Buttons Birthday Cake (Easy White Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting)

My mom's birthday was at the beginning of this month, but with all the icy weather we've been having lately we didn't get to celebrate on time. Now that our world is finally thawing, the  family's coming over this weekend and we're doing it up Southern style with barbeque, cornbread muffins and gallons of sweet tea. And cake of course!

I asked my mom what she'd like for her birthday this year and her only request was a birthday cake. She added "and not that meringue stuff, I like the frosting with confectioners' sugar. And I like that white sour cream cake, the kind that starts with the box mix. That's my favorite."  What can I say? The woman knows what she wants (and she should have it!).

I decided to do a sewing-themed birthday cake because mom is fine seamstress. She even made some Sprinkle Bakes-themed oven mitts and potholders for my Christmas pop-up shop (and by the way, thanks to everyone who made that a success - I truly felt like a Christmas elf!  Over 80 sprinkle mugs alone were shipped out and I'm pretty sure my mailman hated me for a while after that...I digress.) 

The button decors are made of fondant, and they couldn't be easier to make. I used the large opening-end (opening-end? That sounds wrong, but I don't know how else to say it) of decorator's piping tips to cut the buttons, and used the pointed end of a Wilton No.2 round tip to create the button holes. The large fondant daisies were made with a daisy fondant cutter and Sixlets pearls were pressed in the flower centers. The teeny-tiny fondant daisies were made with a plunger cutter and jumbo yellow nonpareils were pressed in the centers. (See the list at the end of this post for links to the supplies.)

I wish I could show you the interior of this cake, but the queen must first blow out her candles.  Just trust me when I say it's beautifully pale, moist and very wedding cake-like.

EDIT 2/22/14: I managed to snap a picture of the very last slice! As you can tell, we all loved it!

White Almond Sour Cream Cake with 
Vanilla Bean American Buttercream
[click for printable recipe]
Yield: One 9-inch double layer cake or one 7-inch triple layer cake, serves 12
Source: WASC recipe by Rebecca Sutterby, Sprinkle Bakes buttercream
Prep: 45 minutes, total time about 3 hours

This cake starts with a box of white cake mix but is improved upon with additions of sugar, flour, sour cream and flavorings. It's often made for weddings because if its moistness and pure white interior. The frosting recipe will make a little more than you''ll need for this cake, but I always like to have extra just in case accidents happen pre-party. My mom used to say that spackle makes all carpenters equal. I tend to believe the same is true with bakers and frosting.

White almond sour cream cake layers
1 box/ 16.25 oz. white cake mix
1 cup/128g all-purpose flour
1 cup/200g granulated sugar
Generous pinch of salt
1 cup/242g sour cream
1 cup/ 8 oz. cold water
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Whisk together the first 4 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a four cup measure, stir together the sour cream, water, eggs and extracts. With a hand mixer running on low speed, gradually pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Scrape the bowl down and mix again. Divide the cake evenly between the pans, about 3 cups per 9-inch pan or 2 cups per 7-inch.

Vanilla bean buttercream
2 cups/452g of unsalted butter, softened
5 to 6 cups/640g to 768g confectioners’ sugar
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
Milk or heavy cream, optional

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together the butter and confectioners sugar.  Begin on low speed until crumbly, and then increase to high and beat for 3 minutes.
Add vanilla bean and beat again for another minute. If you find the buttercream is too stiff, you may add milk or heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is spreading consistency. Beat until light and fluffy.
Fill each 7-inch cake layer with 1/2 cup frosting, or if making 9-inch layers, use 1 1/4 cups.  Stack cake layers and frost entire cake with a generous covering of buttercream. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

Buttons and Daisies Fondant Decors How-To
[click for printable version]
Equipment needed:
Daisy Fondant Plunger Cutter Set
Wilton Fondant Daisy Shape Cutter
Wilton Fondant 9 Inch Rolling Pin
Candy Beads, Yellow  (I used Sixlets Pearls)
Jumbo Rainbow Nonpareils (you'll only use the yellow ones in the jar)
Satin Ice Ready-Made Rolled Fondant (in colors white, pink orange and blue-green)
Decorator Piping Tips (in graduated sizes)

First, roll out about 1/4 lb. of fondant per the package's directions. If you're a beginner with fondant, be sure to read the pamphlet on the inside of the box. Work with one color at a time and be sure to close the unused fondant in an airtight container while you work. 

