How to make a perfect slice slice of layer cake

Birthday treats can be SUCH a conundrum.

How to make a single slice of layer cake

Often, an entire layer cake isn’t in the cards. Especially when you need a last-minute birthday treat. Like last Monday, when I didn’t have the time to melt chocolate onto a pretzel, let alone bake a layer cake, even though I had promised to make something.

How to make a single slice of layer cake

You know those times when you’re not baking for a crowd? You’re just making a little thing for the birthday person to enjoy and MAYBE share if they want to? Well, I. Was. Stumped. I thought about cake balls (had no cake). A mini cake baked in a tin can! (Had no organic tins.) A boxed cake! Not exciting.

How to make a single slice of layer cake

But I got to thinking, and then I got really excited (thinking does that to me, sometimes). Because wouldn’t it be cool if you could whip up just ONE slice of layer cake? Just a single perfect slice of birthday cake. The quintessential idea of a birthday treat?!

How to make a single slice of layer cake

Yes, I decided. Yes, that would be cool. So the next night, I stirred. I baked. I chilled. I sliced. I stacked. I slathered. And I had one (nearly) perfect slice of chocolate layer cake in about 40 minutes. Yup. Done.

Let’s talk about how excited I am about this. A huge, single slice of layer cake can be yours without having to make an entire cake. Eee!!! But it’s also easy–I actually think this is almost easier than baking a batch of cupcakes. To make those look pretty, I have to whip out my frosting applicator which is a PAIN IN THE BUTT to clean. This is probably the prettiest layered thing I’ve ever made.

How to make a single slice of layer cake

You only need to bake one round layer. It’s a one-bowl cake: super easy. There’s not a lot of batter and it will be pretty thin. That’s fine–wait for the stacking!

Once it’s baked, it needs to cool (important) which makes this a good time to talk frosting: you can make this three-ingredient frosting in under two minutes.

How to make a single slice of layer cake

What you need: yogurt, cocoa powder, and a sweetener.

I eat trashy yogurt sometimes. This plain nonfat business has 15 grams of sugar! Eek. Does having pectin make this real yogurt? Discuss.

I eat trashy yogurt sometimes. This plain nonfat business has 15 grams of sugar! Eek. Does having pectin make this real yogurt? Discuss.

Just regular plain yogurt. (I’ve been stocked ever since the discovery of it being a total magic ingredient.) Yes, I’ve been eating trashy lately. Judge me. Anyway, this + cocoa powder + sweetener = a really tangy, light “yogurt frosting” that I think goes really well with this cake. If I’d had Greek yogurt, I would have used that since it’s less watery and might have looked more frosting-like, and added honey instead.

How to make a single slice of layer cake

When your cake is cool, dump it on a cutting board. Make sure you greased that cake pan well so it comes out without breaking. Flip it so it’s right side up onto another cutting board. Cut into sixths. That’s once down the middle. Then make an X so that each side is divided into three triangles. Take your doctored yogurt and start frosting and stacking. I only went five layers high. I crumbled up the last layer and pressed it into the back of the cake:

How to make a single slice of layer cake

You could also make a cake ball or two with the scraps. Or press them into heart shapes. I don’t know.

How to make a single slice of layer cake

Top with sprinkles. It’s that easy. One perfect, single slice of layer cake for the birthday person in question.* Or, for those rocking the single lady lifestyle in SERIOUS style.

Plus, I learned a GREAT tip about how to bake flat cake layers—probably the best thing I’ve learned all year. Coming soon!

How to make a single slice of layer cake

You can bet your bottom dollar I licked all that frosting off the fork. CLEAN.

You can bet your bottom dollar I licked all that frosting off the fork. CLEAN.

For other “single-serving” birthday treat ideas, I also considered these:

*I would like to note that I’m not advocating eating this all in one sitting. That would be like a million calories (ahem, 800ish) and you would probably explode.

A perfect single slice of chocolate layer cake

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 18 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 1 enormous slice of cake

Serving Size: 4

Calories per serving: 204

Fat per serving: 7.9

Martha Stewart's one-bowl chocolate cake (made egg-less) yields an incredibly moist yet sturdy cake that can stand up to layering and is easy to throw together. Tangy yogurt frosting is the perfect accompaniment to this decadent single slice of chocolate layer cake.

