Birthday Cake with Buttercream Icing Recipe

Aug 31, 2021 | Featured, Recipes | 4 comments

Birthday Cake with Buttercream Icing Recipe:

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of hosting my friend Malek of Frosted by Malek Binns in my home in California. If you don’t know how we met – you can watch our first Baking with Borderlands interviews, where we also share Malek’s recipe for Peach Cobbler Cinnamon Rolls! Starting today, we’re releasing a series of short YouTube videos to guide you through making Birthday Cake with Buttercream Icing. This beginner series is a GREAT way to set a solid foundation for when we release our intermediate cake decorating course in October 2021!

Malek and I spent pretty much two weeks together and made a ton of content, baked a lot of cakes and filmed sooo many videos in preparation for our cookie and cake courses coming in October 2021, to add to our growing suite of educational offerings over at Baking with Borderlands.

Be sure to sign up for our early bird discount HERE if you have interest in intermediate cake decorating!

In the video below, we’ll be going over my recipe for my favorite birthday cake base, plus a modified version of Malek’s recipe for modified American buttercream. If you’re not subbed to our YouTube – what are you waiting for? 😉


A quick reminder, many of the links throughout this post link to affiliate offers. This means we receive a small kickback if you make a purchase but don’t worry this doesn’t affect the price you pay this also helps us keep Borderlands up and running!

Birthday Cake with Buttercream Icing Recipe:

yields 3 layers of 6-inch round cakes, approx. 1.5 inches thick per layer

  • 1.5 American sticks (6 oz.) salted butter, (room temp)
  • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs (room temp)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder (aluminum-free)
  • ½ tsp baking soda (aluminum-free)
  • 2.75 cups all-purpose flour (sift if needed to remove any clumps, combine with both leavenings and set aside)
  • ¼ cup whole milk or buttermilk is fine (room temp)
  • 1.25 cups full fat sour cream (room temp)
  • Optional: Sprinkles


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and prep your cake pans with parchment liner and spray
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or hand mixer, cream granulated sugar and butter together until ingredients are well combined
  3. Add in your eggs one at a time, beating between each addition until well combined
  4. Add in vanilla extract, almond extract and beat approx. 2 minute on medium until nicely combined and the batter is beginning to fluff
  5. Add in milk and sour cream, beat again to combine – it’s OK if it’s a bit chunky!
  6. Add in flour mixed with baking powder, baking soda (making your homemade cake flour) all at once, mix just so the flour is incorporated – avoid overmixing as it can result in a tough or gummy cake
  7. Divide batter evenly amongst your cake pans, bake for approx. 30 minutes – make sure to keep checking your layers beyond the 25 min mark to see if they’re done!
  8. When your cake layers are done, take them out of the oven and let them cool for approx. 10 minutes. Then, wrap tightly in plastic wrap while layers are still warm – that extra condensation formed and with the help of the plastic wrap, the moisture will get trapped and result in a more moist cake sponge. Store in freezer for up to 3 months until ready to use.

Modified American Crusting Buttercream Ingredients:
** Yields enough to cover the 3-layer 6 inch cake recipe above

  • Salted Butter at room temp: 4 sticks (approx. 16 oz)
  • Vegetable Shortening at room temp: up to 40% of the amount of butter you used, depending on your climate. The more humid, the higher the ratio of shortening to reduce melting and encourage crusting. In Texas, we use the full 40% or approx. 6.4 oz.  In California, we’ll use about 15-20%: 2.4-3.2 oz
    • Shortening has a higher melting point than butter – really helps in warmer and more humid climates!
  • Powdered Sugar: 2 – 3 lbs – taste it!! I stuck with 2 lbs and Malek wanted to do 3lbs. I’ll let you guess who has the sweeter tooth 😉
  • Vanilla Extract: 2 tsp
  • Almond Extract: 1/2 tsp
  • Milk or heavy whipping cream: approx. 2-3 tablespoons, use the higher amount to thin out if you feel your buttercream is too thick, may need to adjust based on how sweet you like your buttercream (compensate for the powdered sugar)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch- optional, only if you live in high humidity or very warm areas


  1. With your paddle attached to  your stand mixer, all all ingredients except for powdered sugar into your bowl and beat – start on low and gradually increase to mediums
  2. Add in your powdered sugar gradually.
  3. Beat on med-high for a few minutes, waiting for everything to incorporate, become light/fluffy and whiter in color (instead of butter yellow)
  4. Add in  additional milk/heavy whipping cream or powdered sugar as preferred, taste and adjust as you prefer
  5. Store in the fridge in an airtight container until ready to use. You may freeze your buttercream for up to three months, but may need to rewhip it after defrosting. Let come to room temp for about half an hour before using.

Here’s a preview of what the decorated birthday cake will look like once we finish releasing our little video series by the end of Sept. 2021!


We hope you enjoy our recipe! If you have any questions or want to say hi, please drop them below.


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  1. Nicole

    Hello Lisa and Malek,

    First, I want to say that you both are fabulous individually and together make a pretty fantabulous duo!

    This is so great. Thank you so much for sharing your tips and tricks and the recipe. What a treat!
    My son’s birthday is coming up, so I am going to try this buttercream in a couple of weeks. Yay!

    Thanks again, much appreciated!!


  2. Tracy R Wade

    I cannot wait to try this out !! I mean 2 of my favorite bakers , how much better can this get ??
    Thank you !

  3. Baishakhi

    It looks amazing. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  4. Eric

    It was nice to go through your post. Thanks for sharing the recipe here. Keep up the good work.


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