Hello smol cake fren
April 1, 2020 12:25 PM   Subscribe

I would like to start baking small pretty cakes, and as I don't care for sweets don't have any experience. What I have in mind is a sort of bakery-pretty two layer cakes that would provide two reasonable (not huge) slices or portions. Like the sort of thing you would make for a dessert for two, or give to a friend. Should I get 4" pans? 6"? (Since I'm shopping online now it's hard to visualize.) And where to find recipes that are scaled down? Thank you!
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I used to bake all the time, and back in those days the Wilton website was an indispensable source of info for me.

This page is all about pan sizes and how many servings the size will yield, and includes amount of batter needed for each pan size. I think you're gonna want 4" rounds. That'll make some real pretty little cakes.
posted by phunniemee at 12:30 PM on April 1, 2020 [4 favorites]

Best answer: If you're looking for relevant cookbooks, search for "small-batch baking." I've cooked from this one (and another she wrote, on chocolate desserts) for over a decade. I see several other cookbooks popping up under that search phrase, but I haven't tried any of them so can't recommend for or against them.
posted by telophase at 12:43 PM on April 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

If I had the money I'd get two each of both sizes, so I could do wedding-cake-shaped cakes.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:54 PM on April 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

Also, cake freezes really well, so don't fret if you end up baking more than you want to eat in one sitting. All our cakes were frozen ahead when I worked in a bakery. We'd just pull out however many layers we needed a few hours before decorating.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:57 PM on April 1, 2020 [5 favorites]

I found a number of recipes for 6'' cake pans, which is what I have for my tiny cake purposes. They are not exactly TINY --- but my family of 3 was able to polish off a cake in three days.

4'' pans would be better sized as "tiny" cake.
posted by kellygrape at 1:16 PM on April 1, 2020

Best answer: Here is a web site called Desserts For Two, and it almost entirely desserts scaled down to serve just two people and several of those recipes are for cakes and she also addresses pan sizes.

You're welcome.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:29 PM on April 1, 2020 [10 favorites]

The much-lauded, much-photographed, incredibly fussy and delicious Momofuku Milk Bar birthday cake is a 6" round layer cake that is made using a 13x9 pan. Maybe give that a whirl and see how you feel about the size? I will be right over if you think it is too much.
posted by apparently at 1:31 PM on April 1, 2020 [5 favorites]

I use 4.5-inch pans because I happen to have them--they're steel tupperware-ish things but they work fine as cake pans. I made a little two-layer strawberry shortcake layer cake for my friend earlier this month. I used a cupcake recipe. It made the little cake and three hefty cupcakes so that friend could have the cake and my boyfriend and I could have a cupcake each and one to spare (or practice on, in this case: I dropped it on the floor, as it happens). So I think cupcake recipes are maybe scaled down from fullsize cakes? I dunno; I never pay attn. I tend to just make layers 'til I run out of batter. Pour the stuff in the pans and clap on the lids, then bake when convenient. It'll keep for a few days in the fridge. Or you can bake and refrigerate or bake and freeze.
posted by Don Pepino at 3:15 PM on April 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

I make individual, mini-sized wedding cakes using tiered cookie cutters. Bake sheet cake (I use a box mix, like Betty Crocker) in a 9 x 13 pan and bake until you can poke a knife in and pull it out clean. Cut two sizes of circles. (Bonus: you can freeze the extras!) Stack, hold with a toothpick, frost, remove toothpick!
posted by DarlingBri at 3:16 PM on April 1, 2020 [3 favorites]

I bought a two-layer, 4 inch cake from a bakery the other day. It was really more four slices than two. It would be very large portions if each person ate half the cake.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:31 PM on April 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

I occasionally use a 6" pan to make four servings of a single layer cake. With a double layer cake, I would get about 8 servings, assuming people aren't overly hungry. I've made the Milk Bar cakes, and those easily feed twelve, but I find them somewhat unwieldy to cut.
Helpfully enough, a 6" pan uses just under half the quantities needed for a 9" pan, and a 4" pan would use just under half the recipe of a 6" pan.
posted by Karmeliet at 2:39 AM on April 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

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