Tag Archives: birthday

confetti cake with pink icing

This Confetti Sheet Cake With Pastel Frosting is Straight-Up Magical

We’re not lying when we say this dessert is magical. The cake recipe is absurdly moist and tender. And the pastel frosting? It’s basically the silky smooth love child of Swiss meringue buttercream and whipped cream. Also, the icing is substantially less sweet than the traditional butter and icing sugar mixture, so you can eat more than one slice. Plus those rainbow sprinkles! So, yeah, it’s straight-up magical.

confetti cake with pink icing

 

Confetti Sheet Cake With Magic Pastel Frosting

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Cool Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 10 to 12

Ingredients:

Cake
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 ¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 eggs, room temperature
3 egg whites (here’s an idea on what to do with the extra 3 yolks!)
1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup whole milk or 2% milk
½ cup unsalted butter, cubed
¼ cup vegetable oil
4 Tbsp rainbow sprinkles

Frosting
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup whole milk or 2% milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, cubed and softened
Gel food colouring
2 tsp rainbow sprinkles

confetti cake with pink icing ingredients

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper with slight overhang on the long sides.

2. In bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

3. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat eggs, egg whites, sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed until thick and batter falls into a ribbon pattern, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in flour mixture until just combined.

Related: The Easiest Sheet Pan Dessert Recipes to Feed Your Family

4. Meanwhile, heat milk in small saucepan over medium-low heat until just hot. Remove from heat; stir in butter and oil until melted. Stir into flour mixture until just combined. Stir in sprinkles.

batter for confetti cake with pink icing

5. Scrape batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake until edges are lightly brown and a toothpick inserted into centre of the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool in pan 15 minutes. Transfer to rack right side up and let cool completely, 45 minutes.

6. In medium saucepan, whisk together flour and milk for the frosting, until smooth. Place over medium heat and whisk constantly until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in sugar and salt. Scrape into a wide shallow plate to cool (stir until slightly warm).

Related: The Price of a Slice: Breaking Down the Costs of Cake

7. Beat butter in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment on medium-low for about 5 minutes. Scrape the bottom; beat 1 minute. Gradually add cooled flour mixture, 2 spoonfuls at a time on medium-low until combined. Scrape bottom; beat until smooth.

confetti cake icing in mixing bowl

8. Switch to whisk attachment and whip on low just to combine. Increase speed to medium-high and whip until silky and light. Frosting should have an airy consistency. Add desired food colour, stirring until incorporated. Spread on cake immediately with offset spatula to create swoops and pipe shapes (if desired) using a piping bag fitted with a star or crown piping tip. Add rainbow sprinkles.

Tip: Don’t be alarmed if the frosting feels stiff or looks curdled, your flour mixture was likely too cold. To warm, set the mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water until the edges start to melt; then rewhip. If the frosting looks loose, it’s likely too warm. Refrigerate for 10 minutes, stir and then rewhip until silky.

confetti cake with pink icing

Tip: When using gel food colouring, use the end of a toothpick to dip into colour and then into frosting. Stir or whip until combined and repeat if needed for desired colour. A little goes a long way.

Want more fun, colourful baking recipes? Try these white chocolate funfetti cookies or these perfect lemon meringue cupcakes.

anna-peach-cake

How to Make the Best Birthday Cake

Birthday cakes carry some of the fondest memories. Sweet, colourful frosting,  the warm glow of birthday candles and making a wish when you blow them out.

What’s most important when baking a birthday cake from scratch is to feel the spirit of the occasion. You’re baking this cake for someone you care about, to celebrate them and mark their special day with a shared sweet treat.

From choosing the perfect birthday cake recipe to icing tips and tricks, this guide will help you make a memorable and mouthwatering birthday cake.

How to Select a Birthday Cake Recipe

Which Flavour of Cake to Make?

Chocolate and vanilla cake are the most common types of birthdays because they tend to be crowd pleasers. Birthday cakes are for sharing, after all! Lemon and carrot cake follow close behind these top two cake flavours. And if you happen to be baking a cake for my birthday, then consider this Luscious Lemon Coconut Cake, it’s my all-time favourite!

