Mini Layer Cake Tutorial

How to assemble and decorate mini layer cakes made from a sheet cake!

Mini Layer Cake Tutorial

The countdown until Mother's Day is officially on!!  If you still need a last-minute gift or dessert recipe, then this is the recipe for.  Made from a simple SHEET CAKE, these little baby cakes are so cute and quick to put together.  The best part?? The decoration, of course!  Making these minis means you can customize each one.  Or create an army of minis that all look the same – it's totally up to you!

Mini Layer Cake Tutorial
Mini Layer Cake Tutorial

My love for mini cakes runs deep.  Not only are they super cute, but I like the idea of creating an individual cake for guests or loved ones.  I've devoted the last 10 years to making layer cakes, but sometimes you have to switch it up, ya know?  When a slice (of cake) won't do and you want something a bit fancier than a cupcake, then MINI CAKES are the answer!  Customize them, give them as gifts, and/or place one at each place setting at your next brunch or dinner party.

Seriously, what's not to love?  They pretty much speak for themselves, so let's get started...

Mini Layer Cake Tutorial
Mini Layer Cake Tutorial
Mini Layer Cake Tutorial
Mini Layer Cake Tutorial

Here's what you need to get started:

  • Baked and cooled sheet cake (recipe to follow)
  • A batch of your favorite buttercream (recipe to follow)
  • A round cookie or biscuit cutter (about 2 to 3 inches in diameter)
  • Piping tip(s)
  • Piping bag
  • Assorted cake decorating accessories

How to Make Adorable Mini Layer Cakes:

  1. Bake, cool, and trim your sheet cakes.  If they bake up with a dome on top, feel free to shave it down with a serrated knife.
  2. Cut out rounds of cake with the cookie/biscuit cutter out of the sheet and set aside.  You should be able to cut out at least 12 rounds per 1/4 sheet cake.
  3. Fill a piping bag fitted with a medium start tip with buttercream.  Pipe buttercream on half of the cake rounds.  Take the plain cakes and place them on top to make mini 2-layer cakes.
  4. For the top, pipe on more frosting like you did for the filling or decorate as desired.
Mini Layer Cake Tutorial

Decoration Ideas:

  • Fresh flowers!  I like to purchase a mixed bouquet and dissemble it a bit.  This way, you can still make individual cakes that are unique, but they still coordinate with similar colors and textures.
  • Sprinkles!  I like to mix together sugar pears, jimmies, and quins to make my own custom mix.
  • Meringues!  I whipped up some French meringue earlier this week for a different project.  Fortunatly for me, I added a bit of gel food coloring to the extra meringue, piped them into little stars/kisses, and baked them.  Cute, right?
  • Buttercream!  Yup, regular buttercream with a touch of pink using a petal tip can make a world of a difference.  For the frilly, flower mini cakes, I used a #103 petal tip.  Keeping the narrow end pointing away from the center, begin piping petals around the outer top edge of the cakes.  Continue around until complete.  Begin a second row of inner petals in the center of cake.  Finish by sprinkling sugar pearls into the center of the "flowers."
Mini Layer Cake Tutorial
Mini Layer Cake Tutorial

Basic Buttermilk Sheet Cake
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 + 2 tablespoons cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line two 1/4-sheet pans (9" X 13") with parchment and set aside.

Combine dry ingredients together; set aside. 

Beat butter on medium-low speed of electric mixer until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and mix on medium speed until the mixture is fluffy and pale in colour, about 2 to 4 minutes. Scrape sides of bowl.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed until blended. Add vanilla extract; beat on low speed until blended.

Add in half of the flour mixture.  Once this is incorporated, pour in the buttermilk while the mixer is running on low speed.  Once the milk is absorbed, add in the remaining flour mixture. After the last streaks of flour are incorporated, mix the batter on medium-low speed for about 20 seconds until smooth. 

Pour batter into prepared cake pans. Spread until smooth.  Bake for 24 to 26 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean.  Let cool on a wire rack.  Use just after the cake has completely cooled or wrap with plastic until ready to assemble.

Variations:
– add 1/2 teaspoon almond extract with the vanilla
– add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or cardamom with the dry ingredients
– add the zest of one large lemon with the sugar; replace 1/4 cup buttermilk with lemon juice

 

Whipped Vanilla Buttercream
1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 to 4 tablespoons milk

Beat butter at medium-low speed of electric mixer until smooth and creamy (1 to 3 minutes.) 

Gradually add 3 ½ cups powdered sugar, vanilla bean paste or extract with mixer at low speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Mix until blended.

Beat at medium-high speed 3 to 5 minutes, until buttercream is light and airy and nearly white.  If needed, add the additional powered sugar or milk until desired consistency.  

Variations:
– add the seeds of 1/2 a vanilla bean
– add 1/2 teaspoon rose water
– add 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
– add 1 tablespoon freeze dried raspberry powder (or to taste)
– add the zest of one lemon; replace 2 tablespoons milk with lemon juice