Birthday Cake Recipe

The BEST classic Birthday Cake Recipe. A soft and fluffy vanilla yellow cake loaded with colorful sprinkles and frosted with chocolate cream cheese frosting.
Make sure to check out the how-to VIDEO at the bottom of the recipe! 
Course Cake, Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword birthday cake, cake
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 16 servings
Calories 765kcal
Author Sam Merritt



  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter softened (265g)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar 600g
  • 3 large eggs room temperature preferred
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose or cake flour 500g
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk¹ room temperature preferred (475ml)
  • 1/2 cup colorful sprinkles²


  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened (175g)
  • 12 oz cream cheese softened (340g)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 1/4 cups powdered sugar 656g
  • 3/4 cup natural cocoa powder 90g


  • Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and grease and flour the sides and bottom of three 8” or 9” baking pans. For extra security I also recommend lining the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper cut to fit the bottom of the pan.
  • Add butter to the bowl of a stand mixer or to a large bowl. Use a paddle attachment on your stand mixer or an electric mixer to beat until smooth.
  • Add sugar and beat until well-combined.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Stir in vanilla extract.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • Using a spoon or spatula (but NOT the electric mixer any longer) add about a fourth of the flour mixture (no need to measure, just eyeball it) to the butter mixture and stir until just combined.
  • Now add approximately ⅓ of the buttermilk and stir again until combined. Repeat alternating adding flour mixture and buttermilk until all ingredients are completely combined. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  • Stir in sprinkles.
  • Evenly divide batter into prepared pan. Transfer to 350F (175C) oven and bake for about 28 minutes if using 9” pans and 32-34 minutes if using 8” pans, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
  • Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes then run a knife around the edge of the pan and carefully invert each layer onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting. While cakes are cooling, prepare frosting.


  • You will need a large bowl, this recipe makes a lot of frosting to cover all three layers of cake!
  • Combine butter and cream cheese in your stand mixer or in a large bowl with electric mixer and beat until creamy and well-combined.
  • Stir in vanilla extract and salt.
  • Gradually, with mixer on low-speed, add powdered sugar (check out my video below the recipe for tips on doing this without making a giant mess of your kitchen!). Once all sugar has been added, stir in cocoa powder. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl so that all ingredients are well-incorporated.



¹If you don't have buttermilk on hand, check out my easy buttermilk substitute (all you need is regular milk and lemon juice or vinegar).
²I used colorful "quin" (sequin) sprinkles but standard sprinkles or "jimmies" will also work. These are the exact sprinkles that I use (affiliate). The cake will also be fine (though sadly less colorful) if you leave out the sprinkles entirely. However do not use nonpareils, the tiny ball-shaped sprinkles. They are likely to bleed through your cake.
³If you don't want to do a chocolate cream cheese frosting, please see my post for alternate frosting suggestions. Just be sure that if you use one of the suggested alternatives that you increase the recipe by at least 50% to be able to cover the whole cake.
This is the Gold Birthday Cake Topper that I used (affiliate).


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 765kcal | Carbohydrates: 114g