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.)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?)
Vanilla Cake (makes two 9-inch round cakes) slightly adapted from The Art of Simple Food4 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 cake2 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
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.)