Funfetti Buttermilk Birthday Cake

Buttermilk Funfetti Cake (via abeautifulmess.com)It’s my birthday today, guys! I shared my birthday cake with you last year, so I thought, why not continue the tradition. I also mentioned in that post last year that I was working on cooking my way through a cookbook. I did not make it all the way through in a year as I had hoped. But, I did make it pretty far and learned a TON during the process. 

One thing I worked on a lot last year was different kinds of frostings. I actually don’t bake cakes all that often as they are a lot of work, and you really don’t want too many cakes sitting in eating distance of you if you can help it. I have a real problem with saying no to sweets, if you can’t tell. 

Anyway, through all that frosting research, I found a few new favorites. Turns out I am a pretty big fan of Swiss meringue buttercream. It’s amazing and also super rich. Which I say, if you’re celebrating, why not? Just don’t make it every week. Which I would never do because it’s actually a fairly difficult frosting to make. But I have a trick I learned (that I’ll share with you) that makes even the most lumpy Swiss meringue come out smooth every time.

I also decided on a funfetti cake this year. I can’t really explain why. It just sounded good to me. Oh—and yes, I decorated it with Trix. I’m 29 today, guys. If I want to decorate my birthday cake with kid’s cereal, I can!

Funfetti Buttermilk Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream, makes one.
Recipe lightly adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

For the cake:
1 cup softened butter
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 3/4 to 2 ounces rainbow sprinkles

In a bowl, combine the flours, baking powder and salt. Give that a good whisk to combine and remove any clumps from the cake flour. Set aside. In a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Then add the eggs two at a time, stirring well in between. Then stir in the vanilla extract. Now add half of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk. Stir until combined. Then add the remaining flour and buttermilk, and stir until combined. Last, stir in the jimmies. Add parchment paper to two round cake pans and butter the edges.

Divide the batter into the two pans. Bake at 350°F for 30-32 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pans before removing to a cooling rack. You really want these cakes to be completely cooled before adding the frosting. You could even make these a day or two ahead, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator before assembling with frosting.

Tips for making swiss buttercream frostingFor the frosting:
2 1/4 cups sugar
9 large egg whites (make crème brûlée from the yolks!)
3 cups softened (room temperature) butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a heat proof mixing bowl or glass bowl set over simmering water, whisk the sugar and egg whites for 2-3 minutes. We’re looking to completely dissolve the sugar without cooking the eggs so our frosting with be smooth (and not grainy) in texture. You can check if your mixture is ready by rubbing a little bit between your fingers. You should not be able to feel any sugar granules. 

With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on medium for 5 minutes (this allows the mixture to cool). Then increase the speed to high and beat for another 6-7 minutes until stiff, glossy peaks form. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter a tablespoon or two at a time while the mixer is running. You really want your butter to be at room temperature here so that it will more easily mix into the frosting.

Once you’ve added all the butter, pour in the vanilla extract. Once you’ve added all the butter, if the frosting looks lumpy or cottage cheese like—don’t freak out. This happens to me too, at least half the time I make Swiss meringue buttercream. 

Trick for “fixing” lumping Swiss meringue: Remove about 1/4 cup of the mixture from the mixing bowl. Microwave on high for a few seconds, just until melted. Then, with your mixer set to medium, add the liquid frosting to the lumpy frosting. Beat until smooth. 

This will make slightly more frosting than you may need, depending on how you decide to decorate your cake. But, better to have just a little too much than not enough. 🙂

How to fix grainy swiss buttercream frostingWhat’s this poorly lit photo? Well, I wanted to show you how temperamental this buttercream can be. See the top of the cake, with the melted looking frosting? That’s from having the candles lit for just a minute or two. This frosting is mostly butter, so it can melt or harden quickly depending what you do with it. So, keep that in mind. I find that making this just before I need it is usually the best way to go.

You can store it in the refrigerator for a few days if you need or if you just won’t have time to make it fresh before your party, but it can be difficult to get it back to room temperature so it’s smooth and spreadable again. If you do store it, try my microwave trick again to get it smooth if you think that it’s just not looking as good as the day you made it. 

Buttermilk Funfetti Cake (via abeautifulmess.com)  Thanks for letting me share my birthday cake with you all. Wish you had been in our office late last week and I could have handed you a piece. 🙂 xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. 

  • When you are alternating adding wet and dry ingredients, you should always start and end with the dry ingredients. So you could do 1/3 of the flour, half buttermilk, 1/3 flour, 1/2 buttermilk, and the last 1/3 flour.

