Striped Buttercream Balloon Cake | From

Striped Buttercream Balloon Cake

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: birthday cake, buttercream, buttercream frosting, buttercream stripes, colorful cake, white cake
Dessert Type: Cake
Prep Time: 4 hours
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 18
Calories: 903kcal
Author: Elizabeth LaBau
Is there anything more fun than buttercream stripes?! This cheerful cake trend is all the rage these days, and it adds a bit of whimsy to any cake design. For this Striped Buttercream Balloon Cake, I paired buttercream stripes with candy balloon lollipops, for the ultimate colorful birthday cake!
Note that this recipe makes A LOT of frosting, more than you will need for this cake. When making stripes, it’s much easier if you start with a very thick layer of frosting. You’ll need a solid base and will be glad to have lots to work with! The excess will be scraped off during the striping process, and you can always refrigerate it or freeze it for up to 6 months, so it won’t go to waste.
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For the White Cake:

  • 16 oz granulated sugar (2 ¼ cups)
  • 16 oz cake flour (4 cups)
  • 2 TBSP baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 fl oz egg whites (from about 6 eggs)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 9 oz unsalted butter at room temperature

For the Frosting:

  • 8 fl oz pasteurized liquid egg whites (1 cup, see Note below)
  • 32 oz powdered sugar (8 cups)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 32 oz unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 TBSP vanilla extract
  • Gel Food coloring I used Americolor Yellow, Electric Purple, Turquoise, Pink, and a mix of Electric Green and Avocado

For the Candy Balloons:

Equipment and Decorations:


To Make the White Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line three 8-inch cake pans with parchment rounds, and spray the parchment and pan sides with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Combine the sugar, cake flour, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for about a minute to combine the dry ingredients.
  • Lightly whisk together the egg whites and about a quarter of the milk (it doesn’t have to be a precise measurement) and the vanilla extract, and set aside for now.
  • Add the remaining milk and the softened butter to the large mixing bowl and mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Turn the mixer to medium speed and mix for a minute and a half.
  • Add the egg white mixture in three batches, mixing for 20-30 seconds after each addition, until you have a smooth batter. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and give the batter a few more stirs to make sure everything is incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the three pans. If you have a kitchen scale, fill each pan with 20 oz of batter.
  • Bake the cakes at 350 F for 30-35 minutes, until the sides just start pulling away from the pan, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If the sides have completely pulled away from the pan, the cakes are probably overbaked.
  • Let the cakes cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then gently turn them out and let them cool completely. I find it’s easiest to cut and stack cakes that have been chilled, so if you have time, wrap them with plastic wrap and put them in the freezer for at least 30 minutes, until they are firm but not frozen all the way through. If you are making these in advance, they can stay in the freezer for up to several weeks. Let them partially defrost, until they are firm but not rock-hard, before assembling.

To Make the Frosting:

  • Combine the whites, powdered sugar, and salt in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix everything together on low speed, until the sugar is moistened and no dry patches remain. Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula, then turn the mixer to medium speed. Beat on medium for 5 minutes.
  • After 5 minutes, turn the mixer to medium-low and start adding the softened room temperature butter, 1-2 tablespoons at a time. Once all of the butter is incorporated, add the vanilla extract and mix it in. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bottom and sides once more. Turn the speed to medium and beat the buttercream for 10 minutes. At the end, you’ll have a frosting with a wonderfully light and creamy texture. It can be used right away, or stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, or the freezer for up to two months. If you have chilled the frosting, let it come to room temperature COMPLETELY and then beat it for several minutes to smooth it out and restore its texture before using it.

To Make the Candy Balloons:

  • Melt the candy melts individually in their own bowls in the microwave. Spoon some melted coating into the balloon candy molds, tapping it gently against the countertop to remove any air bubbles. Insert lollipop sticks and turn them so they’re completely submerged.
  • Freeze the candy for 10 minutes, or refrigerate for 20, until completely firm. Once set, the candy should pop right out of the mold! Brush the balloons with pearl dust, if desired, and add a thin line of white candy coating along the edge to look like the shine of a balloon.
  • Repeat with more candy coating to make other colors and sizes of balloons. (To make smaller balloons, just fill the molds less!) I used 14 balloons on my 8-inch cake, and made a few extras in case of breakage. I found I used more smaller and medium-sized balloons than large balloons.

