a few years ago, everyone became obsessed with red velvet cake. ben & jerry’s came out with a red velvet ice cream, oreos released red velvet cookies, and pop tarts invented a red velvet toaster pastry. in recent months, the red velvet craze has died down and been replaced by a new flavor: birthday cake.
birthday cake-flavored foods generally try to imitate a boxed funfetti cake mix – fake vanilla flavoring, sweet frosting, and tons of sprinkles. i’m a fan of the flavor, but i wish it were labeled as something different than “birthday cake.” when i think of birthday cake, i think of a rich yellow cake with fudgy icing. that’s the classic!
this cake isn’t dense, but it’s sturdy enough that it holds up to the thick frosting. i chose to pipe a border of vanilla buttercream around the edge. it would look great with some sprinkles, candles, or just left plain.
adapted from the layered cookbook
- 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp flour
- 1/2 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup milk
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter , room temperature
- 2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 4 oz semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
for the cake, preheat the oven to 350º. grease two 6-inch round pans and line with parchment paper. whisk together the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. add the vanilla and egg yolks and continue mixing. add the flour mixture to the stand mixer in three batches, alternating with the milk and ending with the flour mixture. evenly divide the batter between the pans and bake for 25 minutes. let cool in the pans for 5 minutes then remove to a rack.
for the frosting, beat the butter in a stand mixer until smooth and creamy. add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. beat for a minute. add in the cream and continue to mix. add the chocolate and beat until smooth.
to assemble, level the layers. place one layer on a round cake board and spread with frosting. top with the other cake layer and frost the whole cake. decorate as desired; i used some leftover vanilla buttercream to pipe a border, but you could leave it plain or cover it with sprinkles.