It’s vv festive over here, even if I tried to sing “Here Comes Santa Claus” to Casper in the car today and promptly realized I don’t know the lyrics. So, I may have sung something about “…elves are screaming, children singing, everything’s merry and bright!” But, there’s garland on the staircase and holiday cookies to eat, so I’ve just got to work on that Christmas carol game.
And, yes, these cookies are holiday fare even though I’m calling them Frosted Birthday Cake Cookies. See, these little bb’s taste just like sprinkle-filled birthday cake dreams in a super tender, sour cream cookie outfit! The secret to these being vanilla bday cake flavored and not just regular vanilla flavored–imitation vanilla extract. I KNOW. I know, guys. Scandal. I got the tip to use fake-out vanilla from Molly’s Funfetti Cake and it was totally the path to these tasting like the party cakes of my youth. Can you use real vanilla extract, of course. Real vanilla extract is always a good idea, but the road to birthday cake cookies begins with butter and ends with imitation vanilla, a swipe of frosting, and showers of sprinkles. So, pile them on a platter surrounded by tiny bottle brush trees and belt out those holiday tunes whether you know the lyrics or not.
- for the cookie dough:
- 1 cup (8 ounces) softened, unsalted butter
- 1½ cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons imitation vanilla extract
- 3¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons sprinkles (jimmies)
- for the frosting:
- ⅓ cup softened, unsalted butter
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- 1½ teaspoons imitation vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1-2 tablespoons cream (or milk)
- Beat the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until creamy and combined well. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Beat in the sour cream and imitation vanilla. Gradually beat in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until a soft dough forms. Gently work in the sprinkles with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Divide the dough onto two large pieces of plastic wrap and wrap each into a flat disc. Chill the dough for 4 hours, up to overnight, to firm up.
- Once the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out the dough (one disc at a time) on a well-floured surface about ¼ inch thick. Using a round cutter (between 2-3 inches in diameter) cut out the cookies, flouring the cutter as needed. Gently transfer the cookies to parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space between each cookie. Bake the cookies in batches in the center of the oven for 11 minutes, or until puffed and just golden on the bottoms. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transfering to a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining dough and cookies. Gather the dough scraps and gently knead back together, roll out, cut, and bake.
- While the cookies cool, make the frosting. Beat the butter until smooth. Add the confectioners sugar, vanilla, salt, and 1 tablespoon of cream, beat until smooth and creamy. Add additional cream until the frosting is spreadable. Spread the frosting onto the tops of the completely cooled cookies. Decorate with extra sprinkles! Store the cookies in an airtight container with parchment paper between each layer.
This dough is very soft, even after chilling. Don’t be afraid to use a liberal dusting of flour when rolling these cookies out.
I know, I know! I’m using imitation vanilla extract in this recipe, but that’s because it makes these cookies taste just like the birthday cakes of my 90’s youth. You can absolutely sub real vanilla extract if you prefer.