Mini Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting + A Birthday

You guys – today is very special day. It’s our mom’s birthday! I’m not sure what kind of relationship you have with your birthday, but my mom loves hers. Which is so fun for us, because we get to make a big deal out of it and eat yellow cake with chocolate frosting (literally every year) so everyone wins!
OK – not to get all sappy on you, but my mom is pretty wonderful. Growing up, she was always incredibly supportive, patient and kind. She runs a beautiful assisted living community and takes care of families at some of their most challenging and difficult times. She truly loves what she does, although personally I think that after raising triplet girls (ahem – three girls in high school all under one roof?) she could do literally anything.
I know how lucky I am to have a mom I am close with. In recent years, I know that more than ever. Whenever I have a difficult decision to make or a problem I’m not sure how to tackle, she always finds time to talk through it with me. How does she do this in between work, her husband, friends and a grandpuppy? I’m not sure – but I appreciate it immensely.
So that brings me to the meat of the post (get it? Food blog humor alert!) The thing I love most about my mom is that she’s so easy to talk to, totally un-judgey and gives solid advice. Frankly, I should have listened to her more growing up but hindsight is 20/20 (another of her mom-isms) and by now I think by now I’ve (almost ) learned my lesson. So – here is the best advice she’s given me. I return to these little nuggets again and again, and to celebrate her special day, I’m sharing them with you:

  1. Being pretty on the inside is what’s important. Makeup is a miracle worker. Guys – you have no idea. But all the makeup in the world, and all the money and the power, can’t make you a good person if you aren’t one. Being kind is so much more important, and I love that my mom has instilled this in me. It’s easy to get caught up in the pictures on Instagram, and the Facebook posts, but I always come back to my mom’s advice. Being pretty is fine. But there are much more important things.
  2. Friends will come and go, but sisters are forever. Or brothers, or cousins, or your husband – whatever, you get the point. The point being, obviously, that family is family. Sometimes you love them, sometimes you hate them, but they are yours, and that means something. Do not choose someone over them who won’t be around for long. Do not ever take them for granted.
  3. Lean in. Sheryl Sandburg may have trademarked it, but my mom has figuratively burned this one into our brains. Lean the hell in. Don’t be afraid to go after what you want, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. The older I get, the more important this one gets. Whether its a job, a degree, a conversation you need to have, a person who seems like they’re out of your league – whatever. How will you know, unless you try? Life is short – so if you want it, go for it. If you’re lucky like I am, you have someone in your corner who loves you unconditionally and will have your back – no matter what the outcome.

And now….Cake.

Cake in pan

If you have mini cake pans, use those! I didn’t – but I improvised and it worked out well.

Cutting cake

See what I mean by improvising?

Cutting board _ rotated

It got a little messy on the old countertop…

Holding cake

And here I am trying not to drop the cake in an Uber. Mission accomplished.

Ingredients –

Yellow Cake
7 tbs cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
a pinch of salt
2 tbs butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbs vegetable oil
2 tbs milk

Chocolate Frosting
6 oz milk chocolate, melted
2 tbs powdered sugar
1/2 tbs vanilla

Make the cake:

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour an 8 inch baking pan or small loaf pan.
2. In a small bowl, combine the butter, egg, vanilla, oil and milk.
3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.
4. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until smooth.
5. Pour into pan, and bake for 20-25 minutes.
6. This is where it got a little crazy for me. I wanted to make a 3-layer cake, so I used a tiny bowl as a stencil, and cut around the cake that way to make the tiny layers.

Make the frosting:

  1. Combine the chocolate, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Let cool (but don’t refrigerate! The chocolate will get all hard and then you’ll be all sad because you have to nuke it again).

Frost the cake:

  1. Scoop frosting on to the first layer. Using a butter knife, spread until frosting is just slightly dripping over the sides (I like the rustic, messy look – clearly).
  2. If you like, use toothpicks to secure the second layer on top. I used 3 toothpicks in a triangle pattern, which helped keep the layers in place.
  3. Layer more frosting, and add another set of toothpicks.
  4. Scoop remainder of frosting on top, and enjoy:)

fork cake


  1. That’s my girl!!! Love it and her.

  2. Dan Esposto says:

    I agree you have a great Mom! And I have a great friend….

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