Ingredients

  • For the cake
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pans
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • scant 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • For the frosting
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt, or Greek yogurt (I used nonfat)
  • 1.5-2 tablespoons granulated sugar or other sweetener
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease one 8 or 9” cake pan well and dust with cocoa (optional--I didn't).

Whisk together cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add 1/4 cup warm water, milk, yogurt, oil, and vanilla and stir until smooth (don’t overmix).

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake, rotating once, until tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 18 minutes for a 9” pan.

Let cake cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing to cool completely. Alternatively, throw in the freezer until bottom is cold, then remove from pan.

To make frosting: stir the sugar and cocoa powder into the yogurt until smooth. This works best if you sift the cocoa powder first to avoid lumps, but is not necessary, especially if the receiving end won’t care.

To assemble, cut cooled cake layer into six wedges. Spread frosting between layers and along the back of the cake, if you wish. I only used five wedges to make five layers and crumbled the remaining piece to decorate the back of the cake. You could also use the remaining layer to make a cake ball, or stamp into cake shapes, or eat.

Notes

The original recipe calls for an egg in this cake; I forgot it and happily it worked out since this is 1/6 of the original recipe. You can make this vegan by subbing additional milk or applesauce for the yogurt in the cake. You'd need to use another frosting altogether.

I used a scant half cup of sugar in this; I think you could even go down to 1/3 cup, although keep in mind that the frosting isn't super sweet.

http://www.thepancakeprincess.com/2013/03/14/how-to-make-the-perfect-single-slice-of-layer-cake/

P.S: This is what happens when your phone + sprinkles collide.

disaster.

 

P.P.S: This one-bowl mac ‘n cheese is amazing.

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69 thoughts on “How to make a perfect slice slice of layer cake

  1. Pingback: Little Naked Chocolate Cake (Gluten Free + Vegan Option) - Radiant Rachels

    1. erika Post author

      So agree! I like the way you think, June! :) Thanks for all the sweet comments and let me know what you think if you try this out!! <3

      Reply
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  5. kim

    Hey Erika!

    I am so glad I have come across your blog! Your pancake creations look soooo good, I an tempted to lick my computer screen!!!

    ANywhos, I am so excited to try this cake for my boyfriends birthday, but just a couple of qs:

    1. in the cake ingredients, when you say 2 tablesppons milk do you mean buttermilk?
    2. What happend to the yoghurt in the cake ingredients? Do I add that into the batter as well?

    Thanks heaps!
    Kim

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Hi Kim!

      So sorry–that was really sloppy recipe writing on my part! Just add the milk + yogurt to the mixture of wet ingredients–everything goes into the batter :) The recipe should be fixed now–thanks so much for catching and I hope you like it!! :)

      Reply
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  8. julia

    this is so interesting – making a single piece never even occurred to me but I’m definitely going to try it out and the strips too!

    Reply
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  10. katie

    These photos – I love!! Truly made me want to go to a birthday party and stick on a party hat. This cake looks phenom and you are freaking clever! Could definitely implement this plan on a day where ya just need a piece of cake. And trust, that happens all too often… 😉

    Reply
  11. Jen

    What a fantastic idea! It makes so much sense, the amount of times there’s been too much cake left over and it’s gone dry and I’ve had to through it out!

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Thank you SO much Elise! I honestly don’t really know what an RSS feed does, but I tried following your instructions…if you have a free minute, will you let me know if it works now? Thanks again!

      Reply
      1. Elise @ Paint Chips & Frosting

        Hey Erika, it still seems to have the same problem :/ A feed basically lets a person read all of the posts from blogs they follow in one place, using a reader. I used to use google reader, but switched to bloglovin which doesn’t require a feed, and I love it! If you go into the widget that has your social media icons, and change the URL connected to the RSS image to http://feeds.feedburner.com/ThePancakePrincess instead of pancakeprincess.com/feed, it should work! I hope that helps!

        Reply
        1. erika Post author

          Ahh thank you so much! I just changed it and hopefully it works. You are the best, thank you so much for helping me fix it!!

