You may not know this about me, but I come from a long line of bakers. My grandparents owned a bakery in my hometown for years, and my mom owned a catering + event planning business throughout my early childhood. My dad is a great cook - his spaghetti recipe won an award when I was in second grade. So I've been around delicious cakes, pies, entree's - you name it - for a very long time. FUN FACT: I've never had a store bought birthday cake. 

Baking to me is therapeutic. Because baking is a science, every amount has to be exact and every step has to be done just so. The concentration required to bake anything really is enough to distract my brain from whatever is going on in my day or life long enough to make something quite lovely. And licking the spoon (and maybe the bowl, too) doesn't hurt either. :)


FUN FACT: This is my grandmother's 1950's vintage Sunbeam Retro Chrome Stand Mixer. It was her generation's KitchenAId.

FUN FACT: This is my grandmother's 1950's vintage Sunbeam Retro Chrome Stand Mixer. It was her generation's KitchenAId.


My sweet boyfriend Stephen celebrated his birthday a couple weeks back, and though my family has boxes and binders full of recipes, I was on the hunt for something new. I went out in search of the perfect birthday cake recipe. I wanted something I had never made before, and something that I could add to my family's vault of recipe's. I came across Gemma Stafford's Vanilla Birthday Cake Recipe - and it's just looked SO CUTE! It was covered in sprinkles, so it immediately caught my attention. Instead of the buttercream frosting recipe provided here, which looks amazing, I used the family recipe. I'm going to keep that a secret for now :)

Here's the cake recipe from Gemma's site, and a couple tips about my experience with the recipe! Enjoy! 

Author: recipe adapted from Bigger Bolder Baking
Serves: 8
  • 3 cups (450g/15oz) cake flour, sifted
  • 2 cups (480g/16oz) granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 whole egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (6oz, 170g) whole milk or full fat buttermilk
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup (170g, 6oz) unsalted butter, cold
  • Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (Master Recipe Here)
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and line three 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper. I used two 9-inch pans for my cake, and coated the bottom + sides with butter and flour rather than using parchment paper. If you decide to use the two 9-inch pans instead, I recommend slicing your layers in half and icing between to give your cake more height, and more icing, because that's never a bad thing! 
  2. In a large jug combine and whisk together the egg whites, whole egg, milk, and the vanilla extract. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients together on low speed for 1 minute. (You can also do it by hand)
  4. Add the cold butter and continue to mix on low until the mixture is a fine crumbly texture.
  5. Add the liquid mixture into your dry ingredients in 2 separate batches making sure to scrape the sides and bottom before and after each batch, mixing until light, fluffy, homogenous and well incorporated. Fold once or twice to ensure the batter at bottom of bowl is incorporated.
  6. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pans.
  7. Bake until a cake tester comes out with a few crumbs when inserted into the center, about 25-35 minutes. Be very careful to not over-bake. Check cake at 25 minutes to see how it is doing and judge the timing from there.
  8. Once Bake let the cake cool on racks for 20 minutes before removing them from the tins. Before icing my cake, I froze the layers overnight.
  9. When the cake is completely cold you can start to decorate. If you are not using it straight away wrap the cake tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months.
  10. To Assemble the Cake: With a serrated knife cut off the top of the cake layers to give them even, level surfaces to frost on.
  11. Place bottom cake layer on the table or cake turntable.
  12. Spread your chilled butter cream frosting on top with a small offset spatula. Gently place 2nd cake layer face down on top. Place more frosting on top of this layer and spread out.
  13. Gently add the 3rd cake layer. Add a generous scoop of frosting and spread evenly with a small offset spatula working your way down the sides until you have a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake. This is called the “Crumb layer” . Chill until set, about 30 minutes.
  14. Remove from refrigerator and apply a final “coat” of frosting. Decorate all over with sprinkles. Just keep on applying them until they stick all over.
  15. Store in the fridge for upto 3 days. Before serving let it sit at room temperature for 30 minute and then enjoy!

This cake stayed fresh for about 4-5 days. We ate it for dessert a few nights - and of course there were mornings that I did it eat for breakfast. It was just THAT good! I'm definitely going to keep this recipe for future use. I'm looking forward to making it again so I can perfect the technique. I would also like to note that when I got done adding the sprinkles, they were ALL OVER MY KITCHEN. So if anyone has any sprinkle application tips, let me know here - I'd love to hear from you!