May 3, 2012

Vanilla Birthday Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting {Naptime Entertaining}

Birthday Cake

The classic yellow layer cake with chocolate frosting is a mainstay recipe in our house. It is my husband’s favorite cake of all time so it was no surprise to me when he requested it yet again for his birthday last month. Of course I was happy to make it, but I couldn’t help but wonder if it was time for a small change. I wanted a simpler single layer cake with a creamier texture. I also wanted to try it with a vanilla frosting instead of chocolate since my daughter is “really into vanilla” (her words, not mine) these days.

Despite my hectic California trip pulling this new cake together when I got home was a cinch. I added several egg yolks and a healthy dose of vanilla extract to give it a dense poundcake-like texture. For the frosting I whipped up our usual vanilla buttercream but also added a healthy scrape of vanilla beans so you could literally see them in the frosting.

My daughter decorated the cake when she got home from school with silver and chocolate sprinkles. She was so proud of the sparkly topping! After dinner we added a candle (my husband has vetoed the idea of amount of candles equaling age on his cakes) and sang him the birthday song.


Vanilla Birthday Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting


 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 large pinch kosher salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
9 large egg yolks
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour a 10″ springform pan and set aside. Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

2. In a stand mixer beat the sugar and butter until fluffy, about 6 minutes. Then add in the egg yolks in three parts, beating well after each addition.

3. In a mixing up whisk together the buttermilk and vanilla. Add the buttermilk and flour mixture alternately to the eggs, beating well after each addition. End with the buttermilk.

4. Pour the smooth batter into the springform pan and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean and the top springs back lightly when touched. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove the sides and allow the cake to cool on a wire rack completely.

5. Follow recipe for vanilla buttercream. Ice the cake completely once it has cooled!

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

This cute cake is really fun for a simple celebration and can be dolled up for a fancy occasion.

Naptime Stopwatch

20 minutes prep time, 40 minutes bake time

Naptime Reviews

This was a huge hit!

  • Kristi Krauss

    Nine egg yolks… Wow!  If I used less, what would the effect be?

    • KelseyTheNaptimeChef

      Hi Kristi – If you use less egg yolks the cake won’t be as dense and buttery so it is up to you! :)

      • Kristi Krauss

        I ended up using seven yolks, only had eight eggs and then dropped one in the garbage can.  Definitely less dense than I thought it would be but very tasty!  Six happy children!!!!  Thanks for a great classic cake!  Tell your daughter that we are always “into vanilla” around here.  My four year old son LOVES helping in the kitchen and I got a big hug and kiss after we made this cake together.

  • Blissmamaof3

    May be making this for mother’s day, sounds wonderful!

  • Jenn

    Great recipe! I baked this cake for a Birthday social gathering, and was really satisfied by how it turned out. Multiple people gave me compliments on this amazing cake! I followed this easy recipe and added a slight difference by replacing the sprinkles with fresh blueberries, which added more flavor. Another thing I liked about this cake is that it was not too sugary. Thanks Naptime Chef.

    • KelseyTheNaptimeChef

      Hi Jenn,

      I am so glad you liked it!!

  • sam fisher

    it just looks elegant and yummy i just love it. thanks for sharing this lovely recipe.