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Thursday, December 20, 2018

How to Make a Cake That Looks Like Toast. Yep, Toast.

My oldest child Cate turned 14 a few days ago. (PS: FOURTEEN. Unreal.) Cate is obsessed with toast, so much so that I’ve instituted a toast ration in our house. Yeah, I know, meanest mom ever. But this ration is there to protect all of us – it keeps Cate from dying of malnutrition from overindulgence of toast and also saves me from spending my entire retirement on good toast bread to support her habit. (I think drugs might be cheaper, quite frankly. Not that I’m condoning drugs or anything but seriously I SPEND SO MUCH MONEY ON BREAD, PEOPLE.) As her birthday party was approaching this year she came up with a brilliant/hilarious/bizarre birthday cake request: toast. Yes, she wanted a cake that looked like toast. Honestly, I wasn’t opposed because I figured it couldn’t be too hard to figure out how to make a cake that looks like toast.

Side view of a cake that looks like cinnamon sugar toast

I was right. A toast cake is not hard at all. And the cake ended up being so fun the photo I posted on Instagram got the most likes of any photo I’ve ever posted there. Who could have predicted a cake that looks like toast would be so popular, even among non addicts?

Since the cake was such a hit, figured I’d give you all a quick rundown on how to pull it together. In addition to a quick step-by-step, I’ll share the recipes I used.

Top view of a birthday cake that looks like cinnamon sugar toast

How to Make a Cake That Looks Like Toast

  • Bake two 8- or 9-inch square cakes. I made vanilla cake with cream cheese frosting because those flavors go great with cinnamon sugar.
  • Stack the unfrosted cakes on top of each other and then cut out pieces as indicated in the drawing below.

Template for cutting a square cake into the shape of toast

  • Frost the cake like you would any 2-layer cake but leave the sides unfrosted. I made a back and forth motion on the top in parallel lines so the frosting would look like butter was spread on the cake.
  • Once the middle and top of the cake are frosted, sift a bit of cocoa powder into the frosting and blend well. You want to make a nice light brown-colored frosting. I probably added about a tablespoon or so. Use this to frost the sides of the cake.
  • Once the cake is frosted, sprinkle the top carefully and evenly with cinnamon sugar.
  • Be sure to click here and read through my Amateur’s Guide to Making Super Cute Cakes post. That post has all the tips you need to successfully decorate the cake!

Birthday cake that looks like toast with cinnamon sugar on top!

That’s it! If you can make a 2-layer cake, you can make a toast cake.

Vanilla Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This is a great basic vanilla cake recipe from Matthew Mead's "Cakes for Kids" book. I've re-written the directions in my own words.
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for pans
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup butter at room temperature
  • 1¾ cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh orange or lemon zest (optional...I have never added this b/c I am lazy)
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. This recipe works for 24 cupcakes, 2 8-inch or 9-inch cakes, or 1 9x13 cake. If using cupcake liners, place liners in muffin tin and set aside. If using cake pan(s), lightly grease the bottom of the cake pan, line it with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper and the sides of the pan. Lightly flour the pan. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the 2½ cups flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Using a stand mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl.
  5. Leaving the mixer on medium speed, add ¼ cup sugar. Beat for 3 minutes. Keep adding sugar ¼ cup at a time, mixing for 3 minutes between each addition until you've added all the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat on medium speed for 2 more minutes.
  6. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating at medium speed for 30 seconds between each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  7. With the mixer on low speed, add ⅓ of the flour mixture, then half of the milk, then ⅓ of the flour mixture, then the rest of the milk, then the rest of the flour mixture, mixing until just combined for each addition. If using zest, add it now.
  8. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then give the batter one more mix at high speed for 20 seconds.
  9. Spread the batter in the pan, filling cake pans or cupcakes ⅔ full with batter.
  10. For 8- or 9-inch cakes, bake for 30-35 minutes. For 9x13 cake, bake for 35-40 minutes. For cupcakes bake for 10-12 minutes. Toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean when done.
  11. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Using a knife, cut around the edges of the cake, then invert the pan over the wire rack, lift pan to remove cake and peel off parchment paper. Let cake cool completely on the rack. For cupcakes, let cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing.

Cream Cheese Frosting
This frosting is perfect for decorating cakes and cupcakes!
  • 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 10.5 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 cups powdered sugar (maybe 5½ cups if you feel like it needs to be a bit thicker)
  1. Beat the butter and cream cheese with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer until smooth.
  2. Beat in vanilla.
  3. Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high speed until frosting is smooth.




  1. 1

    Making this cake now…so excited! Just wanted to double check something…do you really have to mix the butter and sugar for 3 minutes between each 1/4 cup? I’ve never done it that long in a recipe. Thanks! Very cute cake! I hope I can do it justice!

    • Hi Brandy!

      Cakes have a tendency to fall. This very specific mixing procedure is there to help ensure that doesn’t happen. But, as you said, most cake recipes don’t take it that extreme. I always love how this comes out so I usually follow it pretty closely (but will admit to shaving a bit of time off in between and sometimes putting in a bit more than 1/4 cup 😉 ). But I do normally just have a book nearby, set a timer at each addition and enjoy the time. Anyway, let me know how your cake goes!!!

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