It’s birthday season in the Faust house, which means I’ve been busy in the kitchen! I love this time of year, when all the birthdays in the family clump around the same months. I think I’m at my most creative about now.
There’s nothing more depressing than having the same dessert, night after night, and the same can be said about birthday cakes. Birthdays are about celebrating the individual, so a generic cake simply won’t do!
Especially when it comes to my mom. My mom has a serious sweet tooth, so her cakes always have to have a little something extra. I think I out-did myself this year, though, and the lack of leftover cake testifies to that.
This cake is seriously decadent. You’ll definitely need to remember to bring milk to whatever occasion you choose to celebrate with this cake. The cake itself is the most amazingly soft sugar cookie cake. No, it isn’t made of sugar cookies. The cake borrows the same flavors of sugar cookies, meaning it tastes like amped up vanilla and sugar. Hey, I warned you this would be sweet!
I loaded in the sprinkles on this bad boy, too. I didn’t want it to look too similar to a confetti cake, though, so I really piled them in there. In retrospect, I maybe should’ve taken it down a notch, but when you start planning a birthday, you get a little carried away.
As if all that wasn’t enough, there are layers of no-baked, but safe to eat, sugar cookie dough in between the layers of cake. Most mass-produced flour off the shelf should be treated so that it would be safe to eat (the more processed, the more treated–just the way it is in this world). HOWEVER, accidents happen, and you can never be too safe. I say this as a certified food safe handler and after years of experience working in a restaurant.
Here are the best ways to prevent flour contamination:
- Store your flour in the fridge: sure, those counter canisters are mighty cute, and if you use flour often and only for baking, then there’s not a lot of danger here. But room temperature is smack-dab in the middle of the temperature danger zone. Keeping it in the fridge maintains an environment where bacteria can’t grow.
- Assume it’s been contaminated: even if you store your flour in the fridge right when you get home, it’s been sitting on the shelf at the store. And who knows where else before then! You’ve got to kill whatever bacteria could be lurking in your flour. You’ve got to heat it up. Baking it into a product will do the trick in most cases, but for this recipe, you could either toast it on the stove or heat it in the microwave. The trick is to go low and slow, here. You want to warm the flour to an internal temperature of 140º, but you don’t want to burn it. Short rounds in the microwave, stirring in between. Low heat on the stove top, constantly moving the product.
- Refrigerate product: just because the product was prepared safely, that doesn’t mean it can’t become contaminated after the fact. Keep no-bake dough in the fridge. When ready to eat, let it soften on the counter.
Don’t let any of these warnings scare you off! This cake was so easy to make, and it make quite the impact at my mom’s birthday. The sturdy, almost crunchy bite of the cookie dough mixed with the moist density of the cake, all swirled together with the creamy, salty buttercream–oh, sorry, I just drooled all over my keyboard!
The salted buttercream did wonders here, and yes, I said salted. The inside of the cake was far too sweet to have any sweet buttercream. While it isn’t overbearing, it definitely takes down the tone of the bite, making it more manageable to eat what is essentially fork-fulls of sugar cookie dough.
When decorating, I was inspired by those Lofthouse sugar cookies you see in every store that has a bakery. They are one of my all-time favorite store-bought cookies, and I find their simple decorations very cheery. My husband, however, took one look at the cake and asked why I made a Rugrats cake. You can’t win them all, I guess.
For the cake
1 box white cake mix (Duncan Hines)
1 cup flour, plus 1/8 cup separate
1 cup sugar
1 pinch of salt
3 large eggs
1 cup cold water
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon butter extract
1-2 cups rainbow sprinkle Jimmies
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 9-inch-round cake pans.
In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients making sure to break up and large clumps of mix, and then set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine water, eggs, sour cream and extracts. Mix well. Slowly add wet mixture to dry mixture while beating on medium speed with either a hand mixer or stand mixer.
In a small bowl, combine sprinkles and extra flour, tossing to coat the sprinkles. Carefully fold the flour-coated sprinkles into the batter.
Once well-combined, divide evenly into 3 greased 8-inch pans. Bake from 20-30 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick into the center and remove it cleanly. Allow it to cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing layers from the pans. Cool to room temperature. Level each layer, but it’s not recommended that you cut them in half.
Cover in saran wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
For the filling
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups heat-treated flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup rainbow sprinkle Jimmies
Allow butter to come to room temperature, and cream with sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add vanilla extract. Slowly, add salt and flour. Once well-combined, add heavy cream. Finally, add sprinkles and allow to mix on low until just combined so as to not break the sprinkles.
For the salted buttercream
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
7-8 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt –> yes, really!
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter until light and fluffy. On a low speed, add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until reaching the desired consistency. Add vanilla and salt, allowing it to fully incorporate. This will be a salty buttercream, but it is salted heavily intentionally.
Remove chilled layers from the fridge and uncover. Set a base layer of cake on a board or stand. Pipe a buttercream border around the edge and put between 3/4-1 cup worth of edible dough in the center. Spread evenly from edge to edge. You want this layer to be thin! Present but not overwhelming. Set another cake layer on top, and repeat the process.
Once all layers are stacked, cover the cake in a thin layer of frosting, a crumb coat, and chill for 30 minutes. Remove and cover in a final layer of frosting. Decorate as desired.