It was my mom's birthday this past week, and what do birthdays mean?? Cake of course! And the chance for me to make a cake, one of my favorite things to do. I'm lucky that I am on an easy rotation at school right now, so it wasn't a big deal to take some time out of my schedule and bake a nice birthday cake for my mom. She is a fan of white on white cakes, so that's what I made. Classic white cake, with sweet and sugary American buttercream frosting. Simple to be sure, but always a winner.
While I love cake, a normal double or triple layer 9-inch cake is so big for our family. We can usually finish it off eventually, but it can take a while, and even though I absolutely love cake, I start to feel bad about eating it every night for a week straight! So this time I decided to try something new. I took my favorite white cake recipe, cut it in half, and baked it in a smaller 12x9 inch rimmed baking sheet. Once it was cool, I cut it into three rectangles and stacked those rectangles to make a triple layer cake. It turned out to be the perfect size for us. On the night of my mom's birthday, we had 8 people over for cake and they all got nice sized (but not jumbo) pieces, and there was just enough cake left over to snack on for a day or two, perfect!
I frosted this cake very simply because I was trying to quick get it done before my mom came home from work so didn't have the time for anything fancy, but I think it still turned out pretty cute. Just one color of frosting jazzed up a bit with some colored sprinkles, quick and easy.
Love you mom!
The birthday girl and her cake
You can do it!
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup milk
- 4 large egg whites
Butter and flour a 12x9-inch rimmed baking sheet. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 cup of sugar until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until just combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; set aside.
In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. With mixer running, gradually add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar; beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 3-4 minutes. Do not overbeat. Gently fold a third of the egg-white mixture into the butter-flour mixture until combined. Gently fold in the remaining whites.
Transfer batter to prepared baking sheet. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until a light, golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack and let them cool completely.
Frost the cakes with vanilla buttercream, recipe follows.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Adapted From Savory Sweet Life
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
- 4 cups (16 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 2-4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
On medium speed, beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until creamy, 1-2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and beat on low until all the sugar has been incorporated (you may want to do this in a couple additions to prevent the powdered sugar from getting everywhere). Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla and almond extracts, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk or cream and beat for 3-5 minutes, until light and creamy. Add remaining milk 1 tablespoons at a time, until you reach desired consistency.