The youngest member of the clan – Kate’s son Danny – just turned 1! For the party I was asked to make a vanilla cake for 40 guests. I decided to use my go-to Martha Stewart Cake Recipe (only very slightly modified to use salted butter and yoghurt because these are what I keep on hand) and to decorate with a polka dot “1” as I had when my own son turned one just a few months ago (and idea I found through Pinterest here). Kate then complicated the request by asking that I replicate another great idea found through Pinterest here – to make the inside polka dot too! So, after one test cake early in the week, I managed to pull off this fun, surprise inside, Polka Dot Birthday Cake.
I iced the cake using an only slightly modified Best Buttercream Icing from the Kitchen Magpie – its what she calls the recipe and it’s true! Because I was making a layer cake, I made 3x the original cake recipe as well as a double batch of icing. I also had to improvise a bit with the polka dots since I didn’t have a Donut Hole Maker to work with and used a mini muffin tin instead. The end result was good enough to make our crowd happy and I’d definitely do it again!
For the Cake (makes 1 two layered cake)
1 CUP SALTED BUTTER AT ROOM TEMPERATURE – If using unsalted butter, add 1 tsp salt
1 1/2 CUPS SUGAR
3 EGG YOLKS
1 TSP VANILLA EXTRACT
2 1/2 CUPS ALL PURPOSE FLOUR
1/2 TSP BAKING POWDER
1/2 TSP BAKING SODA
1 CUP PLAIN YOGHURT – substitute for 1 cup buttermilk as per the original recipe
For the Icing (for a single cake – double it for a layered cake)
2 CUPS SALTED BUTTER AT ROOM TEMPERATURE – Yes, it has to be salted! That’s what makes it so good.
2 500g BAGS OF ICING SUGAR – Each is equivalent to 4 cups, for 8 cups total
1/2 CUP CREAM
1/4 VANILLA EXTRACT
For the Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using a mixer (yet another reason I love my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer!) whip together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla.
Mix all dry ingredients.
Add the dry ingredients to the batter, alternating with the yoghurt.
*To make the polka dots, transfer a few spoonfuls of batter into small bowls – as many as colours you plan to use – and mix in the food colouring. Spoon coloured batter into mini muffin tins and bake until just set (approx. 10 min). Cool in the freezer. Trim sides of polka dots so they resemble cylinders.
Grease and flour the bottom of two 8 inch cake pans.
Arrange the polka dots on the bottom of your cake pans and then fill with remaining batter (don’t worry that the batter is thick, once it hits the oven it’ll melt to fill any gaps).
Bake the cakes for 30-35 min until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool completely before removing from pans.
For the Buttercream
Using the paddle attachment for your mixer (or simply the handheld mixer), on a high speed, whip the butter until very light and fluffy. Turn the speed down to low and slowly add the icing sugar. Whip on high speed for 3-5 minutes.
Cover one cake with butter cream and layer the second cake on top. Cover the cake with icing (this is just the crumb layer) and let cool completely. Cover with a second layer of icing, making sure to cover completely and evenly. Decorate with colourful sprinkles (in this case I cut a #1 out of parchment and delicately filled with sprinkles and then removed the paper outline).
Prep Time: 30 min
Cooking Time: 45 min
Assembly: 30 min