5/27/13

Funfetti Cake

Well, it's that time of year again! Yes, Matt's birthday, and consequently, Matt's birthday cake! This year he wanted a funfetti (confetti?) cake. And I was only too happy to oblige him.
My strategy? Take Alice Waters' vanilla cake recipe and add sprinkles. Then take Martha Stewart's vanilla frosting recipe and add sprinkles. And I think it worked, for the most part. Two things I would do differently for next time though.
1. Get more sprinkles. I had some leftover from our Kinfolk attempt, and then I had Matt pick up another container when he was at Whole Foods. This leads to the second thing I would do differently for next time.

2. Don't try and get sprinkles at Whole Foods. Matt returned with the saddest packet of all-natural, gluten-free pastel-colored sprinkles. I don't know. I guess I thought the company that bombards you with one-bite brownies and cupcakes near the check-out line would have had a better sprinkle selection. But, like I always belt out in a breathy, Alanis kinda way: you live, you learn.
I could have just put these two cake layers together in between some icing, but I felt like Matt deserved better than that and so, decided to slice them in half using the floss-method.
(Bon Appé-tip: if a nice, even cake is what you're after, maybe don't use the floss-method.)
The A is a star. Thus, Matt is a star, get it?! (If you look back at previous cakes I've made, it becomes clear that I've taken my cake-decorating skills as far as they can go. Perhaps it's time for me to sign up for a class or something?)
But let me ask you this, would it be a celebration of Matt, Bon Appétempt's in-house photographer/director/editor/first-commenter without a video? I don't think so. Only for this video, we're going deep into the archives. See, this may not be a particularly momentous birthday for Matt, but it does mark ten years since we've graduated from college and ten years since Matt made the below short film, which I love just as much today as I did the first time he showed it to me in the basement of my parents' house when we were both unhappily living at home in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. So, without further adieu, I give you Russell Sweetwater in: Heart of Gold. Happy birthday, Matt!!

Vanilla Cake (makes two 9-inch round cakes) slightly adapted from The Art of Simple Food
4 eggs, separated
1 cup milk
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
sprinkles! [note: Alice Waters' recipe definitely does NOT call for sprinkles.]
Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter the cake pans and line the bottom of each with parchment paper. Butter the paper and dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess. Separate your eggs. Measure the milk.

Sift and measure the flour. [I always skip the step of sifting flour, though I'm sure my cake would be fluffier if I didn't.] Stir in the baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat the softened butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and cream until it's also light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. Add the vanilla.

When well mixed, add the flour mixture and milk alternately, starting and ending with the one third of the flour. Stir just until the flour is incorporated. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Stir one third of the egg whites into the batter, then gently fold in the rest. If adding sprinkles, this is where you add them. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes.

Vanilla Frosting slightly adapted from Martha Stewart Living
makes enough to fill and ice a 9-inch layer cake

2 sticks butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
about 8 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 cup plus two tablespoons whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
sprinkles!

Beat together butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high sped until pale and creamy, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low. Add confectioner's sugar, about 1 cup at a time, beating well after reach addition.

Add salt, milk and vanilla and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in sprinkles, if using.  

Note: I like my frosting not to be achingly sweet, so I always err on the side of less confectioner's sugar, but this can also lead to a runnier frosting. If your frosting seems too liquidy, feel free to add more confectioner's sugar. (If not using immediately, cover surface of frosting with plastic wrap. Frosting can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 week. Before using, bring to room temperature, then beat on low speed until smooth.)
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28 comments:

Matthew said...

Thanks for the best birthday cake ever!! xoxo

Dan from Platter Talk said...

Happy Birthday, Matt - you lucky, lucky dog! That cake looks rockin'.

Ms.Nožisková said...

Happy Birthday Matt -- always like your cake choices!!

Amelia -- I also dislike achingly sweet frosting, and just figured out the *best* trick for non-too-sweet, non-too-liquidy frosting -- cornstarch!!

x

Kelsey said...

Happy Birthday, Matt!

Amelia... why WHY WHY are you holding out on me with the Alanis Morissette sing-a-longs in these PBS videos!?? Consider this my first request (of, maybe a few) that you slip a little "you learn" or "you oughta know" into one in the future. I WOULD DIE (in the best way, of course).

Sarah said...

You know that that cake tastes good. I like cake with a slight wonkiness, and a little character and lurid frosting. A perfect cake is a boring cake. Happy birthday Matt!

Sara in America said...

Oooh that cake looks really good. Happy birthday to Matt!

I hate when I have to buy things like that at Whole Foods. I wish they could be my everything...

Brands family blog said...

Love the colors on the cake. That video was rad!

Jodi Hildebrand said...

This was certainly a FLOSS-tastic weekend!

Lindsey Horan said...

You can never go wrong with Funfetti!

Andrea said...

Happy birthday, Matt!!! That cake looks like the best ever. If there's one thing Matt and his siblings like, it's a vanilla-ish birthday cake!!!

Robb Witmer Full said...

Sparklers!

Meaghan said...

Whole Foods has the most pathetic sprinkle selection ever. I say this as a bit of a sprinkle aficionado, btw. Non-pareils dyed with spinach. GROSS!

Happy birthday M★tt!

Mary Anne said...

oooooh how'd Meaghan get all fancy like dat with the star!? Happy birthday, Matt!!! I was always a huge fan of the funfetti cake myself, always with rainbow chip frosting. xoxo

Matthew said...

Thanks for all the birthday wishes, guys!! ★oxo

sarah said...

happy birthday matt! also...is that bill mccaskey?!

lipstick and soda said...

i would have loved this cake as a kid (and admittedly, now still)! thanks for sharing the floss method as well, i'd never seen this and it seems like a great method!

Matthew said...

Thanks, Sarah! And yep, that's Billy!

Mary Anne said...

DOH! the star!! how.

Matthew said...

Don't know! It just h★ppened?

Amelia Morris said...

ohhhhh, good tip!! Thanks, Whitney!

Amelia Morris said...

hahahahaha we'll have to see what happens next time the camera's on! :) :)

June2 said...

Can also make your own sprinkles - it's pretty easy: http://bravetart.com/recipes/RainbowSprinkles

June2 said...

PS also, fishing line has a bit more body and no virtually no drag for cutting layers - but yours looks delicious and homey - the best! Happy Birthday ~

Ashley Bee said...

Ohh what a lovely cake! I love funfetti, and good to know about Whole Foods' sprinkle section, ugh. Also I see the floss thing on Pinterest all the freaking time.

Marsha Bookman said...

Vanilla birthday cake is the best. Sprinkles just take it to a whole other level. Wish we had thought of it.
Love the return of Russell Sweetwater.
Marsha and Mark

sarah said...

awesome video! and awesome talent!

Shelley said...

I'm a writer, not an artist, but I nominate the top-of-the-page photo with the pancakes and oranges as Best Food Picture On The Internet, 2013.

Anonymous said...

If you hold the piping bag at a 45 degree angle it helps. Also if you steady your arm you can cut a cake in layers a lot nicer.