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These cute mini layer cakes are decorated with fruit roll-up pom-poms on top to look like mini gifts! Perfect for your next birthday party, or any fun celebration.
These mini birthday present cakes are the perfect example of a “SugarHero” dessert—playful, a bit unusual, colorful, and most importantly, fun. These sweet little cakes make me want to jump through the screen and simultaneously hug them and eat them, which is maybe the truest statement of purpose I’ve ever written.
If you share my love of color, whimsy, and fun cakes, don’t miss SugarHero favorites like my Spring in Bloom Cake, Rainbow Cake (with rainbow frosting!), and Striped Buttercream Balloon Cake.
Decorating Cakes with Fruit Roll-Ups
Believe it or not, ALL of the decorations on these cakes are made out of Fruit Roll-Ups or Fruit by the Foot. The flowers on top were made using the technique in this excellent tutorial on Wedding Chicks. They’re actually really simple and oddly satisfying to put together, and the process goes quickly.
The polka dots were made using a few sizes of fondant cutters, and the fancy-ish border you see on a few cakes is just how the Fruit by the Foot came. At first I was annoyed that they cut designs into it, then I realized that it looked awesome when wrapped around a cake. Lemons from lemonade, people.
The downside of using fruit roll-ups? It’s really tough to find a variety of solid-colored Fruit Roll-Ups. I don’t know why they have to be so fancy and make all of their candy tie-dyed or marked with “temporary tattoos” or whatever, but finding some of the plain colors was difficult and required too many trips to different grocery stores.
Amazon sells a variety pack that has 4 different colors, and I finally found some in a mixed box with Gushers and Fruit by the Foot at my local Ralph’s. If you’re less obsessive about having a rainbow of colors on your cakes, your life will be much easier. Otherwise, happy hunting.
The cake itself tastes amazing–it’s a lemon pound cake with freeze-dried raspberries. Using freeze-dried fruit provides great raspberry flavor, without making the cake soggy like fresh berries would. It’s layered with pistachio buttercream, then covered in vanilla buttercream on the outside.
You can always use this same decorating technique on your cake and frosting combination of choice, so don’t feel limited by those flavors. Just grab some fruit roll-ups, and get ready to make birthday cake magic! Don’t forget to take a look at this fun round-up of spectacular rainbow themed desserts!
🎂 MORE FUN PARTY CAKES
- Circus Animal Cake
- Curious George Cake
- Mini Banana Split Cakes
- Watermelon Cake
- Rainbow Frosting For Cupcakes and Cakes
- Unicorn Cakes
Pot of Gold Cupcakes
Birthday Present Mini Cakes
For the Cake:
- 9.5 oz all-purpose flour, (2.25 cups)
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 2 TBSP lemon zest
- 12.25 oz granulated sugar, (1.75 cups)
- 8 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tsp lemon extract
- 1.2 oz freeze dried raspberries, (about 1.25 cups)
For the Frosting:
- 9 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 14 oz granulated sugar, (2 cups)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 lb unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 TBSP vanilla extract
- 2.25 oz pistachio butter, (1/4 cup) (see Note for substitution)
- Green gel food coloring – leaf green
- 3 boxes Fruit Roll-Ups, This includes a lot of waste due to cutting circles –the actual amount of candy that is used is much less.
To Make the Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 13×18″ rimmed baking sheet with parchment, and spray the pan and parchment well with nonstick cooking spray. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
- Place the lemon zest and the sugar in the bowl of a large stand mixer, and rub them together between your fingers until the sugar is fragrant and has the texture of wet sand. Add the butter and cream cheese to the bowl. Fit the mixer with a paddle attachment, and mix on low speed until combined, then raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the lemon extract.
- Finally, turn the mixer to low, and slowly add the dry ingredients. Stop when just a few streaks of flour remain. Finish mixing the cake by hand, using a spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl well.
- Coarsely crush the freeze-dried raspberries (using either a knife or your hands is fine) and add them to the batter, stirring them in until well-mixed.
- Scrape the cake batter out into the prepared pan and spread it into an even layer. Bake the cake for about 20 minutes, until it is a light golden color, the top springs back when lightly pressed, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack. The cake can be made several days in advance and kept, well-wrapped, at room temperature or in the freezer. If freezing, defrost partially before using.
To Make the Frosting:
- Combine the egg whites, granulated sugar, and salt in the bowl of a large stand mixer, and whisk them together. Choose a small saucepan that lets you fit the base of the stand mixer snugly into the top of the saucepan—this is your makeshift hot water bath. (Alternately, you can use a different bowl or an actual bain marie and then transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl once it’s heated.) Add an inch of water to the bottom of the saucepan, and bring the water to a simmer.
- Place the mixing bowl on top of the saucepan, making sure that the bottom isn’t in contact with the water, and heat the egg white mixture. Whisk frequently so that the egg whites don’t cook. Continue to heat the whites until they are hot to the touch, and when you rub a bit between your fingers, you don’t feel any grittiness from the sugar.
- Once the whites are hot, transfer the mixing bowl to your mixer and fit it with a whisk attachment.
