How To Make A Simple But Classic Birthday Cake

Few desserts can equal the festive atmosphere of a classic birthday cake for a festive occasion—and this easy-to-follow technique is the only one you’ll ever need.

Two solid layers of buttery, vanilla-forward white cake are enveloped in traditionally creamy buttercream frosting in our birthday cake recipe.

Don’t forget to top your frosted cake with rainbow sprinkles for that distinctive, picture-perfect birthday cake appearance.

To get a fun felt effect, mix a handful of colorful sprinkles straight into the cake batter.


  • 1 ½ cup sugar, granulated
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (8 oz.)
  • 4 big eggs
  • vanilla extract (two tablespoons)
  • 2 ¾ cup all-purpose flour (about 11 3/4 oz.)
  • 1 tablespoon powdered baking soda
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, whole


  • 2 cups unsalted butter, softened (16 oz.)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (about 16 oz.)
  • vanilla extract (two tablespoons)
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons of  heavy cream
  • Sprinkles of rainbow sweets

How to Bake a Cake

1st step

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 2 (8-inch) round cake pans.

2nd Step

Cake Preparation: With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.

1 at a time, add eggs, beating after each addition and scraping down sides as required. Blend in the vanilla extract.

3rd step

In a medium mixing basin, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.

Beginning and finishing with flour mixture, alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to butter mixture.

After each addition, beat on low speed until thoroughly combined.

Using a spatula, evenly distribute the batter between the prepared cake pans.

4th step

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in a preheated oven, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with wet crumbs.

Cool 15 minutes in the pans before inverting onto a wire rack to cool entirely, about 1 hour. (Wrap each cake layer in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to frost for optimum results.)

Step 5

Make the Frosting: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed for about 5 minutes, or until pale and fluffy.

While beating, scrape along the sides and bottom of the bowl twice. Gradually add powdered sugar to mixer on low speed, beating until smooth, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as required.

Combine the vanilla and salt in a mixing bowl. Gradually add cream to mixer on medium speed, mixing until frothy and spreadable, approximately 30 seconds.

(To eliminate air bubbles, whip the frosting by hand with a wooden spoon for about 2 minutes.)

6th step

Spread icing on top of the cake and between the layers. For smooth sides, use a bench scraper. Place candy sprinkles around the top border and base of the cake.

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