For the large buttons, I used Ateco #822 tip just like a cookie cutter to cut out the rounds, but you could use any 1-inch round cutter. The Wilton #2 round decorator tip was used for the smaller buttons, and it measures approximately 3/4-inch. On the larger 1-inch cut outs, center the smaller piping tip in the middle of the button to impress a small circle, then with the piping end of the Wilton #2 tip, create 4 button holes. 
For the smaller buttons, I used a 1/2-inch magic marker cap to make a button-like impression in the fondant. Use the #2 piping tip to punch two button holes. Allow the buttons to dry until firm, about 3 hours.

For the large daisies, use the fondant daisy cutter to cut shapes from rolled white fondant. Stack two cut-outs on top of each other and press a yellow candy bead in the center. Be sure to press the candy into freshly cut fondant -it won't stick if it's been sitting too long and dries. Tip! I propped some of my daisies up on the curve of a bowl to give them extra dimension.) Allow daisies to dry until firm.

For the tiny daisies, cut white rolled fondant with a small daisy plunger cutter. Press a yellow jumbo non-pareil into each cut flower. As before, be sure to press the centers in while the fondant is fresh and moist.

Arrange buttons and daisies in garland-fashion around the top and bottom edge of the cake. Use additional buttercream as glue if the pieces don't naturally stick.

link Buttons Birthday Cake (Easy White Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting) By Published: Buttons Birthday Cake (Easy White Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting) Recipe


  1. Could you please tell me what size box of cake mix you used? Also brand/with or without pudding? With the different sized boxes I'm always worried ill ruin a cake from mixes. I'm much better with a scale! I've been looking for a moist sturdy cake for my daughters birthday and think this may be it. Thank you for your help.

  2. Hi Bryn,
    I used Betty Crocker's SuperMoist White Cake Mix, which states in the bottom left hand corner "as always, pudding in the mix." I've made it with other brands without pudding in the mix and it turned out fine, too. 16.25 oz standard box - I added the size info to the recipe. Thank you!

  3. Gorgeous as always Heather!! I'm in love with your cake stand! Could you share with us the brand and where you found it? Thank you so much! Your an inspiration! <3

  4. Beautiful cake, Heather! I have those cake stands and adore them (in both sizes), but your cake looks so stunning perched atop! So lovely for your Mom's birthday cake. Hope the birthday bash was a blast! xo

  5. Just beautiful, as always! I'm sure your mom will absolutely love it!

  6. This cake turned out perfectly, your mom sounds like my kinda people. Knows what she wants.

    Meghan Silva's Blog

  7. Exquisite! This cake is so pretty and I love the refined decorations.



  8. This is so lovely!!! Thank you for sharing this! I would love to make this for my Mom's March birthday - especially since she is recovering from lung cancer surgery. Unfortunately I live 600 miles away from her. :( and my many visits the last 2 months prevents me from being able to see her on that day. This is SO perfect!

  9. Just the sight of this cake is brightening this day! I absolutely love the buttons!

  10. Omg, this is the prettiest cake! Totally getting me in the mood for spring! Happy Birthday to your mom!

  11. Hi Jenn, the cake stand is originally from Williams-Sonoma but it's no longer in stock. It's called "Faux Bois Cake Stand". You may want to keep an eye out for it on ebay - I saw one there recently.


  12. This has got to be the most beautiful cake I've ever seen. I really love the button and daisy decorations - so pretty!! Your work is impeccable!

  13. The cuteness is killing me!! LOVE the buttons and your photos are stunning!

  14. This cake is so whimsical and can be given to a Mom or grandmother. It reminds me of springtime with the beautiful pastels and white daisies. I cannot wait to make it.

