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Perfect Birthday Cake

Three bowls and several additional steps and tweaks make all the difference and yield the absolute most perfect birthday cake ever! If you want to impress your party guests, look no further than this cake. The culmination of many experiments and searching for the perfect cake recipe, finally a combination of recipes led to my achieving my quest with this cake. Enjoy!

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 3 cups cake flour (Necessary for the tender crumb, I use Swan's Down.)

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter

  • 1 Cup full fat yogurt

  • 3 (room temperature) eggs

  • 1/3 Milk (whole is best)

  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Paste

  • 1/2 tsp Almond Extract

  • 2 cups Granulated Sugar

  • 1/2 tsp Salt

  • 3 tsp baking powder

  • 1/4 cup Sprinkles (optional)

Vanilla Bean Buttercream:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (softened)

  • 6 cups powdered sugar (sifted is best for clump-free, fluffy buttercream!)

  • 1/4 tsp salt 

  • 2 Tbsp milk (adjust as needed to smooth)

 Optional: Garnish with sprinkles.

Recipe:

1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two round 8 inch cake pans with cooking spray and dust with flour for easy removal. 

2. In a mixing bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. 

3. In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream, milk, almond extract, and vanilla paste.

4. In a large third bowl, or bowl of stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add in one egg at a time, and gradually add the flour mixture allowing it to incorporate before adding more. Finally, scrape in the sour cream mixture and combine on medium until smooth.

5. Bake at 350 for 27-29 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 

6. Let cool for 10 minutes before flipping pan to remove.

Notes:

This recipe yields two 8 inch layers. For my three 9 inch layers in my cake I made 1.5 times the recipe, and baked my third layer after the first two for the same amount of time.

Optional: I browned 1/4 cup of the butter for an additional note of depth to the "birthday cake" flavor. It does slightly darken your batter, and you'll need to let it cool slightly before mixing it. If you're willing to make the extra effort, it really amps it up.

 

Fresh vanilla bean paste provides the most delicious true vanilla flavor. The speckles in the batter and buttercream are unparalleled. I used fresh made vanilla bean paste, recipe here.

For this particular cake I added five raspberries to my buttercream to achieve a classic pink color. 

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My quest to find the perfect birthday cake began when throwing my first ever birthday party for my son. I've done cakes for family parties and my husband's birthday every year, however nailing the classic "birthday cake" flavor became my narrow focus. I loved store bought cake up until I found out their "buttercream" is primarily made of shortening (aka how they get it so smooth and build able.) The thought and taste of shortening is nauseating to me, real butter is the only way in my opinion when it comes to cake. 

This cake is the best cake I've ever had. My party goers raved about it endlessly. It is so moist yet not dense, the crumb is perfect and tender. The fresh vanilla bean paste yields an unreal flavor that must be tried to believe. If I ever entered a baking competition, this is the recipe I would bring.

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