Family Tradition: The Birthday Fairy, Yellow Butter Cake, and a Golden Birthday

golden birthday cake

My mom has a bit of magic in her.  Always has.  I think I have this magic in me, too.  Maybe it’s genetic…  My mom invented this amazing thing called The Birthday Fairy (shhh, don’t tell!).

When you wake up on your birthday, did you know the Birthday Fairy has been there?

You might be covered in glitter.  As you get out of bed, you might see a trail of candy and small trinkets leading the way from your bed to the hallway and then down to the living room where your wrapped presents lay in a pile.  You might wonder how the Birthday Fairy knew that you really, really wanted jelly shoes.  (Child of the 80’s alert: I remember thinking this!)

I have implemented this idea ever since I got married (as my initially begrudging husband can confirm), but I have really enjoyed it as my sons have gotten old enough to anticipate the Birthday Fairy coming on their special day.  Plus, this year is extra special, because not only is the Birthday Fairy coming, but she is bringing Golden Birthday themed treats and presents.  And I am making a yellow (golden) butter cake for the occasion!

This month my older son is having his golden birthday.  He is so excited!  A golden birthday is when you turn the same number of years old as the day of the month your birthday falls on.  For example, my golden birthday was when I turned 11, because I was born on the 11th.

A Golden Birthday might entail gold candies, gold cake, gold wrapping paper and decorations, and even bunches of balloons and presents in the Golden Birthday number.  And a Birthday Fairy Golden Birthday might be the most magical of all birthdays!!

Because M knows what a golden birthday is, he has been a little, um, opinionated about what should happen.  It’s mostly made me laugh, especially when I asked him what he wanted for his birthday and he said “an iPhone”.  Oh, ok. Suuuure.  I’ll get right on that!

I mean, seriously.  So we have now compromised on this: a few books in Spanish (M is learning), a stuffed Angry Bird, a skateboard, and a pool party.  But since he’s been so excited, I couldn’t just let the pool party be any old pool party.

So, how do I celebrate a Golden Birthday?  I mean, I’m not going to buy the kid an iPhone, but he definitely deserves an extra special party for a once in a lifetime Golden Birthday. 

I wrapped his presents with gold bows, found gold-wrapped candies and gold chocolate “coins”, and even painted a little treasure chest with gold paint and filled it with more gold coins!  We also had honey-sweetened lemonade and ginger ale in clear cups, golden cookies, and golden cheesy crackers!

But back to real food cake: The idea for a golden cake with golden icing was born with this special birthday of M’s.  I just needed to real foodify a traditional yellow cake recipe, and we were good to go!

There are plenty of yellow birthday cake recipes out there, including my Yellow Coconut Cake.  And don’t get me wrong, I love that cake recipe.  But M has already had for his birthday twice, as well as his brother’s birthday, and mine.  (Can you tell we were on GAPS last year?  Yes, the coconut cake is GAPS-legal!)

Plus, now that we have finished GAPS and are eating properly prepared grains, I wanted to figure out a way to get a sprouted or soaked yellow cake recipe off the ground.  What better time than for a freckly little son of mine as he has his Golden Birthday!

When you eat this cake, prepare yourself for a soft, buttery cake gently enveloped in floral honey buttercream.  It’s light, it’s full of nutrient-dense grass-fed butter, and it’s perfect for any party.  Plus, the flour is soaked in buttermilk, making this nutritious cake that much better by being easier to digest.  Savor each bite, because I have outdone myself with this one!

Equipment Needed:

Note Update: Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature, to ensure that the batter comes together nicely.

