Hello, hello from the land of vanilla cake and sprinkles!
As you probably know by now, I have just released my first cookbook, The Sweetapolita Bakebook: 75 Fanciful Cakes, Cookies & More to Make & Decorate (you can learn more about the book over on the My Book tab of my site), and I have to tell you that this Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake is one of my favourite recipes from the entire book (and actually in life in general)!
In the book’s introduction, I chat about my first cake memories which stem back to my very early childhood, and how mom would buy me those supermarket white birthday cakes with pink swirls of frosting every year. I believe that is one of the reasons I am so enchanted by cake, and now the very sight of a vanilla birthday cake with frosting swirls brings me back to my childhood, and to those cherished days. Amazing how powerful vanilla cake can be . . .
So needless to say, creating and including the very best vanilla bakery-style birthday cake recipe in my book was extremely important to me, but I also wanted to give it a few little twists. While this cake is classic bakery birthday cake in a way with its fluffy layers and sweet frosting, it has a few little surprises to give it a bit more wow-factor. We fill the moist vanilla cake layers (also known in the Prized Basics section of the book as Super White Cake) with fluffy frosting mixed with sugar cookie dough bits, sprinkles and topped with colourful cupcake pieces before frosting the entire cake in pastel turquoise frosting and finishing it off with party-pink frosting borders. I also used vanilla bean paste in the frosting because it gives such a wonderful and authentic vanilla quality to it (and we love the black vanilla flecks!).
I think one of the reasons I love it so, is because it is one of the desserts that most represents Sweetapolita as a whole. You know? The best homemade white cake around, if you ask me, and I use it as a base for countless cake recipes now!
What’s kind of funny is that, as I mention in the book, I discovered that rainbow jimmies (those classic long rainbow sprinkles I used in this frosting) are much thinner and longer in Canada than the American version–funny, right? I used the American variety for this cake because I find that when decorating a cake with sprinkles right in the frosting, the more blunt the sprinkle edges are the better, as they sort of glide around with the frosting. The sharper, thinner “Canadian” ones are a bit too sharp for frosting as they tend to leave little lines when dragged through the frosting with the spatula. Just a random sprinkle note!
I’m telling you, whether you make the sky-high 4-layer version from the book, or this more classic 3-layer version, this cake recipe is a go-to for any baker. It is a sweet cake and sweet frosting, but the creaminess of the frosting and lightness of it all make it worth it, and it will transport you straight back to childhood. A vanilla birthday cake dream . . .
- 3 1/4 cups 375 g cake flour, sifted
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/4 cups 450 g superfine sugar
- 3/4 cup 170 g cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 1/2 cups 360 ml milk, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons Lorann Oil Princess Cake & Cookie Bakery Emulsion or pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 7 large egg whites room temperature
- For a more classic version of this cake, omit the Eggless Sugar Cookie Dough and cupcake bits.
- Note from the book re: the Vanilla Bakery Frosting: You can certainly use all butter, rather than high-ratio shortening, if you prefer. High-ratio shortening is used to add stability and tenderness to white cakes and creaminess and stability to frostings. In a pinch you can also use regular shortening, such as Crisco, but the high-ratio version is designed for frosting and gives a much better mouth-feel. I used this High Ratio Shortening, but there are several brands available.
- Note from the book re: the Eggless Sugar Cookie Dough: Coming across chunks of cookie dough in a dessert is always a welcomed surprise, but since our intention is to eat it raw, I’ve modified my favorite Vanilla Sugar Cookie Cutouts dough into an eggless version for popping into anything from frosting to ice cream. Simply store it in the freezer and cut off pieces as needed. Cookie dough addicts rejoice!
- As I also mentioned in the book, for an extra-celebratory hit of sprinkles, turn this vanilla cake into a confetti cake by folding 3/4 cup of confetti quins into the prepared batter.
- You can find Lorann Oils Princess Cake & Cookie Bakery Emulsion here, as well as from most baking supply shops, as well as the Madagascar Vanilla Bean Paste I used in the frosting.
- I used CK brand Confetti Pastel Sequins for the filling, and CK Products Mixed Jimmies for the exterior frosting.
- If you don’t have a cake-decorating turntable, I certainly recommend one. I use the Ateco 612 Revolving Cake Stand.
Good luck & enjoy! And before I go, just a note that I have recently updated my Videos section of the blog–you’ll find my latest television segments as well as the How to Cover a Cake in Fondant video!
See you soon with more, yep, cake!