funfetti vanilla cake with vanilla butter cream // aka the perfect birthday cake
Happy Happy New Year friends!
Honestly, I’m not too sad to see 2018 go, and am very much looking forward to 2019 being a fresh start! Resolution always seem to mean well, but I find they’re often too much pressure. And then you mess up and go…well, I guess I have to wait until next year to try again! So I’ve stopped making New Year’s Resolutions, but I do believe that it can be a useful time for reflection and goal planning. What do you want to do with your life? How can you move towards those goals in the next 365 days? Maybe that means making reasonable, bite-sized goals for each month, or chatting with friends to keep you accountable. Don’t feel like you have to change every thing in your life in all at once! Make small, sustainable changes, and go from there!
And guess what? You can do that whenever you want! Not just on New Year’s Day, or a Monday. You are in charge of your own life, so go live it the way you want to right now!
Enough about that stuff though! Let’s talk cake.
This guy’s a classic. Vanilla cake base…that’s always moist, hurray! Add in some sprinkles…heck yes!! And top it with a classic vanilla butter cream. I’m not always a big fan of butter cream, but I do have to admit that it takes no time, and no stress to whip up! It holds up sooo nicely, and is super easy to pipe. I think the key to a good butter cream is lots of butter (so it doesn’t just taste like a sugary mess), and WHIPPING THE BUTTER FOR A LONG TIME. Got that? I’ve started whipping my butter for 5-7 minutes before I start adding any sugar, and it is a game changer. Whipping the butter adds air, and makes it so light and silky. Slowly add in the sifted powdered sugar, vanilla, and food colouring if desired. And then more whipping after that! It is seriously the best. I do still prefer a good swiss meringue frosting, but this is a great option too.
vanilla funetti cake
base recipe from: Tess - Style Sweet CA
5 large eggs whites, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole milk - divided
2 1/2 cups cake flour (*this is a must - don't sub all-purpose flour here)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 to 1/2 cup sprinkles (jimmies are recommended - I used nonpareils/100s & 1000s, and they do tend to run quite a bit)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 6-inch cake pans, line just the bottoms with parchment (to keep mini eggs from sticking) and set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together the egg whites, vanilla extract, and 1/4 cup of the milk, and set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix on low until combined. Add in the softened butter and 1/2 cup of milk, and mix on low until just moistened. Turn the mixer to medium-high and mix until completely combined. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
With your mixer on medium-low, slowly stream in the egg white mixture. Add it in 3 batches, and each addition should take about 15 seconds to pour in each time. Ensure everything is completely incorporated before adding the next batch, but try not to over-mix since it can make the cake dry.
Use a spatula to gently fold in sprinkles. Mix as LITTLE AS POSSIBLE. The less you touch the batter at this point, the better. You don’t want the sprinkle dye to come off too much, otherwise you’ll end up with a gray mess. Some brands of sprinkles will be better than others, so you may want to practice once beforehand if you’re planning to make this cake for an event!
Distribute the batter between the prepared pans. I use a kitchen scale to make sure an even amount is in each one.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. I like to carefully rotated my pans a couple times while cooking to ensure even heating.
Allow cakes to cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans. Let cool for another 20 minutes, and then use a large serrated knife to carefully level each one.
Cool cakes completely before frosting. I like to make the cake the day before, and wrap each layer in plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge or freezer. Cool cake layers are easier to handle, and means less crumbs in your icing.
*I like to use a medium cookie scoop to ensure an even amount of frosting goes between each layer. For this cake I used 3 scoops between each layer, and the rest of the frosting went on the outside of the cake!
*I used nonpareils for my sprinkles, and while they did bleed a bit, they worked just fine! But you really really need to not stir too much once they’re added to the batter. My friend and cake queen Amy (Constellation Inspiration) recommended using Jimmies, but I haven’t tried them out yet!
*Your cake pans may cook at slightly different rates depending on their location in the oven. Test each one individually with toothpicks, and remove them as soon as they’re done. All 3 of mine had about 1-2 minutes difference in bake times!
*Bake the cake ahead of time, wrap them up airtight, and keep in the freezer to keep them fresh until you need them! They’ll be fine for several weeks. I like to bake my cake one day, and then make the icing and decorate the whole thing a different day!
vanilla butter cream
recipe: Kelsey Siemens (that’s me!)
1 1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1-3 tablespoons cream (milk works fine too)
3-4 cups powdered sugar
In the bowl of a stand mixer (I have one of those now…yipee!!), or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer, place the softened butter. We don’t want it melted, but we do want it pretty soft. Think the type of softness that would spread nicely on a piece of white bread! Now you want to whip the butter for 5-7 minutes on high. This is something new that I’ve tried with my butter cream, and oh boy is it a game changer. Whipping the butter for that long helps aerate it, and makes it super fluffy and silky. You’ll notice that it will get much lighter in colour as it whips…and will almost be pure white when you’re done. That’s exactly what we want.
Add in the vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of cream right away, then add the powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time, and mix on medium speed until incorporated between each addition. Start with 3 cups of powdered sugar and see what the consistency is like. If you want it a bit firmer, simply add in a bit more! Once all the sugar is added, beat on medium high for another 2-3 minutes.