There are two types of people in this world: those of us who love celebrating our birthdays (take the day off, count down the days on our calendar, expect a scrumptious cake punctured generously with glowing candles, the whole shebang) and then, there are those who do not.
During the COVID lockdown we know of numerous extroverted friends greeting their special day in the more quiet, contained safety of their own homes with far less zhoosh surrounding their completed trip around the sun than they would prefer. We get it and fellow people persons, we see you, as does Saura Madani, executive pastry chef at Kevin Taylor’s at the Opera House and author of Sweet Saura, her original and inspiring baking blog.
“A lot of us are having to celebrate birthdays in quarantine,” says Madani. “I thought I’d share a recipe to make if you’re celebrating a birthday, but don’t want to make an entire cake. This funfetti cake recipe will yield you a perfect amount to feed 4-6 people. 4 people if you’re serving “healthy” sized portions! I used 2 4″ cake pans for this, and if you don’t have them you can find them here. You can also use this batter to make 6 cupcakes if you prefer. Either way, you should still be celebrating birthdays as best you can!”
Madani recognizes that some baking necessities are scarce at the moment and makes a concerted effort “to incorporate as little butter in this recipe as needed.” She also assures us that although the recipe calls for cake flour, good ol’ AP gets the job done.
“This cake recipe is super moist, and can be whisked up in a small bowl- no stand mixer needed,” says Madani. “It literally takes about three minutes to measure and mix completely.”
Easy and delicious. That’s our jam.
So let’s continue to practice the recommended social distancing and adhere to the stay-at-home order but, if you are one of us “birthday people,” do hold onto that childlike excitement and feel free to “party on” with a little help from this sparkly addition to your celebratory menu.
Quarantine Birthday Cake
- 2.75 oz oil
- 3.5 oz sugar
- 1 egg
- 2.5 oz milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 3.25 oz cake flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- pinch salt
- 1 Tbsp rainbow sprinkles
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz cream cheese, room temp
- 4 oz butter, room temp
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
Preheat oven to 330 degrees F. Line 2 4” cake pans with parchment paper and spray the sides with non-stick baking spray. Set aside. If you’re making this batter into cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake tin with 6 liners.
In a medium size bowl, combine all wet ingredients for the cake. Whisk together, then add in dry ingredients. Whisk until smooth. Fold in sprinkles last and divide batter between cake pans. Bake for 35 minutes until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean. If you’re baking cupcakes, bake for about 25 minutes.
Let the cakes cool in the pans at room temp for 5 minutes,then invert onto a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap cakes and place in the refrigerator until completely cool, at least 4 hours.
To make the frosting, place cream cheese and butter into a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix until smooth. Add powdered sugar. Mix until smooth, scrape down sides as needed. Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag.
To build the cake, remove cake from the refrigerator and remove the plastic. Use a serrated knife to trim the edges off the top and bottom of the cake. Then cut each layer in half. You should have 4 thin layers of cake.
Place a little frosting on your serving plate, then the first layer of cake on top to secure it in place. Pipe a thin layer of frosting on the cake. Add another layer of cake then frosting until all layers are built.Pipe frosting around the entire cake. Use an offset spatula to smooth it out to crumb coat the cake. Once it’s relatively smooth, place the cake in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Once frosting has chilled a bit, it will be easier to smooth out the frosting using a hot offset spatula. Dip the offset spatula in some hot water to aid in smoothing out your frosting. To decorate like the photo,take sprinkles and press them all onto the sides of the cake. I recommend doing this over the sink so the sprinkles don’t fly everywhere. Top the cake with fresh berries if desired. This cake can be made up to 3 days in advance and held in the refrigerator.
*All images & recipe courtesy of Sweet Saura