birthdays and tiny layer cakes / by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

there's been quite a lot to celebrate for this past week: first, my sister-n-law's birthday, and then my brother's.  they made the trek all the way from LA to celebrate with their east coast fam, and we couldn't have been happier to have them.  time and space seem to get in the way of sharing moments with those two, especially when seeing each other requires a 6 hour plane ride and coordinated schedules.  no matter what though there are always laughs, stories to be told, stories to share, and a general feeling of being full with family.  until next time!

my brother and his wife's birthday overlapped somewhat with the 1st birthday of this here blog.  and although this space has oddly felt like home to me, it's everyone i've had the pleasure of meeting and having connections and conversations with that has been the best treat so far.  it's a fun little world i find myself in each day, and i'm super happy to share in it with so many smart and talented ladies (and men!), so in celebration of birthdays and a bright new year ahead, here are mini layer cakes!  

this was my first attempt frosting mini cakes and there was a lot of trial and error.  here are some lessons i learned: 1.) unless you enjoy mild forms of torture, do not use a large off-set spatula to frost MINI cakes! 2.) using a small butter knife to frost is best  3.) mini cakes are mini, so hold them in your hand while you frost the sides (i realized this halfway through, ugh). and lastly, that large off-set spatula will actually be quite handy for transferring your tiny cakes to say, a cake stand or platter - at least it was good for something!  xo

mini mocha + vanilla bean layer cakes

| gluten free + dairy free |

i made 2 cakes with 3 layers and the other 4 with 2 layers, ending up with 6 cakes (confusing much!?).  if you choose to make 2-layer cakes you will end up with 7 mini cakes 

cakes adapted from Cannelle Et Vanille

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 3 organic free range eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (light if possible)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

frosting slightly adapted from Oh, Ladycakes

  • 1 cup non-hydrogenated shortening (i use Spectrum Organic)
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon decaffeinated espresso powder
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped 


  • preheat oven to 350° and line two 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper.  grease each pan with a coat of olive oil or coconut oil, set aside
  • in a large bowl, mix brown rice flour, almond flour, arrowroot powder, baking soda and salt.   in another large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, applesauce, olive oil and vanilla. pour into the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly
  • divide batter between the 2 pans and bake for 30 minutes, until a baking tester comes out clean.  let the cake cool completely before frosting it

(while cake is cooling) make the frosting 

  • divide the cup of shortening between two bowls.  add 1 tablespoon of almond milk to each, mix with a hand mixer on high(i used one beater for vanilla and the other for the mocha frosting).  divide the powdered sugar between the bowls and slowly whisk to incorporate.  divide the scraped vanilla bean between each bowl and mix.  to make the mocha frosting, add the cocoa and espresso powder to one bowl, and mix and adjust to your liking (my husband said i could have added more espresso)

assemble the cakes

  • (prepare a flat work surface with parchment paper.  (i used a baking sheet lined with parchment until i was ready to serve the cakes.) use a round, 2-inch cookie cutter and cut out 7 circles from each cake pan.  using a small offset spatula, or butter knife, spread a thin layer on the sides of each layer of cake to coat the crumbs.  let it rest for a few minutes in the refrigerator before frosting it again.  once the frosting has set, coat a thicker layer of frosting on the sides and top of each cake.  layer your cakes and blend the frosting together, so as not to see where the top and bottom of the cake layers meet.  cover with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to serve.  allow the cakes 1 hour to come to room temperature