Chances are today is not your birthday. However, it is mine! And since February 29th only comes around once every four years, we should all celebrate. I decided to make a cake for my birthday because you only turn 8 once! If it’s not your birthday today, here are some other reasons to celebrate Leap Day. If you watch 30 Rock, you may have also seen their Leap Day-themed episode:
“Nothing is impossible on Leap Day!”
I decided to make a traditional vanilla birthday cake! I was originally of a really rich Devil’s Food Cake with a Coconut Frosting or a Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Layer Cake, but this description of the vanilla cake in the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook really struck a chord:
“Frost with pink buttercream icing and lots of colored sprinkles as we do, and feel as though you’re at your seventh birthday party all over again!”
This cake definitely brought out the spirit of my inner eight-year old! I went with a blue-green shade of buttercream:
Leap Day Vanilla Birthday Cake
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour two 9×3 springform cake pans.
In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer on medium speed to cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes Add the eggs one a time, beating well after each egg is added. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Add to the butter mixture in four parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla extract, beating well after each addition.
Divide the batter among the cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.
When cake has cooled, ice between the layers, then ice top and sides of cake with buttercream frosting. Top with sanding sugar.
Leap Day Vanilla Buttercream
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very soft
8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and the vanilla extract. Beat until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, until icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency (you may very well not need all of the sugar). If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. Use and store icing at room temperature, as icing will set if chilled. Can store in an airtight container for up to three days.
Source: Adapted from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook: Old-Fashioned Recipes from New York’s Sweetest Bakery (this cookbook can be found in our Amazon store under the Products We Love tab)
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