Mini Vanilla Cake Recipe

image of mini vanilla cake being decorated with rainbow sprinkles for a birthday

I love making cakes, but it’s a lot harder to share them with my friends and family right now. To avoid waste and continue to get my baking fix, I decided to work on a mini vanilla cake recipe.

This recipe is based on my vanilla layer cake recipe, but has a few modifications that allow you to make it by hand!

image of mini vanilla cake made for a 1st birthday

I wanted this recipe to be easy peasy, so that you have no excuse not to get busy in the kitchen if you’re bored!

How Much Batter Does this Recipe Make?

One batch of this mini cake recipe makes enough batter to make 3, 4-inch cake layers, or 2 6-inch cake layers.

I like to make cute little 4-inch cake layers, but I know that’s an odd pan size that not everyone has on hand.

image of 4 inch cake layers being stacked to make a mini smash layer cake

This small batch cake recipe can also be used to make cupcakes! One batch makes enough batter to make about 8-10 cupcakes.

Bake the cupcake versions of these in a preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 18-19 minutes.

Decorating This Mini Vanilla Cake

I challenged myself to decorate this mini vanilla cake without a spinning cake stand! I wanted to see what styles and decorations are doable if you don’t have tons of baking tools on hand.

The easiest style was a textured look with a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon.

image of small cake with textured frosting sides to create a rustic look

Or if you’re after a more classic look, you can smooth with a bench scraper and add some buttercream swirls.

I also topped my cake with some nonpareil sprinkles. I figured a mini cake should have some mini sprinkles. They give this cake a nice pop of color that makes it perfect to celebrate any occasion.

image of mini vanilla cake being decorated with rainbow sprinkles for a birthday

Ingredient Swaps / Variations

While I love making this mini vanilla cake recipe exactly like the recipe calls for below, I know that some of you might want to make substitutions or not have all these ingredients on hand.


You can use full fat yogurt or sour cream in place of the buttermilk in this recipe.

Or if you want to make your own buttermilk, you can use whole milk plus a bit of vinegar or lemon juice! Add 1 1/2 tsp vinegar or lemon juice into a 1/2 cup measure then fill the rest up with whole milk.

Vegetable Oil

If you don’t have vegetable oil on hand, you can use any flavorless oil in its place! Canola or grapeseed oil would work great. You could even use olive oil if that’s all you have on hand.

Butter can also be used in place of the oil, but the texture of the cake will be less fluffy! It will still taste great though.

Unsalted Butter

The reason why most recipes including this one call for unsalted butter is that different brands of butter use different amounts of salt.

There’s no way to know how much salt is added to a recipe unless you use unsalted butter, then add in salt separately.

To ensure your frosting tastes just right, it’s best to use unsalted butter!

However, if you only have salted butter on hand you can use it. The frosting will taste a tiny bit saltier, but it will still taste great. Just be sure to omit the salt that this frosting recipe calls for.

image of ingredients laid out to make a 4 inch vanillla cake

Making This Mini Cake Gluten Free

You can swap in your favorite gluten free flour blend cup for cup in this recipe!

I personally prefer King Arthur’s gluten free flour blend, and find that 1 cup of GF flour weighs about 120 grams.

In addition to swapping the flour, there are two additional steps you need to take when making this mini cake gluten free.

Gluten Free Baking Tip #1: Overmix Your Batter

The first step is to vigorously whisk your batter for a few minutes once it’s made. This helps give your cake layers structure.

I know this goes against everything you’ve ever heard about baking, but over mixing your batter is key when making anything gluten free.

It helps the cake layers rise better as they bake, and gives the cake a more tender crumb.

Gluten Free Baking Tip #2: Let Your Batter Rest

The second step I recommend is letting your batter rest for about 30 minutes before baking your cake layers.

Gluten free flour blends can have a hard time absorbing moisture and fats. Letting the batter sit before baking it gives the flour more time to absorb all that goodness.

This helps thicken the batter, and prevents your cake layers from having a gritty texture.

Tips for Making the Best Mini Vanilla Cake:

  • Chill your cake layers in the freezer for about 20 minutes before assembling the cake, to make it easier to stack and frost.
  • Mix your cake batter just until the ingredients are incorporated; this will ensure your cake layers are tender and fluffy (unless you’re making a GF version!)
  • Be sure to properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure then level) or use a kitchen scale to measure your dry ingredients
  • Use a serrated knife to level your cake layers once they’re fully cooled, to make it easier to assemble and frost your cake

Making This Cake in Advance and Storage Tips:

  • Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them. It breaks the process up and make it more approachable.
  • Make your frosting ahead of time too, or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
  • A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!
  • If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.
image of chelsweets celebrating with a mini vanilla cake

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you try my mini vanilla cake recipe, I’d love to hear what think of it! Please leave a rating, and let me know your thoughts by sharing a comment 🙂

Also please tag me @chelsweets, and use the #chelsweets on social media so that I can see your amazing creations!