          Reply
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  13. Brandi

    Erika! I just love this idea! It looks so amazing in all it’s chocolate glory..layer after layer! Such a fantastic idea and um, I’d have no problem eating the entire thing at once…SERIOUSLY. I’ve seen a million of the “cake in a mug” or single cake in the microwave..but never seen a single layer cake. I love it girl!! So purrrty!!

    Reply
  14. Katie (The Muffin Myth)

    Um, total genius. I love this idea. And yeah, yoghurt shouldn’t have to have thickeners added, but pectin is better than gelatin (gross!). I’d never get away with making my husband just a single slice of cake, but next time I’ve got a single lady weekend this is on my radar. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Haha yay! This would definitely be big enough to share, but I like your style 😉 That would make you one seriously cool single lady! Boo. Good to know…that’s so gross, I can’t believe people put gelatin in yogurt! Ew, gotta keep an eye out for that one if I continue my trashy streak :/

      Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Yay! I hope you do. I totally agree–way too much cake to manageably make as often as I would like :) Let me know how it goes if you try it!

      Reply
  15. Lianna

    this is brilliant!!! I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one laughing hysterically at your writing. the next time i’m feeling sad i’m going to whip up this pretty little layer cake made so simple thanks to you, and i’ll prob eat the whole thing regardless of the calorie bomb. take THAT, trashy eating.

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Lianna, you are such an ego boost! Stop it. It’s going to get inflated, and I don’t need any extra pounds AT ALL. Ha, call me up when you do! I’d love to attend this calorie bomb cake eating fest. I’m also great at listening and saying useless things when people are sad. Anyway, trashy eating what?

      Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Yay, I adore our bond over layer cakes. Can’t wait to see your next one! I took some inspiration from you while photographing this post :)

      Reply
  16. Leah

    This is brilliant and that is one B-E-A-utiful piece of 5 layer cake!! Loooove your photo styling – especially the brightly colored background! I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one that’s been eating “trashy.” I better hurry up and make this before our next month of Paleo haha. Oh and I can’t wait to hear your tip for baking level cakes!!

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Aww thanks Leah. And omg! Trash eating to the max! Literally, what is wrong with me. I don’t know, except maybe it’s because it’s that time of month. Ughh. At least this will be over soon, and hopefully my trashy eating will leave with it! Let me know if you have any tips for cutting those trashy cravings! SO EXCITED FOR ANOTHER PALEO MONTH! :)

      Reply
  17. Nancy @ gottagetbaked

    Erika, you.are.brilliant. Full stop. Why has no one thought of this?! I CAN bake my cake and eat the whole thing too 😉 Although, I usually just bake a ginormous cake and proceed to eat the entire thing. No biggee. Your photos are gorgeous (it helps when there’s a deep, dark, rich, decadent 5 layer slice of cake as the star). I love this styling – the patterned paper is adorable and is putting me in the party mood. Who cares if it’s a party for one when there’s cake that looks this good?

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Oh stopp. But right?! I was googling and googling, but couldn’t find any other ideas for making just one slice of layer cake! Lol I like your style. Let’s bake cake sometime? Haha partyy!!

      Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Um, yes. I don’t know how well it will travel but if it gets ruined, just hop on a plane and I’ll make you another :) Also, why is EVERYONE’S BIRTHDAY NOT IN SPRING? I want to make this for everyone!

      Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Thanks Sally! I had my heart set on your cookie! I’ve made it before and it was fantastic…I just totally ran out of time :( There are so many things on your site I have bookmarked to make!!

      Reply
  18. Julia

    That’s a perfect single slice of heaven right there! I love that you scaled back a delicious dessert so in spite of my desire to eat an entire cake, I have one perfect slice to savor and enjoy! Beautiful!

    Reply
  19. Laura

    “You would probably explode.” <<– Ummm that is probably an Erika problem, not a Laura problem.

    I could eat cake to infinity, especially if its FUNFETTIIIIIAJAJkaks

    Reply
  20. Kym

    This is genius!!!! I’m going to try this for… whoevers birthday is coming next. Or actually, i’ll just try it for myself first. Haha! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Lol DO! You should definitely try this out before gifting 😉 I actually did…when I first made this, I made two slices! Gave one away and still have one in the freezer…tis awesome :)

      Reply

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