What was your favorite birthday?
Was there a particular year or party or celebration that sticks out from all the rest?
A friend and I were talking about this and I’d have to say my favorite birthdays thus far have been 7, 9, 15, 22, and 23. I’ve been very fortunate and have had some very good birthdays. Going to Shakey’s (think a Midwestern Chuck E. Cheese), swimming at the community pool, a surprise party, a perfect celebration where everyone left by 10:30, a piñata destroyed on stage at a local rock show.
All wonderful times and days and memories. All for different reasons. Whether it was getting to help my mom bake and decorate my cake for the first time (maybe the start of my baking obsession?) or feeling I had found a family at college in my friends and coworkers who wished to celebrate me, I have loved my birthdays and what they have added to my life.
And I’m ready to see what 25 brings. Not just in terms of celebration, but internally, in my heart and mind and soul. Because, I can honestly say, that no matter how perfect the party or thoughtful the gifts, I have never been quite as content with a birthday as I am now, at this moment. Happy as a clam right where I am. There are new opportunities on the horizon, old friendships growing stronger, and a secureness that I have never experienced before. I have grown so much in the last year (excuse the humble brag, but I am awfully proud), I feel confident, calm, secure. Not all the time, but more so than I ever have before.
Perhaps that’s why I was feeling gutsy enough to try my hand at a fan favorite. Funfetti cake has long been a birthday staple – in my life and the lives of my family and friends. There’s something special about that boxed cake that makes it better than any other. Sprinkles, obviously.
And now we can eschew the box and bake it fresh! This is one of the best cakes I’ve made (despite the less than stellar photos) and rivals the box in every way, surpassing it in most, imo. Give it a try yourself and see what you think!
Homemade Funfetti Cake
(makes 1 9-inch 3-layer cake)
3 ½ cup flour
3 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
6 egg whites
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup canola oil
2 cup granulated sugar
2 whole eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ tsp. almond extract
½ cup sour cream
1 ½ cups whole milk, at room temperature
½ cup rainbow sprinkles + 1 pinch flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and spray with baking spray, set aside.
Whisk together the flour, soda, powder, and salt. Set aside.
Using a hand mixer, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form, set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, oil, and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mixture should be nearly white.
Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated and scraping the bowl as necessary. Stir in extracts and sour cream.
In three batches, add the flour, alternating with milk, ending with flour, making sure the dry ingredients are fully incorporated before adding milk. Scrape the bowl as necessary to bring ingredients up from the bottom.
Fold in whipped egg whites, being careful not to over mix.
Coat the sprinkles in a pinch of flour before stirring into the batter.
Divide batter among prepared pans and bake in preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes, until tops are golden brown and tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove to rack to cool slightly before turning cakes out of pans and cooling completely.
While cake cools, prepared frosting (recipe follows)
To frost cake:
Once cake is cooled, slice off any uneven tops to leave you with three level layers.
Place one layer on a cake board and dollop a large portion of frosting onto center, spread outward to edges. Top with another layer of cake and repeat process so that frosting is coming out from between the layers.
To crumb coat the cake: Place the third cake on top and begin to spread the excess frosting along the side and up onto the top of the cake, adding more frosting if necessary. Refrigerate for 30 minutes so frosting sets.
Cover the cake in whatever frosting remains.
Cream Cheese Buttercream
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup shortening, at room temperature
1 – 2 pound bag powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt
¼ cup milk
Cream together cream cheese, butter, and shortening until smooth. Add ¾ of the bag of powdered sugar, vanilla, salt and milk. Slowly, cream together, gradually increasing mixer speed. Add more powdered sugar or milk until desired consistency is reached.