Never Fail Birthday Cake Recipe

We have a family recipe for a butter cake that has been passed down through a couple of generations, and it’s delicious. My Mum would usually bake either that or a version with a few tablespoons of cocoa added for all our childhood birthdays.

When Heike was turning one though, I was just starting to get into baking and I felt like I wanted to broaden my horizons for her first birthday cake. I wanted to use my brand new kitchen aid mixer too! So I looked here and there and finally stumbled upon this in the Donna Hay kids magazine.


I was initially drawn to the ombre icing, although I baked a test version a week out from her birthday (I know, first child right?) and the icing was nothing short of a disaster, so I canned that for a simple white iced version covered in coconut.

The thing is, the recipe for the actual cake is completely delicious! It’s very light and fluffy with all those egg whites beaten in, and sprinkling the 100s&1000s inside gives it a cute look as well as that distinct “sprinkles” flavour. I now bake this cake whenever there is a birthday, adjusting the measurements depending on how many people I’m serving (you can see my scribbled 1/2 measurements next to the original!). It’s always a hit.



One thing with this recipe is you do need a lot of eggs on hand, and you really can’t scrimp on the egg whites – the texture just isn’t the same. If you are a crazy egg household like ours, it’s usually not a problem.

Never Fail Birthday Cake


  • 2 cups milk
  • 12 eggwhites
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 2 TBSP baking powder
  • 3 1/2 cups caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup coloured sprinkles


  • Preheat oven to 175 degrees celcius. Divide the ingredients for the cake mixture into two equal batches. To make the first batch, place the milk, eggwhites and vanilla in a bowl and lightly whisk to combine. Set aside.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Place the flour, baking powder and sugar in an electric mixer and mix on low speed until combined. Add the butter and beat until mixture resembles fine, moist breadcrumbs. Increase speed to medium and gradually add the milk mixture, beating for 2 mins or until just combined. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Divide half the first batch of cake mixture between 2 x 20cm round cake time. Sprinkles each cake with 1 TBSP coloured sprinkles and spoon over the remaining mixture. Bake for 35-37 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Allow cakes to cool in tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • If you decide to make the second batch (for larger gatherings) simply repeat the process. You could even make the second batch while you have the ingredients and simply freeze the second two cakes for use at a later date.

I didn’t manage to get any photos of the finished product as it was eaten up before I got a chance, but it is always a winner. Give it a try!

What is a recipe you use over and over again?


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