So I guess we’re just tackling all of our baking/cooking fears in the first week and a half of 2020!!
Who can blame us when there is so much turmoil going on in the world. We need something to distract ourselves.
And if you’re looking for a baking project that’s going to appeal to your childhood dream of having a truly decked out birthday cake with funfetti and classic “birthday cake” flavor coming at you in three ways – hi, we’re here for you. (And we brought cake!!)
I actually made this for Remy’s family birthday party last April and the onnnllyyy reason why it has taken me so long to share it is my laziness in typing up the recipe.
It’s a doozy. Don’t be scared.
No one step is too hard and a lot of the components (the birthday crumbs, the frosting, and the cake) can be made ahead of time so that you can assemble it in whatever kind of piecemeal fashion that your lifestyle allows.
The recipe is from the genius of Christina Tosi, mastermind behind Milk Bar. Her cakes have a pretty signature look (just Google them) and this is no different. I love that the edges are bare, both so that you don’t have to mess with/worry about doing a beautiful frosting job (<– not my forte) AND so that you can see all of the beautiful layers at once with just a quick glance.
It is certainly worth the effort, especially if you have a birthday king or queen in your life whose cake dreams this would help come true.
- 8 tbsp (110 g) unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup (110 g) vegetable shortening
- 2 cups + 2 tbsp (425 g) sugar
- ⅓ cup (75 g) packed brown sugar
- 5 large eggs
- ¾ cup + 1 tbsp (180 g) buttermilk
- ½ cup (100 g) grapeseed oil
- 3½ tsp clear vanilla extract
- 3½ cups (420 g) cake flour
- 1 cup (200 g) + ¼ cup (50 g) rainbow sprinkles, divided
- 2½ tsp baking powder
- 1¼ tsp kosher salt
- ½ cup (110 g) whole milk
- 2 tsp clear vanilla extract
- 16 tbsp (230 g) unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup (100 g) vegetable shortening
- 4 oz (110 g) cream cheese
- 3 tbsp light corn syrup
- 2 tbsp clear vanilla extract
- 2½ cups (400 g) powdered sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- pinch of baking powder
- pinch of citric acid
- 1 cup + 1 tbsp (210 g) sugar
- 1½ cups + 1 tbsp (190 g) cake flour
- ¼ cup (60 g) packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup (50 g) rainbow sprinkles
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ⅓ cup + 2 tbsp (85 g) grapeseed oil
- 2 tbsp clear vanilla extract
- Heat oven to 350F. Spray two quarter sheet pans with baking spray and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Cream together the butter, shortening, and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add in the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat on high speed for 4 more minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.
- In a bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla extract. Pour it into the batter very slowly with the mixer running on medium speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat for another 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture is white and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the cake flour, 1 cup of the rainbow sprinkles, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the dry ingredients and then mix for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then mix on low speed for another 45 seconds to make sure all of the flour gets incorporated.
- Divide the batter between the two sheet pans and spread into even layers. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup rainbow sprinkles over the top of the batter in both pans.
- Place in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Allow to cool in a wire rack in their pans.
- Whisk together the milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Cream together the butter, shortening, and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer to low speed and stream in the corn syrup and vanilla. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 2-3 minutes, or until white and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the powdered sugar, salt, baking powder, and citric acid. Mix on low just until incorporated then increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 2-3 minutes or until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.
- Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. If it is chilled, beat again for 3-4 minutes before using to loosen it up.
- Heat oven to 300F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, cake flour, brown sugar, sprinkles, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low until well combined. Add in the oil and vanilla. Beat again to combine until the mixture starts to form small clumps.
- Spread the clumps of dough on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow the crumbs to cool completely before using.
- Place a sheet of parchment paper on your work space. Invert one of the cake layers onto the parchment paper. Peel the parchment off the bottom of that cake.
- Clean the quarter sheet pan you just emptied and then line it with a new sheet of parchment paper. Place the cake back inside the pan. Brush this cake layer with the vanilla milk soak until it is all used up. Spread a quarter of the birthday frosting in an even layer over the cake. Top with half of the birthday crumbs, using the back of your hand to push them into place. Use the back of a spoon to spread another quarter of the birthday frosting over the crumbs as evenly as possible.
- Invert the second cake layer directly on top of the frosting. Peel off the layer of parchment paper from the bottom of the cake. Cover the cake with the remaining frosting. Top with the remaining birthday crumbs.
- Transfer the cake to the refrigerator or freezer and allow it to set for 12 hours. At least 3 hours before serving, remove the cake from the refrigerator and take it out of the pan. Fill a pitcher with hot water and dip a chef's knife into it to warm it. Trim the edges of the cake so that you can see all of the layers - cake, frosting, and crumbs. Allow to it sit at room temperature at least 3 hours before serving to thaw.