Monday, May 5, 2014

Birthday Confetti Cake!

My clever baby is 1!  Crazy.  It really is amazing how much a baby develops in that first year.  They are busy little bodies!  Imagine if we were learning and growing at that rate all the time!  Well, we'd be giants, for one thing, but besides physical growth, babies brains are constantly working... learning new skills, figuring things out.  They don't chill out for days like we might.  They go-go-go.  You can actually SEE it happening.  Crazy.  Anyway, to celebrate the birthday of this special boy, we had a little party with some friends and I made a confetti cake!  Yes, of course there are lots of cake mixes out there for confetti cake, but certainly you don't think I'd use a mix, right?  Ick.  I happened to get the April/May issue of Cooks Country around the same time I started thinking about birthday cakes, and low and behold, there on the very back page was a recipe for confetti cake!  Is there anything as cheerful and party-ready as a cake with confetti on the inside?
Now, you  might not be able to tell from that first photo, but I made a tiny baby cake for my little man, not a big giant cake.  This photo gives you a better perspective of size.  He had to be able to delve into that thing!  So I pulled out my 4-inch round pans and made two 4-inch cakes.  (The second was for "just-in-case".  The rest of the batter became cupcakes for the party!

Where is the confetti?  Well, not only is pressed around the bottom edge and top of the cake, it is BAKED RIGHT IN.  How's that for a fun surprise? 

This cake was delicious and really easy to make.   Try this out to surprise someone in your life.  It is really quite easy! 

A happy birthday boy!
Confetti Layer Cake
adapted from Cooks Country

3/4 cup rainbow sprinkles
6 large egg whites, room temperature
2/3 cup whole milk, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
16 TB unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces, softened

Adjust the oven rack to the center and preheat the oven to 350F.  Butter three 8-inch round cake pans, line with a circle of parchment, butter the parchment, and dust pans with flour.  Set aside.

Pulse 1/2 cup of the rainbow sprinkles in a mini food processor until they are coarsely ground, 8-10 pulses.  Set aside.

Whisk the egg whites, milk and vanilla together in a bowl.  Remove 1/2 cup of the egg white mixture and set aside.

Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt on low speed for about 30 seconds.  With the mixer running add the butter, one piece at a time, until it is incorporated and the mixture looks like moist crumbs.  Add all of the egg white mixture except the 1/2 cup that you set aside, and mix until just combined.  Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.  With the mixer running, add the remaining 1/2 cup of the egg white mixture in a slow stream.  Scrape down the bowl and beat on medium-high until well combined, about 15 seconds.  Stir in the ground sprinkles.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.  (If you are using a 4-inch pan like I did, it takes 1 cup of batter.)  Smooth the tops with a spatula.  Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, 21-25 minutes rotating pans halfway through baking.  Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove cakes from the pans, discard the parchment, and cool completely on the rack.

Place one cake layer, top side down, on a plate or pedestal.  Spread frosting evenly over the top.  Top with a second cake layer.  If this layer isn't flat across the top, even it with a serrated knife before placing it cut side down on the first layer.  Spread more frosting over the top of the second layer.  Top with the third cake layer, top side up.  Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.  Press the remaining sprinkles around the bottom edge of the cake, or decorate however you like!
Printable Recipe

Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting
adapted from Sweet Savory Life
makes about 2.5 cups frosting
- note:  if you are making a 3 layer cake, you will need to double this recipe!

1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks, or 1/2 pound), softened
3-4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1/4teaspoon salt
1 TB vanilla extract
seeds of 1 vanilla beans
up to 1/4 cup milk or heavy cream

Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Beat for a few minutes on medium speed.  Slowly add 3 cups confectioners sugar, with the mixer on the lowest speed, until the sugar is incorporated into the butter.  Increase the mixer speed to medium and add the salt, vanilla extract, vanilla beans, and 2 TB of the milk/cream.  If you are adding food coloring, start doing that at this point, and add more as you beat as needed.  Beat for 3 minutes.  If the frosting needs to be a stiffer consistency, add more powdered sugar.  If it needs to be thinned out, add more milk/cream! 
Printable Recipe

So good, it made him want to sing!
Though I think the clever boy got more all over the floor and ON his body than IN his body, this cake is really tasty.  Besides looking good, it tastes good, too!  It is nice and moist and light.  And I am a sucker for vanilla bean buttercream.  This is one fun party cake! 

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