    Also, I would suggest looking into an Ermine Buttercream. It’s soft and fluffy, and really quick to make. No pasteurizing eggs over boiling water. It’s the original and authentic frosting for a Red Velvet Cake.

    I also make a French Buttercream for private clients. If they’ve ever had it before, they will request it again. It’s the most delicious of all the 6 Buttercreams. I’ve only used it for 1 wedding cake, and for the rest I use a Mock Whip Frosting that’s like whipped cream but stabilized with agar agar. It calls for 1 cup of any liquid – water and an extract or oil, champagne, framboise, kirsch, any flavor brandy or liquor, etc. On my website all the wedding cakes (but for the one with a Lemon French Buttercream – the one with yellow basketweave and daisies) are frosted and decorated with Mock Whips. I brought the Mock Whip Recipe with me from California, and it changed my hobby into an outrageous business requiring me to hire 5 employees, and I still have to turn people away.

    I can send you more information if you are interested.

  • this looks so good 🙂
    maybe I’ll try this!


    http://dreamsaremadeforliving.blogspot.de/

  • Happy Birthday! This frosting sounds pretty amazing. I’m going to have to try this even though dealing with the egg whites makes me a little nervous. I also love the cereal decorations you used. So cute!

  • How fun! Love this idea–perfect for my son’s second “ball themed” birthday party in March!

  • Happy Birthday!.. and what a decadent and pretty cake to celebrate with. I definitely am guilty of pinning the images too many times.

  • Happy Birthday Emma! I hope you had a great day. It’s my birthday today so I’m thinking of making this cake for myself today. It looks absolutely amazing! I can’t wait to try it!

  • Your cake looks so much better than mine. :)!! Love the icing and color!! http://www.campmakery.com/content/margies-million-dollar-classic-homemade-pound-cake

  • Happy, happy birthday. I love that you used Trix to decorate your cake. They look like fun, little Pom Pom balls.

  • ha, i decided on funfetti for my birthday too, but it’s still a couple of months away. gotta plan early!
    i just can’t wrap my taste buds around swiss meringue, it tastes like plain butter to me :/

  • Emma, happy birthday!!! May this new year in your life be special and magical and full of love and creativity! Thank you for sharing your passion with us! xo

  • Looks great! Swiss meringue buttercream is awesome, and it pipes like a dream. Happiest of birthdays to you, Emma!

  • Omg that cake looks amazing. Funfetti is my favorite and I haven’t had it in many years. Hope you had a fab bday! http://www.getchaglowon.com

  • Mmmmm you got me drooling because I really want a slice of your cake if you could offer virtual exchanges ;D and happy birthday!

    Lee
    www.lastnightwithlee.blogspot.com

  • I’m so glad that you posted this recipe because my Dad’s birthday is coming up, and his favorite cake is funfetti! I was going to make him a box cake, but this looks so much better!

  • Happy Happy Birthday Emma! Wishing you a very happy year ahead!

    I’d never heard of swiss meringue buttercream before reading this recipe! I’m very intrigued! I also love the idea of cooking your way through an entire cookbook – what a great idea!

    xx Hannah

  • Happy birthday Emma!! Hope you had a wonderful time with your loved ones and also keep some leftovers for tomorrow´s breakfast 🙂

  • happy birthday! that cake looks amazing, perfect for a birthday. 😀
    xo, cheyenne

  • This is such an adorable cake! So pretty.

    Xx,

    Http://sacosha.blogspot.com

  • This looks delicious! I have a huge sweet tooth, this could be dangerous!

    www.theneuroticmom.net

  • Must bake this for my loves birthday this year, so cute and yumm! xx

    http://www.creativityandchocolate.com

  • Ohmygod, this looks so cute! Definitely want to try it for some team members’ birthdays!

    xo,
    http://blog.alwaysmeclothing.com

  • And of course a very happy birthday to you Emma. I hope you have a wonderful day! xx

  • Happiest of Birthdays to youzzz! You better stuff your face with that cake bc buttercream frosting = heaven!!!

  • Happy Birthday !!!!
    and thanks for sharing with us your cake ! I will try it soon for my 29th 🙂

  • Happy birthday to you! Also, I turn 29 this year, and funfetti is my fave…this may have to be copied!

  • Yeah anything made out of butter is just perfect! Every year my mother makes my birthday cake (whichever I want, I just give her my order a week or two before hand). This year was an oreo graham cookie base, a layer of brownies, a layer of chocolate mousse, a layer of raspberry mousse, a final chocolate layer and raspberries to decorate! This is gonna be next years cake I think (sans the cereals). And happy birthday by the way (mine was last week, on the 15th, I turned 28 so we’re only 1 year and a few days apart 🙂

  • This cake is delightful! It looks like a party in itself. Happy Birthday, Emma!