To Assemble and Decorate:

  • Separate out 5 portions of frosting, each about 3/4 -1 cup, into individual bowls. Color the frosting with gel food coloring, until you have a vibrant yellow, green, pink, purple, and turquoise. Fit a piping bag with a large round tip and fill it with white frosting.
  • Slice each cake round in half so you have six rounds total. Place an 8-inch cake on a cake cardboard and place it on a cake turntable. Pipe a layer of white frosting around the outer edge of the cake—this acts like a barrier to prevent the colored frosting from seeping through.
  • Place a big dollop of yellow frosting on the cake layer—about a generous ½ cup—and use a metal spatula to spread the frosting into a layer going all the way out to the edge so it meets the white buttercream border.
  • Top the cake round with a second cake layer, and repeat the frosting process again, this time with a different interior color. Continue to layer the cake this way, until you’ve used all 5 colors and 6 cake rounds.
  • Cover the top and sides of the cake with a very thin layer of white frosting—this is the crumb coat, which locks crumbs into the frosting and also provides some stability to the cake. Refrigerate the cake for 30-45 minutes, until the crumb coat is set and the cake feels firm and stable.
  • Cover the top and sides of the chilled cake with a thicker layer of white frosting. Aim for this layer to be about ½-inch thick. This will seem like WAY too much frosting, but trust me! Most of it will get scraped off during the process, but it’s easier to start with a thicker layer. Use an icing smoother to smooth out the sides and top of the cake as much as possible. It’s not important that it be perfect.
  • Next, use an icing comb to make ridges on the cake. Hold the comb against the side of the cake, straight up and down but angled back close to the side of the cake, rather than perpendicular to the side. Slowly turn the cake as you scrape off the first layer of frosting.
  • The first one or two times you use the comb, the stripes will look very patchy and rough. This is normal! After every pass, wipe or wash off the comb so it’s clean, then fit the comb into the grooves and turn it around the cake again. After a few more turns, your stripes should be looking pretty good! If you uncover bare cake areas during this process, you can always add more frosting with a spatula and then go around again with the icing comb.
  • Once your ridges are made, freeze the cake for 30 minutes, or refrigerate for at least 60, until the cake is VERY firm.
  • Transfer your remaining colored buttercream into individual piping bags, and snip off the tip to make a medium-sized opening. Pipe one color into the hollow part between each buttercream stripe on your cake. It’s fine if the lines aren’t perfect or if they go over onto the white portion. Repeat until you’ve filled every ridge with colored buttercream.
  • Use the straight-sided scraper to go around the sides of the cake, smoothing it out. At first, it will smear the colors over the sides, but keep turning (and cleaning the scraper between turns!) Gradually you will remove the excess colored buttercream, and reveal the beautiful, clean white stripes underneath. Since the cake was very well chilled, you don’t have to worry about the white buttercream smearing or getting messed up!
  • Once you’re happy with your stripes, run a sharp paring knife around the top of the cake to slice off any excess frosting and make the top perfectly smooth. You can heat the knife in hot water to make this easier and neater, if you’d like.
  • Finally, it’s decoration time! Add your candy balloons to the top, then gently press a ring of sprinkles and candy around the edges of the cake.
  • Like most cakes, this one is easiest to slice when cold, but has the best taste and texture when enjoyed at room temperature. Leftovers can be kept well-wrapped in the refrigerator for up to a week, but cake is always best when enjoyed within a few days.


This recipe calls for pasteurized egg whites. It is safe to consume egg whites without cooking them, as long as you make sure that the whites you buy are pasteurized. To save time, I buy them in a carton--look for 100% egg whites, not liquid egg substitute. If you cannot find them in a carton, you can buy pasteurized eggs and separate them yourself. You’ll need about 5-6 large eggs to get the ¾ cup called for in the recipe.


Calories: 903kcal | Carbohydrates: 99g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 54g | Saturated Fat: 34g | Cholesterol: 139mg | Sodium: 353mg | Potassium: 244mg | Sugar: 79g | Vitamin A: 1650IU | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 0.4mg