Here’s the problem when you tell everyone on the planet about your life – people will actually remember when you say things like: I took a cake decorating class in the summer. But they won’t necessarily remember the stuff like: I sucked at that cake decorating class in the summer. Generally, this is a good thing. People should remember only awesome stuff about you. But then, when they come to you looking all pathetic and stuff, and say that they need you to make a baby’s first birthday cake, it’s really hard to say no. So you don’t. And then you panic.

You spend a lot of time tweaking a cake recipe that you’ve had on your brain for some time. And when you bake that cake, and it is spectacular, you think: I can do this. I’m going to kick this cake’s arse. You do, after all, have that brilliant cake design that you sketched out. And sure, when someone comes into the kitchen and looks at that sketch and asks, “what the hell is that,” you might get a little nervous. But you’re a freakin’ internet star, so you aren’t fazed. It’s all lookin’ good. But then, on the day of, just prior to a tear-fest, you might – might – completely scrap the design and do something easier because if you don’t, you’ll have a complete nervous breakdown in the kitchen. That is a possibility. I’m just sayin’.

So, here it is. Oliver’s first birthday cake. Not like the original design in the slightest. An old-fashioned white cake with buttercream icing. And you might be thinking: nice design, doofus, you left the centre of the cake pathetically void, but don’t you worry kiddens, that void will be filled. And the inside of that cake? Well, the batter was tinted green. And sure, it doesn’t look like one of those horrid kid-cakes that you see at the supermarket. Not yet, anyway. Because I’m teaching Oliver to be chic. It’s an important lesson.

This cake is moist and tasty, with a lovely texture. It cut like a dream. It wasn’t dry or crumbly in the least, and I flavoured it with both almond and vanilla extracts to make it taste like those cakes I loved when I was growing up. The icing is very sweet – so be warned – if you don’t like the sweet stuff, a) opt for something else, and b) what’s your damage?

Prior to giving this cake to a one-year-old, you might, say, slap a dinosaur, candle and sparklers on it. It will be much appreciated. Thus pulling together the design I call: dinosaur chic.

Then you’ll probably want to let that one-year-old have at it. Because that’s the best part. Watching a one-year-old and his family and friends suck back that cake in record time.

Mission accomplished.

. . .

Oliver’s Cake {Old Fashioned White Cake}, movita beaucoup, inspired by many – print and bake

Yields 2 9-inch round baking pans.

  • 3 cups cake flour, divided into 1 cup measures
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch round pans and line with parchment paper. (To line with parchment paper, trace the pans onto parchment paper, cut out and trim to fit in the bottom of the pan.)

In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup of the flour, the salt and the baking powder. Set aside.

In a stand mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes). Add the milk and hot water (no need to mix). Add 1 cup of flour and 1 egg, and mix on medium speed until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and around the bottom to make sure everything is combined. Then add 1 cup of flour and 1 egg, and again, mix on medium speed until well combined. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Finally, add the flour/salt/baking powder mixture and the one remaining egg, and mix until well combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Add in the vanilla and almond extracts. Mix well to combine.

Divide the batter evenly between your two prepared baking pans. Rap the pans on the counter a few times to eliminate air bubbles. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Notes: Often, cake recipes insist that you do not over-mix the batter, as it can create a tough texture to the cake. This recipe holds up to mixing – I know this because I’ve coloured the batter with food colouring and had to mix the batter frequently as I adjusted the tint. The cake was still moist, light and fluffy!

Did you know that if you don’t have cake flour, that you can make your own? For each cup of cake flour you need, take 1 cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons, and add in 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Then sift the flour-cornstarch mix. The more sifting, the better!

. . .

Buttercream Icing – adapted slightly from i am baker, who adapted it from Rick Mazzuca – print and frost

Yields enough to frost a 2 layer cake (2 x 9-inch round baking pans). If planning a lot of embellishing, I’d recommend making a double batch so you have enough to crumb coat, frost and add piped designs.

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 4 cups icing/confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons clear imitation vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream

In a stand mixer on medium speed, cream the shortening until fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add 2 cups of icing sugar, mixing first on the stir setting (to avoid plumes of icing sugar blowing throughout your kitchen), and then increase speed to medium. Mix until well combined. Add the remaining two cups of icing sugar, and mix until well combined. If your mixer is struggling to combine the shortening and sugar, add a tablespoon of heavy cream (but be sure to add only 5 tablespoons in the next step).

