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slices of cake with a small birthday cake

Small Birthday Cake

  • Author: Jenna Barnard
  • Total Time: 50 minutes + 1 hour cooling
  • Yield: 4 slices


This small birthday cake is perfect for intimate celebrations! It serves two to four people, but has all the flavor and moist texture of a delicious birthday cake.


Vanilla Cake

  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp (86g) all purpose flour *see notes for GF option
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup (55g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (85g) sour cream or 2% plain Greek yogurt

Chocolate Frosting

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 12 tbsp milk
  • Rainbow sprinkles for decorating


Vanilla Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and coat a 6 inch round cake pan with nonstick spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a round piece of parchment paper that’s cut to the same diameter as the pan. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a hand or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  4. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl and mix in the vanilla and egg. Scrape down the bowl again and  then mix in the sour cream.
  5. Pour in the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to ensure all of the ingredients are fully incorporated. 
  6. Scoop the batter into your prepared pan and spread it even. Bake for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. 
  7. Allow the cake to cool inside the pan for 30 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and release the cake. Let it cool on a wire rack until it is no longer warm to the touch. To speed up this process, place the cake in the refrigerator. The cake must be completely cooled before frosting. 

Chocolate Frosting

  1. In a bowl using a hand or stand mixer with the whisk attachment, mix together the butter and powdered sugar. 
  2. Once smooth, mix in the cocoa powder. It should be pretty thick at this point, so mix in 1 or 2 tablespoons of milk to achieve a creamy consistency. 
  3. Spread the frosting on your cooled cake and top with sprinkles. Enjoy!


*GLUTEN FREE – Although I haven’t tested it, I believe this cake would work well with gluten free flour. Sub the flour with a good quality gluten free baking flour. I like Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 gluten free baking flour. I also suggest weighing the flour rather than measuring by cups, to ensure accuracy. 

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes

Keywords: small birthday cake, birthday cake, birthday cake for two, 6 inch cake

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