Birthday Cake

This recipe comes to us from celebrity Chef Duff Goldman. Classic vanilla layer cake, Chef Duff's smooth buttercream icing, and a ring of your favorite GODIVA Truffles around the top make it a birthday wish, granted!

Recipe by Chef Duff Goldman

Yield: (2) 9" Round Cakes
Difficulty: Intermediate


1 cup milk, divided
5 large egg whites, room temperature
2 ¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (or 1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Prepare the cake pans with baking spray and line with parchment paper rounds.

3. Combine eggs, 1/4 cup milk and vanilla in a small bowl with whisk by hand until lightly combined.

4. On low speed in a stand mixer, combine dry ingredients.

5. Add butter and remaining 3/4 cup milk on low speed and mix until combined.

6. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape bowl with a rubber spatula.

7. Add egg mixture in three parts, mixing on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

8. Pour batter evenly into the two prepared cake pans, scraping bowl with a rubber spatula. Spread batter with an offset spatula so that it is evenly in pan.

9. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cake will slightly shrink away from the sides of the pans.

10. Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes. Run a small offset spatula around the outside of the cake to loosen from the pan, then carefully flip the cake out of the pan onto the wire rack. Place the cake right side up on rack and let it cool completely before icing.

11. Assemble cake by spreading a layer of Duff’s buttercream using an offset spatula onto one cake layer. Place the second cake layer on top of the buttercream-covered first.

12. Ice the entire assembled cake with Duff’s buttercream.

Duff's Buttercream

Makes roughly 4 pounds (enough to ice a 3-tier cake)

10 large egg whites, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 ½ pounds unsalted butter, room temperature

1. Make sure to have a completely clean and dry bowl when you start your process, any fat or liquid at all in the bowl will stunt the protein development of the albumen (egg white protein) and you will not have a proper meringue at the end.

2. Start whipping egg whites on medium low speed in the mixer by themselves (no sugar or butter yet) until the whites are foamy and opaque. It should look like the head of beer.

3. Increase to medium speed and slowly start adding the sugar until all the sugar is incorporated.

4. Once all the sugar is in, increase the speed of the mixer to high and whip until the mixture is shiny and stiff. You now have a meringue. You know when your meringue is done when you pull out the whip, hold it horizontal, and if you have what looks a “sparrow’s beak” on the end of the whip.

5. Replace the whip, turn the mixer on medium and start adding the butter a bit at a time. Once all the butter is incorporated, turn the mixer on medium speed and let it whip until the butter has completely emulsified into the meringue. When you first add the butter, your meringue will break down and look like cottage cheese, but will continue to emulsify into a smooth buttercream. Depending on the weather, the buttercream could take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to form. When the buttercream is ready, the mixture will be homogeneous and smooth…and tasty.

6. Remove the buttercream from the bowl and place in an airtight container. Buttercream can be kept at room temperature for a few days or in the fridge for a week or two, but always use soft buttercream when icing a cake. To warm up the buttercream, put it back in the mixer using a rubber spatula. Begin remixing the buttercream using the whip attachment on high speed while applying direct heat to the outside of the bowl with a propane torch that can be found at any hardware store.

Note: Don’t worry about using raw egg whites in your buttercream, the sugar cooks the egg whites and makes them perfectly safe to eat. If you are still uneasy about this, use pasteurized egg whites.