  15. Oooo that is so incredibly pretty! You're a cake wizard... :) beautiful!

  16. You have one seriously lucky mom! Not only does this cake sound delicious, but it's the most adorable cake I've seen. My mom would love a cake like this as well :)

  17. Such a pretty cake! It sounds delicious, too. Happy birthday to your mom!
    xx Jillian

  18. Hi Heather!

    I was just wondering - what kind of baking pans do you prefer for your cakes? For example, I noticed that in some of your posts you have springform(?) pans (the kind where the bottom comes off.) Also, do you prefer aluminum or nonstick? I've read all kinds of reviews from various bakers online so I'm curious as to what your preferences are.

    BTW, I recently made the cake from your "Pocky Cake" blog, it is delicious and I enjoy a few bites of it daily. :)

    Thanks so much!

  19. Hi! Thanks for your question!

    I like non-stick spring-form pans, usually Nordic Ware brand because they are leakproof. I also have a set of 6,8,10, and 12-inch regular aluminum pans (not spring-form) that have straight sides for wedding cakes and such. I get a lot of my materials from Pastry Chef Central because they have professional grade products that last. Here's a link if you'd like to check it out.


    I'm glad you're enjoying the Pocky Cake! And yay for cake on the daily!!!


  20. Thank you so much for the information on the cake stand Heather! I found it on ebay and was able to purchase it!! You're the best!!! XoXo

  21. What more can I say!? Your cake is breathtaking in its elegance! Happy birthday to your mother. She must be so proud :)

  22. So delicately beautiful I love the little flecks of vanilla ♥ and the button colors are perfect.

  23. This is super pretty! I love the pastel buttons against the white cake. So charming, i love it!

  24. the cake is lovely feels so summery. Can I ask where you got the sparkling water. thank you Mignonne

  25. OMG, this looks delicious. Especially with the vanilla frosting and little smiley faces :)

  26. This cake is beautiful......unbelievable talent!! One question..what did you use for the needle? Pinned this for later. Thanks.

  27. Heather, I love your blog; so inspiring!

    I'm planning to make this cake this weekend for my birthday! I may be missing this information above, but what is the baking temp and duration for the cake?

    Thank you so much for the clarification!

  28. Wow, this is beautiful! Thanks for sharing! Love, Lily, www.twocraziesoneblog.tk

  29. Insanely gorgeous, as always. Thank you for sharing!!!

  30. Before reading your post, I took one look @ this cake and thought it'd be perfect for Mom's Dady and/or Daisy who's bday is coming up!
    Heather, it is just so darling. Thanks for sharing. Hope you're keeping warm. xo

  31. Your cakes are always perfection!

  32. I LOVE Sprinklebakes Blog, and Heathers Book. I will definitely give this beautiful cake a try in the near future! Thanks Heather!

  33. Jewel - 325F! Will add this to the post - my oversight. Thanks!

  34. heather i just love the look of this! so simple and pretty. xo

  35. Thanks so much Heather! I made your cake for my mom-in-law's birthday (she also loves sewing) and she loved it! The vanilla bean buttercream was fluffy and delicious and I had such fun making all the buttons to your instructions.

  36. Are you using a whole egg or just the egg whites? The recipe calls for whole eggs but the box reads egg whites.

  37. Amazing!! I love this cake and colours... I love it!!

  38. Hi im confuse..should I put the ingredients stated in the cake mix? Thanks

  39. How long do you bake this beautiful cake...and at what temp?
    Making it today for daughters birthday!!

  40. 325F, until the cake tests done. This will be 25-30 minutes depending on your pan size.

  41. Can you bake this cake in 9x13 pan?

  42. Where did you get the beautiful pink liquid filled bottles? And how did you do the spool of thread on top? Thanks, in advance!

  43. Where did you get the beautiful bottles of pink beverages? And did you use actual spools of thread on the tops? Thanks, in advance!

  44. This is such a wonderful looking cake. You are so talented.

  45. You have great write up, I always read your blog. CakenGifts.in, and I must say you are doing good job, plz do write like this.


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