  • this is such a cute cake!!!

    happy birthday Emma!!! <3
    have a lovely year!
    cant wait to see vacation pics from you and Els!

  • This literally looks like the most amazing cake I have ever seen! Happy Birthday!

  • A beautiful cake for a beautiful person!
    Happy birthday, Emma!
    xx,
    Emma
    www.theslowpace.com

  • Happiest of birthdays to you, Emma! I hope 29 is a great year for you.

    This cake looks beautiful and delicious! Thanks for the icing tips. 🙂

    xx Kathryn
    http://www.throughthethicket.ca

  • You’re Da Best Emma, very happy birthday! I’ll make a Hugh Grant’s sister to Julia Roberts on Notting Hill now and just go ahead and say it:”i genuinely believe that we could be best friends” enjoy your day and awesome cake btw
    mimi

  • This looks SO good! What a fun idea! Have such a happy day! 🙂

    http://sometimesgracefully.com

  • Happy birthday!!!

    Love the Trix. It’s truly the icing on the cake. 😉

    Carrie
    www.wearwherewell.com

  • Happy birthday! This looks awesome! It’s also making me want to experiment with making funfetti cake by using Trix instead of sprinkles…!!!!

    www.boxesandjars.com

  • Happy birthday, Emma! That cake looks fab. Cheers to an happy, healthy year!

  • Happy Birthday! It’s mine as well. I knew there was some Aquarian goddess quirk in you. Love this, and A Beautiful Mess. Happy Super New Moon in Aquarius!

  • Happy birthday, Emma!!! Woo 29 & you’ve accomplished so much & you are growing every day.

  • HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
    By the way, this is the recipe I’ve been needing in my recipe book for years. Why is Funfetti so darn good? Thank you!
    Circus & Bloom

  • HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
    By the way, this is the recipe I’ve been needing in my recipe book for years. Why is Funfetti so darn good? Thank you!
    Circus & Bloom

  • Not a fan of buttermilk, but the cake looks absolutely divine! <3

    http://thoughtsintiffanyblue.blogspot.com/

  • Happy Birthday, Emma! I hope the new year brings you even more joy, good surprises and yummy sweets than the one before 🙂

    By the way, I made your seashell cookies last week, and hubby and I loved them!

  • Happy Birthday Emma!!!
    Wish you all the happiness in the world! And a life full of love!

    This cake is amazing! I don’t know where do you came with the idea of decorating it with Trix, but it’s perfect! Really!

    Enjoy your day 🙂
    Xo, Deborah
    http://www.everything713.blogspot.com.br

  • Wow, this cake looks AMAZING! Happy Birthday 🙂 Wish I could take a bite of my screen…

    emmabydesign.wordpress.com

  • Happy Birthday! I love the idea of decorating with TRIX. I totally thought you added pom poms.

  • That is one of the most adorable cakes ever! I LOVE that you used Trix to decorate!
    Happy birthday! I hope you enjoy your birthday greatly!
    One thing you should try baking, if you haven’t already, is salted caramel mocha cupcakes with salted caramel cream cheese frosting! They are soooooo good! I haven’t blogged my recipe yet, but I will soon!

    athisfeetdaily.blogspot.com

  • Happy birthday Emma! I hope your next year of life is as fantastic as all the previous ones!

    Just a little side note I wanted to add, as a baker, it really frightens me when people make Swiss meringue buttercream and don’t heat the sugar and egg mixture to 140 degrees. It may not bother you to eat raw eggs as much as it does me, but I just wanted to let you know that if you are concerned about it but don’t want to cook your eggs, you can use a candy thermometer or instant read thermometer to heat the eggs to 140 degrees stirring constantly with a whisk. This way the eggs are heated enough to kill any bacteria (like salmonella!) but won’t actually cook the eggs.

    Just wanted to throw my two cents in. Have a fantastic day celebrating!!!

  • I’m a huge fan of funfetti cake, and also Swiss buttercream! Cereal decorations are always a good idea, especially when they’re this colourful!

    Monica – Mocha and Moccasins

  • Happy Birthday!!! 😀 This cake is so whimsical and fun, I love it Emma! I definitely would love to try making something like this for my birthday this year because it’s right up my alley. 😀 Enjoy your day!

    xoxo
    Allison

  • Such a pretty cake!! And it looks delicious too, might have a go baking one at the weekend for no particular reason other than I really want cake!

    www.peonyandpeach.blogspot.com

  • Happy birthday!! Have a wonderful day and enjoy getting stuck into that cake 🙂

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