Mini Birthday Cake (vegan)
Whether the celebration is big or small, a birthday requires birthday cake. This miniature layer cake serves between 2 and 4 people depending on how hungry they are and is both egg and dairy free.
Great things come in small packages
As a grown woman who is just 4 feet and a 11 inches tall, I know that some of the best things in life come in small packages. Bigger doesn’t always mean better. There are lots of reasons why you might only want a small birthday cake: perhaps you want to make it for a baby’s cake smash photo shoot? But, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, lots of us have had to put birthday celebrations on hold which means there’s no need for a big cake!
Whether you live alone, with your partner, or just a handful of friends, that shouldn’t mean you have to miss out on birthday cake. Which is why I’ve decided to share this miniature birthday cake recipe. No one should go without cake on their special day. Plus it’s egg and dairy free so is perfect for anyone who is allergic to those ingredients or who is following a vegan diet.
How tiny is this cake?
This miniature cake is perfect for It is perfect for a small celebration and will serve 2 to 4 people (depending how hungry they are of course!) You could bake it in tiny cake tins (3.5 inches / 9 centimetres wide) if you have them. But, to make things easier the method below suggests baking this as a sheet cake and then cutting out the layers using a cookie cutter.
Because of this method you do end up with off cuts. I call these “chef’s perks” and eat them while I’m doing the all important cake decorating. If you don’t want to have any waste, you could cut the larger cake into 4 equal sized squares/rectangles. You might need to make a little extra buttercream to cover the final cake as it will have a slightly larger surface area.
A chocolate drip still looks good on a square cake but you can of course decorate it in any way you choose. Chocolate and sprinkles are entirely optional.
This Mini Birthday Cake recipe first featured on the Meat and Veg Podcast (Season 1, Episode 4). You can listen here.
Mini Birthday Cake (Vegan)
- 19 cm x 26 cm rectangular cake tin
- grease proof paper
- 9 cm round cookie / pastry cutter
- piping bag
- Piping nozzle
For the cake
For the filling
- 2 tbsp fruit jam e.g. strawberry or raspberry
To make the cake
- Before you make the cake, pre-heat your oven to 180C / 356F / gas 4 and line a rectangular cake tin with grease proof paper.
- Beat the non-dairy butter and caster sugar together in a large mixing bowl until it is pale and creamy.
- Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into the bowl.
- In a separate jug, mix together the milk, vinegar and vanilla extract. (Do not worry if the acid reacts with the milk and it looks like it has split or curdled).
- Once well combined, pour the wet ingredients into the mixing bowl and beat all of the ingredients together until smooth. (You will want to work quickly as the liquid will react with the bicarbonate soda making bubbles).
- Pour the cake batter into the cake tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes or until the cake is golden brown, a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes come out clean and the cake is springy to the touch.
- Remove the cake from the oven once cooked and leave it in the tin until cool enough to handle. Turn the cake out on to wire rack and peel off the grease proof paper.
- Leave the cake to cool completely before assembling and decorating.
- Using a cookie cutter roughly 9 cm in diameter, cut out three circular cake layers.
- Make the buttercream by beating together half of the butter, all of the icing sugar and the vanilla paste until smooth. Add the extra butter until the icing is a smooth, spreadable consistency but holds its shape.
- Spread a little buttercream on to a small cake board followed by the first cake layer.
- Pipe a ring of buttercream around the top edge of the cake layer, this will stop any jam spilling out the edges.
- Add the jam inside this ring of icing and then place the second layer on top.
- Repeat this until the final layer of sponge is stacked.
- Using a spatula, cover the rest of the cake in a layer of buttercream (reserving a little to pipe on top).
- Carefully press sprinkles into the sides of the cake until completely covered.
- Heat the dark chocolate gently in either a bain-marie or with 10 second intervals in the microwave.
- Leave the chocolate to cool slightly then, while still runny, spoon on top of the cake. Gently spread the melted chocolate to the edge of the cake and let drips fall down the side.
- Once the chocolate has set, pipe swirls of the remaining buttercream and top with more sprinkles.
Tips for success
Follow the instructions
You’ve probably heard it be said before but baking is a science! Carefully weigh out all of your ingredients and follow the recipe to the letter and you will have a moist, light, fluffy cake every time.
Failure to prepare is preparation to fail
With vegan cake recipes its also important to do all your prep up front. Make sure the oven is pre-heated, your tin is lined with grease proof paper and all of your ingredients are weighed out. This is because its a bit of a race against time! The second the liquid hits the bicarbonate of soda a chemical reaction will begin forming bubbles. We want to trap these in the cake so it needs to get into the oven fast.
The key to spreadable buttercream
Non-dairy butter can make a softer buttercream than if you were using the dairy kind. I recommend adding the butter in two parts to make sure it’s not over mixed. By adding it slowly you can stop if you think it is too soft. If it is a little too runny then add more icing sugar and place it in the fridge to firm up before attempting to stack your cakes or ice with it.
Follow these 3 tips and you will have perfect vegan cakes every time.
More vegan cakes
These are just a small selection of vegan cakes on the Supper in the Suburbs blog. You can find more here.