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 8

Mini Vanilla Cake Recipe

image of mini vanilla cake being decorated with rainbow sprinkles for a birthday

This mini vanilla cake recipe is made in one bowl & is incredibly moist! One batch makes three, 4 inch cake layers that are perfect for a small celebration.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 33 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 8 minutes


Mini Vanilla Cake Recipe

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (130 grams)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
  • 1 tsp baking powder (4 grams)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (1 grams)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (56 grams) - 1/2 stick
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil (56 grams)
  • 1 egg (56 grams)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or whole milk, room temperature (115 grams)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (4 grams)
  • gel food coloring (if desired)

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (169 grams)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (8 grams)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (1 grams)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (375 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp heavy cream (or whipping cream) (20 grams)


Mini Vanilla Cake Layers:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three 4-inch or two 6" round pan with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick baking spray.
  2. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt) with a whisk until fully combined.
  3. Pour the melted butter, oil, and egg into the dry ingredients and whisk until combined. The batter will be thick.
  4. Add the buttermilk and vanilla extract, and mix until just combined (the key is to mix until the ingredients are JUST incorporated, so that the batter isn't over mixed). 
  5. If desired, add in gel food coloring. Mix the color in by hand using a rubber spatula, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl part way through.
  6. Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.
  7. Bake for 30-33 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the pans to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan.
  8. Place cake layers into the freezer for 20 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process. Once the layers are fully cooled, carefully flip the pans and remove the layers from the pans.
  9. Use a serrated knife to level the tops of the layers, and then frost as desired.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

  1. While the cake layers bake and cool, make the vanilla buttercream frosting.
  2. Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth.
  3. Mix in the vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste and salt on a low speed.
  4. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.
  5. Continue to mix on low speed for a few minutes, until the desired consistency is reached. 
  6. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 tsp at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).
  7. If you plan to color the buttercream, add in the gel food coloring once the frosting is fully made, and beat on low until it reaches the desired color

To Assemble The Cake:

  1. Stack and frost cake layers on a small plate or cake stand using a dab of frosting to help stick the first cake layer to the board.
  2. Add an even layer of buttercream between each cake layer with a large offset spatula.
  3. Add a thin coat of frosting around the cake, fully cover the cake layers.
  4. Smooth using a bench scraper, then chill the cake in the fridge (20 minutes) or freezer (5 minutes) until the frosting is firm to the touch.
  5. Add a second, thicker layer of frosting to the cake, and smooth using a bench scraper. Then decorate as desired!


Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them: It breaks the process up and make it more approachable.

Make your frosting ahead of time too, or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!

If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 575Total Fat 27gSaturated Fat 15gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 89mgSodium 264mgCarbohydrates 81gFiber 1gSugar 68gProtein 4g

176 thoughts on “Mini Vanilla Cake Recipe

  1. Hi! I wanted to try the mini cake with almond flour and almond buttermilk milk (Almond milk turned to buttermilk with lemon) Would you recommend changing anything else for these substitutes?
    I also have coconut flour, not sure if I should use a blend of almond and coconut.

    1. Hi Dania,

      I have never tried baking a cake with just almond flour, usually I use a gluten free flour blend instead! Are you using it bc you want the cake to be gluten free? Or because it’s what you have on hand? Usually flour blends work better for cakes!!

      I’d recommend using GF flour and almond milk if possible (and if you want the cake to be GF). Hope that helps, happy baking!

  2. I just made this recipe today. Maybe I did something wrong…whisking was a little difficult and most of the ingredients got caught in the whisk. Very thick batter, as I think you mentioned. I used 3 4″ pans, and once turning out, I saw that they sunk in the middle a bit and the crumb was heavy, not somewhat fine looking as in your 4″ cakes. I am going to try again..going for no sink and a lighter crumb…

    1. Hi Paula,

      So sorry to hear that! Hopefully we’ll be able to figure it out together.

      Were all your ingredients at room temp? Sometimes the batter gets really thick it they aren’t. If the centers sunk, it usually means the cakes needed a bit more time in the oven! I’d recommend letting them bake a tiny bit longer, until a toothpick comes out with only a few moist crumbs. The only other thing I can think of is that the batter might have been slightly overmixed? That can also lead to denser cake layers. Be sure to mix just until the ingredients are incorporated.

      Hopefully that will help for next time <3

    1. Hi Janis! You can replace 1/4 cup of flour in this recipe with baking cocoa to make chocolate cake layers. Hope that helps, happy baking!

    1. Hi Michelle,

      For sure! You can replace 1/4 cup of the flour in this recipe with baking cocoa. Hope that helps, happy baking!

  3. I made it again. I used sour cream as a sub for the buttermilk, which you said can be done, and I have the same result. Your little cake looks like your larger version: mine looks very heavy and the batter, once the butter/oil/sour cream are added, make such a thick batter that it all gets caught in the whisk. Don’t know what I might be doing wrong, but I will stick to your 6″ recipe (egg whites, reg butter) and use it in 4″ pans if I want a small cake. Maybe you have advise?? Thank you.

