Ah, the memories of childhood cakes. Crack the box open, pour out the mystery powder, dump in some milk and eggs, mix, then fold in those brightly colored sprinkles. It’s basically magic. But, did you know that you can actually make cake that doesn’t come from a box?!? Mind blown right. The process is simple, the ingredients are common, and the results are, well, you can see, even more magical.
Real cake, and by real I mean a cake that is made with single ingredients (AKA from scratch), is more dense and moist than a box mix. It’s how cake should be! When you finish that slice you should feel satisfied like you just ate cake. It will also have a much more rich flavor because the ingredients are fresh.
So, this cake was a birthday cake, and, yes, I know, I went a bit extra on making the flowers. What can I say, I love to pipe flowers! The recipe below is in three parts: the cake, the frosting, the flower frosting. You can skip the flowers and still have lovely cake that is all the flavor, but if you want to go that extra step and pipe some flowers I’ve given you the recipe and the instructions below. Piping may seem intimidating and complex, but if you get yourself a frosting bag, a coupler, a flower nail, and Wilton’s tip #104, you can make a variety of flowers. The cost will only set you back less than $10 for the tools needed to pipe just about everything you see on this cake.
I used naturally dyed sprinkles for this cake which is why the inside isn’t as vibrantly colored as the box mix or what you’d get with standard sprinkles. I used Rainbow Sprinkles by Color Kitchen. You can find their products at many grocery stores or online.
Below I’ve included the recipe for the cake and the base frosting. The piping buttercream, which uses Vor’s vegan meringue powder, I’ve included separately, because you don’t necessarily need it for the cake. However, you can, drum roll, use the flower frosting AS the cake’s sole frosting. The piping frosting will slightly harden compared to the non-meringue frosting, and it’s why some bakers might shy away from using that as the base frosting layer on a cake. Plus, it is more challenging to frost with because it is intentionally thicker in consistency.
Vegan Funfetti Cake
- Two 9" round cake pans
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups vegan butter, room temp (I used Earth Balance)
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (Check if it's vegan)
- 1 1/4 cups soft silken tofu (I used Mori-Nu)
- 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk, unsweetened/unflavored (I prefer oatmilk for baking)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon clear vanilla (can use standard vanilla)
- 3/4 cup sprinkles (can omit)
- 1 1/2 cups vegan butter, room temp
- pinch salt
- 5-6 cups powered sugar (Check if it's vegan)
- 5 tablespoons coconut cream (not coconut milk)
- 1 tablespoon clear vanilla (can use standard vanilla)
- gel coloring of your choice
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Spray or oil the inside of both 9" pans. Line the bottom with a cut round of parchment paper. Spray or oil the parchment paper.
- In a blender, process the milk, tofu, and apple cider vinegar until the tofu is fully incorporated. Set aside. (Alternatively, you can whisk the tofu into the milk, but you need to make sure there are no clumps of any kind.)
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. You can run the dry ingredients through a sifter or fine mesh sieve; however, if you whisk well you can skip that step.
- Using a hand mixer or stand mixer beat the butter and sugar until fully incorporated. Scrape sides as needed to ensure all butter and sugar have been incorporate.
- Add milk and tofu mix to the sugar and butter, mix well. Add in the vanilla.
- Pour the wet mix into the dry and fold the dry mix in until the batter is smooth inconsistency but not over worked. Never use an electric mixer for this stage, because it overworks the batter and forms too much gluten which makes your cake overly dense and slightly chewy. Ew.
- Fold the sprinkles in until equally distributed.
- Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 40 minutes on the middle rack. An inserted toothpick or cake tester should come out clean. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack.
- To remove the cake from the pan it is always best to run a knife or cake tester around the inside edge of the pan to remove any sticking. It is also helpful to spray a light layer of oil on the wire racks so that the cake removes better when transferring to the cake stand or freezer preparation. (See notes below for freezing) Allow cake layers to completely cool to room temperature prior to frosting.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the room temperature butter and coconut cream. Add in the vanilla and pinch of salt. Whisk in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. At 5 cups the frosting will be very smooth and easy to use, but potentially too wet. Add 1/2 cup of sugar at a time until desired consistency is achieved. You don't have to worry about over-mixing frosting, so whisk away!
- If using colors it is best to use a gel food coloring versus a liquid because the gel is more potent and does not add liquid which can offset your consistency. A little bit of gel goes a long way so start with just a toothpick dipped into the container, rather than pour it in.
How to Frost the Cake
- I prefer to make the cake layers a day or two ahead, wrap them in Saran Wrap, and then freeze them. A frozen cake is much easier to frost because it isn't as crumbly. If you take the layers out in the morning, frost the cake, then serve at least 4 hours later it will have had time to thaw. The one trick to freezing layers is to wrap them then place the individual layers on baking sheets to freeze. You want them to freeze flat.
- Let's get to the frosting method.
- Place 2-3 Tbl of frosting onto the center of your cake stand then put the first layer down with the flat side down. That dollop of frosting helps to "glue" the cake to the stand. Spoon out roughly 3 cups of frosting on the layer and spread it out in an even layer but allow it to go off the edge by about 1/2". Spoon about 1/4" high and 1" wide frosting on the outermost rim of the layer, you'll see why next, but don't spread it out. Place the next layer on top of the frosted layer, but flip it! You want that even, flat bottom as the top of the cake. Often you'll see recipes where they cut the cake "top" off, the dome, but that's a waste of cake.
- Use a frosting spatula and start spooning and spreading an even layer around the outside of the cake. Try to not dig into the cake to create crumbs though. This first layer can be fairly thin, it's called the crumb coat, because you'll be adding more in a bit.
- Spoon out 2 cups of frosting onto the top of the cake and spread it evenly across the top. Spread it so that it goes off the edge by about 1/2".
- Use the remaining frosting to coat the sides of the cake and add more to the top as needed.
- To get a smoother look pour boiling water into a bowl or drinking glass then tip your metal frosting spatula into the water and use the "Hot Knife" to smooth the frosting.
- If you want the flower frosting recipe head back to the blog and look under this recipe.
Special Vegan Buttercream adaptation from Wilton Cakes
This buttercream uses a meringue powder to add firmness and stability which is what’s needed for piping flowers. You can pipe regular buttercream but it won’t have the defined edges or shape. This frosting recipe can be halved or quartered depending on how you’ll be using it. You can use this just for flowers or you can use the whole recipe for both frosting the cake and some decorations. The benefit of this recipe over a standard buttercream is that the frosting will harden some which is ideal for piped flowers.
I will be making a video of how to pipe a buttercream rose and one or two other flowers soon.
- 2/3 cup water
- 4 Tbl meringue powder (I used Vor vegan meringue)
- 12 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/4 cups vegetable shortening
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 tsp clear vanilla extract
Combine water and meringue powder and whip until a peak forms. Mix in the salt and extracts. Fold in 4 cups of sugar then alternate between shortening and sugar.
Store frosting in an airtight container because it will harden as it is exposed to the air.
If using this frosting for piped flowers, pipe your flowers on small squares of parchment paper then leave out overnight to dry. They won’t become hard, but they will be firm to the touch which makes cake assembly much easier.