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Mini Cakes DIY

It was Roman’s birthday yesterday and I wanted to make him a cake but we don’t have any cake pans. I remembered seeing this article where you could use a tin can to bake a cake so I decided to try it. It was really really easy and the cakes turned out very little and sweet.

To make the cakes:

Step 1. Remove paper from the empty can and clean it. Grease and flour the inside of the can. To bake fill can a little over half full with batter. I baked these at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes but my oven is not consistent so make sure you check them by dipping in a toothpick until it comes out clean. Let cakes cool completely before removing.

Step 2.  After you remove the cakes use a bread knife and cut off the rounded top. Then cut the cakes into little layers. Be very careful to cut them flat and even.

Step 3. To frost pipe a thick line of frosting around the very edge of the cake. Then with a wet knife smooth over the frosting to make it consistent and go all the way to the edge. Gently place the next layer on top and repeat until you are finished. Pipe the top of the cake with frosting and smooth with a wet knife.

all photos by Paul Ferney for Oh Happy Day

ps: How to make that polka dot print and Roman’s birthday last year.

  1. Jeanny

    February 15, 2012

    Hi Jordan, these are so fun to make. Made them a couple of weeks ago, the size is gorgeous and my lil friend loved it to pieces:
    Beautiful pictures <3

    Have a wonderful day,

  2. colleen @ hello olive

    February 15, 2012

    The cakes are so sweet and they seem quite easy to make too. And happy birthday Roman!

  3. Emily

    February 15, 2012

    Oh, great idea! Do you think you could just spread the icing on with a knife? I suppose that would depend on how crumbly the cake recipe is. Really sweet though!

    • jordan
      • jordan
      • February 15, 2012

      It is hard to get the nice thick white line of icing with a knife. I found it is easier and looks better to pipe.

  4. Katie @ Horizontal Stripes

    February 15, 2012

    Hi Jordan!

    Happy Birthday Roman!

    I love this idea. It would be so much fun yo make one per guest or couple (depending on the size of sweet tooth for your friends and family) and serve at a dinner party, rehearsal dinner or small wedding. Great idea for takeaway favours as well, or a midweek dessert for two!

    Thanks for inspiring as always! xoxo


  5. Nabie dit oui

    February 15, 2012

    Yummy ! I love it

  6. Mini Piccolini

    February 15, 2012

    What a sweet idea! Love it! Had to share:

  7. Kate

    February 15, 2012

    Jordan, this is ADORABLE! I have cake pans, but I might have to misplace them the next time I bake a cake. Everything is cuter in miniature :)

    Thanks for the great idea!

  8. natalie

    February 15, 2012

    what a wonderful idea! and they turned out so cute and perfectly kid-sized–love it!

  9. Adeloyse

    February 15, 2012

    What a lovely idea! I have to try this :)

  10. Coco

    February 15, 2012

    I have hard time believing YOU wouldn’t own a cake pan…but these are truly adorable and I can’t wait to try them myself!!

    • jordan
      • jordan
      • February 15, 2012

      I know! Our temporary apartment combined with the five bakeries within two blocks, I haven’t had the chance to buy them!

  11. Ashlea Walter

    February 15, 2012

    Gasp! I love these cakes. This is probably one of my favorite posts.

  12. Liz Denfeld

    February 15, 2012

    LOVE this! Saw these on Pinterest as well and now that I’ve seen you do it I’d definitely like to try it. Our tiny European oven doesn’t fit have the baking pans and sheets I brought over from the states – but this is a brilliant alternative – even cuter than a big cake :)

  13. Nicole

    February 15, 2012

    Wow, I just loved these!

  14. Meredith

    February 15, 2012

    Those look amazing! I’ll definitely give them a try sometime soon. Thanks for the inspiration!

  15. Melanie

    February 15, 2012

    What a really cool thing to do! I have lately become a little obsessed with how adorable little cakes are so I might just try this soon!

  16. Carla

    February 15, 2012

    My Grandmother used to make us miniature birthday cakes using lids from mayo jars. Cherry chip cake with pink frosting that tasted like a marshmallow! (I think it was 7 min icing) You felt like the most important person in the world when you got one.

  17. abby

    February 15, 2012

    wow, these might be more adorable than cupcakes. i love your method for distributing icing between layers. i pipe with bagged buttercream because i’m just too sloppy with anything else!

  18. Jennifer

    February 15, 2012

    Great idea! They are so teenie and cute! Thanks for sharing!

