When left to my own devices for entire weekends, I’ve been known to bake cakes. For no reason other than the fact that I love to bake cakes.
But my main issue with most cake recipes is they simply make too much cake. I want a cake recipe for the tiniest of occasions – like “Great Job – you scrubbed the bathtub” or “Congratulations on your hair looking AMAZING today”.
Jesse was alway at a work thing, the weather was crappy (the typical January weather for Vermont) so I stayed inside and bake a cake. For whom or what? Idk, for practice? For fun? I ate a slice and stuck the rest in the freezer…maybe we’ll bring it out when we finally..fingers crossed..move into our new house.
Anyways, I needed something to keep me busy because I can’t bare the idea of starting to pack up for moving. So I baked a cake (I think that’s called procastibaking?). Not just any cake. A tiny 6 layered funfetti cake with buttercream frosting, and of course, an abundance of sprinkles.
I didn’t have the proper sized cake rings to cut out my layers, so I rummaged through our recycling bin for a 32 ounce tomato can. I used the can to cut 6 rounds out of my quarter sheet cake. Who needs fancy baking equipment when you have a recycling bin full of opportunity??
Also, the scraps make lovely snacks. Just saying.
Recipe takes inspiration from Milk Bar’s Birthday Funfetti Sheet Cake, scaled down to make it an appropriate sized cake for the tiniest of occasions, built using a tomato can and made with ingredient substitutions found in the more “everyday” kitchen.
Tiny Funfetti 6 Layer Cake
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (110g)
1 cup + 1 tablespoon white can sugar (213g)
1/4 cup brown sugar (38g)
90g homemade buttermilk mixture*
1/4 cup vegetable oil (50g)
2 teaspoons clear imitation vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups homemade cake flour (210g)**
1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles (100g)
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder (5g)
1/2 teaspoon salt
*to make homemade buttermilk, add 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar to 90g (about 6 tablespoons) milk. Stir and let rest for 5 minutes before using in recipe.
**to make homemade cake flour, place 1 tablespoon cornstarch at the bottom of a 1 cup measure, then fill with all purpose flour to make 1 cup homemake cake flour. You’ll need 1 3/4 cups homemade cake flour for this recipe, so make 2 cups and save the remaining 1/4 cup for later use.
How to Whip it Up
For the quarter sheet Funfetti Cake
Preheat oven to 350, grease and line a quarter sheet pan with parchment.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the butter and both sugars on medium-high for 2 minutes, or until fluffy. Make sure to scrape down sides as necessary. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on medium-high in between each. Once both eggs are added, mix for another 4-5 minutes on high. Add in homemade buttermilk, oil, and vanilla very slowly while mixer is running on medium. Scrape down sides of bowl if necessary. Mix on medium-high until your mixture doubles in size and your batter almost changes colors from yellow to white (about 3-4 minutes, but don’t rush it). Whisk together dry ingredients (homemade cake flour, spinkles, baking powder, and salt) in a separate bowl. With the stand mixer running on low (stir setting if your stand mixer has it), slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet. Mix until the batter just comes together and there are no lumps of flour.
Pour batter into prepared pan, use a spatula to spread evenly. You may choose to sprinkle an additional 2 tablespoons of sprinkles on top for ultimate sprinkle dispersion. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden and the center of the cake bounces back slightly when poked.
Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to completely cool. If you cannot wait to frost your cake, place the cake in the fridge to expedite the cooling time.
For the vanilla buttercream frosting
If you have a go-to vanilla buttercream frosting, go for it. If not, I encourage you to try mine! It’s a bit less sweet than tradition American buttercream because I use a lower sugar to fat ratio. I try to keep my ratio 1:1, airing a little bit higher on the sugar side.
1 stick unsalted butter (113g), room temperature
113g + a little more powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk or cream
1 teaspoon clear imitation vanilla extract
pinch of salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with the paddle, cream together butter and sugar on medium-high until very fluffy you may need to add up to 2 tablespoons more powdered sugar. Once fluffy, scrape down sides and add milk, vanilla and salt. Run mixer on medium-high until frosting is fluffy again and starts to turn more white than yellow (2-3 minutes). Use half of frosting for cake’s crumb coat and half for final frosting layer.
If you’re opting for a naked cake look, this will be enough frosting. If you want to cover your entire cake’s outside, I suggest you double the recipe.
Assembly for a tiny 6 layer cake
I do not have cake rings smaller than 6 inches (I doubt many people do). So I used a cleaned out 32 ounce tomato can to cut my cake layers. You should be able to get 6 cake rounds from the quarter sheet. (And please for the love of all thing cake, eat the damn straps. DO NOT throw them away. They make lovely vehicles for testing frosting, smush them together to make cake truffles or just eat them straight up – which is what I do! You can even get crazy, and press them together to make a 7th layer for your cake – use the tomato can again to shape).
Once your cake rounds are cut, it’s time to assemble and frost. Schmear a tad of frosting on a cake stand or plate that you’ll be building your cake on. This will keep the cake in place better. Place first cake round center on the frosting schmear. Then, using a piping bag full of frosting, pipe a thick edge around the cake round, then use a frosting spatula or knife to spread it evenly across the cake round, making sure to leave a thick edge. Place second layer of cake on top and repeat until you’ve gone through all 6 layers. Using your frosting spatula or knife, spread a little bit more frosting on the top of the cake and around the sides, paying particular attending to spreading the extra trick edges you’ve made between each layer. Place cake in fridge to chill.
You can move onto your final frosting layer after 30 minutes of chilling, or wrap the cake in plastic and freeze up to 5 days before frosting.
For the final frosting layer, use a frosting spatula or knife to spread buttercream around the sides, leaving some parts bare if desired. Smooth the top of the cake. Then use extra sprinkles to decorate as desired.
Serve immediately, or wrap in plastic and freeze…so you can have cake on demand whenever you want. Because the only thing better than a freezer full of cookie dough is a freezer full of tiny funfetti cakes.
Variations & Other Notes
If you’d rather not mess with all those layers, feel free to just frost the sheet cake and call it a day. Or you can make a 3 layer 6 inch cake – you’ll just need to use the scraps as your 3rd layer (pressed into the bottom of a 6 inch cake ring, in true Milk Bar style).
Tips for freezing cake
Freeze a frosted cake uncovered, then once frozen through, wrap tightly in plastic. Freezing uncovered first makes sure that the plastic wrap doesn’t fudge up your lovely frosting and decorations.
If freezing for an extended period, I recommend an outer layer of tin foil – to keep any weird freezer smells at bay.