Sugar Dish Me

"if you can read, you can cook" -my momma


with 35 comments

In our family we have always done birthdays the same way, ever since we were small. My mom’s kitchen table is where the action is, with only a handful of exceptions to that rule for as far back as I can remember. I think my 4th birthday was at Burger King. I got a crown. Once my brother got an ice cream truck in front of the house for his birthday. I only really remember that the ice cream man was scary- like a real life version of how Disney always depicts a butcher, complete with a sloppy white apron, wolfy arm hair, and a gravelly voice. Yikes.

On your birthday you get to choose your meal– this is my littlest brother’s favorite part. He likes to use his birthday opportunity to solicit my mom and I for labor intensive things like chicken and dumplings. Can you blame him?

My mom usually ties balloons to your chair. Everyone brings a present, but gifts aren’t the focus. We spend way more time reading the cards- my brother Michael is a funny card buying pro. You have to read his cards out loud; it’s sort of an unspoken rule. If you are laughing so hard that you’re crying, or if you just can’t get the words out, the card gets passed around the table.

After the meal, the cards, and the presents (Note: at our birthday table you still have to hold up each gift for a photo-op; it doesn’t matter if you are 9, 16, 26, or 57) comes the BIRTHDAY CAKE! My littlest sister always requests cheesecake (a girl after my own heart). My children get sort of complicated with their birthday cake wants and I try my best to accommodate, “I want it to look like a road with hotwheels cars and grass,” or whatever they throw at me. I’ll never forget the year my oldest son, Andrew, asked for a store-bought birthday cake. It just about broke my heart.

In the end he liked my cakes better.

Cake is a big part of our birthday celebrations. We sing VERY LOUDLY. We take pictures like the paparazzi when you blow the candles out. And when the cake is cut and the ice cream is doled out, we all usually congratulate each other on how moist and delicious the box cake turned out. Because besides the cheesecake for my littlest sister, we don’t usually do birthday cake from scratch.

Don’t hate on box cake. Pillsbury Funfetti is nothing short of amazing. It is also my sister Lindsey’s favorite.

This year I decided to see how we handled Funfetti cake from scratch.

It was actually very simple. And the almond extract smells delicious.

The sprinkles were my favorite part of this whole process.

Birthday cake loves to be covered in buttercream frosting.

I loved this cake. The almond extract MADE it. But I think for the next round I may opt for some vanilla pudding in the mix; it lacked some of that box funfetti cake spongy softness.

I used this recipe from The Kitchn— white cake with sprinkles is moist and delicious.

Happy Birthday, My Sister!

With Love,

From Me

From Scratch Funfetti Cake


4 egg whites

1 cup milk, divided  (1/4 cup and 3/4 cup)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

3 cups cake flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons butter, very super soft, but not melty

8 tablespoons shortening

1/3 cup multi-colored jimmies sprinkles (equals 1 small standard sized container found in any grocery store; but extra for decorating!)

To Make

Pre-heat the oven to 350 and butter two 9 inch round cake pans. ** Note: I made a 3-layer cake. My first batch of cake mix didn’t rise the way I wanted it to… perhaps because I was taking my sweet time with pictures. So I went a second round with the same recipe and 3 layers, for me, was the perfect height for birthday cake (plus we had an extra 9 inch round to play with!). The original recipe call for baking in 4 (9 inch) round pans… I don’t actually have that many.***

In a smallish bowl beat together the egg whites, 1/4 cup of milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon almond. Set aside. In a large bowl whisk together the 3 cups of cake flour, 1 1/2 cups of sugar, 4 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt (*omit the salt if using salted butter*). Toss in the 4 tablespoons of soft butter and 8 tablespoons of shortening and blend until the mixture is a crumbly consistency- less than a minute. Pour in the remaining 3/4 cup of milk and mix on medium for around 3 minutes. Then gradually pour in the egg mixture (I added it in thirds), beating for 30 seconds after each addition. The batter will be light and frothy. Fold in the sprinkles!!!! Distribute the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. I baked the pans of cake for about 22 minutes. The top will be golden and springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the middle will come out clean.

Update: This post was submitted to Aspiring Bakers #18; Layers of Love (April 2012) hosted by Sam of Sweet Samsations. Check it out!


Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

April 24, 2012 at 2:08 pm

35 Responses

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  1. You amaze me!


    April 24, 2012 at 2:27 pm

  2. Happy birthday to your sis!!! I do not think there could be anything lacking in this cake – it looks like a prime perfect example of a funfetti cake 😀
    You have done your wonderful family traditions proud indeed!

    Choc Chip Uru

    Choc Chip Uru

    April 24, 2012 at 4:07 pm

  3. Your sister is one lucky lady…this is a beautiful cake! And the fact that you went to the effort of making it? The nicest gift ever.

    You have some serious skills my friend!


    April 24, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    • Thanks, Ameena! I’m not sure I would call this skill, though. Skill would mean I could replicate the results here. I’m sure I could bake the cake again- but not so sure I could get it to look like that. My sister is awesome; I’d gladly bake her funfetti every weekend 🙂

      Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

      April 25, 2012 at 7:21 am

  4. It was beautiful, and delicious! Chuck finished the last of it today, and he loved it. (He doesn’t like sweets? I do not think this is a correct statement.) The best part of all of our birthdays is just the time around the table. Whatever table that may be! And you all know what I mean….patio chairs are the best! Thanks for making this wonderful addition for a sweet celebration!