    1. Hi Mahfuza, you can use heavy whipping cream or whole milk in place of the heavy cream my recipe calls for. Hope that helps, happy baking!

  4. Hello! Thank you for this smaller version of your vanilla cake. And thank you for giving some variations.
    However I was wondering, can I substitute the butter in the cake for all vegetable oil? It’s hard to find butter and I’d rather keep that for the buttercream!! 🙂
    Also…..huge hug to you for your absolute accurate gram measurements you give us.
    You’re amazing! xx

    1. Hi Aggs,

      No problem! You can, but it will make the layers a bit softer and change the flavor a bit! I’ve done it before and it still tasted great, just slightly different than with butter. I fully support saving your butter for the buttercream 🙂

      Hope that helps, happy baking!!

  5. Planning on trying this today, thank you for the smaller sized cake recipe. Quick question would the Russian Buttercream work well on this cake also? Been trying to find a reason to make that as well.

    1. Yay, I hope it turns our wonderfully Anne! I think my Russian buttercream would taste great on this cake!! You will definitely have some frosting left over though if you make a full batch 🙂

  6. This is awesome! So happy to see this mini cake recipe- sometimes that’s all you need! Is there an easy way to make this into a chocolate version?

    1. Hi Alexandra,

      There is! just swap 1/4 cup of cocoa powder for 1/4 cup of the AP flour in this recipe 🙂

  7. Hey! I noticed from your 8 inch cake recipe, instead off halving most of the ingredients for this recipe, you took a 1/3 of them. Is there a reason for this? I just got 4 inch pans and I have been trying to figure out how to adapt some of my favorite recipes!

    1. Hi Lindsey,

      Using 1/3 of a batch makes a pretty tall 4 inch layer cake (as you can see in my pictures). If I used any more batter the end cake would be super tall and hard to frost! I think this amount of batter makes the right size / height of mini cake <3

  8. You’re amazing and I love you! I follow you on YouTube and Pinterest and anytime I ever try a new cake I go to your recipes because they ALWAYS work the first time! I tell everyone about you if they’re looking for a new recipe. You’re like a modern Martha Stewart because her recipes always work the first time too! Thank you so much for existing and sharing things with us!!!! ???

  9. Just inspired me to buy a few 4” pans because I love this size! What piping tip is this? I’ve looked everywhere so I wouldn’t have to bother you with a question that was already answered somewhere. But I love this look and I can’t find it. Thank you!

  10. Sweet! Thank you! I’d love to see a video on how to do the spatula or spoon method of icing a cake! I have an order coming up that gas requested this finish!

  11. What is the time a temperature for this cake? At the top it says 350 for 18-19 mins and in the recipe it says 350 for 30-32 mins. Thanks!

    1. Hi Katy,

      I’d recommend using 1/4 cup of baking cocoa in place of 1/4 cup of the flour in this recipe. Hope that helps, happy baking!

  12. Hi! Just to confirm on this – are you using 4”x2” pans? Do you ever use 3” pans and if so what adjustments do you make? I have a mix of pans in my kitchen and cakes have turned out dry so I’m working to adjust. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jessica,

      Yup, all my cake pans are 2″ tall! I don’t really use 3″ tall pans, but I don’t think it should change the way the layers bake. If your cake layers turned out a bit dry, that could be caused by a few things.

      The cake layers might be slightly over baked! if you think that’s the case, take them out of the oven a minute or two earlier next time.

      Or the batter may have been overmixed (mix just until the ingredients are incorporated), or you may have added too much flour! Be sure to properly fluff and scoop your flour when you measure it, or use a scale to make sure you add just the right amount. Hope that helps, happy baking!

  13. My cake came out great but it is SOOOO sweet! Do you have any idea what I could’ve done wrong to make it like that? Thanks!!

    1. Hi Kimberly,

      This cake is on the sweet side, and the frosting is also quite sweet bc it’s american buttercream! If it’s a bit too sweet for your liking, you can try pairing it with a less sweet frosting like my russian buttercream or swiss meringue buttercream, which will help balance out the sweetness. Hope that helps, happy baking!

  14. Have you tried making this vegan? What would be the best vegan substitutes for the egg and the buttermilk?

    1. Hi Charlotte,

      I haven’t with this specific recipe, but I’d recommend using either a flax egg or 1/4 cup of applesauce, and then any dairy free yogurt or milk should work in place of the buttermilk (oat, soy, almond, etc). Hope that helps, happy baking!

  15. I just made this in my instant pot! My oven isn’t working but I’ve been wanting to practice decorating before my kids’ summer birthdays. I had to cook each layer one at a time for 32 minutes on high in the pressure cooker and it turned out great! Frosted stripes for the first time and the cake was delicious! Worth the time it took to use the instant pot since I’m stuck at home anyway during this crazy time.

    1. That’s crazy Morgan!! You’re definitely the first person I know who has ever done that with one of my recipes! That’s such a great work around, and good to know! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

  16. Mine came out tasting like cornbread, or reminds me of the taste of it. What have I done wrong? Is it the buttermilk?

