Vanilla Vanilla Cake

Birthday Cake

Most people use birthdays as an excuse to eat, drink and party with friends and family - and that’s really nice. But for me, birthdays are an excuse to eat all the cake you want. Forget the presents, the party, and all the attention a birthday brings, just give me a nice big slice of cake and I’ll be happy.

Now I know this isn’t exactly normal. Most people see cake as just an added bonus to their regular birthday celebration; but in my family, it’s not a birthday party unless there is cake. One year, my grandma even went as far as flying my cake in from LA. She actually sat on an airplane with a large Confetti Cake on her lap the whole ride home. And with 7 thick layers each separated by a generous coat of buttercream…that thing is not light. You see what I mean? My family means business when it comes to birthday cakes.

So even though everyone in my family has their own idea of the perfect birthday cake, this is mine. A nice yellow cake with buttercream, and lot and lots of sprinkles of course.

Birthday Cake

Cake

  • 5 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk at room temperature
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes

*If you do not have cake flour just lying around you can use all purpose flour. Cake flour is obviously better…but this works too. 1 cup of cake flour = 1 cup of all purpose flour – 2 TBS.

Buttercream

  • 1 lb (2 cups) room temperature butter
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • water
  • candy thermometer
Birthday Cake

Directions

for the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 8" cake pans with pam and parchment. You also need to make sure that all the ingredients are at room temperature. This is very important.
  2. In a medium bowl combine and stir the egg whites, 1/4 cup of milk, and the vanilla. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients together on low speed for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the butter and remaining milk, and mix on a low speed until just combined. Increase to medium speed and mix for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg mixture in 2 separate batches, beat on medium speed until it is just combined. (No more than 45 seconds after each addition)
  6. Divide the batter between the two cake pans.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 
  8.  Let cool on racks until cooled completely.

for the buttercream:

  1. In a small sauce pan put 3/4 cup of sugar and cover the sugar with a little bit of water until the sugar looks like wet sand. Cook on a stove top over high heat until it reaches 248 degrees (you will need a candy thermometer).
  2. While the sugar is cooking, whip eggs whites in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment at a high speed until they reach soft peaks.
  3. Once the egg whites reach soft peaks add the other 1/4 cup of sugar and mix on a high speed until the egg whites reach stiff peaks. You can keep mixing the egg whites at a high speed until the sugar is done cooking.
  4. Once the sugar reaches 248 degrees immediately take it off the stove. While the mixer is still running on high speed, add the sugar syrup to the egg white mixture. Mix on a high speed for 30 minutes.
  5. After 30 minutes, add the room temperature butter and mix on a high speed for 5-10 minutes until the butter is fully combined and the mixture resembles buttercream.
  6. Add vanilla and mix until just combined.

Assembly 

  1. Once cakes are cool, take them out of the pans, and place one layer onto a cake plate. Using an offset spatula, spread 1 cup of frosting on the cake. 
  2. Turn the second layer upside down (so the bottom is face up) and gently place it on top of the first layer. 
  3. Use the remaining frosting to frost the rest of the cake. Start with a generous amount on the top and work your way to the sides. 
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