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Best Birthday Cake Recipe

Best Birthday Cake Recipe

Best Birthday Cake Ever Recipe |

On the recent occasion of my eldest child turning eight, I was curious as to how many times I’ve made this “Best Birthday Cake Recipe.” I have three kids and a baby – and considering I’ve made it for each of their birthdays that’s 8 + 5 + 2 + 0 = 15. (And that’s not counting cakes I’ve made for others and holidays.)

The not-too-sweet cake is pale yellow in color, super moist, easy to whip together and uses no special ingredients. It holds up well when slicing into shapes for various towering (or polar bear) cakes. It is pure homemade deliciousness.

I’ve shared photos of these birthday cakes over the year – but never the cake recipe. You may find it quite humorous to peruse my …ummmm…learning-curve in photography skill in the links below:

Polar Bear Cake
Fish-Shaped Cake and Underwater Scene Cupcakes
Candy Land Cake (This cake can also be made with the recipe shared in the post.)
St. Patrick’s Day Leprechaun Cupcakes

Best Birthday Cake

For her birthday cake theme this year, my daughter was inspired by the little Cupboard Gnome who lives among my baking extracts. (See photo above) She wanted a “gnome cake with toadstools.” These meringue mushrooms are super easy to make – really. I am NOT adept with a pastry bag; but a zip-top bag snipped at the corner made a good-enough pastry bag to turn out these mushrooms.

Best Birthday Cake ever

I just assembled them with extra buttercream frosting. (And use cold fresh eggs – instead of eggs at room temperature – as suggested in this food science article from The Kitchn.)

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Best Birthday Cake Ever Recipe |

Best Birthday Cake Recipe

  • Author: Serena Ball


This not-too-sweet cake is pale yellow in color, super moist, easy to whip together and uses no special ingredients.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (like King Arthur brand)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter-flavored shortening (like Crisco butter-flavored)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (use good quality vanilla!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cup buttermilk


  1. Coat pans with nonstick cooking spray – use two 8×1-1/2-inch or one 9×13-inch baking pan. Cut parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan/pans; coat the parchment paper with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In large mixing bowl beat shortening and butter with electric mixer on high for 30 seconds to aerate. Add sugar and vanilla; beat till well combined, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
  4. To the egg mixture, add one-third of the flour mixture; beat on low speed until just combined (don’t overbeat). Add half of the buttermilk; beat on low until just combined. Add half the flour mixture; beat on low. Add all the buttermilk; beat on low. Add the remaining flour mixture; beat on low. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  5. Bake in 350 decree oven for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Do not overbake! Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Place parchment paper over top of cake pan and wire cooling rack over that; flip cake out onto rack. (Parchment paper makes for easy transfer of cake to cake stand or to board for cutting into shapes.)
  6. Frost with your favorite buttercream frosting.

Do you have a favorite cake recipe you make for birthdays? What type of cake do you like to eat on your birthday?


Wednesday 5th of July 2017

How cute! Those little mushrooms really make the design stand out, and it's good to know they were so simple to assemble. Thanks for the tutorial!

Serena Ball

Thursday 6th of July 2017

Hope you get a chance to try out the mushrooms. They are so easy to make. And my kids love them for any special occasion. Thanks for visiting!


Monday 22nd of April 2013

It looks great! I've got one in the oven for my son's first birthday as I type, eventually it will look like a giraffe (I hope).

FYI, You have sour milk in the ingredient list but it is not in the directions anywhere. I added it after all of the dry ingredients and beat well.


Tuesday 23rd of April 2013

Lisa...send a photo of the giraffe!!! Please! Yes, I edited the directions to add the sour milk to the wet ingredients (eggs mixture) alternately with dry ingredients. Thanks for catching!!


Saturday 13th of April 2013

Just made this for a pot luck & everyone who tasted it loved it. Thanks Clara


Saturday 13th of April 2013

Thanks!! So glad it can be "your new" go-to cake too!


Monday 11th of March 2013

Wow, this must be awesome if you've made it that many times!! It sounds like a delicious one :)



Tuesday 12th of March 2013

Thanks Sues! It's nice to have a go-to cake and just KNOW it's going to turn out delicious - because it's pretty forgiving!

Jill Melton

Saturday 9th of March 2013

This is adorable Serena, and I'm not partial to green cake. My kids request red velvet EVERY birthday, and have been for years, as I've been making it since 1982, long before it became the "it" cake. You can find my recipe at Thanks for sharing, Jill


Sunday 10th of March 2013

So have you figured out approximately how many time you've made the red velvet cake? (:

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