    1. Hi Destiny,

      Do you usually bake with buttermilk? Sometimes it gives baked goods a taste people aren’t used to if they don’t use it often! I’d recommend either trying a different type of buttermilk, or using whole milk or sour cream in place of the buttermilk. Hopefully that helps, happy baking!

    1. Hi Bella,

      You can definitely use whipping cream or even whole milk in place of the heavy cream used in the frosting. Happy baking!

  17. Hey Chelsea! I tried your recipe and it came out so good! I was wondering if I can just triple this recipe so that it is a regular amount of batter? Thank you!

  18. I used this recipe last night, and it’s wonderful! I have never found a made from scratch vanilla cake I like until now. Thank you so much for sharing it. I’m a nurse and self taught baker, and am looking into starting a small side business with baking. I love baking, found your videos last night, and you have inspired me! Thank you so much!!

  19. Hi!
    I was wondering if I could use oat milk instead of buttermilk? Or create a “oat milk buttermilk” with lemon juice? (Not sure if that will work, I only have oat milk right now ?)
    Also how can I make this a lemon flavored cake with fresh lemons? What ratios should I use and should I remove or lessen any other ingredients?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Alex,

      You can! To incorporate fresh lemons, I’d add fresh lemon zest to both the cake batter and frosting, along with 1 or 2 tsp of lemon extract (to taste). You can omit the vanilla if you want, but I usually add both vanilla and lemon extract. Hope that helps, happy baking!

  20. I followed the recipe perfectly but when baked the sugar seems to crystallize on the surface of the cake and it makes it shiny / tacky. Inside the crumb is nice and moist but doesn’t make for easy release from the tin and it definitely doesn’t look like yours. I’m in the UK – is our granulated sugar different? I normally use caster sugar to bake so I think maybe that’s where I’m going wrong? Generally always use the creaming method but your cakes look amazing so wanted to try this way while in quarantine! Any help would be great :).

    1. Hi Katie,

      I am so sorry to hear that! I have never experienced that, but it might be from the castor sugar. It’s ground more finely than granulated sugar, so maybe that’s what caused the strange reaction! Do you guys have granulated sugar in the UK? If so I’d recommend trying that instead! Hope that helps for the future, happy baking!!

  21. Hi! I made this cake and it ended up tasting a bit like cornbread. Is this how it is supposed to taste or did I do something wrong?

    1. Hi Addie,

      Do you usually bake with buttermilk? Sometimes it gives baked goods a taste people aren’t used to if they don’t use it often! I’d recommend either trying a different type of buttermilk, or using whole milk or sour cream in place of the buttermilk. Hopefully that helps, happy baking!

  22. Hi! Do you think you could add sprinkles to this recipe to make it funfetti? I’m thinking about making my own birthday cake since it looks like we’re still going to be in quarantine! Thanks!! <3

    1. Hi Austin,

      For sure!! I’d recommend adding 1/4 cup of sprinkles to the cake batter, and then extra between the cake layers as you assemble the cake 🙂 Hope that helps, and happy birthday!!

  23. I made this recipe last night except i used pastry flour instead of AP flour and it was insanely fantastic. I mean super stellar.

    1. Thanks Eden! For sure!! If you make 1/3 of most of my cake recipes, you’d have the right amount of batter to make 3, 4-inch cake layers like this. Hope that helps, happy baking!

  24. Hello! I recently discovered you in tik tok and love your cakes! I want to make a tall 4 layer 6in vanilla cake. Would you recommend doing this recipe and another half or using your 8inch recipe dispersed into 4 6in layers? Thanks!

  25. I had the same issue (sunk in the middle). I had tried so many of your cakes with GREAT success, so wasn’t sure what was up. I tried again, and had the same issue.

    I’m thinking it was the pans – I think they were of “lower quality”. I bought the fat daddio ones you mentioned, and it worked much better! SO EXCITED 🙂

    1. So sorry to hear the first two batches didn’t work great Cari, but I’m very happy to hear that the new pans fixed it 🙂

  26. Best recipe ever,came out moist and delicious for a not so good Baker,and the second attempt I added half cup of desiccated coconut and substitute the whole milk for coconut milk ??? this is so far the best.Thank you

  27. I love this recipe!! But my entire cake turns out WAAAYYY too sweet. Do you think you know what I might’ve done to make that happen?

    1. Hi Kimberly,

      You can reduce the amount of sugar a bit if the cake layers are too sweet for your taste, or you can try a less sweet frosting like my russian buttercream or my swiss meringue buttercream <3 Hope that helps for next time, happy baking!!

  28. Hi Chelsea!
    Thanks for sharing your recipes!!! I cant wait to try this one out. I was wondering if it could be made with less sugar, maybe 2.5 cups instead of 3? I know it will be less sweet, but i’m hoping the texture is not affected too much.

