This is by far my favorite birthday cake recipe I’ve ever used!
You probably know by now that I LOVE a good party! Anything with events I am all about! If you read my post on Parker Jame’s 1st birthday party, you already know a bit about how I do my cakes.
Let me start out by saying, I am NOT a baker or really even a cook. I TOTALLY fake it!
It may be better to call this a birthday cake recipe hack rather than a real deal recipe.
HOW IT STARTED
Back when I was planning Jaden’s Paw Patrol Birthday Party, I started looking for birthday cake recipe ideas. I could tell I didn’t want to just use a box cake or regular, store bought sheet cake.
After doing some birthday cake recipe “Pinterest research” I found that there are a few different things you can do to enhance a cake box mix!
For the Paw Patrol party, I decided to only make a vanilla (or white) cake. I added a few things here and there to the birthday cake recipe and for my first try, it turned out pretty well!
Over the years, I’ve learned a lot more about cake baking and decorating as well as had a bit more practice.
Everyone knows a bakery birthday cake recipe or one baked from scratch tastes loads better than a store bought cake or boxed cake mix.
Over time, I’ve learned that it really makes a difference what kind of fats (oils) and liquids you use in your birthday cake recipe. Also, the number of eggs matters too as well as what part of the egg.
On the back of the cake mix box, it usually calls for a handful of eggs, some cooking oil, and maybe some water. DON’T follow the box!
Bakery cakes are always so rich, dense and smooth. That’s largely because of what they use as their oil and their liquid!
So here it is, folks! Instead of using the called for ingredients on the back of the box, we’re going to enhance it a bit!
If the box calls for 3 eggs, I like to add at least 1-2 more than required. This makes the cake so much richer than a normal cake mix.
Lastly, the box mix will call for some water or possibly milk. If you’d like, go with milk. Whatever you do, don’t use water! I actually prefer to use whipping cream!
The whipping cream makes the cake beyond smooth. No bubbles almost at all! I love how dense and rich the cream makes the cake!
MY CAKE DESIGN
We have a funny family story about my dad and birthday cake. My Nana is probably the best cook I know. She makes these incredibly lavish meals entirely from scratch. She is amazing!
Growing up, she would, of course, make my dad and his siblings their birthday cake every year. When my dad was about 7 or 8 years old, he went to a birthday party and asked the mom hosting the party where the cake was.
The mom pointed out the vanilla cake he was clearly holding in his hands and eating. He looked at her so confused and said, “That’s just bread. Birthday cake is chocolate.” He had never seen white cake before! Too funny!
To this day, Dad has to have chocolate cake for his birthday. Because of this, I always want to give people options at my parties.
When I ran into this problem in the past, I realized I didn’t really want to bake a million cakes just to please my guests. So I decided to make a two-tiered cake with vanilla as the top layer and chocolate on the bottom.
For the bottom layer I use 8 inch round cake pans and 6 inch cake pans for the top. I bake two layers of each flavor. (If you want to get really fancy, you could do 3!)
This has worked out so nicely for each of my parties! Along with my birthday cake recipe, I use the same vanilla buttercream recipe for all my cakes as well. (I’ll include it at the bottom too!)
When using the vanilla buttercream, I’m able to give it whatever color I’d like for easy decorating. More on decorating in a bit!
Along the way, I’ve learned some helpful things when you get to the baking step in this birthday cake recipe.
- Be sure to mix the ingredients well.
Usually, I am a bit impatient and end up mixing it only partially. Because I had the stand mixer this time, it mixed the batter so evenly! There was not one lump or bubble!
(Side Note: When using whipping cream, over mixing it actually helps to make the batter almost fluffy! So thick and creamy!)
2. Be sure to grease and/or dust the pan thoroughly!
Sadly, I’ve made this mistake too! I’ve tried it all folks. The paper in the bottom of the pan, butter, oil, cocoa powder etc.
What I’ve found to work best is using a lot of coconut oil! It spreads well and doesn’t “fry” the edges as much as butter or other oils. The cakes slide right out the pan!
