Baked Sunday Mornings: Baked Ultimate Birthday Cake

This week's Baked Sunday Mornings recipe is the "Ultralemony Lemon Bundt Cake with Almond Glaze," but I already made the lemon cake after the recipe was published in Food and Wine (blog post here). Instead, I decided to make the "Baked Ultimate Birthday Cake" -- a very vanilla sprinkle cake topped with very vanilla frosting. I thought it would be perfect for an office celebration (and I already knew how great the cake would be since I tested the recipe before Baked Occasions was published).

This very vanilla cake recipe is similar to the base recipe used for the Whiteout Cake, Lemon Drop Cake, Aunt Sassy Cake, and Holiday Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream. One major difference is the liquid for the very vanilla birthday cake is a combination of ice water, milk, and buttermilk, while all of the other cakes use ice water alone. But otherwise the methods are virtually identical. To make the very vanilla cake batter, you cream together shortening and softened butter; add sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy; add an egg; alternately add the dry ingredients (cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) and liquid ingredients (ice water, milk, and buttermilk); mix in rainbow sprinkles; and fold in egg whites that have been beaten with cream of tartar to soft peaks. You divide the batter between three parchment-lined 8-inch pans and bake.
The frosting is the standard Baked buttercream recipe. You cook flour, sugar, milk, and cream until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens; beat the mixture until cool; gradually add butter; beat until light and fluffy; and add vanilla (the recipe calls for extract and paste, but I used extract and the scraped seeds from a vanilla bean). To assemble the cake I leveled all of the cake layers, filled and frosted the cake with the buttercream, and coated the entire cake in a generous layer of more rainbow sprinkles. I made a small banner to mark our office celebration (I decided that "Commissionerversary" was the appropriate word to describe the anniversary of the swearing in of a Commissioner) and I thought the whole thing looked incredibly festive. 
This cake is so much fun -- especially after you cut it and see sprinkles inside the cake as well. Even though rainbow sprinkles generally don't taste all that great, the beautiful vanilla flavor of the moist cake and fluffy frosting shine through, and this cake tastes just as wonderful as it looks. While the term "celebration cake" is applied to broad category of layer cakes that might be appropriate for a party, this joyous and exuberant multi-colored wonder is a celebration cake exemplified.

Recipe: "Baked Ultimate Birthday Cake" from Baked Occasions by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, recipe available here.

Previous Post: "Dessert Is a Lemony-Splendored Thing: Lemon Bundt Cake," September 11, 2013.


Sally said…
I LOVED this cake - I think that I already commented on your blog that I made it for my 3 year old's birthday. It was like a bakery birthday cake to the nth degree. Fabulous! I got really great sprinkles that actually tasted good, and that helped. The only tricky part was getting the sprinkles ON the cake, even with a turntable. Any advice?
Robyn said…
I can't wait to make this! I look forward to purchasing like a pound of sprinkles from my bulk food store ;)
Anonymous said…
Gorgeous!! I cannot WAIT for this cake. Yes, I feel like this one can be made for any celebration-- and really, who needs to wait for a birthday to have vanilla cake with sprinkles?? ;-)
Anonymous said…
Beautiful cake!
Anonymous said…
Beautiful!! I can't wait to make for my youngest's birthday..

Hannah, Spots on Spots
Chelly said…
So festive and pretty! What a fun cake! Nice job!
Louise said…
Beautiful. Tasty too, I'm sure. What brand of jimmies did you use? When I made this a couple of months ago, I ended up with sort of a custom blend starting with Betty Crocker's Carousel Mix and adding some extra red jimmies. Wilton "Rainbow Jimmies" weren't going to cut it as there was no blue or purple in the mix.
It was a bit of effort to get all of the sprinkles onto the cake -- I put my turntable on top of a large cookie sheet with a lip so that I could scoop up all of the sprinkles that fell off... it took a few cycles of applying and re-applying before I got the whole thing covered without gaps. But there were definitely a lot of sprinkles that still made it onto the kitchen floor by the time I was done!
I used a canister (the full 12 ounces) of sprinkles that I got from Surfas -- no brand specified. It also didn't have any blue or purple in the mix, so I made a semi-custom blend by mixing in some purple sprinkles that I had on hand (unfortunately, I didn't have blue). I don't know why it's hard to get an actual "rainbow" blend!