I can’t believe it’s been 2 years since I got an early morning phone call from my sister telling me her water had broken and she was at the UVA hospital. She was 5 days overdue and we were all anxiously awaiting the baby’s arrival. After I hung up from the call, I was so excited I could barely sleep. It was going to take me 6 hours to get to Virginia and I contemplated just leaving then. Robert eventually convinced me to go back to sleep, but I only lasted until 5am. I made record-breaking time (whoops!) and rolled into Virginia before noon. Little did I know, Selby’s labor would go several more hours. We waited. And waited. And waited. And finally, the physicians made the decision to perform a C-section after Selby had been in labor for 24 hours and developed a low-grade fever. I was lucky enough to get to go into the operating room and see the whole procedure… errr- make that some of the procedure. I stayed behind the curtain after I saw just what was happening to my sister’s lower abdomen. My sister and Kevin designated me to be the one to shout out the gender; and, after a few long minutes, the doctors exclaimed “here’s your baby!” They pulled out little plump ball of pink, we heard loud baby cries, and I peeked around the corner to reveal, “IT’S A BOY!!!” Selby cried. Kevin cried. I cried. It was such an incredible experience and one that I will never forget. What a beautiful St. Patrick’s Day it was.
This past week, we were so excited that my sister, brother-in-law, and Jack were able to drive up from Virginia and spend a few days with us to celebrate Jack’s 2nd birthday. In honor of this little firecracker turning into a full-blown toddler, I made homemade pizza and a funfetti cake decorated in Buzz Lightyear colors (one of Jack’s favorites).
I had an awful time making my normal swiss meringue buttercream frosting the day I was assembling the cake. After a few frustrating hours, I ended up “calling it,” as Kevin so aptly described, and made a regular buttercream that tasted and looked much better . Oh well. When the time came for the birthday boy to blow out his candles, he got a little shy and seemed to be hypnotized by the firery glow. His mom and dad helped him and then he was able to dive right into his cake. The cake was a tasty hit and I sent the leftovers home with the happy family.
It’s amazing how much love I have for my little 2 year old nephew. I am looking forward to celebrating many more birthdays with my favorite lucky charm.
Yield: Two 9-inch round cakes
For the cake:
- 4 egg whites from large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk, divided
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 cups cake flour
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, very soft
- 1/3 cup multi-colored sprinkles
For the icing:
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons milk or cream
1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 9-inch round cake pans. In a small bowl mix the egg whites, 1/4 cup milk, vanilla and almond extract. Set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix for 30 seconds or until well-combined.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer on low, alternately add in the flour mixture and 3/4 cup of buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides to ensure batter is evenly mixed. Gradually pour in the egg white mixture, mixing for 30 seconds after each addition. Mix for one more minute. Gently fold in the multi-colored sprinkles.
3. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake springs back after being gently pressed on.
4. Remove from the oven and place the pans on baking racks to cool for about 10 minutes. Turn the pans over onto the rack. Flip the cake layers over and let them cool completely before icing.
5. Make the icing: in the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed until smooth and light, about 3 minutes. Carefully mix in the powdered sugar, about 1 cup at a time, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add in the extracts and salt, followed by the milk or cream and mix until well-combined. Tint with desired food coloring and decorate away.*
*To decorate with the “cloud” method:
Frost the cake with a thing layer of icing. This is the crumb coat. Put the cake in the fridge and allow to chill for 20-30 minutes until the buttercream has hardened. Meanwhile, place icing in a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip (I used a Wilton #12). Pipe large dots in a vertical row.
Using a small cake spatula, carefully smear the dot to the right. Pipe more dots to overlap the smeared dot and repeat until the cake is covered.
Source: Cake- Adapted from The Kitchn; Frosting- Lolly’s Sweet & Savory Treats