A tiny fluffy white birthday cake made with sprinkles and chocolate chips, much easier than your typical layer cakes and very fitting for small but special celebrations!
Small Batch Birthday Cake
Recently I’ve been thinking birthdays for those who live in small households who will be having very small celebrations. Normally, come birthdays I’ll suggest a giant sheet cake or an impressive layer cake but I think a 3 or less person household would prefer to just make one small, impressive and very enjoyable cake that marks the moment without being too much work or overly wasteful. Sometimes I make this cake in a square pan but then I recently saw this cake on FNK and this one by mollyyeh and thought shape-wise we could get even get fancy with it.
Birthday Cake for One or Two
This is a miniature version of the vanilla cake you’ve seen before on this blog. It’s my favorite vanilla cake, and I am a chocolate lover so that’s saying something. It’s tender and fluffy (see top pic!) and exactly what birthday cakes should taste like. I bake it in a square pan and serve or if I want to layer it I use a biscuit cutter to punch out four small circles. You’ll have the most adorable little cake circles which you can stack atop each other. Each slice will be towering and you get a lovely layer cake that fittingly marks the moment.
A Customizable Birthday Cake for One
Flavor: This is birthday flavored; ie, with sprinkles, imitation vanilla and cake flour. I like to add mini chocolate chips too! You could use pure vanilla, skip the sprinkles and have a simple but lovely vanilla cake. Or add lemon or orange zest for a little flavor to the cake instead (add the zest with the butter and sugar, if using).
Feelin’ Fancy: instead of the vanilla buttercream I have here, I think this white chocolate buttercream would be absolutely divine. Just use plain white instead of caramelized.
Don’t skip: organic powdered sugar for the buttercream, made with tapioca not cornstarch. Tapioca melts at a lower temperature (on your tongue!) and the resulting buttercream is less sweet & more enjoyable to eat.
Shape: I baked this in an 8×8″ square pan, I think this size is the most common pan people own, but if you don’t have it, you could bake it in an 8″ round. In that case I would suggest cutting the cake into four quarters and stacking them to make one huge slice.
Notes on making a birthday cake for just one
- Special equipment: a large biscuit/cookie cutter. This 3.5″ cutter will give you exactly 4 small circles from an 8×8 pan. Alternatively use the diy way: cut a 3.5″ circle from cardboard, place it over the cake and use it to guide the knife around and slice circles.
- You can make the buttercream a day ahead, store the buttercream at room temperature in an airtight container.
- Cake can also be made ahead of time; store the cake in an airtight container in the freezer.
- You’ll have two leftover egg yolks: one to make 6 chocolate chunk cookies and one to make 8 birthday cake cookies!
Recipe for Birthday Cake for One
Birthday Cake for One
- mixer for batter
- 1 stick unsalted butter 113g
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons imitation vanilla or pure vanilla extract or a combination
- 1 1/2 cups organic powdered sugar 200g
- 1-2 tablespoons buttermilk milk, heavy cream, or sour cream
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter 55g
- 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil *see notes below for substitutions
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar 100g
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons imitation vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 cup cake flour 130g
- 1/2 cup buttermilk 120g
- 3 tablespoons sprinkles
- 3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
- Make the buttercream: in a small bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the butter with the salt and vanilla until light and fluffy, at least 3 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and beat to combine. Add 1 TB of the milk and if it doesn’t smooth out, add another TB. Set the buttercream in an airtight container until cake is ready to be assembled.
- Preheat oven to 325 and butter and flour an 8×8″ square pan.
- In a bowl, beat the butter, oil, salt and vanilla with the sugar until very light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.
- Add the egg whites one by one, allowing the first to fully incorporate before the second. Beat until very fluffy.
- Add the cake flour, baking soda and powder and buttermilk all at once and beat to combine.
- Fold in the sprinkles and chocolate chips, if using.
- Pour into cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean from the center.
- When the cake is completely cool, use a ring to punch out four circles (this is easier to do if the cake has been frozen for a bit). You now have four tiny cake layers. Level them with a cake leveler or knife so they are the same height.
- Stack the cake layers with buttercream. Between each layer you’ll want 1-2 tablespoons buttercream. Frost the sides.