As crazy and ambitious as dessert recipes can get, every baker still needs two basics in her repertoire: a perfect vanilla cake and a beautiful vanilla buttercream frosting. After all, what other combination screams “birthday cake!” as much as this one does— especially when covered in rainbow sprinkles! There are lots of tried-and-true recipes out there, but for our money, nothing beats the ones from our good friend Gemma’s Bigger Bolder Baking. Not only are they utterly delicious, you can make the cake up to 5 days ahead of time – and 2 MONTHS if you freeze it – and the buttercream up to 4 weeks in advance, as long as you store both in the refrigerator. Easier on you, and even tastier results. Just watch.

You’ll Need

Vanilla Cake
– 3 cups cake flour, sifted
– 2 cups granulated sugar
– 4 teaspoons baking powder
– ½ teaspoon salt
– 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
– 1 whole egg, at room temperature
– 1 cup whole milk or full fat buttermilk
– 2 ¼ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
– ¾ cup unsalted butter, cold
Buttercream Frosting
– 1 ½ cups butter, softened to room temperature
– 3 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
– 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
– Seeds scraped from one vanilla bean pod (optional)
– 3 to 4 tablespoons milk or cream
– Pinch of salt

The ultimate birthday cake! Grab your printable copies of the recipes by clicking the links above or visiting Gemma’s Bigger Bolder Baking site here, and tell us about the basic recipes YOU keep in your baking repertoire.