Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Funfetti cake with German buttercream

I am an equal opportunist cake lover. I love fancy high end cakes with organic ingredients, grocery store cakes with giant frosting roses, homely sheet pans filled with cake mix and canned frosting. They all have their merits. I don't play favorites, but I have to admit I was pret-ty thrilled when I got a birthday request for Funfetti cake. In terms of pure celebration, I'm not sure you can beat Funfetti.

I'll admit that I spent a hot second Googling to see if I could make a homemade version (you absolutely can!) but ultimately I decided that I wasn't going to risk ruining someone's 16th birthday for the sake of my own compulsions. Cake mix it was.

funfetti
{funfetti}

I did, however, allow myself some room for interpretation on the frosting.

german buttercream
{German buttercream}

Let's talk buttercreams. Standard American buttercream is just butter and powdered sugar, beaten together like crazy. There are people out there (I live with one) who feel that American buttercream is too sweet. Luckily there are plenty of other options. There is Swiss meringue buttercream, which I used for my sister's wedding cake. It uses egg whites cooked with sugar and piles and piles of butter. It is beautiful and glossy and people who hate American buttercream will often love it. I'm also a pretty big fan of the old school cooked flour frosting. I used French buttercream (egg yolks cooked with sugar) on the Barbie cakes with great success. But why do something you've already tried when you have a chance to make something new?

German buttercream starts with a pudding base and then you whip in plenty of butter, giving you a fluffy frosting with a texture similar to whipped cream and an almost ice cream like flavor. I used the recipe from BraveTart, my favorite place for professional dessert advice. As usual, she didn't let me down. This frosting was so, so good and it held up beautifully. One kid asked for seconds on the frosting. No cake. I mean, sure, maybe he's equally enthusiastic about Costco frosting but D is definitely not and even he kept nicking spoonfuls from the bowl.

funfetti
{funfetti}

As always, I started with a crumb coat and refrigerated till firm. Then I mixed a few handfuls of sprinkles into the remaining frosting (to simulate the Funfetti effect of canned frosting) and spackled on the outer coat with an offset spatula. To decorate, I just added a layer of sprinkles around the bottom edge of the cake and then a small burst in the center. Done and done.

22 comments:

  1. I love to see that I'm not the only one who goes with a cake mix but homemade frosting sometimes! This cake looks/sounds amazing. I'm always a sucker for anything funfetti... cake or ice cream!

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  2. Sprinkles always make everything so festive! I made my own homemade funfetti cake (a.k.a. confetti cake) last year for my birthday and I covered it in vanilla swiss meringue buttercream frosting. It was so good! Here is a link to my recipe: http://www.love-laurie.com/2013/01/confetti-cake-with-vanilla-swiss.html

    I also made homemade confetti cupcakes with vanilla buttercream a few months ago with a different confetti cake recipe: http://www.love-laurie.com/2014/02/national-cupcake-day-and-confetti.html

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  3. How do you make your sprinkles stick to that bottom half of the sides so well? I usually try to just push it on with my fingers but end up getting frosting all over the place. I feel like I'm missing a secret here...

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    1. Hmmmm ... I don't have a great answer! It's hard to describe, but I actually cup a small handful of sprinkles in my palm and then gently press that against the sides. I put wax paper down under the cake because tons of sprinkles are falling out of my hand while I do this and that way I can re-use them. Fading them out towards the upper edge sort of happens naturally and I'll help it along by tossing a sprinkles here and there. I'm not worried about pressing them in, really. They'll stick pretty well even if all you do is throw them on.

      I'm sure the frosting has a lot to do with this as well! The German buttercream is super fluffy, so it grabs sprinkles well and because the finish is a spackled texture it isn't as big a deal if it gets a little messed up. Makes it easy for me! I didn't have any issues with the frosting moving around, but it's a thick frosting. I could see this being more difficult with a creamier frosting, which might be more likely to shift around.

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  4. okay, same question as kmathes!! you're so nonchalant about it, haha -- I always make a huge mess trying to throw sprinkles on the sides of the cake! yours is beautiful :) share your technique please!