Yellow Butter Cake

soaking overnight:
4 cups freshly ground or sprouted flour (buy whole grains here, sprouted flour here, how to make sprouted flour here)
2 cups buttermilk (buy buttermilk starters here, how to make buttermilk here)

the next morning:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter (buy grass-fed butter here, how to make butter here)
1 1/4 cups honey (buy raw honey here)
1/4 cup whole cane sugar, preferably coconut sugar (it’s lighter colored) (buy coconut sugar here)
2 teaspoons baking powder (buy aluminum-free baking powder here)
2 teaspoons baking soda (buy aluminum-free baking soda here)
1 teaspoons sea salt (buy unrefined sea salt here)
4 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks, preferably from pastured chickens
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (buy extracts here)

Note: to prepare a cake pan lay out a piece of parchment paper and set the cake pan on top of it.  Trace the bottom of the cake pan onto the parchment with a pencil.  Remove the pan.  Cut out the circle with scissors smaller than the one that you drew.  It should fit the pan perfectly, and won’t leave you with any pencil marks touching your batter.  Finally, butter the cake pan, lay the parchment circle onto the butter, and then butter the parchment circle itself.

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour and buttermilk.  Cover with a towel and let soak overnight in a warm place, between 12-24 hours.
  2. The next morning, remove the towel from the soaked flour bowl and set aside.  Preheat oven to 350.
  3. In a stand mixer (or a fresh bowl with a hand mixer), cream butter, honey, and coconut sugar until light and fluffy. 
  4. Add the soaked flour mixture, breaking it up into smaller pieces as you add it to the bowl. 
  5. Add baking powder, baking soda, and salt, mixing to combine.  Add eggs and yolks, and vanilla, mixing to combine.
  6. Pour cake batter into the prepared cake pans (see note, above), half the batter in each pan.  Take care not to scrape every last bit of batter into the pans, as this recipe makes slightly too much batter.  You don’t want the cake pans to overflow!
  7. Set the pans sharply down on the counter top a couple of times to get any bubbles out of the batter.
  8. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown, fragrant, and set in the middle.  Remove to cooling racks and let cool completely.
  9. Loosen the cakes from the sides of the pan with a spatula or butter knife.  Gently invert the cake pans onto your hand or the cooling rack.

Golden Honey-Vanilla Buttercream

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened (buy butter here, how to make butter here)
3/4 cup set honey (thick honey) (buy raw honey here)
2 teaspoons vanilla (buy organic extracts here)
pinch salt (optional) (buy unrefined sea salt here)
natural yellow food coloring (optional: I have this brand from the store)

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or a hand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment), beat the butter and honey together until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla, salt, and coloring, and beat again until fluffy.
  2. Use immediately to frost a cake: place one cake layer on the cake plate and frost the top of that layer.  Lay the second cake layer on top and frost the top of the second layer.
  3. Gradually work the frosting over the sides of the cake and smooth until the cake is completely covered.  Clean the sides of the cake plate with a damp towel.  Decorate andchill for at least 30 minutes before serving!
  4. To serve, take the cake out of the fridge and cut while it is still chilled.  This helps the fluffy honey icing keep it’s shape, as well as the crumbly, buttery cake.

This post is a part of Weekend Gourmet, Monday Mania, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, The Mommy Club, Allergy Free Wednesday, Pennywise Platter, Simple Lives Thursday, Full Plate Thursday.

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

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Comments

  1. Wow, this sounds above amazing. Quite often, when I read about cakes filled with sugar, I start feeling that sugar-induced headache starting, lol (I’m super sensitive to processed sugar – even the whole cane variety). But this sounds amazing.

  2. Wow, this sounds above amazing. Quite often, when I read about cakes filled with sugar, I start feeling that sugar-induced headache starting, lol (I’m super sensitive to processed sugar – even the whole cane variety). But this sounds amazing.

  3. So what’s the birthday called when you are the same number as the year??? LOL

    Your cake looks amazing!

  4. So what’s the birthday called when you are the same number as the year??? LOL

    Your cake looks amazing!

  5. What a wonderful tradition! All of my kids would qualify for Golden Birthdays as they got much older. Only the youngest one would have his in 7 years. Maybe I’ll surprise him. Oh, forgot, the oldest one would have his Golden 17 next year.

