Sometimes we want to go the extra mile and bake a birthday cake for our loved ones. Or because we are lonely and bored on a Friday night. But that’s neither here nor there.

Either way, we have the perfect recipe that has simple ingredients and is delicious. A gift from culinary genius Alison Roman.

Here are the ingredients you need:

Makes a 9-inch cake

Birthday Cake

For the vanilla cake:

Non-stick spray

4 cups all-purpose flour or cake flour

2 teaspoons baker’s yeast

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon baker’s yeast

1 ½ cups buttermilk

½ cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups of sugar

½ cup light brown sugar lightly packed.

4 large eggs

4 large egg yolks

For the chocolate glaze:

12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups powdered sugar

a pinch of kosher salt

1.5 grams dark chocolate chips, melted and cooled.

Allison suggests doing these three things before mixing and cooking to make sure everything goes well:

1. Place the two racks in the oven so that one is in the upper third of the oven and the other is right in the middle: You must bake all three layers.

2. Gather all ingredients and measure them.

3. Make enough room in the refrigerator for a large cake. The bottom drawer is a good place.

It’s on the wire!

1. First, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda and whisk together.

2. In another bowl, mix together the granulated sugar, brown sugar and butter (PS – make sure the butter is at room temperature!) It should be soft to the touch).

Using an electric mixer, mix butter and sugar on HIGH intensity until the mixture is frothy. This will take about 4 minutes.

Make sure there are no remnants of brown sugar showing!

Now add the eggs and yolks, all at once, whisking each egg or yolk through the mixture before adding the next.

5. Now stir until light, pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes total.

5 minutes seems long, but it’s important because this step makes the cake fluffy and airy!

6. Mix buttermilk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract.

7. Now we mix the three mixtures together! (Buttermilk, sugar and butter, and dry ingredients).

There is a method of sorts for this step. Add a little buttermilk to the sugar and nut mixture, stir, then do the same with the dry mixture. Add a little liquid, then a little dry, and repeat until everything is mixed.

In the end, the dough should look like this:

Now it’s time to extend it! Divide the dough evenly among three 9-inch cake pans. But before you pour the batter, spray all three pans with non-stick spray. (Even if they are non-stick pans.) After pouring the batter, smooth the top and make the batter as even as possible.

9. Now put three cake pans in the oven: two on the top rack and one on the middle rack. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

About halfway through the baking time, rotate the cakes from the middle rack to the top rack (moving one from the top to the middle rack). This way they are all baked at the same time.

You know pastry is made when it has turned a nice golden brown color and you can smell it. You can also know a lot about how a cake feels. Press lightly on the center – it should come back, not collapse. If you’re still not sure, stick a toothpick in it. If it comes out without any dough, you’re good!

10. Now it’s cool: The quickest (and best) way to do this is to place them on a metal stand. The holes in the rack allow heat and steam to escape. This prevents moisture buildup and cools the cakes faster.

If you don’t have a grill, just set them down and let them cool in the pan. This will take a little longer. The only thing Allison asks you to do is NOT put them in the refrigerator.

While the cakes are cooling, let’s make the frosting!


12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups powdered sugar

a pinch of kosher salt

1.5 grams dark chocolate chips, melted and cooled.

11. Mix the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. (I just rinsed the bowl I used to make the cake batter). Beat this mixture on high speed until very frothy and almost white, about six minutes.

12. Turn the mixer on low speed, add the melted chocolate (it should be pourable, but not hot) and beat it into the butter mixture. Turn the mixer back on and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes.

That’s the way to do it!

13. Now the frosting can begin! While the cakes are still upside down on the rack, spread some frosting evenly over the first layer, then place another layer of cake on top and apply the frosting. Repeat the process with the last layer.

Watch each cake flip over. You get a super smooth top on a layered cake! Because the top of the cake is usually uneven.

14. Spread a thin layer of frosting on the cake. Don’t worry at this stage about how it should look nice, you just want to make sure that the naked cake is not looked at. This is called a “little coat.” Think of it as a base layer.

If you have crumbs in your coat, don’t do it! It’s just a simple coat and you can wear another one later.

15. Place the cake, still on the rack, in the refrigerator. Put it in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

This allows the first layer of glaze to harden and the second to be super smooth!

16. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and glaze it again. This time, use a butter knife or spatula and make it pretty. (If it’s not pretty, don’t worry…it splatters!).

17. Now decorate as we like! Personally, it’s a dash, but add what you want!

18. If you have decorated the cake on a rack, use a long flat spatula (such as a fish spatula) to lift the cake and transfer it to a stand or pretty pastry plate.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! The perfect birthday cake, courtesy of Alison Roman!

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