15. Some Days Just Call For Cake

We awoke this morning to the sound of rain.  Pouring rain to be exact.


So what do you do when you’re stuck inside with 4 kids ranging in age from 1 through 8?  You bake.  Among other things.  Like card games, board games, dress up, puddle jumping, swimming in the rain, movie time . . .you get the idea.

And so, we made my favourite vanilla cake.  And I happened to have one of my favourite helpers in the kitchen with me!


And then we made chocolate frosting.  Again, because we have almost as many little ones here as adults, I used milk chocolate as the base for the frosting and added in some cocoa powder to make it taste a little more chocolate-y.  If you don’t have little ones, or you have little ones that like dark chocolate, go ahead and use whatever chocolate you like best.

This cake makes 2 9″ cakes, so it’s the perfect cake to make for a birthday.  And the frosting recipe will make enough to ice a 2-layer cake (with leftovers – which I just freeze and use up later if I make the kids cupcakes or sugar cookies that they can ice).  If you want to cut the layers in 2 (I’ve done this before), use 1.5x the recipe and you should have enough.  Just don’t forget, if you have little helpers in the kitchen with you, to let them lick the frosting bowl clean!  It saves little fingers attacking the frosted cake . . .


My Favourite Vanilla Birthday Cake

  • Servings: 2 9-inch cakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print



  • 2 cup softened butter
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups buttermilk (or use regular milk with 1 tsp of white vinegar added to make it more acidic)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 cups AP flour


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and butter and flour 2 9″ cake pans.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar.
  3. Add in the eggs and vanilla and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Measure out the rest of the dry ingredients, and add half into the bowl along with 1/2 of the buttermilk / soured milk.  Mix lightly until the dry ingredients and milk are just combined.
  5. Add in the remaining dry ingredients and milk and mix well until all the ingredients are completely incorporated into the batter.
  6. Divide the batter into each of the 2 prepared cake pans.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cakes comes out clean.

Milk Chocolate Frosting

  • Servings: Makes Enough to Ice One 2-layer cake
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print



  • 6oz of milk chocolate (I prefer Dairy Milk)
  • 2 cup of cold butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder (I prefer Camino brand)
  • 1 1/4c powdered / icing sugar


  1. In a bowl set over (not in!) simmering water, melt the chocolate
  2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a regular bowl using a hand mixer, add in the butter, cocoa powder, icing sugar, and vanilla
  3. Once the chocolate has melted, add it to the bowl holding the remaining ingredients.
  4. Beat the mixture until all the butter and chocolate are well mixed.
  5. Continue to beat until the mixture obtains the degree of fluffiness you prefer (I quite like a very fluffy frosting, so I let my mixer run for quite a few minutes.

*If your butter is soft, when you add in the chocolate, it will melt.  This is easily fixed – just throw the bowl int the fridge (or freezer if you want a really quick solution), and let it set up until the butter isn’t quite so melty and the mixture can be whipped

*I have found, after making this recipe on more than a few occasions, it works best if the butter is actually FROZEN before you start – I just slice it into pieces and throw it into the bowl.


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