- Beat the whites on medium-high speed until they are no longer warm to the touch—feel the outside of the bowl, and make sure that it is around room temperature. Depending on your mixer and the temperature of your environment, this may take 10-20 minutes, or more.
- Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the softened but cool butter in small chunks, a tablespoon at a time, making sure to wait in between additions. It may separate or look a little gloopy at this point—fear not. Once all of the butter is added, increase the speed again and whip until it comes together and is light and fluffy. If, after 5 minutes, it hasn’t come together, refrigerate the mixing bowl for 5-7 minutes, to cool the mixture down, and whip it again.
- Once the butter is fluffy, add the vanilla extract and mix until well-blended. Separate out about two-thirds of the buttercream, and to the remaining third, add the pistachio paste and a drop or two of green food coloring, and mix until well-blended.
- The buttercream can be made in advance and kept at room temperature if you’re going to use it the same day, or refrigerated. If it’s been chilled, let it sit at room temperature until it softens, then re-whip it to get the fluffy texture back before you use it.
- Cut the cake in half widthwise, so you have two rectangles that are about 7”x9”. Place one half on a cake board, and spread the pistachio buttercream on top of the cake, then place the second cake layer on top.
- Cut the large cake into four smaller cakes – squares are easiest, but you can also experiment with circles or rectangles if you want a variety. Cut cake boards to size, and put one under each mini cake.
- Run a spatula around the sides of the cakes to smooth out any pistachio frosting that is sticking out. Spread a very thin layer of vanilla buttercream on the top and sides of the cakes, and refrigerate until the frosting is firm, about 30 minutes.
- Spread the remaining vanilla buttercream over the top and sides of the cakes. Use an angled spatula or bench scraper to get the sides even and the corners neat. (Don’t worry if they're not perfect—you can cover up any bad spots with polka dots or stripes!) Refrigerate the cake again to firm up the frosting.
- Cut out circles, long ribbons, or other shapes from sheets of Fruit Roll-Ups. Press them into the sides of the cake. If you need the Fruit Roll-Ups to stick to themselves, dab them with a small amount of water. The Fruit Roll-Ups will start to get sticky after sitting on the frosting for a few hours, so this decoration is best added right before the cakes will be eaten.
- For the best taste and texture, enjoy these cakes at room temperature.
Our recipes are developed using weight measurements, and we highly recommend using a kitchen scale for baking whenever possible. However, if you prefer to use cups, volume measurements are provided as well. PLEASE NOTE: the adage “8 oz = 1 cup” is NOT true when speaking about weight, so don’t be concerned if the measurements don’t fit this formula.Click here to learn more about baking measurements and conversion.
🌈 COLORFUL RAINBOW DESSERTS 🌈
We’ve rounded up 23 of our FAVORITE rainbow dessert recipes & ideas that are sure to make you smile — click here to get all the recipes!
Two years of sugar happiness!! Now a Birthday wish of many more to come.(both candles went out – so it must come true)
Thank you! 🙂 It’s flown by, but it also seems like it’s been around forever. Here’s to hoping for many more years!
No, thank YOU for the constant inspiration and wealth of all-things-sweet knowledge and giggle-inducing writing! All that, plus impossibly pretty things to gawk at (your statement of purpose IS the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and I can totally handle the truth).
Big fat CHEERS!
Aw, thanks Danguole! You know I’m getting Bloggy BFF necklaces made for us, right? It’s friends like you that have made this such a fun ride!
Happy birthday to your blog baby! Your blog is always a great source of fun, inspiration, temptation, and sugar. Thank you for sharing your creativity in the kitchen with the rest of us!!
Thank you Allison! <3 That is so nice of you to say. Finding blogs like yours and getting to know friends like you has been such a wonderful benefit and blessing of blogging over the last 2 years!
Thanks Emily! I appreciate the well wishes.
These are so fun and playful! I have enjoyed reading your blog over the past two years and can’t wait for many amazing recipes to come. Happy Birthday!
Thank you, Rachel! It’s been so fun getting to know fellow bloggers–like you! Love your blog!
Happy Happy Birthday!! I totally love your blog, and I’m so glad she turned 2! 🙂
These cakes, gorgeous. As always!
Thank you Dorothy! So glad we got to know each other this year!
Happy Birthday Sugar Hero! 🙂 So glad I found your website because I love all your recipe…but most of all because of you Elizabeth! 🙂
Thank you Liz! It’s been such a pleasure getting to know you–and I’m not just saying that because of your awesome name.
Happy Blog Birthday, Elizabeth! These cakes are so cute! I also love that you used fruit roll-ups to decorate, since I like the idea of eating the leftovers. And I know what you mean about feeling old. I don’t think food blogs even existed when I was in college.
Thanks Natasha! I am not going to admit how many fruit roll-up scraps I ate while making this…let’s just say my tongue was an unnatural shade of blue for awhile. And isn’t it crazy how fast things change? I feel like blogs went from being weird little Diaryland things to huge enterprises in the space of about 5 years. I’m just grateful to be part of it, and to meet awesome folks like you!
