Quarantine Birthday Cake Recipe
We are all jammed up inside and everyone is literally about to lose their minds. But that doesn’t mean the world stops turning, oh no. Holidays still happen, birthdays still happen, and we still need to celebrate. We still need things like festive party cakes, despite the growing threat of leaving this quarantine much rounder than we began it.
There’s a bakery here in San Francisco called Butter&; they’ve recently been featured in places like People magazine for their “quarantine cakes”, which are incredibly adorable mini cakes with fun messages on them such as “wash your hands”. People in the Bay Area have been ordering these little baby cakes like crazy which is amazing because it has helped keep their business afloat during this completely unprecedented time. It has also inspired bakeries all over the country to do the same.
This gave me an idea to show you how you can make a simple yet impressive quarantine cake of your very own that is enough to feed just a few people. Maybe you don’t live near the Butter& or another bakery that’s doing something similar. Maybe you want to learn how to get better at making cakes. Maybe something homemade is just what the doctor ordered. Whatever the reason, let’s bake something beautiful today.
A couple of notes:
· In the video, I’m working with two 5” layers (multiple layers = 1 tier) to create a semi-naked vanilla cake, with a lemon curd filling, and vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream. I initially made three layers but unfortunately got hungry so only two layers are featured in the video. ::shrug:: Cake happens.
· Please note that this recipe is for 3, 5” x 2” round pans. The filling process for the second layer is the same as the first.
· If you want to convert the recipe to accommodate a cake pan that is bigger or smaller, or a different shape, I always use Baking It to do my conversions for me (this is a paid site but they do offer a 14-day free trial, just fyi). I’m trash at math and this ensures all my ingredients are scaled appropriately for the right size pan and that the cake’s surface tension, density, and overall structure remain intact. This is not a paid advertisement either, I’m just a satisfied customer.
· I purposely did not frost the sides of this cake to make it a little easier for those of you who might not be used to frosting but still want something festive.
· Here is a link for the star tip I use to pipe the rosettes on top of the cake.
· The blend of sprinkles I used on this cake can be found here.
· Vanilla bean paste is a blend of scraped vanilla bean seeds and vanilla bean extract. I use Nielsen Massey brand, and Heilala Vanilla is also great. Yes, vanilla is outrageously expensive. You must accept it.
· Depending on when you’re planning to eat your cake, you can also add some simple syrup on top of each cut layer to keep the cake moist. Use a simple syrup soaker bottle for cakes or dab on with a pastry brush.
· Watch the video to learn how to trim and fill your cakes just likes the pros do, plus how to pipe those cutie little rosettes on top!
Here are links for the lemon curd filling and the Swiss meringue buttercream recipes. If lemon curd isn’t your jam, just fill the center with more buttercream instead. And, here is the recipe for vanilla cake!
Samantha Mayfair Cakes Vanilla Cake
Fills 3, 5"x2"cake pans
122 grams all-purpose flour
122 grams cake flour
275 grams white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda, scant
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
110 grams eggs
83 grams vegetable oil
167grams sour cream
44 grams buttermilk
125 grams unsalted butter, room temp
¾ tbsp vanilla bean paste
Pre-heat oven to 350. Spray pans with baking spray with flour, such as Baker's Joy.
Mix together dry ingredients, set aside.
Add softened butter in small chunks and mix until resembles coarse meal—like sand.
Separately, whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla, oil, egg white, buttermilk, and sour cream. Add to pitcher or large measuring vessel, makes pouring into the dry ingredients much easier!
Mix wet into dry 1/3 at a time on low speed, until each addition is incorporated. Once all of wet mix is incorporated, turn speed up to medium high and beat for 30 seconds. Batter will appear thick, opaque, and a bit fluffed up.
Pour batter into pans, filling about halfway in each.
Bake for 55 minutes-60 minutes, cool in pans for 15 minutes. Cakes should spring back when poked, and should have shrunk away from the sides slightly.
Invert onto wire racks and cool to room temp. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator if using the next day, or in the freezer until needed.
I hope you like this little cake; it’s just enough for 3 or 4 people! Happy baking! And as always, stay home and stay safe.
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