6 inch cake recipes for small celebrations! Make a small cake recipe from scratch to celebrate a birthday at home or an anniversary!
When I first started this site, in 2010, I simply had the idea that most people don't need a giant 3-layer cake on the counter or 4 dozen cookies leftover. I knew that I wanted to scale down everyone's favorite desserts into smaller portions so that we could enjoy them more often.
My first cookbook, Dessert for Two, is full of every dessert we all know and love, scaled down to make 2-3 servings. It was an absolute joy to create the recipes.
I always knew that I didn't want to wait for my birthday to enjoy a funfetti cake; I wanted a 6 inch birthday cake full of sprinkles and topped with fluffy white frosting that I could make anytime I pleased.
I didn't want to wait until I had a big party to enjoy an enormous Texas chocolate sheet cake, so I made a Texas chocolate quarter sheet cake.
You probably see what I mean by now: when cakes are smaller, we can make them more frequently! We can make them as a small gift to a friend or coworker.
When I worked in the corporate world, I used to love making someone's day by placing a small batch of cupcakes or a mini 6 inch cake on their desk. The company would buy the giant flavorless sheet cake for everyone to share, and I loved that the special birthday person got to enjoy their own cake later at home.
Favorite 6" Cake Recipe Ideas
- Mini Vanilla Cake
- Mini Chocolate Cake
- Mini Red Velvet Cake
- Mini Lemon Cake
- Mini Funfetti Cake
- Mini White Chocolate Rose Cake
- Mini Fudge Cake
- Mini Cinnamon Apple Cake
- Mini Wedding Cake for Two
- Mini Dr Pepper Cake
- Mini Glazed Oatmeal Cake
- Mini Fig Cake
- Mini Pineapple Coconut Cake
- Mini Carrot Cake
- Mini Chocolate Sour Cream Cake
- Mini Tres Leches Cake
- Mini Ombre Cake
- Mini Vegan Birthday Cake
- Chocolate Mousse Cake
- Mini Cookie Dough Cake
- Mini Rainbow Cake
- Vegan Chocolate Cake for Two
All of these recipes are made in a 6 inch cake pan that has 2 inch high sides. When I first began developing mini cake recipes, this was the only pan available; now, they make a pan with 3 inch high sides. I really don't recommend that pan. The extra inch of pan creates extra heat reflection during cooking and can make the cake sink!
How long to bake 6 inch cake
For anything that you bake, use the recipe as a guide for baking time. However, since most recipes contain a rough estimate, there are a few other ways to know when your cake is done. First, you should be smelling the cake. Food tends to be most fragrant and aromatic when it’s done! Beyond that, peek at the edges of the cake in the pan. They should be lightly golden brown and just starting to pull away from the sides of the cake pan. Then, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake at an angle. When you remove the toothpick, it should only contain a few moist crumbs, no raw cake batter! Let all cakes cool on a wire rack, unless specified by the recipe.
Here is the exact 6 inch cake pan that I have used and loved for 10 years.
How many people does a 6 inch cake feed?
The majority of my 6 inch cake recipes make a single layer cake, which makes 4-6 slices of cake. See the beautiful ombre cake below to see 6 small slices of cake. A few of the recipes make a double layer cake, because they're more festive, like my red velvet cake and vegan vanilla birthday cake. Those cakes serve 6-8 people because the slices are thicker.
The frostings on these cakes range from standard American buttercream (like on my small vanilla cake), to freshly whipped cream on my mini lemon layer cake and mini tres leches cake. I've also used a pourable chocolate ganache on my mini chocolate cake for two, and an unusual broiled sweet oatmeal topping on my oatmeal cake recipe.
Tips for decorating a 6 inch Cake
Decorating your cake is entirely personal, and depends on the style you’re going for. A simple layer of buttercream is enough, but if you want to make buttercream roses, like I do for my wedding cake cupcakes, you can. Just remember to do a crumb coat of frosting and then chill the cake before attempting to apply the final layer of frosting. If you have leftover frosting, use a fancy tip to make shapes around the edges, too.
