The holidays mean a lot of things to me. But one thing the holidays can’t be without is a little sparkle. Glimmer. Glitter. Shine. Glamour.
There’s something about Christmas and New Year’s that just goes with shimmer. It almost makes me feel glittery on the inside, so I need to be all glittery on the outside. Not that I’m not all glittery on the outside other times of year too!
I love the way Christmas lights sparkle in the darkness of night. The way the lights on the Christmas trees make the ornaments shine in just the right way. The crystal ornaments shine the brightest, looking like diamonds on the trees.
Getting dressed up to go out on the town or to a party definitely means busting out the sequined clothes, glittered shoes, and sparkly jewelry. And for once, I’m not the only one rocking embellishments.
And if you get a Christmas card from me, you know it’s going to be all glittery. And it will get everywhere. But then the house just looks extra festive.
You know what else is extra festive. This Funfetti Layer Cake. It’s all glammed up for the holidays. It might not be a traditional Christmas dessert, but I think we need to change that. I mean what’s more Christmas-y than a bunch of sprinkles?
It all begins with a fluffy, buttery white cake studded with tons of bright rainbow sprinkles. Then there’s the silky smooth Italian buttercream that will melt in your mouth and leave you doing a happy dance around the kitchen. Instead of coating the outside in more sprinkles, though you could totally do that, I used Fruity Pebbles. Not only is that classic, childhood fruity flavor a welcome addition, but it also adds great contrasting texture. The tender crumb of the cake, the creamy frosting, and those crunchy Pebbles are a match made in heaven.
Time to break out the cake pans and get festive in the kitchen!
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
4 large egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 ½ cups cake flour
2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk (I used almond, use what you love)
2/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon rainbow sprinkles
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
5 large egg whites
½ + ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
Fruity Pebbles, for decorating
Make the cake. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil 2 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom only with parchment.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer would work as well. Mix in the egg whites one at a time. Mix in the vanilla and oil.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add this to the sugar mixture, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. I did 3 additions of flour and 2 of milk. Mix until fully incorporated. Stir in the sprinkles until distributed.
Divide the batter evenly among the pans. Smooth the tops and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sprinkles. Bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool cakes completely in pan.
Make the frosting. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, water, and corn syrup over medium heat, stirring frequently until the sugar is completely dissolved. Once this happens, stop stirring, attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, and allow the mixture to come to 240 degrees F on the thermometer. In the meantime, place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium-high until foamy. Once foamy, add the cream of tartar and continue beating on medium-high until stiff peaks form. Be sure not to over whip the egg whites or they will become dry.
Once the eggs are whipped and the syrup is at 240, turn the eggs to medium-low, immediately remove the syrup from the heat, and begin slowly and steadily drizzling it into the eggs. If the syrup is ready before the eggs, it can be turned down or removed from the heat while the eggs finish, before being replaced on the heat to bring to temperature. If the eggs are ready before the syrup, stop mixing them until the syrup is almost ready. Turn them back to medium-high briefly before turning them back down and adding the syrup.
Once the syrup has all been added, turn the mixer back to medium-high and beat the frosting (what is basically marshmallow crème and is delectable all by itself) for 10-13 minutes until the bottom of the bowl is barely warm or at room temperature. It is important for it to not be too warm or the next step will not work.
Once cooled, add the butter a couple tablespoons at a time, allowing each addition to incorporate before adding another. Scrape down the bowl occasionally. Once all the butter is incorporated, add the vanilla bean paste and mix to combine. Remove the bowl from the mixer and mix briefly by hand to make sure there are no clumps of butter. If the frosting is a bit soupy (because it was too warm when the butter was added) stick it in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes, beat it again with the stand mixer. It should come together.
Carefully remove 1 cake from the pan and place it on a cake stand. Cover it with a generous amount of frosting. Place the other cake on top. Frost the top and sides of the cake completely. Carefully press Fruity Pebbles onto the sides of the cake.
Cake may be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or frozen in pieces, wrapped in plastic and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour.