Vanilla Birthday cake with Buttercream Icing


  • Prep Time1 hr 30 mins
  • Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
  • Makes1 Two-Tiered Cake
Vanilla Birthday cake with Buttercream Icing

Roberto Caruso


  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour

  • 2 tbsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 3 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 6 large eggs

  • 2 tbsp vanilla

  • 2 1/4 cups milk

  • 1 6-inch cake board

  • 4 drinking straws

  • coloured chocolate disk

For vanilla buttercream icing

  • 7 large egg whites

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 2 tbsp vanilla

  • 4 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into cubes


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly spray 2 8-in. round and 2 6-in. round cake pans with oil, line with parchment paper and set aside.

  • Combine flour with baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, and stir with a fork to blend. Reserve.

  • Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium-high until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined. Add vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beat until combined after each.

  • Scoop about 3½ cups of batter into each 8-in. pan, and divide remaining batter between 6-in. pans. Bake in centre of oven for 50 to 60 min or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 15 min, then run a knife along inside edges of pan and turn cakes out on a rack to cool completely. Use a serrated knife to cut domes off of cake to make flat tops (this makes it possible to stack layers).

  • To make buttercream icing: Combine egg whites with sugar and salt in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over simmering water and cook, stirring, for 5 to 7 min or until sugar has just dissolved. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high for 4 to 5 min or until icing forms stiff peaks when beaters are raised.

  • Reduce speed to medium. Add vanilla. Add butter, a few pieces at a time, and continue to beat for 4 to 5 min or until icing looks satiny and has cooled to room temperature (icing may turn runny, but will thicken as you continue to whisk).

  • To assemble cake: Spread a bit of icing on a cake stand or platter. Place an 8-in. cake layer on stand. Spread 1½ cups icing on cake to edges. Top with second 8-in. cake. Spread a layer of icing on top and sides of cake, smoothing surface with a palette knife or spatula.

  • Cut 4 straws to the height of the 8-in. cake. Poke straws into the centre of cake, about 3 in. apart. They should just reach the top of the cake and will help hold up the second tier. Place the 6-in. cake board on the centre of larger cake.

  • Spread a bit of icing on cake board. Place a 6-in. cake layer on board. Spread ¾ cup icing on cake to edges. Top with second 6-in. cake. Spread remaining icing on tops and sides of cake, smoothing surface.

  • Decorate cake with assorted colours of chocolate disks.

This article was originally published on May 10, 2013

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