Celebrate birthdays, graduations, anniversaries and much more with the Swans Down Celebration Cake. Also known as the Happy Day Cake, it's a simple sheet cake recipe that's easy to make and perfect for any gathering. Get creative with frostings, sprinkles and decorations to dress this classic cake up for any occasion. This recipe can also be used for cupcakes!
- 2 ½ cups Sifted Swans Down® Cake Flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- Sprinkles, for topping
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
- 1 to 2 tablespoons whole milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and lightly flour 2 (9×13-inch) rectangular layer pans.
- Make Cake: Sift flour once; measure and add baking powder, salt and sugar and sift once more.
- Mix softened butter, flour mixture, 3/4 of the milk and vanilla at low speed for 2 minutes.
- Add eggs and remaining milk and beat 1 minute more.
- Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.
- Make Frosting: Cream butter and 2 cups powdered sugar in small bowl. Beat in vanilla and melted chocolate.
- Add remaining powdered sugar gradually, beating well after each addition.
- Thin with milk to reach desired consistency; fill layers with frosting or your favorite preserve and frost cake and top with festive sprinkles if desired.
Can I add chopped pecans and or blueberries or raspberries or chopped strawberries to the cake batter?
Hi Josie, You can fold about 1 cup into the batter. Just make sure that if the fruit has juice that you drain them well or offset the liquid in the recipe. Happy baking!
I love the recipe, but was wondering if you could make it easier to print out.
Hi Chris, We will definitely pass this request on to our web development team. Happy baking!
I thank you for your feedback on the questions below
Can l leave egg yolks out to make a true white cake?
Can this cake be baked in a 9×3 round baking pan?
Hi Debra, Great question! You can use 3 – 9 inch for the Celebration Cake, pans but your layers will be thin. And you will have to reduce the bake time. You may do better using only 2 if you’d prefer taller layers. Be careful not to fill the pans more than 2/3 of the way full though. Happy baking!
This was a favorite cake while we were growing up%. My Mom used a 7 minute frosting with coconut on it. Do you have recipe for 7 minute frosting..?.
Hi Carol, This the Celebration Cake, or Happy Day as it was originally named is certainly a Swans Down favorite. Out 1955 Cakes Secret recipe booklet has the recipe for both the Happy Day Cake and 7 Minute Frosting and Coconut! Here’s a link: https://swansdown.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/SD_1955-cake-secrets.pdf Happy baking!
It seems odd that the recipe calls for TWO (9×13) pans, as the ingredient quantities are typical for ONE (9×13). Also, the frosting directions make no mention of two layers. Is the recipe supposed to be for one (9×13) cake? Thanks for clarifying!
Hi Susan, Sorry for the confusion. The recipe is to make a 9×13 2-layer cake. You can fill the layers with frosting or your favorite preserve. You could also use only 1 9×13 pan and make a 1-layer cake. Happy baking!
Do u gave a yellow cake recipe my daughter loves yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting
Plz help me
Hi Betty, We would recommend the 1-2-3-4 cake on the back of the box. Or the Celebration (Happy Day). happy baking!
Can you pour all of the batter into just one 9×13?
I just made this as cupcakes and they’re phenomenal!! Hands down the best from scratch cupcake I’ve ever made! I added some sprinkles to the batter and it was perfect!
Hi Monika, Thank you for sharing your baking experience. This is an excellent recipe and yes, sprinkles make everything perfect! Happy Baking!
I do really like swansdown cake super cool to make. Please can you give me a recipe cream cheese frosting. Thank you
Hi Dolbabes, Our Carrot Cake recipes uses a delicious cream cheese frosting. Here’s a link: https://swansdown.com/recipes/carrot-cake/ Happy Baking!
Can you use self rising flour?
Hi Marilyn, Yes you can substitute regular Cake Flour with Self-Rising Flour. We recommend that you contact the Self-Rising Flour manufacturer for the conversion, as they are familiar with the component ratios of their products. Thanks and Happy Baking!
In my family this cake was known as the Happy Birthday Cake!!!!! My mother would put raspberry jam between the layers and frost it with chocolate or a pink frosting. It was and still is my favorite Home made cake. Now that our 6 kids are grown, I am going to make it for my honey on Valentine’s Day
What is a 9-inch rectangular pan? 9×13?
Hi Joan, Thanks for the great catch. Yes it calls for 2 – 9″ x 13″ pans. We’ll make this correction to the recipe. The layers will be thin, more jelly roll like vs typical layers. This recipe also works well using 2 – 9-inch round cake pans or 3 – 8-inch round cake pans. Happy baking!
My mother made this cake into cupcakes and we had them for every birthday. The only change I made was to make cream cheese frosting instead of buttercream. I made them for my children and my grandchildren and hopefully before too long my great-grandchildren. It was, is and will always be a winner!
This is the best white on white birthday cake ever! It is better than almost all professional bakeries. Grocery store cakes do not even come close to this.
When I was growing up, my mother made this cake regularly for dessert for our family. It was a favorite, and I am delighted to find the recipe online.
We made this cake for many years! It is scrumptious!
I made this cake and it was delicious.. I also made the whipping cream pound cake and it was delicious and the moisture in both cakes was perfect..