food & recipes: Mini Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Frosting & Crispies

Happy Friday, friends! Yesterday I talked about fitness, being active, and working out at home… today I’m talking CAKE. Haha! I know, I know. It’s called balance, people. I actually baked this cake because today is a momentous occasion- Emmett’s 30th birthday! Yesss- that is why he’s the shining star of this post. We were supposed to be in Denver right now celebrating, but instead we’re trying to enjoy his birthday at home social distancing. I bake him a cake every single year and this year he requested something with chocolate frosting. Given it’s just the two of us at home celebrating this year, I thought a mini cake was probably more appropriate for this birthday. It’s perfect for two and doesn’t use as many ingredients. Click through for the recipe, and to wish Emmett a happy birthday!

Funny story- for Valentine’s Day last month, Emmett got me these Callebaut crisps because he knows I love that particular brand of chocolate (I used to be a designer for a chocolate company wayyy back in the day). Anyway, he thought it was actually chocolate cereal (like breakfast cereal). I had to explain that it was a baking chocolate with a crispy center, that I would definitely use eventually… just not for my breakfast. Haha! Well, here we are on his birthday; he said I “regifted” them to him. I was cracking up!


Obviously this cake recipe can be used with or without these… but they do add a nice chocolate crunch! I mainly wanted to be clever with his cake and gift.

Mini Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Frosting & Crispies

The perfect dessert for two!


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (melted)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder


  • 1/2 cup chocolate crispies
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Spray two or three ramekins (depending on the size you have) with cooking spray, then line the bottom with a round piece of parchment paper.

  3. In a medium size bowl, beat together the butter and sugar with a hand mixer until smooth.

  4. Add the egg and vanilla, beating until well combined.

  5. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda.

  6. Add half of the flour mixture to the batter, beating for a few seconds before stirring in half of the milk and vinegar.

  7. Add the remaining dry ingredients, then beat the remaining milk.

  8. Spread the batter evenly into the ramekins and bake for 30 minutes, or until a inserted toothpick comes out clean.

  9. Flip the mini cakes onto a cooling rack and allow them to completely cool before frosting.

  10. To make the chocolate buttercream, cream the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.

  11. Mix in the melted chocolate and cocoa powder a little at a time.

  12. Keeping mixing until the frosting is smooth and creamy.

  13. Once the cakes have completely cooled, assemble the cakes with frosting between each layer.

  14. Press the crispies onto the sides of the cake and decorate as desired!

Cutting out a little circle of parchment paper for the bottom of your ramekin is the best way to bake perfect mini cakes that don’t stick! It’s a little trick of the trade I picked up.

This recipe is really easy and I love that it doesn’t make a huge portion. It’s pretty perfect for small desserts or a momentous occasion… especially if you don’t trust yourself with an entire cake while you’re locked up at home.

Miniature desserts are also pretty cute and fun to decorate. These petite little cakes would be fun to frost using different techniques for a cohesive cake collection. I could totally see these at a wedding shower or celebration of some sort!

I’m planning to make Emmett a special dinner tonight- and most likely a craft cocktail as well. I’m assuming we’ll rent a movie or work on our puzzle. It’s not quite a wild night out celebrating, but this just might be more sweet and special! It will certainly be a birthday to remember.

I’m also pretty sure we’ll be eating that third, unfrosted mini cake I didn’t use for breakfast tomorrow- the vanilla cake would be SO good with coffee! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Does anyone have cabin fever yet? Are you planning to tackle any home projects this weekend? I’m still trying to find the time and motivation to finish the wallpaper in our powder bath. Whew!


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