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Traditional Birthday Cake

60 mins
12 slices

Few treats can rival the joy of a traditional birthday cake for a special occasion. This easy-to-follow recipe is all you will ever need. This birthday cake recipe makes two layers of dense, buttery, vanilla-forward white cakes wrapped in rich buttercream frosting. To create a picture-perfect birthday cake, garnish your frosted cake using rainbow sprinkles. To create funfetti effects, you can add a few colored sprinkles to the batter.


  • 1 1/2 cups granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) 1 cup (8 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups (or 11 3/4 oz. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher Salt
  • 1 cup whole buttermilk
  • 2 cups (16 oz.) 2 cups (16 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups (about 16oz. 4 cups (about 16 oz.)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher Salt
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Rainbow candy sprinkles


  • Preheat oven to 350°F Two (8-inch) round cake pans can be greased and floured.
  • Make the cake: Use an electric mixer to beat sugar and butter on medium speed until it becomes light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stop scraping down the sides to add more eggs. Beat in vanilla.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Mix buttermilk and flour mixture in a separate bowl. Start and end with the flour mixture. Mix on low speed until well combined after each addition. Divide batter equally between prepared pans.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumb, Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes. Then, invert the cake layers onto a wire rack and let cool completely, approximately 1 hour. Wrap each layer of cake in plastic wrap, and let cool until you are ready to frost.
  • Preparing the Frosting: Use a stand mixer fitted to the paddle attachment and beat butter on medium speed until it becomes pale and fluffy. This should take approximately 5 minutes. While beating, scrape the bowl’s bottom and sides twice. Mixer on low speed. Add powdered sugar gradually. Beat until smooth. Stop to scrape the bowl as necessary. Add vanilla and salt. Mixer on medium speed. Add cream gradually, beating for about 30 seconds. To remove air bubbles, beat frosting with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes.
  • Spread frosting on top of the cake and between layers. Smooth sides can be achieved with a bench scraper. Sprinkle candy sprinkles on the top and base of the cake.