Add the salt, vanilla and heavy cream, and blend until well combined. Then beat on medium speed until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Add additional cream or icing sugar to adjust to desired consistency. When adjusting consistency, add the cream or icing sugar in very small quantities – it is easy to over-correct.

Note: you can make this recipe substituting butter for the shortening and pure vanilla extract for the clear imitation, but the frosting will not be white – it will be cream/off-white coloured.


  1. Catherine S Photography & Design on October 17, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    This looks beautiful and I bet it tastes just as amazing! Thank you for sharing…a must try! 🙂

    • movita beaucoup on October 17, 2011 at 1:09 pm

      Catherine, your photography is brilliant! Thanks for stopping by…

  2. Julia on October 17, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Dinosaur chic is definitely one of my favourite of the, um, chics. The cake is lovely! And your blog posts make me laugh 🙂

    • movita beaucoup on October 17, 2011 at 1:08 pm

      Dear Julia,
      You are obviously very smart because:
      1) you “get” dinosaur chic, and
      2) you think I’m funny.
      I have, by the way, just subscribed to your lovely blog…

  3. emmalina73 on October 17, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    That is stunning! Way better than any of my efforts, I think I will have to kidnap you next time we have a birthday in our house. That is one brilliant cake my friend and that icing is like something out of a magazine! Someone learned something (against the odds given your teacher had tourettes) this summer!

    Oliver is a lucky lad.

    • movita beaucoup on October 17, 2011 at 1:32 pm

      Why, thank you! Once your house is finally done, and you have all settled in, I’ll have to start mailing you cakes.

      Cakes ship well, right?

  4. Tina@flourtrader on October 17, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    I like the fact that the cake is not overly frosted with icing. Sometimes those fancy decorated cakes are too much. Cool ideas using the dinosaur and the green tint for the batter. I am glad little Oliver enjoyed it, perfect cake for a little boy!

    • movita beaucoup on October 17, 2011 at 1:31 pm

      Well, it’s no Cinnagrog Pie, but it suited just the same! And believe me, Oliver enjoyed his frosted cake more than anyone at the party…

  5. Ellenberry on October 17, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Great job on the cake! I too took one of those ‘classes’ this summer. You did amazing! And the best part was the recipient loved it. Win win.

    • movita beaucoup on October 17, 2011 at 10:13 pm

      Thanks! And yes, kid + icing all over face = win.

  6. frugalfeeding on October 17, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    I was thinking that the middle looked a bit devoid of anything actually, funny that! Kinda like the middle of Uma Thurman’s face, no offence to her… In all seriousness it;s looks like a beautiful cake.

    • movita beaucoup on October 17, 2011 at 10:14 pm

      Thank goodness for the dinosaur Oliver’s mother picked out. I’m not sure what sort of icing-gobbed mess I would have created in it’s place!

  7. Emma on October 17, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Your cake looks very pretty – I love that it has a simple design and isn’t too much like some decorated cakes.

    A cake decorating class would be fun.

  8. Rosie Beaucoup on October 18, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    I was at Oliver’s party and I can tell you that the cake was gorgeous, delicious, and thoroughly enjoyed by all!

    • movita beaucoup on October 18, 2011 at 9:58 pm

      Thanks, Rosie! I learned from the best…

  9. Natashia@foodonpaper on October 18, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    First let me say – how cool is your blog!? I love the simple graphics, just so pretty! And second – that cake is one of my favourites. I get so excited when people bring these cakes to work for their birthday because I get to eat that soft soft centre and butter sweet icing! Mmmm…

    • movita beaucoup on October 18, 2011 at 10:00 pm

      Thank you, thank you! Your blog is fan-bloody-tastic, so I’m terribly flattered!

      Here’s to cake and new friends!

  10. angel on January 12, 2012 at 2:00 am

    Your cake is beautiful but on your tip about cake flour when you take out 2T of ap flour you have to replace it with corn starch

    • movita beaucoup on January 12, 2012 at 6:55 am

      Holy crow! I meant to write that! Thanks for the catch – I’ll fix it right away…

  11. movita beaucoup on October 29, 2014 at 8:10 am

    Comments on this post are now closed as it was published in October 2011. Happy baking!