Aww. Happy birthday!! Pretty cakes. How do you have time for those with Asher pulling on your pant legs and teaching a co op preschool, and writing on about.com??? I had no idea that was you, btw, until yesterday. I’ve had your Turkish delight recipe bookmarked for 10 months now…. Rose water candy anyone? No, thank you. I’ll just sit right over here and snip hot dogs with my kitchen scissors for a bit. 🙂
I know you get it.
Ha! I should have known you couldn’t resist a rose water dessert. Mwahahaha. Next you’ll be watching a Matlock marathon and going to bed at 7pm. 🙂 My secret is simple–I basically never sleep and am a zombie all the time. I wish I was joking! My hope is that Asher will be old enough to help with baking and photography soon. That’s a thing, right?
Adorable! Happy, happy birthday little SugarHero. You make life sweet.
Thank you, sweet friend! xoxo
Congrats on the anniversary, Elizabeth!! I truly enjoy reading your blog, it makes me so happy!
These lovely cakes look like the perfect way to celebrate it. They are so fun and festive! 😀
Thank you, Consuelo! I’ve loved getting to know you this year…and yes, these cakes certainly put us in the party mood. 🙂
Congrats Elizabeth!!!! It´s a pleasure to be on this journey with you, I love reading your posts and your recipes always give me tons of inspiration.. Here´s to many more years together in the ´blogesphere´ 🙂 🙂
p.s. The cakes are ADORABLE.. not to mention the pestachio frosting (oh wow!!)
Xx (group hug!)
Thank you Johlene! It’s been so fun getting to know you and following your blog this year. You are such a great blogging friend–thanks for visiting!
Happy Blog Birthday! Here’s to many many more! I love how fun, festive and colorful this post is!
Thanks Pamela! It’s not a birthday cake if it doesn’t look like a rainbow threw up, right?!
Happy BURTHDAY SUGAR HERO!
Thanks old buddy old pal!
Happy Happy Birthday! I can’t believe you’ve only been doing this “seriously” for two years. You are an incredibly talented blogger! Your recipes, just like this one, are always stunning. You always have a new twist of lots of layers and I am always drooling over your posts. Thanks for the laughs and the recipes!
Thank you Mary Frances! What you probably haven’t seen is the 5 years of truly terrible posts that preceded the SugarHero era…some scary stuff went on back then! But onward and upward. 🙂 So glad to have met you this year!
Cheers to 2 years!!
These cakes look amazing as always and are perfect to celebrate SugarHero! Colorful and a little whimsical… Exactly how SugarHero is to me. Thanks for all the inspiration and gorgeousness!!
Here’s to many more years ahead!!!
Thank you Emily! I so appreciate your comment, because colorful and whimsical are 2 things that I always *hope* SugarHero can be…it’s nice to know it’s not always in my head. Cheers!
Happy birthday, little blog! Your cakes match your blog theme so well…love it 🙂 I have NO idea how bloggers (or anyone) keeps up with social media stuff…like without devoting your entire life to it. I don’t get it! Let me know when you learn the secret. Can’t wait to read the next year’s worth of posts to see what sugary deliciousness you come up with!
Thank you Amy! YES, can we talk about those superhuman bloggers who somehow manage to comment on every blog, post on every social media outlet, and still blog almost every day? Even typing that made me tired–I don’t know how other people do it! Yeesh. I’ll just be over here, talking to my non-social media and eating cake. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by–so glad to have found your blog this year!
Congratulations! Your blog is so amazing. Thanks for sharing it with the world!
Thank you so much, Faye! Nothing makes me happier. 🙂
Congrats on two years and countless pounds of sugar. 🙂
So funny that you say that…I had an idea to tally up all the butter and sugar and flour I’d bought this past year, because I’m usually pretty good about sorting receipts for household/blog stuff, but I ran out of time. I am going to do it next year for sure! Prepare to be horrified by the sugar consumption. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by Andie!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO SUGAR HERO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ^.^ Congratulations Elizabeth 🙂 I absolutely adoreeeee your blog and the photographs that you post! 🙂 and yeah, the Twitter thing, that’s one of world’s greatest mysteries! 😀
Thank you Samina!! That means a lot to me! And I agree–what is the deal with Twitter?? I keep waiting for it to go away like Myspace so I don’t feel guilty about ignoring it. 🙂
Omg these cakes are so adorable!! I can’t wait to make them for my kid’s birthday coming up!
Thanks Anjali! They would be perfect for a kid’s birthday!
Oh my goodness. What a treat it was to read through this post. I loved using the fruit roll ups to decorate.
Thank you so much! I thought the fruit rolls were a fun addition, they finish the cakes perfectly!
These mini cakes are beyond adorable! And I just love the fruit roll-up pom poms!
Hi Gwynn! I’m so glad you enjoyed the roll-up pom poms as much as I do 🙂
These are so so cute! My kids loved them and we got so many compliments about how unique they are! Thanks for a great recipe!
Yay! So glad you all enjoyed them! Thanks for your comment!
Colorful and creativity at its best. Love your work and your recipe too.