This is a birthday cake. The kind of cake you dream about when you’re a kid. An uncomplicated offering of sponge with buttercream frosting and a dollop of raspberry jam, covered in sprinkles, sweets and funfetti. Frankly it looks like a rainbow threw up all over it, which is absolutely 100% OK with me.
I think from now on all I want is this cake*.
I tend to be the cake provider when birthdays roll around, after all cakes are one of my favourite things to cook (not to mention the fact they’re all kinds of crazy delicious) and the end result is always worth the time spent wiping all that icing sugar off of every surface in my kitchen. Excitingly from time to time I’m asked to make cakes for other people’s birthdays (and there was this one wedding one time…) and I always jump at the chance. So when my friend E asked me to bake a cake for her sister’s 21st I didn’t think twice before I said hells yeah and got sprinkle cray-cray.
Rainbow Sprinkles Birthday Cake
Makes one cake with 8″, 6″ and 4″ tiers
Stuff you’ll need:
Thick round 10″ cake board
Thin round 6″ cake board
Thin round 4″ cake board
White fondant icing
For the sponge:
440g unsalted butter, room temperature
440g caster sugar
440g self-raising flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste/extract
6 tablespoons milk
Large pinch of salt
For the buttercream:
800g icing sugar, sifted
500g unsalted butter, room temperature
White icing colour (I used Wilton’s)
Allsorts or Dolly mix sweets
Preheat your oven to 180°c and place rack in the upper third.
To cover your board roll out around 400g of white fondant icing with some icing sugar to prevent it from sticking. Brush your base board with some water then drape the icing over and smooth with your hands or if you’re fancy an icing smoother. Trim the overhanging icing with a knife. Get some ribbon and fit it around the side of the board and glue to fasten.
To make the sponge simply add all of the ingredients together and beat for a couple of minutes until combined and the mixture is smooth. Pour into your prepared cake tins and bake for the following times:
8″ – 30 minutes
6″ – 25 minutes
4″ – 20 minutes
If like me you put all three cakes in at the same time, expect longer cooking times so keep and eye on them. Once they’re done leave to cool on a wire rack.
To make the buttercream beat the butter for a couple of minutes then sift in half of the icing sugar and beat until combined, followed by the second half of the icing sugar. As the icing sugar should already be sifted you don’t need to sift it again, but I think you get a smoother buttercream if you double sift so go sift-crazy. After you’ve added all of the icing sugar start adding the white colour to the icing as it beats on low a little at a time until you’re happy with the colour. Alternatively you can skip this and go for a natural coloured buttercream.
Slice each cake in half and spread over some icing and a dollop of raspberry jam. Sandwich them back together and crumb coat each cake and refrigerate for half an hour for the icing to harden. Give the cakes a second coat of icing and then pop them back in the fridge for another 10 minutes. Finally give the cakes a final third coat of icing, getting the edges as smooth as possible.
Get your iced cakes on their boards then you’re going to want to add your dowels. I use three in each tier set in the shape of a triangle, spaced out enough for the weight of each cake to be evenly distributed. Mark in the icing where you plan on putting each dowel. Stick one in and with a pen mark where you’re going to cut it (about half a cm taller than the depth of the cake). Cut each one to the same size and repeat the process for the second tier. Place them in the cakes once measured and cut.
Now for the fun part! Decorate the edges of each tier with sprinkles and funfetti. I did a sort of gradient with more sprinkles etc on the bottom tier and less on the top tier. Top the 4″ cake with a mix of your sweets.
Carefully place each tier on the dowels, and pats on backs all round.
*ps. my birthday is on Wednesday