After weeks of binge watching The Great British Bake Show, I decided it was finally time to bust out my mixer. Baking has always been a hobby of mine, but in recent years it’s taken a backseat. It made sense that I would start from the basics: a vanilla layer cake. Because there are just two of us, I knew I didn’t want to make a large behemoth layer cake, so I scaled down my recipes to make a small layer cake – just about 6 inches wide, frosted. Although this cake is as simple as it gets, it looks spectacular. I’m calling it “faux-fancy”.
Can I just tell you how proud I am of how this cake turned out? As I was piping the frosting it transformed before my eyes and I could barely believe I had made something so beautiful. I am not an expert baker by any means, so the fact that I could create this gorgeous small layer cake floored me.
This recipe made three identical 4 inch cakes, although I only used two of them. Do yourself a favor, if you’re baking for a small quantity of people, just go ahead and get this set of 4 inch springform pans. LIFE SAVERS. I’ve used them in so many different ways and they make this recipe a breeze.
The initial frosting was the hardest. I didn’t put the right tip on the piping bag, so my frosting was a bit uneven to start. With the use of my favorite frosting spatula, I evened it out and was able to move on to piping the pretty frosting. It felt pretty touch and go there for a moment, though. How do people get the frosting so smooth? Seriously. Please tell me.
Did I mention that I love that this is the perfect size cake for a small number of people? Have a couple of slices for 2 or make this cake and serve it at a small dinner party of 4 or 6. You will not catch me making a full 9″ layer cake any time soon!
- 6 tbsp butter, softened
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 3 large egg whites
- 6 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 c powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 c unsalted butter (room temp)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1-2 tbsp heavy whipping cream
- Cream butter and sugar for approximately 5 minutes with a mixer (until light and fluffy).
- In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In another bowl, whisk egg whites, milk, and vanilla.
- With mixer on low, add in 1/3 of the dry mix then half of the wet mix.
- Then add the next third of the dry mix and the rest of the wet mix.
- Finally, add in the last third of the dry mix and mix for about a minute to combine.
- Line 2 (or 3 if you want an "extra" cake) 4" springform pans with parchment paper and grease the sides with butter.
- Pour in batter and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes.
- Cool cakes completely, then cut off the tops to form flat cakes.
- Beat butter until fluffy with a mixer on medium.
- Reduce mixer to low and add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time.
- Increase speed for 3 minutes.
- Add vanilla and whipping cream.
- Beat on medium for an additional minute.
- Add a healthy layer of frosting to the top of one cake.
- Top with the second cake (flipping the top cake over so that the bottom is on top).
- Frost the entire layer cake lightly with frosting, using a frosting knife.
- With a rosette piping tip, pipe frosting along the bottom edge of the cake all the way to the top.
- This recipe will yield 1 two-layer cake and one single layer cake. You can discard the third cake if you like, or just use it as a piping-practice cake.