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Fluffy + Delicious Vanilla Birthday Cake

Updated: Nov 26, 2018

We made little roses using the largest "star" attachment in the frosting kit. Starting in the middle, squeeze out a spiral to make the rose shape. The kids filled in the gaps between roses with raspberries.

My daughter made her own cake design. Strawberry petals with a circle of pineapple for the center.

I feel like I am forever on the hunt for the perfect vanilla birthday cake recipe. This one just might be the definitive vanilla cake--especially for the warmer months. I use my own frosting recipe that's less sweet (and lacks cream cheese, which both my kids really dislike). This cake is a winner: super light, fluffy and is perfection with berries.


(adapted from Spiced)


For the Cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 Tbsp baking powder

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 5 large egg whites

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • ½ cup sour cream

  • 3 tsp vanilla extract

  • fresh berries (optional)

For the Frosting

  • 2-3 sticks softened unsalted butter (I used 2 sticks for the cake pictured)

  • 2 cups powdered sugar

  • 1 vanilla bean

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (or substitute the vanilla bean with an extra tsp of vanilla extract)

  • 1 tablespoon or 2 of heavy cream to get desired consistency. If you're mixing fresh berries into your frosting, leave out the heavy cream.


  1. Grease and flour (2) 8” or 9” round cake pans; set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Using a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir until well combined; set aside.

  3. Using a countertop mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 4-5 minutes on medium speed). Add the egg and egg whites; mix on low speed until well combined.

  4. Add half of the flour mixture to the bowl; mix on low speed until well combined.

  5. Add the milk, sour cream, vanilla extract; mix on low speed until well combined.

  6. Add the remaining flour mixture; mix on low speed until well combined. (Tip: Don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure all ingredients are fully mixed.)

  7. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 cake pans. Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

  8. Let cakes cool in pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack to completely cool.

To make the frosting:

Place the butter in a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add vanilla bean and/or vanilla extract and mix slowly. Add fresh berries (pictured above: raspberries mixed in the frosting, giving it a pink color and light raspberry flavor). Add heavy cream if needed for desired consistency.

At our house, the birthday crown is a necessity for blowing out the candles. And tulips are a must for this girl's spring birthday.



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