  29. Hoping to get a Fast response as im baking now ? I always star with a vanilla base and add my flavors as I was them. This is the first time using your vanilla cake. Im making spumoni flavors. I added a teaspoon of chocolate powder to a third of the mix and a splash of maraschino cherry juice to another third, both came out perfect. The pistachio, I added maybe 2 teaspoons of pistachio pudding mix to it and that one came out basically pudding in the middle lol. Do you have any advice to add a pudding flavor to your recipe? Thank you!!!

    1. Hi Hannah,

      So sorry for the delayed response! I’ve never tried adding pudding mix to my cakes before, so sadly I’m not sure! This cake is already quite moist though, so I could see pudding mix making the batter overly moist / wet! My best suggestion would be to bake that layer longer this time, and then next time try adding crushed / ground pistachios instead! So sorry I can’t be of more help <3

  30. Hi, If using cake flour instead of AP flour would it be equal parts? I like my cakes to be airy and fluffy so I thought cake flour might help, thoughts?

    1. Hi Justina,

      You can use cake flour in place of the AP flour in this recipe cup for cup. It will make the texture lighter, but do keep in mind this is a butter cake, so it won’t have a spongy texture like sponge cake <3

  31. Hi
    The 8” version, do i have to use the egg whites…. eggs are hard to find and I really don’t want to waste the yolks. Can I just use whole eggs.

    1. Hi Tesha,

      You can use 4 eggs in place of the egg whites in my full batch version of my vanilla cake recipe!!

  32. Hi Chelsweets! I made your best vanilla cupcake! I want to let you know, it turns out very good!?I divided the batter to 6 8″ pan to make a rainbow cake since I only have 2 8″ available. I baked it for 177C for 18-20mins. I love the cake! It’s too sweet for my taste though. Can I reduce the amount of sugar next time? Will this affect the result of my cake? This will definitely be my go to vanilla cake!

    1. Hi Jedi,

      That’s great to hear! You can decrease the amount of sugar a bit to make it less sweet, but it will slightly change the texture! You can also try pairing it with a less sweet frosting like my Swiss meringue buttercream or my russian buttercream <3

  33. Hi I tried this recipe today and followed it to the T, and it came out well. The cake layers were pretty good. Ive listed my 2 issues below. I’d appreciate if you could respond to this as I’m planning to bake this for my daughter’s first birthday next weekend:
    1) the frosting was just too sweet – do you have any suggestion for how I can make a low sugar version without affecting the texture of the frosting?
    2) the cake crust ended up cooking a bit too much so ended up being brown and a bit hard. I cooked it for 32 minutes. Any suggestions on how to keep the cake soft? Maybe take it out sooner?

    Thanks a lot!

    1. Hi Jay,

      My ABC is def on the sweet side! My swiss meringue buttercream or my russian buttercream are great alternatives, and are less sweet <3

      If you’re experiencing a lot of crusting, you can either use cake strips or reduce the baking temp to 325 F and bake the layers a bit longer. That should help the layers brown less. Hope that helps, and that your daughter’s birthday cake turns out wonderfully!!

  34. Hi there! I’ve made this cake and I love it but I’m looking to make your other cakes in this 3 4″ pan form. Is the best way to do that just 2/3 everything in the recipe? Ex. I want to make your moist chocolate cake in the mini form. Thanks!

    1. Hi Malia,

      That’s great to hear! This is actually 1/3 of my regular sized cake recipes, but yes you can make a tiny batch of any of my cake recipes 🙂 It can get a little hard with recipes that use whole eggs, but should still turn out! Hope that helps, happy baking!

  35. I made this today for my daughters birthday. I wound up doubling the recipe for three 6” cakes. This was perfect! So moist, yet sturdy and oh so tasty!! This will be in my rotation! ?

    1. Hi Ashley,

      I haven’t tested that out, so sadly I’m not sure! As long as the sugar dissolves in the batter it should work though!

  36. Thanks, Chelsea. Would you recommend one over the other between Swiss meringue and Russian buttercream? I have no idea how either tastes so looking for suggestions. Lastly, do you have any suggestions on any natural food colour I can use to get a pink colour instead of gel colouring given my 1 year old will eat this? Thanks a lot!

    1. Hi Jay,

      The russian buttercream is sweeter than swiss meringue bc, but it really is a matter of preference. SMBC is a bit more stable, so maybe go with that one! I love using strawberry powder to make naturally pink frosting, like this:

      Hope that helps, happy baking!

  37. Hi!

    I made the 4” cake layers and they taste divine. However, I have one slight problem, although the top looks nice and golden, the edges of the cake are very very crispy. I tried reducing the baking time to 28 minutes, but it still didn’t help. Is there anything that could prevent them from browning too much?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Marta,

      You can either add cake strips, or try lowering the temp by 25 degrees F and adding on a few more minutes to the bake time. Hope that helps for next time!

  38. Will this cake taste good with Russian buttercream?
    And if so, will the it hold up if filled and covered in Russian buttercream?
    Please reply soon! Thx

    1. Hi Vams,

      I think it would taste great with russian buttercream, and should hold up just fan as long as the cake is chilled once it’s made (you can take it out an hour before you plan to cut into it to let it thaw)! I don’t recommend letting russian buttercream sit out for more than a couple hours because it’s perishable. Hope that helps, happy baking!

