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Sprinkle Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream


Each year, I like to bake and decorate my own birthday cake. This gives me a chance to satisfy my love of baking. This cake recipe comes from "Martha Bakes" and it was fun to bake-- and my guests loved it. While I'm not adverse to cake mixes, canned frosting will never have a home in my pantry. Swiss Meringue is a bit more work, than a basic buttercream. It's so worth it (don't even stop to think about how much butter is in here). My guests went in for second slices and they thought I was a Master Baker! The sprinkles gave a fun and festive color. It's a keeper!

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  • 1/2 cup (1-stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup ice-cold water
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 cup sprinkles (assorted colors)
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups sprinkles, for decorating
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 pound plus 6 tablespoons (4 3/4-sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


Servings 14
Preparation time 25mins
Cooking time 85mins
Adapted from


Step 1

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Butter three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the parchment*. Dust with flour and knock out the excess flour.

*NOTE: I use parchment paper, but instead of buttering and flouring my cake pans, I trust "Baker's Joy" (easily found at WalMart)

Whisk together both flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and shortening on medium speed until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add sugar and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Scrape down the sides of bowl, add egg, and beat until just combined.

In a small bowl, whisk together ice-cold water, milk, and buttermilk.

With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with water mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Scrape down sides of bowl.

With mixer on medium speed, beat for a few seconds to incorporate. Remove bowl from stand mixer, scatter sprinkles across the top of the batter, and fold them in with a rubber spatula.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar just until soft peaks form; do not over-beat. Gently fold egg whites into the batter with a rubber spatula.

Divide batter evenly among the prepared pans and smooth tops. Bake, rotating pans halfway through baking time, until a toothpick inserted in center of each cake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes

Transfer cakes to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack, remove from pans, and let cool completely. Remove parchment.

Place one cooled cake layer on a cake turntable (or a serving platter). Using a serrated knife, trim top of cake to create a flat surface, and evenly spread about 1 cup of buttercream over top. Add next layer, trim it, and frost it as before, then add third layer (trim the final layer for a completely flat top, or feel free to leave it domed for an old-school appearance).

For the Swiss Meringue:

Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water.

Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.

With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla. Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day.

To finish the cake:

Place turntable on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.

Frost sides and top with remaining buttercream. Grab a fistful of sprinkles and turn the turntable with your free hand while tossing the sprinkles at sides of cake. Using the sprinkles that are on the parchment (sprinkles that didn't stick), continue turning and throwing until cake (including the top) is covered in sprinkles.
NOTE: I like to place a baking sheet underneath the cake, so easily grab any fallen sprinkles

Chill the cake for about 5 minutes to set before serving.

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