Here are my favourite recipes for the most popular birthday cake flavours.

Chocolate Cake:  Anna Olson’s Classic Devil’s Food Cake


Vanilla Cake: Anna Olson’s Classic Vanilla Birthday Cake with Caramel Pastry Cream

Lemon Cake: Anna Olson’s Lemon Swiss Buttercream Hatbox Cake

Carrot Cake: Anna Olson’s Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

How Big of a Cake to Make

While an 8-inch or 9-inch round cake might be typical, it’s popular right now to make cakes that are taller with a smaller diameter. You can take a recipe for a two-layer, 8 or 9-inch cake and spread the batter evenly in an 11-x-17-inch sheet pa. This will likely take less time to bake, so set the timer 10-15 minutes sooner, but check the doneness the same way. Then use a large round cutter or a template you can trace to cut smaller rounds and make a 4 or 5-layer cake that will sit wonderfully tall.

The Right Ingredients

Stick to the ingredients called for to make the cake. If the recipe calls for cake and pastry flour, it is because using it will result in a tender cake with a fine and delicate crumb structure, because the flour has a lower protein content than all-purpose. Dutch process cocoa powder has some acidity removed so it will react to the baking powder or soda differently than regular cocoa. Buttermilk really makes a cake moist and nicely balanced.

 

Make-Ahead Cake Tip

Cake layers can be baked well ahead of time and frozen, and then thawed on the counter when ready to assemble. Do not refrigerate unfrosted cake or it will dry out.

Birthday Cake Frosting Tips

There are countless types of frostings to choose from, and my above recipes feature common types: chocolate, basic buttercream, Swiss buttercream, and cream cheese. Here are a few quick tips that apply to all  frostings:

  1. Work with frosting at room temperature. To be smooth and spreadable, frosting needs to be at room temperature. If it’s a warm day, your butter may be softer than room temperature, so pop the frosting in the fridge until it holds its shape when you spoon or spread it.
  2. Food colouring gel works easily and smoothly into frostings. Just add a little at a time with a toothpick, mixing well before adding more. The colour will intensify the longer it sits, so favour less at first. Also, the colour will fade if exposed to sunlight, so keep that in mind when you display your cake.
  3. Buttercream or cream cheese frosting benefits from whipping on high speed to build in structure and a fluffy texture. If you want a fudgy frosting for your chocolate cake, like Devil’s Food Cake, then avoid whipping the frosting.

Make-Ahead Frosting Tip

All of the above frostings can be made ahead and then chilled or frozen to be used later. Thaw the frostings on the counter (do not microwave) and then re-whip them to fluff them up before using.

How To Assemble a Birthday Cake

There are 3 parts to assembling the birthday cake:

 

How to Fill a Layer Cake

If adding a pastry cream or a fruit filling to your birthday cake, you need to prevent it from seeping out the sides.  To do this, spoon some of the frosting into a piping bag and pipe a “dam” around the outside edge of the cake, then spoon and spread the filling before topping with the next cake layer.

 

How to Mask a Cake

Covering the cake smoothly takes a little patience and practice. A fully masked cake has the frosting on the top and sides while a “naked” cake has the sides exposed (no frosting, or just a sheer layer). A few hints on masking:

  • More is More! Dollop or spread generous amounts of frosting when first applying. It is easier to scrape away excess frosting than to add more (at the risks of pulling up crumbs).
  • Top then Sides: Spread a level layer of frosting onto the top of the filled cake, pushing it right over the edges. This makes it easier to frost the sides and have the edges meet easily and straight.
  • Smooth, smooth, smooth! Use an offset palette knife to keep smoothing the top and sides of the cake until it is smooth and seamless.

Birthday Cake Decorating Ideas

  • any sprinkles, cookies or candies should be applied before chilling the cake
  • ribbon can be used, but place a strip of parchment under the actual ribbon, so that grease marks from the buttercream do not appear.
  • practice any piping detail on a plate or sheet of parchment before starting on your cake, but …
  • remember that all piping mistakes are erasable.  Simply scrape off and start again.
  • the same goes for writing “Happy Birthday” in chocolate. Practice on a plate first
  • fresh fruits and flowers are a lovely way to finish a cake. Be sure that flowers are non-toxic, and that fruits are washed, and air-dried before applying.