How to store your 6 in Cake
Technically, a cake contains enough sugar to be stored on the counter for up to 2 days. However, frostings usually contain dairy, so then the cake needs to be refrigerated. The best way to store a cake is to take the lid off of a large round storage container. Place the cake directly on the inside of the lid. Then, place the glass or plastic storage portion on top of the cake. Your storage container is technically upside down, but your cake is completely untouched. This is much better than wrapping plastic wrap around a cake and using toothpicks to keep the plastic wrap from touching the frosting.
The perfect Small Cake for two
These small cakes are perfect for making at home on any day that you have a cake craving. They're small enough to be easy and quick to put together, and most of them only require one bowl to make (especially my one bowl chocolate cake).
Whenever I make one of these cakes, my family of 3 (the baby doesn't eat cake, hah!) usually finish it within 2 days. I've been known to enjoy a slice of cake for breakfast with coffee. Each recipe should have instructions for storing the cakes. Some need to be refrigerated (those with fresh whipped cream frostings and strawberry cream cheese frosting, especially), and some can sit out at room temperature on a mini cake stand as long as it's wrapped in plastic wrap.
You'll love this Easy Small Cake Recipe
A small 6 inch cake recipe makes a little less than 2 cups of batter. If you're more of a cake mix type of baker (I still love you), you can always use several 6 inch cake pans to make your cake dreams come true. Wrap up each cake tightly in plastic wrap plus a layer of foil, and you can store them in the freezer until the cravings hit. I defrost a mini layer cake in the fridge overnight, and then on the counter until soft again.
Scroll up for my full list of mini cakes for two, and let me know if you don't see your favorite cake on the list--I take requests in the comments below!
Here's my most basic mini vanilla cake for two:
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon fine salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 6 tablespoons whole milk
- ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar*
For the vanilla buttercream recipe:
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 350, and spray a 6" round cake pan with 2" sides with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper.
- In a medium-size bowl, beat together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Beat very well, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until well-combined, about 15 seconds.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda. Add half of the this to the batter and beat for just a few seconds before stirring in half of the milk and vinegar. Continue beating. Add the remaining dry ingredients and beat, and then stir in the remaining milk.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth out the top, and bake on a small sheet pan for 37-39 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool on a wire rack in the pan. Carefully remove it from the pan, pulling away the parchment paper once it has cooled.
- To make the buttercream, beat the butter in a medium-size bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and heavy cream, and beat until light and fluffy. If the mixture seems too stiff, add a splash more heavy cream.
- Use a little more than half of the buttercream to frost the cake. If you made the cake ahead of time and frozen it, it's best to apply a crumb coat of buttercream before applying a second layer.
- Place the remaining ¼ of the buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a 1M tip, and pipe roses along the outside edge of the cake. To make a rose, pipe a spiral shape, starting inside of moving around the center.
*Instead of whole milk and apple cider vinegar, you can use 6 tablespoons of buttermilk.
The cake may be baked and frozen, tightly wrapped for up to 1 month. Defrost before frosting.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 542Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 107mgSodium: 119mgCarbohydrates: 66gFiber: 0gSugar: 54gProtein: 3g
And here's my most basic mini chocolate cake for two:
For the cake:
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅓ cup neutral oil (like canola or grapeseed)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup full-fat sour cream
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon warm coffee
For the ganache:
- 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- splash of light corn syrup (to keep the frosting smooth, optional)
- pomegranate arils, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350, and position a rack in the lower third of the oven.
- Line a 6" round cake pan (with 2" sides) with parchment paper on the bottom, and lightly grease the sides with oil.
- Next, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, sour cream, egg, vanilla and coffee.
- Combine the two bowls, mixing just until combined.
- Pour the batter into the cake pan, and bake for 29-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. If you under-bake the cake, it will slightly sink, so check it! It will also start to pull away from the sides when it's done.
- Remove the cake from the pan by carefully tilting it into one hand, peel off the parchment from the bottom, and then place it on a small cake stand.
- In a double boiler, or bowl fitted over a pan of simmering water, combine the chopped chocolate, cream, and corn syrup (if using). Stir over medium heat until melted and smooth. *Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate and cream in the microwave in 25-second pulses on LOW power. Stir between each pulse.
- Pour the chocolate over the cake, and garnish with pomegranate arils.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 626Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 193mgCarbohydrates: 73gFiber: 6gSugar: 52gProtein: 7g