A small vanilla cake recipe perfectly sized to share. Topped with a few buttercream flowers and sprinkled with fresh berries this cake makes a nice presentation. A small one-layer cake is just enough for the smaller household.
I love making these small single-layer cakes, they are great for us with a sweet tooth but don't want to have a massive cake tempting us all week long.
Table of Contents
Ingredients and Notes
6 tablespoons butter, softened
⅓ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla paste
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup milk
fresh blueberries or other berries of choice
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cream cheese, room temperature
- Butter - Use room temperature butter, but it should still be firm and indent easily if you press on the surface with your finger. I use salted butter, the added salt will lessen the sweetness of the buttercream so that's another reason I use it. I do keep a couple of sticks of unsalted butter for those rare cases when it might be especially important to use unsalted butter.
- Flour - As a general rule, I use King Arthur's all-purpose flour for most cakes.
- Sugar - Two types of sugar are used, granulated sugar is used to cream the butter. The confectioners or powder sugar is for the buttercream frosting. Both types are easily available in the local grocery store.
- Sour Cream - I'm a Knudsen girl but Daisy is in a cuter package. 🙂
- Cream Cheese- Use cream cheese in a block, don't use whipped.
- Vanilla Paste & Extract - For the cake, I use paste because it's a nice deep vanilla flavor, and the little flecks of vanilla bean are a nice touch. For the frosting, I use Extract because I want a smooth creamy white appearance.
Frosting - Sometimes I make the frosting the night before, it really easy and stores well. Use a hand mixer on medium-low and place the softened butter and cream cheese in a bowl and mix until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Next, mix in the powdered sugar and vanilla.
If you make the frosting ahead of time, remove any air bubbles before frosting the cake.
To make the cake first preheat the oven to 350° degrees and prepare the cake pan then set it aside.
Next cream the butter and sugar and add the vanilla and egg and mix together.
Add the dry ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to mix.
Add half the dry mix to the creamed butter and mix until just blended, add the buttermilk and then mix in the remaining dry mix.
Pour the batter into the prepared 6-inch cake pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a cake tester or toothpick into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean or with just a couple of moist crumbs, it's done!
Cut the cake into 4 slices and serve with berries decorating the plate.
How to store leftover cake
Store the frosted cake covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. An unfrosted cake can be wrapped tight and frozen for up to one month for the best quality.
Don’t over mix the batter. Mix on low speed just enough to blend. Over mixing will cause a dense cake.
Spray your pans with cooking oil & line the bottoms with parchment. To help ensure cakes come out cleanly.
Use baking times as a guideline only. Every oven is different. Some run hot, some run cold, and only you know how your oven bakes. For best results use an oven thermometer and adjust the temperature as needed.
Cool cakes completely before frosting. Don’t rush here, if the cake is warm your frosting will warm and start to thin making it difficult to properly frost the cake.
If you like my mini vanilla cake recipe, try my small carrot cake recipe, it's one of my favorites!
If you enjoyed this small vanilla cake recipe then you might enjoy a delicious small carrot cake.
Tips for using store-bought frosting?
Sometimes I just don’t want to take the time to make my own frosting so I'll use store-bought and make a few simple adjustments. Adding cream cheese and mixing it in with the store-bought frosting lessens the sugary flavor. I also add just a tad of vanilla extract to up the vanilla flavor.
When using store-bought my go-to is Duncan Hines, however, the Betty Crocker brand is also good. I don’t recommend using any of these straight out of the can, they all need a little work. You spent the time to bake a cake from scratch so you want the best flavor possible.
Cake Baking FAQ's
Coat the pan with a baking spray like Bak-Klene, or line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. The old fashioned way is to grease the pan with butter and sprinkle a light coating of flour. These all work!
You can use the classic toothpick in the center method, if it comes out clean it's done. Another way to tell is if the sides of the cake start to release from the edge of the pan. Or, if the top of the cake look set you can gently push down on the center and if it springs back then it's done.
Small Vanilla Cake
- 6 tablespoons butter softened
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla paste
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup milk
- fresh blueberries or other berries of choice
- 5 tablespoons butter softened
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon cream cheese room temperature
- Preheat oven to 350° degrees.
- Line the bottom of a round 6 x 2 cake pan with parchment paper and spray cooking spray like Bak-Kleene and set aside.
- Add the room temperature butter and sugar to a medium bowl. Cream together using a hand mixer on medium speed, about 2 minutes.
- Add the vanilla and egg and mix another 15-20 seconds until mixed into the batter.
- [In a small bowl combine the flour and baking soda and whisk to mix.
- Add half the dry mix to the creamed butter and mix until blended.
- Add the buttermilk slowly and mix until blended.
- Add the remaining flour and mix until well blended.
- Pour the batter into the prepared 6-inch cake pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a cake tester or toothpick into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean or with just a couple of moist crumbs, it's done.!
- Use a hand mixer on medium and In a medium bowl beat the butter and cream cheese using until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Beat in the powder sugar, vanilla, and sour cream. If too thick add a touch of heavy cream. If you make the frosting ahead of time, to remove any air bubbles before frosting the cake.
Making Buttercream Drop Flowers
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