  39. I just made this cake and it was so good. I have a question though. Why does the cake take so long to bake?

    1. Hi Vams,

      The cake layers are similar in height to my other cake layers, so they still take a while to bake even though they have a smaller radius.

  40. I’ve been enjoying your posts on Instagram and anxiously awaiting the arrival of my small pans. I tried this with 4″ pans today and the center fell. Everything was at room temperature and I weighed my ingredients, but I noticed that I saved the recipe in my recipe app and the oven temperature was slightly lower (that had it at 325 and the minutes were slightly off, too), but the ingredients all seemed to be accurate.

    The cake seems to have cooked, so I might have to hollow the center and add some surprise berries when I ice it in the morning. I’d love to try it again, so let me know if there’s any adjustment that comes to mind 🙂

    1. Hi Jessica,

      That’s a great fix! If the center fell it means they needed more time in the oven. I did update the recipe to 350 because some people were struggling with it at 325f. To be safe next time, use a toothpick to make sure the cake layers are done. They should could out of the cake layers with a efw moist crumbs once they’re ready. Hope that helps, happy baking!

  41. Thanks, Chelsea! I’m planning to go ahead with Russian BC as that seems easier than SM.
    – I made the cake layers last night and they look soft but didn’t rise up much. Any reason you can think why? I followed the recipe correctly. Was it because my melted butter was slightly warm (although the recipe didn’t mention it should be room temperature)
    – can I add raw or boiled beet root juice to your Russian bc for the pink color? If so, do I need to swap up some other wet ingredient to ensure the consistency doesn’t get impacted?

    Planning to make this today, so appreciate any feedback you could give. Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Jay,

      So sorry for the delayed response! This cake recipe doesn’t rise up much, so as long as the texture seems soft they turned of right.

      Russian buttercream can be finicky, so only add SUPER cooked down beetroot juice, otherwise it can cause the frosting to break. I would still add in the vanilla for flavor, and sadly there isn’t really another liquid you can cut back on in the recipe unless you chose to add less sweetened condensed milk. Hope your cake turned out great!!

  42. Hi! i just made the cake but mine turned out tasting much like cornbread. Do you know what i could have done wrong?

    1. Hi Kate,

      Do you bake with buttermilk very often? Some people aren’t a fan of baked goods made with it, and think it gives the cake an odd flavor. I’d suggest using sour cream or full fat yogurt in place of it next time, and hopefully you’ll enjoy the taste more! Hope that helps for the future <3

  43. I am looking at getting pans to make this 4 inch cake, and am wondering if you prefer to use pans that are 2 inches or 3 inches deep? For my 6 inch cakes pans I have 3 inch deep pans, and love them. Just wasn’t sure if this would be too much for 4 inch pans?

    1. Hi Jenna,

      I use 2 inch deep pans! But 3 inch pans work the same with my recipes! All that matters is that you bake the layers individually rather than filling one pan full and torting the baked cake layer. Hope that helps, happy baking!

  44. I love your vanilla cake layer recipe and was excited for a mini version. I think the modifications may have changed the texture. This wasn’t as fluffy as I am used to. It came out dense, but not in a bad way. It was delicious but different. My boyfriend doesn’t normally eat sweets, but he enjoyed a decent slice of this recipe. He said it was like a cake version of a cheesecake, which he loves.

    1. Hi Judy,

      I know what you’re saying! The texture is slightly different because the ratios are a tiny bit different in this smaller version.

      That’s awesome to hear though, I’m glad you guys like it!

  45. Hi Chelsea! Thank you for the tips and the recipes!!! I will make them today! 🙂 I have a question for Gluten free recipe. Do I need to change 1 cup (or 120 grams) of King Arthur’s gluten free flour blend instead of 130 of all-purpose flour or cake flour? Can I get a good Gluten Free cake?

    1. Hi Lorena,

      Using 1 cup (120 grams) of King arthur’s gluten free flour should work great! I also recommend over-stirring the batter to help give it structure and letting the batter sit for about 30 minutes before baking it to help the flour absorb some of the moisture from the batter. If you follow those tips I think a gluten free version of this cake should turn out awesome! 🙂

  46. Hi there! I have some sweet little 4 inch tins that are only 1.5 inches high and thought this would be a great chance to try a 6-tier rainbow cake! If I make 6 layers of the 1.5 inch high I’ll end up with the same yield as yours by the sounds of it (you said above that 3 inch high works for this recipe). I’m assuming I’d need to adjust the cooking time, – any recommendations?

