Precious! First word that came to mind when I saw one of these little cuties for the first time. And, to me, these are way better than cupcakes. Yeah, I said it! Cupcakes are cool. But, sometimes the icing overpowers the whole thing. You have to open your mouth so wide to bite into the thing, so that you get cake and icing in a single take. But, with these adorable Mini Layered Cakes, you get just the right cake to icing ratio.
Boxed as Homemade?!
Yes, I used boxed cake mix for these. Don’t you dare click off of this page! Let me explain! Boxed cake mix CAN be delicious! There are a few substitutions and variations you can make to turn that less than $2 box of mix into a fluffy, bakery quality cake.
- Butter, Baby! Use butter instead of vegetable oil. Replace the oil with the same about of butter Make sure it’s softened or melted. I.E. if the box calls for 1/3 cup of oil, use 1/3 cup of melted butter or 5 Tbsp of softened butter. However, if you’re making a white cake, you’ll need to double the amount of butter to make up for the missing fat provided by egg yolks. Egg whites only are used in white cakes to keep the bright, white color.
- Bye, H2O Use whole milk instead of the water. Almond milk and coconut milk are two other great options to substitute for water. If you’re making chocolate or red velvet cake, use strong, hot coffee to enhance the flavor. And make sure it’s already brewed, Chile! Don’t put the dang coffee grounds in the batter!
- Eggzactly Add an extra egg. If the box says 3 eggs, use 4. If you’re making a white cake, you’ll need egg whites only. Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until they’re frothy. Then, fold the egg whites into the rest of the batter at the end. This will yield a super fluffy cake texture.
- Extra Mayo, Plz… Stop it! Don’t try to exit my page again. Hear me out. Or, read me out. Whatev! YOUR CAKE WILL NOT TASTE LIKE MAYO! It makes the cake super moist and deepens the flavor. If mayo freaks you out, you can use sour cream instead. Serves the same purpose. How much? 2 Tbsp of mayo or 1/2 cup of sour cream.
- Leave that Icing on the Shelf! Please make your own icing! The store bought stuff is trash. Sorry, not sorry. Couple sticks of softened butter, some powdered sugar, few spoons of cream, pinch of salt, and a splash of vanilla extract. I used Vanilla Chai Buttercream, because I’m bougie and fake fancy. The recipe is below.
- Flava Speaking of extracts, don’t be afraid to add ’em. Vanilla, Almond, Lemon, Butter…whatever flavor, or combo of flavors, you prefer. And a little lemon zest if you’re fancy.
You don’t have to use all of these additives or substitutions. Even making one of the above changes will make a world of a difference in your boxed cake mix.
One box of cake mix will yield two 9 x 13 sheet cakes which will yield 5 (3) layered Mini Cakes. Pour equal parts of the batter into 2, greased, or parchment paper lined baking pans. Bake according to box instructions. Check often, though. Since these cakes are thinner, they will take less time to bake.
Make these mini cakes your own. Decorate them with icing, candy, flowers, meringue cookies, sprinkles, fruit…the possibilities are endless. I used my Vanilla Chai Buttercream. It is heavenly! The recipe for it is below. If you are using fresh flowers, make sure that there are organic and food safe. Use a piping bag and piping tips to make frosting these little guys easier and cleaner.
- 3 sticks unsalted butter (Softened at room temperature; do NOT microwave it, Lazy!)
- 2 T Chai tea powdered mix (I prefer the Oregon Chai brand)
- 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1-3 T heavy cream
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Using an electric mixer, cream the butter until it turns white in color; about 5 mins. If you don't have a stand mixer, make sure you have a tag team partner nearby.
- Sift the tea mix and powdered sugar together.
- Gradually add the tea and sugar mix to the butter 1 cup at a time mixing well in between.
- Add the vanilla extract and salt.
- Pour in the heavy cream 1 T at a time until the frosting reaches your desired consistency.