There are few people in this world who merit a 3-layer funfetti birthday cake. My sister in law, Devora, happens to be one of them. She’s the loveliest person and when she asked me to bake her birthday cake this year, I was honored. Devora is a huge sprinkle-lover (she introduced me to ordering vanilla milkshakes with rainbow sprinkles) and I knew immediately that her birthday cake had to be funfetti. Sprinkles just make people happy. This cake tastes way better than the classic boxed cake version and elicits all the fond memories of that birthday cake you ate in 1998. While not for the faint of heart or organically-inclined (hello, butter!), this cake is perfection in every other way and enhances a birthday second only to cold-hard cash. I decided to really go for it here and cover the entire cake in sprinkles. Ultimately, I’m glad I did, as it yielded the desired results – lots of oohs and ahhs, but my kitchen was a sprinkle massacre and hasn’t recovered yet from the whole ordeal. You’ve been warned.
Adapted from Molly Yeh’s recipe in her cookbook, Molly on the Range
2½ cups flour
¼ cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
4 large egg whites
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon clear imitation vanilla (I used McCormick brand)
¾ cup whole milk
½ cup rainbow sprinkles
1¾ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
3½ cups powdered sugar
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
1½ teaspoons clear imitation vanilla
2 tablespoons whole milk
2 cups sprinkles for decoration
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease and line the bottoms of three 8 or 9-inch cake pans. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the egg whites, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the oil and the vanilla extract. With the mixer running on low speed, add the dry mixture and the milk in two or three alternating batches and mix until just barely combined.
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the sprinkles until they’re evenly distributed. Distribute the batter among the cake pans, spreading it out evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Begin checking for doneness at 25 minutes. for cupcakes. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting: In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth and gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Add the salt, extracts, and milk and beat to combine. Frost the cake and decorate with sprinkles as desired.