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Mini Vanilla and Berry Layer Cake

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The Mini Vanilla and Berry Layer Cake is a light and easy dessert for your 4th of July celebration. Flavored sparkling water gives the cake volume and flavor. And between the moist cake layers is light whipped cream and fresh berries.

Layered vanilla cake with berries

4th of July Dessert

There are so many wonderful, and patriotic, desserts for the 4th of July.  Rather than using food coloring to get the vibrant colors representing Independence Day, we are going to leverage bright berries instead for this Mini Vanilla and Berry Layer Cake! 

Not to mention the fresh berries, whipped coconut cream, and delicately sweetened cake may be a welcome course after your indulgent BBQ spread.

As much as I don’t like turning on the oven in the summer, sometimes it is just unavoidable.  And trust me, making this cake is so easy and worth it.  Besides, a cake is always a welcome, and almost expected, dessert at your 4th of July party!  

Slice of layered vanilla and berry cake

Mini Vanilla and Berry Layer Cake

As the name implies, this Mini Vanilla and Berry Layer Cake is a perfectly portioned dessert for two people.  And when I say for two, you certainly will have enough to share with a friend.  But, should you have more at your party, you can get 4-6 slices of cake out of this little wonder.  Of course, this all depends on the size of your slice …  

Given there are two layers, you won’t feel like you are eating a single portion cake.  Having two layers makes the cakes the perfect vehicle for the fresh berries and light Whipped Coconut Cream.  When you put all of it together, you will have a filling and indulgent dessert.

The cake could not be easier to make.  One bowl, 5 minutes to prep and 20 minutes to bake.  The trick I have come to use in most of my bakes is using the liquid measuring cup to mix the liquid ingredients.  This keeps your bowl usage down and it is a great use of the Pyrex cups.  Measure our your liquid – in this case, your sparkling water – then add the other liquid ingredients and whisk.  Easy, easy.

Fresh berry and vanilla cake slice on a plate

Sparkling Water Infused Cake

You may have seen, or made, the cakes that use just the cake mix and a can of soda.  This recipe is a little similar, yet almost completely different.

For one, we are not using a box cake mix.  And most notably, we are using unsweetened berry flavored sparkling water rather than soda.  I wanted the same chemical reaction (that awesome rise in the cake), without all of the sugar.  The carbonation in the soda helps to give the cake its lift and it also keeps it super tender.  

Because we are making a simple vanilla cake, the berry flavor in the sparkling water comes through just enough.  It is not overwhelming and it is a delicate hint – which goes perfectly with the fresh berries that adorn this cake. 

I will say that I loved the light essence of berries so much, that I may use flavored sparkling water in all of my vanilla cake and cupcake recipes (yes – there will be another recipe coming soon …).  

Now that you have a great 4th of July party cake, I want to wish everyone a great holiday – with lots of great food and fireworks!  

Berry and vanilla cake slice on a plate
Fresh berry and vanilla cake slice on a plate
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Mini Vanilla and Berry Layer Cake

Yield: 1 6-Inch Layer Cake
The Mini Vanilla and Berry Layer Cake is a light and easy dessert for your 4th of July celebration. Flavored sparkling water gives the cake volume and flavor. And between the moist cake layers is light whipped cream and fresh berries.
Prep10 minutes
Cook20 minutes
Total30 minutes

Equipment

  • 2 6-inch Round Cake Pans

Ingredients
 

CAKE

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons sparkling water, berry flavored
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened canned coconut milk, full fat
  • 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

TOPPINGS

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Cut round pieces of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the cake pans. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of the pan. I like to use Pam Baking Spray with Flour.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  • For the coconut milk in the cake and whipped coconut cream – you can use one can of unsweetened coconut milk. Open the can and scoop out the coconut solids into a medium mixing bowl. Set aside in the refrigerator to make the Whipped Coconut Cream. Stir together the remaining liquid and cream in the can. This is the coconut milk we will use in the cake. Any leftovers can be used in smoothies!
  • In a liquid measuring cup, mix the sparkling water, egg, coconut milk, and vanilla extract until combined. Add the liquid ingredients, along with melted butter to the dry ingredients. Whisk until no streaks of flour remain.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Cool the cakes in the pan for 5 minutes on a wire rack. Then, invert the cakes onto the wire rack and carefully remove the parchment paper. Flip the cakes back over and let cool completely on the wire rack.

ASSEMBLING THE CAKE

  • While the cake is cooling, make the Whipped Coconut Cream.
  • Place one of the cakes on your serving platter. Spread on one-third of the whipped coconut cream and spread to the edges. Place sliced strawberries around the edge of the cake. Spread on another one-third of the whipped coconut cream and top with fresh blueberries.
  • Set the second cake on top, and spread on the remaining whipped coconut cream. Top with more blueberries and whole or sliced strawberries. Enjoy!
  • The cake can be stored covered at room temperature for 1 day, and in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Please note that putting the cake (or any cake!) in the fridge will dry it out faster.
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Erin Cernich
Nutrition information is calculated by a third-party and should only be considered an estimate and not a guarantee.
Slice of vanilla layered cake with berries
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about the author ...

I'm Erin and I'm all about desserts - and a little bit of butter!

I've tested, written, and photographed hundreds of recipes on my website. Here you'll find the tastiest small batch gluten free and traditional desserts - all homemade, all simple, and all for you! Click here to learn more about me!

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