    1. Hi Lucy,

      That makes sense, so each of your colorful layers will be 1 inch tall after being baked! I’d check in on them about 5 minutes earlier than the recipe calls for, and check with a toothpick until it comes out with a few moist crumbs. Hope that helps, and that your rainbow cake turns out great 🙂

  47. Hi Chel!
    So I always use your recipes I love them! so today I tried this mini recipe , I was lazy bc I only have 2 daddio 4 inches so I just said I’ll make 8 cupcakes. Prior to this I read your cake mishaps. Meanwhile I never have an issue when I bake your recipes. Today lol, I don’t know what happened. 4 of the cupcakes caved- I’m guessing under cooked. But the cupcakes were so extra moist it was quite delicious. The tops tho were kind of crunchy almost carmelized around the edges. I don’t know what I did wrong tonight ? I’m so upset lol. Any pointers?

    1. Hi Lauren,

      It’s actually not something you did wrong! This recipe is designed to make cake layers, and just doesn’t bake up that well when it’s made in cupcakes.

      Haha they do sounds slightly underbaked, but the crunchy and caramelized tops are just from the high sugar ratio in this recipe. I usually recommend people just use my cupcake recipe instead of turning my cake recipes into cupcakes for that reason. They still taste great, it’s just not exactly the perfect cupcake once it’s baked <3

  48. Hi there! Are the temperatures in your recipes fan or conventional? I keep reading that you should lower you temperature if you’re baking in a fan oven, but I’ve been using the same temperatures since I started baking. So I thought I’d test it with this recipe. 🙂

    1. Hi Ella,

      My recipes are for regular ovens, not ovens set to convection heat/fan setting! That’s definitely a good thing to keep in mind if your oven is set to that <3

  49. Hi Chelsea,
    Can the cake recipe be vegan but still be quite fluffy? Aka using vegan milk, butter and egg replacer?

  50. Do you know about how many ounces of batter you put into each of your 4” pans? I’m trying to take this same idea and do a mini cake with a different flavor for a smash cake 🙂 Thanks!

  51. Hi,

    I need to make 3 4 inch cakes for a bake sale and wanted to triple the batch. I only have 3 pans, so is it ok to leave the mix while the pans bake?

  52. Hey there! I have one 6 inch cake tin. So is it okay if I use it and then slice the cake into two? Any change in the baking instructions for that? And how to make this cake a bit more fluffy?

  53. Hi! For my birthday, I got some baking/cake decorating supplies, so I decided to make this cake. This was the first real cake I ever made from scratch and decorated with a turntable, and it actually turned out really good! I used vegan butter and macadamia nut milk to make the cake and the frosting dairy free, and it was so delicious! Thank you for posting this recipe; it was really helpful!

  54. This recipe looks amazing, I would love to try it. Just had few question.
    If I use sour cream or full fat yogurt, how much should I use? Since milk and buttermilk have thin consistency compared to yogurt/sour cream.
    Also, I would like my cake to be less sweet. Is it ok if I use 3/4 cup of sugar? Will this change the texture of the cake?

  55. This is a great and cute cake!! I was just wondering if I needed this buttercream for two dozen cupcakes could I just double the recipe? (I have used this recipe of buttercream from you before and I really love how smooth and sweet it is!)

  56. Hi there, I baked this cake today and it turned out dreadful. Didn’t rise, bubbly crispy top and very greasy upon removing from pans. BP was fresh, ingredients room temp. The only think I can think is do you measure the butter before melting or after? I did it after melting and I feel this could be why it came out so greasy. Oil and butter in a small cake seems a bit much. Can you help?

  57. I made this cake last night and it was absolutely delicious!!! I have been testing out different recipes and this vanilla cake is my favorite! The cake was super easy to make and I loved that it was all in 1 bowl and with a whisk. The cake was fluffy, moist and flavorful! I had left over buttercream from a couple cakes I made over the weekend and they paired perfectly with this mini cake.

    Is the texture of this cake the same for your larger scale vanilla cakes or do you think it turns out so fluffy because it’s a small batch recipe that you hand mix?

  58. Hi Chelsey,

    I tried this recipe for Canada Day, and it will probably be delicious. There was one problem. The cake was not baking on the inside, but when it finally did, the bottom was burnt. Maybe it was a problem with my oven, or something I did. Thank you!

  59. Hi Chel, i have tried this receipe and my can sink from the middle i don’t know what have gone wrong. I have followed each and every step shown in the receipe.very disappointed as i was making it for my son’s 2nd birthday as we are not cake lovers so i was making tiny one.

  60. Hi, could you advise the depth of the 4″ cake pans please they seem to be all different depths when I go into Amazon.. Thanks

  61. For your other recipes – can they not be halved to make a smaller four inch cake…or does it not work that way?

  62. I love how easy and tasty this cake is, but I’ve made it twice and both times the middles have sunk. I have two 4″ pans that are the same and then one 4″ springform that I also use. Both times, the middle sunk significantly more in the two non-springform cake pans, so I’m not sure if its just an issue with the pans, but also I was wondering if you think I may be over-mixing or doing something wrong? Do you have any suggestions, because I would love to keep using this recipe!!

  63. Super excited to try my first cake in the 4 inch pan.
    Could you please tell me how much does the cake weigh approximately with frosting & buttercream?

