Like everyone else I watched ‘the cupcake’ scene in Bridesmaids and wondered why she only made one. Not that she needed to make a batch, but a leftover one for the next day would have been pleasant and time saving. Once in a while you just want cake and no one at your day job has a birthday coming up. You can of course buy those slices at the grocery store, but does that really taste like cake?
An easy way to make ‘a little bit’ of cake is to take a box cake and cut it in half and bake in a single layer round. You can eyeball this, it’s fine, no one will notice: Take the bag out of the box, cut it open, pinch the middle with both hands and dump out the top half into a bowl. You can use just the white of the egg and half the other ingredients which are usually water and/or oil; this also works for brownie mix . (BTW now you can buy half batch boxes at the dollar store.)
Most double layer recipes will make about 5 cups of batter, so a single layer recipe will produce around 2 to 2.5 cups of batter. A 6″x 2″ round cake pan holds 4 cups total, a 8″x 2″ holds 6 cups and a 9″x 2″ holds 8 cups. Two inch tall round pans should be filled 2/3 rds of the way. A single layer recipe will be suitable for two 6″ rounds (or 3 cupcake divots.) The worst that happens is the layers are thinner, remember overfilling will make a mess. For other pan volumes: (From CooksInfo) Baking Pans by Volume & Baking Pans by Dimensions. If you are unsure of your pan, fill your pan with water and then pour it into a measuring cup – or vice versa.
Many toaster ovens will bake a single cake round without burning the top, there is no reason to fire up a full size oven to cook such a small amount.
Store bought frosting is essentially sugar and shortening, but since you are only using a bit of it for your little cake you will have leftover. It will keep for a great while in the fridge for a long time, luring you to finish it off one spoonful at a time. Making homemade butter cream tastes way better and takes nearly no time.
1 CUP BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
1 c. confectioners sugar
2 tbsp. cocoa
3 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Stir together sugar and cocoa. Cream with the butter, Add vanilla. Slowly add the milk a teaspoon at a time, beating into a spreading consistency.
One cup of frosting should be plenty to frost the top of one layer. You can also take a cake round, cut it in half and stack to create a half layer cake.
Links to Checkout:
NYT: One Layer Chocolate Cake RECIPE
Basic One Layer White Cake RECIPE
Ultimate Basic Yellow Birthday Cake – 1 Layer RECIPE
One-Layer Cakes RECIPE
6 inch Chocolate Layer Cake w/mocha buttercream RECIPE
43 Ridiculously Delicious Single-Serving Dessert Recipes
Pinterest: Single Cupcake Recipes.
Top Ten Cake Problems Fixed
So why isn’t this post ABOUT the cake….when it is clearly all about cake? It is about adaptation. There is no reason a solo cook can’t enjoy the same things everyone else does, whether it is lasagna, rib roast, or cake. Look at the process and scale it down to just what you need. That includes keeping an eye peeled for smaller cooking vessels if need be. More cooking tips in the future.