My mom, Genny, just turned 70. I intended to make a butterscotch cake for her party this weekend, but it turned out to be a disaster: burnt on the edges and gooey in the middle. I blame the recipe, of course, so I’ll go in search of another one. In the meantime, I baked this yellow cake and paired it with vanilla almond buttercream for a classic, birthday-cake type of cake.
Frosting-wise, I took inspiration from the Better Homes & Gardens Baking book, which featured a similar cake with different colors of icing as “streamers.” I’ve been practicing my piping skills for the past few months, though to make this cake you need very basic ones. A ribbon tip is helpful for the bottom piping, but you could use a plain one and make a bead design if you preferred. Color-wise, you can choose whatever you like to match your party theme; I went with colors that remind me of my mom and her love of the outdoors: yellow for sunshine, green for grass, and blue for the sky.
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 10 2/3 tablespoons butter, slightly softened
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/4 cups milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans, then line with parchment and grease the parchment. Lightly dust with flour.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed for one minute.
Add sugar and vanilla and beat until well combined.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each.
Add flour mixture and milk alternatively, beating until combined.
Divide batter evenly between pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pans for about 5 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely before frosting.
Vanilla Almond Buttercream
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tablespoons almond extract
- Yellow, green, and blue food coloring
In a mixing bowl, beat butter for about 1 minute.
Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until all of the sugar is fully incorporated into the butter; this will take a few minutes.
Add vanilla extract and almond extract, beating well to combine. Taste; add more extract if desired.
Reserve about 3/4 cup of frosting for tinting; leave the remainder of the frosting white.
Place the bottom layer of cake on platter and frost the top, then place the second layer on top and frost the top and sides, creating as even a surface as you can.
Fit a piping bag with a ribbon tip and pipe a ribbon around the bottom edge of the cake.
Divide reserved frosting into three bowls and tint to your desired shade. Fit three piping bags with small plain tips and place one color in each bag.
Pipe colors, one at a time, to resemble birthday streamers.
Store cake at room temperature for up to three days.