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Sprinkles For Breakfast

Share your Sweet Side

vanilla vanilla cake

How to Make a Birthday Cake

Most people use birthdays as an excuse to eat, drink and party with friends and family - and that's really nice. But for me, birthdays are an excuse to eat all the cake you want. Forget the presents, the party, and all the attention a birthday brings, just give me a nice big slice of cake and I'll be happy.

Now I know this isn't exactly normal. Most people see cake as just an added bonus to their regular birthday celebration; but in my family, it's not a birthday party unless there is cake. One year, my grandma even went as far as flying my cake in from LA. She actually sat on an airplane with a large Confetti Cake on her lap the whole ride home. And with 7 thick layers each separated by a generous coat of buttercream…that thing is not light. You see what I mean? My family means business when it comes to birthday cakes.

So even though everyone in my family has their own idea of the perfect birthday cake, this is mine. A nice yellow cake with buttercream, and lot and lots of sprinkles of course.

Homemade Birthday Cake - Quick and Easy Recipe and Instructions

Vanilla Vanilla Cake

Vanilla Vanilla Cake | Sprinkles For Breakfast



  • 5 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk at room temperature
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes


  • 1 lb (2 cups) room temperature butter
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • water
  • candy thermometer


for the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 8" cake pans with pam and parchment. You also need to make sure that all the ingredients are at room temperature. This is very important.
  2. In a medium bowl combine and stir the egg whites, 1/4 cup of milk, and the vanilla. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients together on low speed for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the butter and remaining milk, and mix on a low speed until just combined. Increase to medium speed and mix for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg mixture in 2 separate batches, beat on medium speed until it is just combined. (No more than 45 seconds after each addition)
  6. Divide the batter between the two cake pans.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 
  8.  Let cool on racks until cooled completely.

for the buttercream:

  1. In a small sauce pan put 3/4 cup of sugar and cover the sugar with a little bit of water until the sugar looks like wet sand. Cook on a stove top over high heat until it reaches 248 degrees (you will need a candy thermometer).
  2. While the sugar is cooking, whip eggs whites in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment at a high speed until they reach soft peaks.
  3. Once the egg whites reach soft peaks add the other 1/4 cup of sugar and mix on a high speed until the egg whites reach stiff peaks. You can keep mixing the egg whites at a high speed until the sugar is done cooking.
  4. Once the sugar reaches 248 degrees immediately take it off the stove. While the mixer is still running on high speed, add the sugar syrup to the egg white mixture. Mix on a high speed for 30 minutes.
  5. After 30 minutes, add the room temperature butter and mix on a high speed for 5-10 minutes until the butter is fully combined and the mixture resembles buttercream.
  6. Add vanilla and mix until just combined.


  1. Once cakes are cool, take them out of the pans, and place one layer onto a cake plate. Using an offset spatula, spread 1 cup of frosting on the cake. 
  2. Turn the second layer upside down (so the bottom is face up) and gently place it on top of the first layer. 
  3. Use the remaining frosting to frost the rest of the cake. Start with a generous amount on the top and work your way to the sides. 

*One 8 inch cake

*If you do not have cake flour just lying around you can use all purpose flour. 1 cup of cake flour = 1 cup - 2 TBS all purpose flour.

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meet the author

Lindsay Nathanson - Baker and Author

I might be the only person in the history of the world that has ever been grounded from baking. That's right. When I was a teen, it wasn't the computer, or the phone or the tv that got taken away. For me, it was the unsalted butter.

Comments (6)


I'm not a huge baker (or much of anything domestically) but I'm about to be after reading this blog! You my dear have the paitence of a saint responding to rude comments. People: obviously these recipes work for her so if your attempts are a complete disaster it's safe to assume it's a case of operator error.

Lindsay Nathanson

You are my new favorite person Stacy! <3 Let me know how the baking goes!


Hi! Will this work with a dairy free milk, like almond milk for the cake recipe? Thanks!

Lindsay Nathanson

Hi there! I have never made this cake with almond milk - but it should work just fine!


Mel I was reading the recipe here for your vanilla vanilla cake, unless I missed something, where do I find ur recipe for the caramel sauce to top the cake? It looks amazingly delish and I can't wait to try it! Thanks and keep the recipes a coming.

Lindsay Nathanson

This cake is SO good. Sorry the recipe was confusing! The caramel recipe I usually use to go on top of cakes is here - Let me know if you have any further questions!


Hi there! How far in advance do you think I can bake the cakes? I was hoping to bake the cakes tonight (Tuesday) and then frost them on Friday for my son's birthday party on Saturday.

Lindsay Nathanson

That is totally fine. If you bake the cakes today I would put the in the freezer until Thursday night. Then transfer them to the fridge so you can easily frost them on Friday. Then I would leave the cake in the fridge until a few hours before you are ready to serve! Have fun!


In your previous message you say that it is better to weigh your ingredients instead of cups but your cake recipe doesn't give you the weight only cups!

Lindsay Nathanson

That is such a good point! Using a scale is by far the most efficient way to bake. But I grew up baking with cups/teaspoons, so it's hard to break a habit. I will do better in the future about writing the recipes both in cups/teaspoons and in weight! Thanks Christiane!


Sorry, but what kind of buttercream frosting is this with no powdered sugar and a temp of 248 for the sugar?!?! I've never cooked sugar for frosting and it just turned into lumps when I add it to the egg whites. Thanks for wasting my ingredients....

Lindsay Nathanson

I'm so sorry you had this experience. This is called Italian Meringue Buttercream. Maybe we can figure out what went wrong. Had your egg whites reached stiff peaks before you added the sugar syrup? And did you have the mixer going at a high speed when you added the sugar syrup?