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Last Updated on July 13, 2020 by Chenée Lewis
Today we’re baking a cute little small-batch mini vanilla cake! Because sometimes you just don’t need that much cake, but (and this is important) you still want cake!
Tell me if you’ve ever been in this situation: You’re having a party, and spend all day baking a delicious cake (or you pick up a delicious cake from a local bakery) and no matter how good it is, you end up with tons of cake left over??
Or, maybe you’re at home alone or with one or two others, and you want cake, but not too much?
For me, it was this past Easter — just a few weeks ago but feels like it’s been months. I was making dinner for just me and my boyfriend, so for dessert we didn’t need much. Something quick, easy, and small, but still yummy! This mini vanilla cake was perfect!
Why should I make this cake?
Besides being the perfect, cute little size for a small group (or just for one), this cake is amazing! It has so much vanilla flavor, a light, fluffy texture, and a delicate crumb. I’ve made it so many times and always loved it!
PLUS it’s the perfect vessel for some rainbow sprinkles, just in case you need a little joy sprinkled into your day! I went a little crazy with the sprinkles, but who hasn’t?
How to make a mini vanilla cake
This small-batch vanilla cake is very quick and easy, and it comes together with just a few ingredients. Chances are, you have most of these on hand already:
- cake flour
- baking soda
- baking powder
- buttermilk (see below)
If you don’t have buttermilk, feel free to use whole milk, replacing a teaspoon of the milk with vinegar.
One other tool you’ll definitely need are 6-inch cake pans. I like these Wilton ones — I always get a great result from them! (affiliate link) I definitely recommend using a 6-inch pan to get an even bake, but I would imagine you could also make this small batch cake into 4-6 cupcakes, or try baking it in a small loaf pan. If you do try a different type of pan, let me know in the comments below!
The cake recipe is a one bowl recipe, and you don’t even need a mixer! No butter to soften, no special techniques — it could not be easier!
I’ve also included a recipe for a quick vanilla buttercream frosting, the perfect amount for this little cake! So whether you’re making a birthday cake for a party of two or a portion-controlled dessert for the family, you’ll have just enough cake AND just enough frosting.
If you love this mini vanilla cake recipe and want to try its “sister cake” (if you will), check out my mini chocolate cake!! Like this one, it’s a deliciously easy small-batch cake that is perfect for two! But with 100% more CHOCOLATE.
OR if you want to use your 6-inch pan for another delicious celebration cake, try my 6-inch strawberry layer cake! It’s got fresh strawberries and fresh whipped cream between yummy brown butter yellow cake layers! You’ll love it!
Equipment you may need
- Spray a 6-inch cake pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together egg, vanilla, and sugar until well combined and thickened.
- Whisk in oil, followed by buttermilk, until smooth.
- Sift in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Fold into batter with a rubber spatula until just barely combined.
- Pour into cake pan. Drop cake in pan from 3 inches onto counter to get rid of any air bubbles.
- Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick entered into the cake comes out clean.
Prepare Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- In a bowl, beat softened butter for 1 minute until it’s light and fluffy.
- Gradually add in powdered sugar, followed by vanilla and beat until smooth.
- Add milk a little at a time and beat until you have the desired consistency. Spread over cooled cake.
- Add a pinch or two of salt, if desired and beat to combine. Spread over cooled cake.