  64. Just made this recipe and loved it! I used 2 6” pans instead of the 4” pans and it came out perfect! Love how moist this cake is and thanks for the small batch recipe! It’s helpful when you don’t want to be throwing out a bunch of extra cake.

  65. Hello! I’m new to your blog, and I’m excited to make this mini cake. Just wanted to say how much I appreciate how thorough your directions are! Mainly how you say to make sure you spoon the flour into the measuring cups or to use a scale. I know that’s the correct way to measure flour, but a lot of recipes don’t state that they did that and makes me question just how much flour is in their recipe. Thank you!!!!

  66. Hi, I wanted to know if this cake is suitable for holding a fruit filling. Also, would this cake go with swiss meringue buttercream? I’m making this cake for people who don’t like too much sweetness, so do you think this is a good option?

  67. Hi Chelsey, I made this cake today and it turned out perfectly! However, I noticed that there are small very dark specks buried in the cake (all 3 layers). The spots can be seen from all angles of the baked, unleveled layers (I haven’t assembled the cake yet).

    I’m so confused how to avoid this next time since I have to make another one today. I followed your recipe to a T and used brand new Fat Daddio’s pans, properly greased and floured. None of my ingredients had questionable spots so it definitely developed in the oven.

    Could you please help me figure out what went wrong? I tried googling this and the issue might be the baking powder or sugar crystallizing? Thanks and happy baking!

  68. Hi!! I’m thinking of making a two layer 4inch cake with this recipe how should i change the amount of I got to use? Thanks!!

  69. I just made the cake this morning OMG so good and moist this is great since my husband don’t do sweets. Great for a small get together with friends.

  70. Hi, I wanna love this recipe because of the size but I’ve failed 3x at making it. Every time it falls apart from bottom up when I try to take out of the pans. I’ve read through your other responses and recipe and let sit for 10 mins, scrape around the edges, and put in the freezer 20 mins and it still happens. What am I doing wrong? Ita done it with the vanilla and chocolate for this recipe. Also your layers look very pale and soft do you trim the edges around these? Mine are much more golden looking. Thanks so much! Love all your recipes!!

  71. I have made this several times but using your notes, converted it to chocolate. I tend to do 2 6” layers since that’s the pan size I have. However it feels like the layers are super thin compared to when I make it just vanilla per the recipe. Is there a way to keep the layers thick but convert this to chocolate?

  72. This was my first time ever making a homemade cake! I have a lot of practicing to do when it comes to decorating the cake but when I made the cake batter itself, it came out so good and tasted amazing. It was moist even and not to crazy sweet. It had a perfect balance! Can’t wait to give it a go this coming weekend with the decorating.

  73. Hi! I was wondering how much cocoa powder i should substitute in place of powdered sugar to make a chocolate frosting?

  74. I made this batter and used sour cream instead of buttermilk, the dough was extremely thick and it only filled on six inch baking pan halfway and did not rise at all, so it really only created one mini layer of cake. it was crunchy on the outside which was good, it baked as a dense loaf and not a cake. Still delicious, I’m about to make it again 🙂

  75. Hi, I love your cakes! I have two 6 x 3 inch pans. Should I use this recipe and double it? Or should I use your regular sized gluten free cake recipe?

  76. Hi CHels, how tall does this tyoe of cake comes up?, i have just started looking for 4″ diam cakes recipes
    its curious the recipes i have for 6″ vanilla cake (3 layers) is very similar to this one, my 6″ cakes are 4.5-5″ tall, i cameout with the conclusion that 2 recipes of 6″ makes a 8″ 3 layers cake, and half of a 6″ recipe, makes a 4″ 3 layers cake (i hope i didnt confused you much)

  77. I think it looks great and you have super information and tips. My one thought is about the looks of that cake board, I think that is what is called. It doesn’t look good. The edges are the problem. The brown showing on the cardboard edges. I’m no pro but I’m sure there are tricks in order for that not to show. With photography you can conceal it by taking the picture from above the cake or photoshopping it.

  78. I was wondering if you used 3, 4×2 or 4×3 inch cake pans. I have been looking at getting some to make personal cakes or smash cakes. Which side do you recommend?

  79. I love the colour of this vanilla cake. Want to make valentine’s treat boxes and a friend of mine has asked me to make her wedding cake..I am not nervous…so will be trying out this recipe over the weekend..

    Also wanted to ask..could I bake this as a sheet cake and simply cut out the cake sizes?
    Love your cakes..

    Easy to follow methods and you do them in grams also..

    Cake fan..

  80. I made this cake because I wanted to use my three 4 inch baking pans that I got from my mother-in-law as a gift. I always wanted to try to make layered cakes but it would had been too much for just my husband and me to make a whole 6 inch layered cake. This recipe was perfect for me! The cake was moist and I really liked the cookie like texture on the outside of the cake. I’m looking forward to making a chocolate cake version soon! Thank you for the great recipe.

  81. I absolutely love this recipe. At first I was baking on the top rack and it would sink. Then realized it should be on the middle rack and it’s perfect.

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