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slice of two layered vanilla cake on a plate with sprinkles

What a title!  This cake deserves every descriptive word in that title, and it was the perfect cake to celebrate my sweet boy’s first birthday.

boy in highchair

A few weeks ago William turned one, and we celebrated with a relaxed party at home with family and a few close friends.  I thought and thought about a party theme, and nothing seemed quite right, until I settled on a color theme.  I kept things simple, with a few colorful decorations and an easy menu of burgers and salads.  And of course, cake!

This fluffy vanilla cake is the perfect birthday cake. The cake is incredibly light and fluffy, and the frosting is sweet and studded with flavorful flecks of vanilla bean.  I doubled the cake recipe and was able to make a 2-layer, 8-inch cake, a smaller smash cake for William, plus 8 cupcakes with the leftover batter.  I also doubled the frosting recipe, but would have had plenty had I only made one-and-a-half recipes.

overhead view of Fluffy Vanilla Cake with whipped Vanilla Bean frosting topped with sprinkles forming a number 1

The big cake (above)…and William’s smash cake (below)

smash cake with white frost and sprinkles forming a number 1

We had warm weather on party day, which was great for grilling and eating outside in the backyard.  The menu included burgers, this pasta salad, fruit salad, and a green salad.  After dinner William opened his gifts, although he was more interested in playing with his toys than opening presents.  Big sister Julia did not mind because that meant she got to do lots of helping!

Monthly Photos for 1st year birthday party

I printed out a photo of William from each month of his first year, starting with 2 days old and ending with a picture of him on the day of his first birthday.  Our guests enjoyed looking at the photos of William from his first year.  This was one of my favorite party decorations!

close up of monthly Photos

colorful Happy Birthday Banner

I just loved how this colorful birthday banner turned out.  I die-cut the letters out of red construction paper and cut squares out of cute patterned paper and solid color construction paper.  I rounded the corners of the squares and then attached it all together with double-sided tape.   I used mini clothespins to hang each piece of the sign to the ribbon- so easy!  I highly recommend this method as I’ve used the mini clothespins for every birthday banner I’ve made now and they are cute and very easy to work with.

close up of Happy Birthday Banner

Pinwheels in Buckets centerpieces

To decorate the tables outside, I filled colorful buckets with sand and then placed a few pinwheels in each.  They were fun and festive!

First Birthday M & Ms centerpieces

I also added color to the party with colorful balloons and mason jars filled with a first birthday candle and M&M’s.  I found this cute idea on Pinterest.

birthday boy Eating his first Cake

I’m so glad I chose a colorful party theme, and William loved looking at all of the colorful decorations.  He dug right in to his smash cake, and very much enjoyed it!  (Don’t worry, we didn’t let him eat it all, even though it looks that way in the picture.)

Happy Birthday, William!  You are our little joy, full of so much personality and so many smiles.  We love you!


5 from 1 rating

Fluffy Vanilla Cake with Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting {William's 1st Birthday!}

Servings: 12 (2 layer, 8 inch cake)
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
This is the perfect birthday cake. It's amazingly light and fluffy, and the whipped vanilla bean frosting is the stuff dreams are made of!


For the Vanilla Cake:

  • 5 large egg whites, 150g, at room temperature
  • 1 whole egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour, sifted, (345g)
  • 2 cups sugar, (400g)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into 24 pieces, (170g)

For the Vanilla Bean Frosting:

  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, scrape out seeds, only use seeds
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted, (475g )


For the Vanilla Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two round 8-inch pans. Cut out two rounds of parchment paper the size of the pan bottoms. Line bottoms of pans with parchment, then butter again and dust evenly with flour.
  • In a liquid measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites, whole egg, ¼ cup of the milk and the vanilla. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the dry ingredients together on low speed.
  • Add the butter one piece at a time, about every 10 seconds. Continue to mix on low speed until the mixture is a fine crumbly texture. Add the remaining ¾ cup milk, and mix on low speed to combine. Increase the mixer to medium speed and mix for 2 minutes, scraping the side of the bowl as necessary.
  • Add half of the egg mixture, beat on medium speed to combine, and then add the remaining egg mixture. Use a rubber spatula to make sure the batter at the bottom of the bowl is incorporated.
  • Divide the batter between the two cake pans, spreading it evenly.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cake is done when a tester inserted into the center has just a few moist crumbs attached.
  • Let the cake cool in the pans for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pans and transfer cakes to wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

For the Vanilla Bean Frosting:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 8 minutes on medium speed. The butter will become very pale and creamy.
  • Add the milk, vanilla bean seeds, vanilla extract, and salt and mix until combined. Add in the confectioners' sugar and mix on low speed for 1 minute, and then on medium speed for 6 minutes. The frosting will be very light, creamy, and fluffy and is best used right away.

To Assemble the Cake:

  • Place bottom cake layer on a cake plate and spread 1 cup of frosting on top with a small offset spatula. Gently place 2nd cake layer face down on top. Place a generous scoop of frosting on top, spreading evenly with a small offset spatula and working your way down the sides until you have a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake. Chill until set, about 30 minutes.
  • Remove from refrigerator and apply a final “coat” of frosting.


I highly recommend using a kitchen scale to measure the ingredients by weight. Also be sure to allow time to let the eggs and milk come to room temperature. is a great place to purchase inexpensive, high quality vanilla beans.
Adapted from Sweetapolita.
Serving: 1slice (1/12 cake), Calories: 492kcal, Carbohydrates: 88g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 47mg, Sodium: 138mg, Potassium: 227mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 64g, Vitamin A: 415IU, Calcium: 96mg, Iron: 1mg
Nutrition information is an estimate.
Course: Dessert
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