    Peggy Campbell

    April 24, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    • I’m pretty sure Chuck likes sweets. He’s just a baked goods traditionalist: chocolate chip cookies, white cake, buttercream frosting. He just doesn’t like complicated.
      We need more patio chairs. I got enough good posture this past Sunday to last me a lifetime! 🙂

      Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

      April 25, 2012 at 7:24 am

  5. nom nom nom!!! Your sister is seriously lucky!! And I can’t blame your bro for loving some chicken and dumplings, those sound like my request to my father on my birthday haha I love funfetti cakes though, they taste so yummy and I love the way the cake mix smells, is that a candle? If not, it should be! haha Either way, save me a piece will ya? lol The fact that you served it on a pink plate made my day!!!! HOORAY FOR PINK PLATES WITH FUNFETTI CAKES ON THEM!!!!


    April 25, 2012 at 12:06 am

    • It wasn’t a candle- just frosting and sprinkles!!! My mom was responsible for the pink plates: Lindsey loves pink! And my mom is pretty good with random details like remembering pink plates or pretty napkins. Funfetti cake was happy 🙂

      Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

      April 25, 2012 at 7:30 am

  6. Ahh, great birthday traditions your family has! Homemade funfetti? That’s beyond awesome. Yum!! Love the extra sprinkles in the star too!!

  7. Oh….yum yum YUM!!!!!!!! Me too…..cakes yeah….frosting…..yeah:) Love your traditions….and please keep that up:) It is needed as we can pass that on:)

    Hot Rod Cowgirl

    April 25, 2012 at 1:15 am

    • We really never did the big invite-a-hundred-friends sort of birthday bash- I guess cause with the five of us it was already a party. And as we’ve gotten older and our family has grown the tradition has grown with us. Every birthday makes you feel like you’re five years old. It’s pretty great. Cakes and frosting just make it even more awesome 🙂

      Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

      April 25, 2012 at 7:37 am

  8. I love sprinkles! So colorful! Nice cake!


    April 25, 2012 at 9:22 am

    • Thanks! Sprinkles were my favorite part… which in retrospect really makes no sense because they don’t taste like anything. But I love them anyway!

      Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

      April 25, 2012 at 9:24 am

  9. LOVE birthdays! (To the point where I still start counting down and reminding everyone that ‘it’s nearly my birthday’ at least a month in advance.) So many birthday cake tales – probably too many for a comment, I’ll blog them at some point. Suffice to say for now, when we were little, mum always made our cakes too – the best for me being a hedgehog cake! this one looks yummy!!


    April 25, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    • My mom made me a Cookie Monster cake one year. It was my favorite birthday cake of all time!

      Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

      April 26, 2012 at 7:58 am

      • Amazing! Cookie Monster rules!


        April 26, 2012 at 12:21 pm

  10. Funfetti is my all-time favorite cake, and I’ve never even thought to make it from scratch! This is going on my must-do list. I cannot wait for the next cake occasion to try out this recipe.

    As a matter of fact, maybe next Tuesday I’ll just have to celebrate the fact that it’s Tuesday… with a cake.

  11. I’m trying this! Almond extract is one of my favorite things. I put it in chocolate chip cookies! Thanks for the recipe. Maybe I’ll make this for my husband’s 30th. 🙂


    April 25, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    • I’m so happy to hear you’ll try it! Almond extract in cookies is a fantastic idea… why didn’t I think of that?!

      Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

      April 26, 2012 at 7:56 am

  12. Very nice, home girl! I envy you the family birthday traditions. Enjoy having your family near…what a blessing;)


    April 25, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    • All of us are within an hour or two of each other. It is really great that we all manage to congregate so many times every year 🙂

      Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

      April 26, 2012 at 7:55 am

  13. Lovely story. We never gave gifts for birthdays either. It was all about the food and my mom always made us our birthday cakes. Except for my thirteenth birthday when I wanted an ice cream cake from DQ with a puppy dog piped out of some sort of gel, but that was the only time.


    April 25, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    • We do gifts, it’s just not the focus. We are all so busy and really birthdays are always just a great excuse to get together and enjoy each other’s company. Andrew’s store-bought cake was Thomas the Tank Engine. He was 6, I think. It totally crushed me. But when he turned 7 I made a comeback with a Titanic cake (I told you they ask me for crazy things)– blam-o!

      Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

      April 26, 2012 at 7:54 am

  14. That is soo cute!! You and your sister are both superSTARS! hehe.. I’ve never thought of adding confetti / funfettis to cakes! I’ve only done so in cupcakes or even Rice Krispies! But that’s a great idea!


    April 27, 2012 at 4:06 am

    • Oh yes, and thanks for participating in my event!! ❤ ❤ Love the way your sponge cake looks! So soft and spongey!!


      April 27, 2012 at 4:08 am

    • Thanks, Sam! Love the Aspiring Bakers event you’re hosting– looking forward to the post on May 1st!

      Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

      April 28, 2012 at 7:23 am

  15. […] From Scratch Funfetti Cake! by Heather @ SugarDish(Me) Green tea layered cake […]

  16. I swear you wrote this post for me…..I love Funfetti!!! I even have my favorite store brand type, which is Betty Crocker’s Rainbow Chip-type funfetti. And I think your idea of adding vanilla pudding in the mix sounds really good—moist and rich, mmmm.


    May 24, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    • If you attempt this cake I would DEFINITELY toss in some vanilla pudding. The recipe I used from The Kitchn was super but sort of in-trend with the idea that from scratch cake can be a little dry. Betty Crocker is my sister’s favorite, too! It’s been a birthday tradition since forever.

  17. […] I actually made it way way way back in August for my brother-in-law’s birthday. My family is slightly obsessed with funfetti. […]

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