  19. Jenni Bailey

    February 15, 2012

    Genius! I usually make gigantic cakes that get thrown out two days later because there is just no way to finish all of it. Mini cakes would be the perfect solution for my tiny parties!

  20. SO sweet! I had pinned this idea a few months back, but I haven’t had the chance to test it. Glad to see it works!

  21. Janssen

    February 15, 2012

    That is DARLING. I will definitely have to do this sometime soon.

  22. Meant4amoment

    February 15, 2012

    Oh boy these are adorable, I bet he loved blowing out all of those letter candles too. Too cute!

  23. Lisa

    February 15, 2012

    Oh, all of your ideas are seriously so amazing! I love these!

  24. Rose

    February 15, 2012

    Happy Birthday, Roman! (The cakes are adorable!)

  25. Giulia

    February 15, 2012

    What a fun idea! And you get to try the cake ahead of time by eating the rounded tops 😉

  26. pigeon pie

    February 15, 2012

    wow… please come make cakes for me :)

  27. Jjanga

    February 15, 2012

    cutest little cakes, I could use one right now to cheer me up. Just sitting in the hospital waiting for more tests and hopefully a diagnosis.

  28. Danielle

    February 15, 2012

    sooo sweet! And the perfect size if you don’t want (or need) a big ol’ cake!
    Did you have leftover batter – or did the 3 cans contain most of the recipe?

    • jordan
      • jordan
      • February 15, 2012

      We made 5 cakes with one recipe.

  29. Rebecca - A Daily Something

    February 15, 2012

    Wow Jordan, this is amazing. So cute, and seems so simple. Adding this to my party list!!

  30. Jessie

    February 15, 2012

    So clever. Love this idea!

  31. christine

    February 15, 2012

    I have never been good at frosting cakes, but I think you’ve solved my dilemma! Thanks for the tips and for the constant inspiration, Jordan. These are adorable (and so is Roman). xo

  32. Rose

    February 15, 2012

    SO CUTE! You can also use a pot with metal handles to make a big cake without a cake pan!

  33. The New Diplomats Wife

    February 15, 2012

    These are fantastic…and would be perfect for anyone new to a diplomatic post since those are the dire days of “welcome kit” dining where you really have the bare minimum. Love – and happy birthday roman!

  34. Miranda

    February 15, 2012

    Those turned out great! What a good idea. And happy day to your sweet boy!

  35. sherri

    February 15, 2012

    Happy Birthday Roman…..thanks for sharing this amazing idea!

  36. Alyssa English

    February 15, 2012

    I have wanted to try out that recipe too! Glad to know it comes out well!

  37. Michelle

    February 15, 2012

    These are so adorable! Happy Birthday to your little man.

  38. Jo

    February 15, 2012

    Fantasic idea! I like it!!

    Greets from Germany

  39. rhiannon

    February 15, 2012

    these are so so adorable! great job!

  40. Kelli@über-craft

    February 15, 2012

    Super-cute! Even just one of these would make a perfect baby’s first birthday cake. Great idea – love the polka-dot back-drop!

  41. Cecilia

    February 15, 2012

    how clever – they came out so cute. cuter than cupcakes, i think :)

  42. Kristin

    February 15, 2012

    LOVE and pinned!

  43. Cara Crowley

    February 15, 2012

    These are perfection! Happy Birthday, Roman!

  44. Robyn

    February 15, 2012

    Super cute cakes! I would encourage everyone to use BPA-free cans though, esp. since you’re putting these in the oven and heating them up! See

  45. Katherine

    February 15, 2012

    What a clever idea! I love this.


    February 15, 2012

    OOOOOOOOOOH! Love and adore the little cakes! Who wouldn’t want a little mini cake?? I think you now need to do a regular feature on mini….everything. :)

  47. Katie

    February 15, 2012


  48. cari

    February 15, 2012

    Make it do! What a brilliant idea. I love all your party posts, but sometimes the ideas seem expensive or materials hard to find. LOVED this post. “I can do that!”

  49. Jenny @ Hank + Hunt

    February 15, 2012

    Those cakes are insanely cute. I love this so much I am doing it ASAP! .

  50. Alexis

    February 15, 2012

    To me, this is the perfect example of DIY. Thinking outside the box and doing something homemade often turns out more fun/cute/fabulous than if you had done it the “usual” way. Plus, little cakes for a little man just seem so perfect.

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