3. Only fill up the pan about 2/3rds of the way.
It’s important to have flat edges and tops of the cake. Cutting the top of the cake to make it flat is much easier than having to trim the edges evenly too.
You will have a lot of extra batter (especially on the smaller top layer) since the whipping cream thickens it up so much.
4. Let the cake cool (upside down) fully before storing in the freezer.
Yes you will probably still have to cut the top off the cake a bit. But laying it face down on a paper towel to cool helps to flatten the top with the weight of the cake.
Make sure the cake is pretty cooled off before wrapping it up to store. I just wrap it in several layers of paper towels with some tape then stick it in a large plastic bag.
Store your cake in the freezer for at least a few hours before decorating. I always like to bake my cakes a few days before the event because I know I’ll be so busy with everything else the day before/of.
Decorating frozen cakes is so much easier than warm or even room temperature cake layers!
(Be sure to subscribe to see the post about the Peter Pan party I threw for Jaden’s 5th birthday last year! Post coming soon!)
When it comes to decorating, I always go the “most achievable” route! I don’t try to do crazy, allabrate designs that I know I simply can’t do. In the cake decorating department, less is usually more.
For Parker James’ birthday cake, I decide to ice both layers with powder blue icing and white puffs trimming the edges.
Honestly, I don’t have a ton of decorating equipment. I do have a turntable (that is actually a veggie/appetizer tray) but it spins the cake well for me!
An icing piping bag is somewhat necessary but I’ve also just used a plastic zip lock bag as well. The piping tip, however, is more important. Especially when making icing trim.
Besides those things, I have just one icing spreader that I use to spread, scrape and smooth the icing.
Kids’ birthday cake recipes can be hard to achieve the right look especially for a themed party.
Put a thick layer of frosting in between the layers of each cake. Next, spread a light crumb coat of white frosting on the cake. Let the crumb coat set in the fridge for about a half hour before you finish decorating.
(Be sure to subscribe to see the post about the Toy Story party I threw for Jaden’s 4th birthday last year! Post coming soon!)
VANILLA BIRTHDAY CAKE RECIPE
1 Box White Cake Mix
6 Egg Whites (No Yolks!)
1 Cup Melted Butter
1 ¼ Cup Whipping Cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
- Set oven to 350*. Grease two, 6 inch pans with coconut oil. Set aside.
2. Mix the cake mix, butter, egg whites, vanilla and cream. Mix for at least 5 minutes on medium speed.
3. Fill up the greased pans 2/3rds of the way and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean.
4. Once baked, remove from over and let cool for 10-15 minutes. Remove cakes from pan and finish cooling face down on a paper towel.
5. Store in the freezer in a plastic bag wrapped in a paper towel until you’re ready to decorate!
CHOCOLATE BIRTHDAY CAKE RECIPE
1 Box Devil’s Food or Chocolate Cake Mix
1 Cup Melted Butter
1 ¼ Cup Whipping Cream
- Set oven to 350*. Grease two, 8 inch pans with coconut oil. Set aside.
- 2. Mix the cake mix, butter, egg and cream. Mix for at least 5 minutes on medium speed.
- 3. Fill up the greased pans 2/3rds of the way and bake for about 35 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean.
- 4. Once baked, remove from over and let cool for 10-15 minutes. Remove cakes from pan and finish cooling face down on a paper towel.
- 5. Store in the freezer in a plastic bag wrapped in a paper towel until you’re ready to decorate!
VANILLA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING RECIPE
1 Cup Softened Butter
5 Cups Powdered Sugar
5 tbsp Heavy Whipping Cream
1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp Salt
- Cream the butter.
- 2. Slowly add the powdered sugar in as you’re mixing. If the mixture gets too dry as you’re beating, add in the cream.
- 3. Add in the vanilla, salt, and rest of the cream.
- 4. If the frosting is still too dry, feel free to add more cream. If it needs to be used later, store airtight in the fridge. When you’re ready to use it, let it thaw for a few hours, and use an egg beater and some cream to soften up the frosting.
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