year, the job of baking said cake fell to my sister Lou. She is a wonderful cook, especially of all things sweet and delicious. And my birthday cake this year was amazing.

Having lived in the States for four years now, Lou is a fan of the food blog Smitten Kitchen. If you love food, I urge you to check out Smitten Kitchen. It’s inspiration for all us foodies and bloggers a like, with stunning photography and design, not to mention the delicious and clever recipes.

For Christmas one of Lou’s best friends bought her a 6 inch round cake tin. As anyone who bakes will know this is an unusually small tin. Lou’s friend specifically bought her this tin, as one of the Smitten Kitchen‘s signature dishes is a Tiny but Intense Chocolate Cake, and requires this precisely sized 6 inch round cake tin.

When Lou happily obliged her best friend and made the Tiny but Intense Chocolate Cake for her birthday back in January, Lou was initially wary. The cake was indeed tiny and seemed to sink when it came out of the oven. She was not particularly impressed with it at first sight! However, when they tasted this cake, it was happy days. Yes the cake was tiny but boy did it give a wonderfully intense chocolate flavour. And you really did only need a little piece so the tiny cake actually went quite a long way.

This Tiny but Intense Chocolate Cake is grain free so is naturally gluten free – yay 🙂

So the planets all aligned this year for my birthday cake to be a variation on the Smitten Kitchen Tiny but Intense Chocolate Cake. I say a variation as Lou used goats butter and fructose in order to reduce the lactose and sweetness load for me.

I apologize that I don’t have more pics of this cake. We ate it with fresh berries and So Delicious dairy free cream. And to be honest it looked so good I just wanted to eat it, so didn’t want to waste time taking pics – sorry! (And I was being lazy, my camera was on the other side of the room and I couldn’t be bothered to get up and get it…again sorry!)

Having said all of that, here is the recipe for this Tiny but Intense Chocolate Cake, which is light and chocolately heaven in every bite.


  • 85g Goats butter, + more for greasing cake tin
  • 115g dark 70%+ cocoa good quality chocolate
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 44g fructose (or 65g of natural brown sugar)
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • Cream and fresh fruit to serve (optional, but I’d recommend it. The fruit and cream contrasts nicely with, and cuts through, the richness of the chocolate cake)

Before you begin, preheat your oven to 350°F and line the base of a 6 inch round cake tin with baking parchment and grease the sides of the tin with butter – if you do not have a 6 inch tin I think a similar sized small tin would presumably also work, it would just change the dimensions of the cake slightly).


  1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a small saucepan, stirring for even cooking. It should take about 3 minutes. Once melted, quickly remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chocolate until it has melted and is nice and smooth. Leave to cool.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla together until the mixture thickens. Slowly add in the chocolate mixture. It will become very thick.
  3. With clean beaters, and in a separate clean bowl, beat the egg whites and salt until they form firm peaks
  4. Stir one third of your egg-white mixture into the chocolate mixture. Fold the remaining two thirds in gently, trying to keep the batter as light as possible.
  5. Pour into your prepared cake tin and bake for 20-25 minutes in your preheated oven until the cake is puffed with a dome on top and you can insert a tester (skewer or point of sharp knife) and it comes out clean.
  6. Leave the cake to cool in the tin. Don’t be alarmed, the cake will immediately begin to sink in the middle. It’s meant to do this!
  7. Once cooled, turn the cake out from tin and serve with your choice cream and fruit.

The cake will happily keep in an airtight container for a few days – though you’ll need more willpower than I have for it to be around that long!

NOTE re. FODMAPs: knowing what I now know about fructose and the low FODMAP diet, I would use brown sugar or Stevia instead of fructose for the sweetener in this cake.

Recipe adapted from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook.


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