  6. What a wonderful tradition! All of my kids would qualify for Golden Birthdays as they got much older. Only the youngest one would have his in 7 years. Maybe I’ll surprise him. Oh, forgot, the oldest one would have his Golden 17 next year.

  7. Kendahl, in the buttercream directions you mention salt, but it is not listed in the ingredients. The coloring is in the ingredients but not in the directions. 🙂 The coloring is a no-brainer, but I’d love to know how much salt you put in the frosting. Thanks! Can’t wait to try this.

  8. Kendahl, in the buttercream directions you mention salt, but it is not listed in the ingredients. The coloring is in the ingredients but not in the directions. 🙂 The coloring is a no-brainer, but I’d love to know how much salt you put in the frosting. Thanks! Can’t wait to try this.

  9. I remember jelly shoes! My mom would never buy them for me instead she gave me saltwater shoes. The cake looks to amazing! Happy Golden Birthday to your son! I still have two more years to mine, 29.

  10. I remember jelly shoes! My mom would never buy them for me instead she gave me saltwater shoes. The cake looks to amazing! Happy Golden Birthday to your son! I still have two more years to mine, 29.

  11. Hi Kendahl,
    What a great Birthday Cake, it looks delicious! Hope you are having a fantastic week and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  12. Hi Kendahl,
    What a great Birthday Cake, it looks delicious! Hope you are having a fantastic week and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  13. I have a few questions. I made this cake, but the tops of the cakes came out really dark brown , almost burnt. I’m trying to troubleshoot why. my first question is does the butter need to soften that is going in the cake mix? Second, i thought maybe using creamed honey might have made a difference. Not sure if it might be more dense than regular raw honey.My last question is, is it possible to over beat the mix? It looked a little funky(sorta curdled) after i added the eggs & beat them in. I used an electric mixer. Any suggestions you can make would be really helpful, & i appreciate it. I always do a test cake when I’m trying out a new recipe. My sons b-day party is about 2 wks away.

    • Yes, the butter needs to be soft. When I beat my batter together, it wasn’t in little pieces because all the ingredients were at room temperature when I started. I think that was probably the issue there.

      As for the tops of the cake, they should have come out that dark. Are you at a high elevation?

  14. I have a few questions. I made this cake, but the tops of the cakes came out really dark brown , almost burnt. I’m trying to troubleshoot why. my first question is does the butter need to soften that is going in the cake mix? Second, i thought maybe using creamed honey might have made a difference. Not sure if it might be more dense than regular raw honey.My last question is, is it possible to over beat the mix? It looked a little funky(sorta curdled) after i added the eggs & beat them in. I used an electric mixer. Any suggestions you can make would be really helpful, & i appreciate it. I always do a test cake when I’m trying out a new recipe. My sons b-day party is about 2 wks away.

    • Yes, the butter needs to be soft. When I beat my batter together, it wasn’t in little pieces because all the ingredients were at room temperature when I started. I think that was probably the issue there.

      As for the tops of the cake, they should have come out that dark. Are you at a high elevation?

  15. Can you use gluten-free flour for this recipe? I’m sensitive to gluten, and prefer to use brown rice or coconut flour if possible. Do you know if they will work? Thanks!

    • I’m not sure, but if you try it and it works, let me know! We tend to do well with gluten flours if they are soaked for a long time (a full 24 hours) in buttermilk or another acid. But I also have Yellow Coconut Cake that you might be interested in 🙂

  16. Made this today and my oh my, the texture is OUTTA THIS WORLD!!! So light and fluffy. Delicious, wow. You have revolutionized cake baking for me.

  17. This looks like a great recipe. One question I have is can you substitute the buttermilk with something else to soak the wheat in, such as whole milk, yogurt or kefir?

    • You can, but I’m not sure if it will change the flavor or not since I always make it with buttermilk. But as far as soaking and reducing phytates, anything acidic will do the trick like yogurt or kefir (or lemon juice).