Have a birthday coming up? Try one of our Best Birthday Cake Recipes.

Pinata Cake

Make Your Own Candy-Filled Piñata Cake

This unassuming party cake has a secret.  With its frilly buttercream finish and modest sprinkle topping, it looks like any other delicious cake.  However, the real party is inside!  One cut into the cake reveals its pastel rainbow layers, before an assortment of candies comes tumbling out.  Like a piñata, this cake is filled to the brim with chocolate, gummies, and sprinkles. As if the velvety buttermilk cake and buttercream icing wasn’t a treat on its own, this cake is packed full of sweets for the ultimate party dessert. What a fun, whimsical surprise!

This festive piñata cake is fairly simple to put together and is extremely adaptable for any celebration. Try using either pink or blue candies for a gender reveal cake at a baby shower, a variety of chocolates, all fruit candies, or just stick with the cake recipient’s favorites.  The combinations are truly endless.

Also check out our recipe for Piñata Cupcakes.

Pinata Cake

Active Time: 60 minutes
Bake Time: 24 minutes
Serves: 14-16

Ingredients:

Pastel Buttermilk Cake:
3-1/2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups buttermilk
Gel food coloring

Cake Batter Buttercream:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
6 Tbsp cream cheese, softened
5 to 5-1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 to 4 Tbsp cream or milk

Assembly:
3-inch round cutter
1 to 1 1/2 cups assorted candy
Sprinkles (optional)

Pinata Cake

Directions:

Pastel Buttermilk Cake:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour four 8-inch round cake pans and set aside.
2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the butter on medium until smooth. Add in the sugar and mix on medium-high until fluffy and pale in color (3 to 5 minutes). Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
4. With the mixer on low, add in the vanilla and eggs, 1 at a time. Mix until combined and smooth.
5. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients and buttermilk in alternating batches, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix just until the batter is incorporated. Do not over-mix.
6. Evenly divide the batter into 4 bowls. Tint each with gel food coloring of your choice and mix to combine. Place each different color of batter into the prepared pans and bake for 20 to 24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack from 10 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.

Pinata Cake

Cake Batter Buttercream:
1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese together on medium until smooth. With the mixer on low, gradually add in the remaining ingredients. Once the sugar begins to incorporate, turn the mixer up to medium-high and mix until light and fluffy (3 to 5 minutes). Adjust the sugar and cream quantities until desired consistency is achieved.
2. To decorate an 8-inch cake with the ruffle pattern (as photographed), the icing recipe will need to be multiplied by 1. For a smooth or rustic finish, use the recipe as is.

Pinata Cake

Assembly:
1. Carefully trim the tops of each cake layer until even. Discard the scraps or save for another use.
2. Using a round cookie cutter, biscuit cutter, or the rim of a drinking glass, cut out the centres of two of the cake layers. The openings should be about 3 inches in diameter. These two layers will become the middle layers of cake. Set aside.
3. Place the bottom layer of cake on a cake board or serving dish. 4. Spread on about 3/4 cup of buttercream with an offset spatula. Top with one of the centre layers of cake and repeat. Place the second middle layer of cake next, then frost the inside of the rings with buttercream.

Pinata Cake
4. Fill in the centre with a variety of candies and/or sprinkles. Top with the final layer of cake. Crumb coat then frost the cake with the remaining buttercream.
5. To create the ruffle design, frost the top of the cake as normal but leave only a thin layer of buttercream on the sides. Fill a piping bag fitted with a medium star tip with buttercream. Starting at the bottom of the cake, use a zigzag motion to pipe ruffles up the side of the cake. The zigzag pattern should be about 1-inch wide and as straight as possible. Continue to pipe vertical rows of ruffles until all of the sides are covered. Top with sprinkles, if desired.

Looking for more delicious recipe? Try our 25 Best Birthday Cakes.