Baking is fun for the entire family and nothing beats a homemade birthday cake. The next time you have a birthday to celebrate, bake the cake from scratch using this yummy recipe. 

Cake ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (can also use almond for a different flavor)
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 pinch salt

Frosting ingredients: 

  • ¾ cup shortening
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (can also use almond for a different flavor)
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour one 9x13-inch pan or three 8- or 9-inch round layer cake pans.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  3. Set the egg whites aside. Add the egg yolks one at a time to the creamed mixture, beating after each one.
  4. Measure the baking powder into the flour, sift a little of the flour into the creamed mixture. Continue adding the flour and the milk alternately, while continually beating the mixture. Beat the cake batter until a few air bubbles show.
  5. Beat the 4 egg whites with a dash of salt until stiff. Gently fold egg whites into the batter. Pour batter into prepared pan(s).
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-35 minutes or until a fork or toothpick stuck in the cake comes out clean.
  7. For the frosting: Use an electric mixer to blend all the ingredients except the sugar. After the mixture has been blended, add the sugar one cup at a time and blend in. Frost the cake only after it has completed cooled. Makes 3 cups of frosting.

Makes 24 servings of cake if using a 9x13-inch pan


As the cake bakes, make the frosting. It’s a simple recipe with lots of room for children to help — they can measure the ingredients and put them all in the bowl to be blended. They can also add the sugar gradually. 

When the timer goes off for the cake, have children stick a fork or toothpick in the center to see if it comes out clean. Once the cake has finished baking, let it cool on a wire rack, and then frost and decorate it together.


- - -

El cumpleaños de Arturo / Arthur's Birthday (English or Spanish)
by Marc Brown, translated by Esther Sarfatti
Their friends must decide which party to attend when Francine schedules her birthday party for the same day as Arthur's birthday party. 

Algo especial para mí / Something Special For Me (English or Spanish)
By Vera B. Williams, translated by Aída E. Marcuse
Rosa has difficulty choosing a special birthday present to buy with the coins her mother and grandmother have saved, until she hears a man playing beautiful music on an accordion. 

¡Viva! ¡Una piñata! / Hooray, a Piñata! (English or Spanish)
by Elisa Kleven, translated by Lidia Díaz
After she chooses a cute dog piñata for her birthday party, Clara pretends it is her pet and she doesn't want it to get broken. 

Una torta de cumpleaños para Osito (Spanish)
by Max Velthuijs, illustrated by Guillermo Gutiérrez
Little Pig bakes a cake for Little Bear's birthday, but finds it difficult not to try tasting it before Little Bear arrives. 

A Birthday Basket for Tía (English)
by Pat Mora, illustrated by Cecily Lang
With the help and interference of her cat Chica, Cecilia prepares a surprise gift for her great-aunt's ninetieth birthday. 

Happy Birthday, Josefina! (English)
by Valerie Tripp, illustrated by Jean-Paul Tibbles
Josefina hopes to become a "curandera" or healer like Tía Magdalena, and she is tested just before her tenth birthday when a friend receives a potentially fatal snakebite.

Chato and the Party Animals (English)
by Gary Soto, illustrated by Susana Guevara
Chato decides to throw a "pachanga" for his friend Novio Boy, who has never had a birthday party, but when it is time to party, Novio Boy cannot be found. 

Pablo's Tree (English)
By Pat Mora, illustrated by Cecily Lang
Each year on his birthday, a young Mexican American boy looks forward to seeing how his grandfather has decorated the tree he planted on the day the boy was adopted. 

Birthday Swap (English)
by Loretta Lopez
A five-year-old Mexican American girl who will not be six until December has a great deal to celebrate when her sister swaps birthdays with her in the summer.