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    1. I'm not sure it's much of a technique, but I tried to describe it above! Not sure if that's helpful to you guys or just vague sounding! So hard to describe stuff like that.

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  5. Lovely! A few quick questions...

    1) Where are those awesome gold cake plates from?

    2) Did you use traditional funfetti from the box? I miss that stuff so much, but I never make it anymore because the box mix usually has hydrogenated oils, which is the only ingredient I draw the line on.

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    1. It's actually just a disposable foil covered cake base! You can get them at cake supply stores (or you can make your own - the foil they use is available at most craft stores and you can cut a cardboard base). We were taking this cake to a party and I didn't want the hassle of making the family return an actual plate. The cake bases are great for that. You can save them and rinse them (I do, whenever we get a cake from a bakery) but you don't have to feel bad about throwing them out.

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    2. Ooops - so distracted by cake bases I forgot to answer the second question!

      Yep, that's a traditional Funfetti mix from a box. There are plenty of recipes online for making your own Funfetti from scratch but I was worried they might not taste exactly the same and this was a special request! I so rarely use packaged mixes that I don't worry about hydrogenated oils (or any of the other chemicals) on the few occasions we eat them.

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  6. To the rescue again! Due to time constraints (and lack of skill) I usually end up using boxed mixes and cans of icing for our kiddos' birthday cakes, but I am going to try this icing recipe for our son's upcoming birthday. It ideally needs to be chocolate, though. Is that even possible? (See the above note about lack of skill.)

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    1. You can! I haven't tried it, but Stella mentions it in one of her variations for buttercream. Looks like you need to add 8oz milk chocolate + 5 oz dark chocolate, melted, while whipping. Look at this post and scroll down for that variation.

      As I said, I haven't tried it, but the reason Stella is my favorite dessert blogger is because she's a professional and her recipes are rock solid, so I trust her enough to recommend trying it. Also check the comments for additional information - she usually answers question and provides good advice.

      I will warn you that this isn't the fastest frosting! I'd recommend making the pudding a day ahead just so you don't feel like you're in a time crunch. But the flavor is so, so good. Dresses up box mix real well. : )

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    2. Thank you so much for the direction and tips. Wish me luck!

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  7. I used to bake all the time then just stopped and somehow lost my natural ability (so I guess it wasn't natural). ANYWAYS. My friend's favorite cake is funfetti and it was her birthday last weekend so I decided to make one from scratch and both recipes I tried failed (I should have known when the bloggers didn't show any pictures of the process, just the finished product plus one of them used melted butter. i don't think I've ever used melted butter for simple cakes and cookies) so I ended up using a box mix as well. Still delicious.

    Will definitely have to try this frosting though! Some box cakes can taste as if they were made from scratch, but frosting is a whole other story. From scratch always wins.

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    1. I feel the same - if you only have time to do one thing homemade, make it the frosting!

      And that outcome was exactly what I was afraid of with the cake! Plus, I was worried that the natural recipes might look like funfetti but not taste the same, which would be fine except it was a special birthday request. Not going to take that chance!

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  8. It's been so long since I've popped in to say hi. Anyway, this looks delish.

    Also. I need a book roundup from you. You're my "go to" person. xoxo

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  9. If anyone wants to try the cake from scratch I highly recommend the Sally's Baking Addiction one that comes up when you google. It's spot on -- tastes like the box but less boxy. I made them into cupcakes for a Funfetti devotee's bridal shower and she was obsessed. Think I'll try your icing next time though, yum!

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  10. So, I'm taking inspiration from this for my own birthday cake next weekend!! Funfetti always was my favorite cake. :) My only thing is, when I use a box cake, I often think it's too crumbly and soft for proper layer cakes. They often fall apart on me, or they collapse. Did you have that issue at all?

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  11. There is nothing better than a cake covered with sprinkles...I really must learn to bake for when we have kiddies, a bright funfetti cake would be brilliant for a kids party! x

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  12. I definitely would love to try making something like this for my birthday this year because it's right up my alley. :D

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  13. These are so cute I have been wanted to try to make some. I guess I need to get over that they look so complicated and just try it. Great blog!

    Riyanna
    Chankanaab Cozumel

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