  18. Thanks so much for this soaked birthday cake recipe! My daughter’s birthday is coming up and I would really like to try this! I do have a couple questions though: have you tried using only sucanat for the cake (no honey)? If so, how much do you think would be good? Also, if I cut this recipe in half do you know if it would fill up a 9×13 pan nicely? I don’t have round pans 🙁 Thanks again!

    • I haven’t ever tried it with the sucanat only, but I think it might work. If you feel brave, try using 2 cups sucanat in the recipe and see how it turns out. As for the recipe amount, I would use one full recipe to fill up a 9X13 pan as it is about the equivalent of two round pans. Good luck!

  19. Kristi Niclas says:

    i just made this last night and it smells and looks delicious! i am going to frost it today (with your chocolate frosting recipe though) and am soooo excited to eat it!

  20. Hello,

    Any thoughts on using einkorn flour?

    Thanks!

  21. I made this cake today for my daughter’s second birthday. Everyone loved it! Thank you so much for sharing it.

  22. This looks fabulous!
    I plan to use einkorn and spelt combo.
    Would soured raw milk be a good substitute for the buttermilk?
    Have you tried freezing the cake?

    Thanks!

  23. I was hoping to make this for my son’s birthday coming up but am fairly new to real food and have not yet tracked down a good raw milk supplier. Is it safe to leave store bought buttermilk sitting out overnight if it isn’t raw? I’m also a little uneasy about letting eggs get to room temperature. Wont they go bad?

  24. You’re the first person EVER that I have heard of who also celebrates or even knows about golden birthdays! Everyone always looked at my mom funny, and they do me now that I have 6 children of my own. Simply. Cool.

  25. This recipe sounds great! I am hoping to use it for my daughter’s first birthday cake. I bought a set of 5 6″ pans at Sur La Table to make a tall little cake. Was also going to supplement with mini cupcakes. Have you ever tried to make cupcakes with this recipe? I assume it would work just fine. Did a little searching and I *think* I should be able to get my five small pans filled plus 50 mini cupcakes if I do twice the recipe.

  26. Jessica Depta says:

    Just wondering if I can use ghee instead of butter. 🙂

  27. I have a question. When putting the flour and buttermilk together, should you mix it? I mixed it and have a great big lump. Is this right?

  28. I used einkorn flour and soaked it overnight with my homemade yogurt. I also used 5 whole eggs. The end result = very moist and buttery tasting! Yummy!

  29. Would it work to use either raw milk or whole yogurt as the soaking agent instead of buttermilk?? I don’t have time to make my own buttermilk and would prefer NOT to use the nasty store-bought stuff!

Trackbacks

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  3. […] of all, I wrote all about my son’s golden birthday, and how I figured out how to make him a soaked yellow butter cake.  It’s truly the best real food cake I have made to […]

  4. […] of all, I wrote all about my son’s golden birthday, and how I figured out how to make him a soaked yellow butter cake.  It’s truly the best real food cake I have made to […]

  5. […] It’s a special lucky 7 birthday for my little guy in a about a week, and I’m skipping coconut flour cake this year in favor of this yellow butter cake. […]

  6. […] Yellow Butter Cake: even though my yellow coconut cake is more popular, this yellow butter cake is my favorite.  It’s soaked in buttermilk, and each slice delivers a gorgeous, buttery flavor that practically melts in your mouth.  Try it warm with cream and berries, or simply let it cool and frost traditionally for a birthday or anniversary.  You will not be sorry!  (And you’ll get all that good vitamin K2 from the grass-fed butter, too, because vitamin K2 isn’t destroyed by heat.  Good news for bakers everywhere!) . […]

  7. […] I even bought birthday presents for E, who is coming up on his golden birthday in a few days.  This year seems special for my boys, since M had his golden birthday last summer complete with my favorite cake of all time. […]

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