The Dish: 'Best Birthday Cake Ever' from New June Bakery in Philadelphia

Alicia Vitarelli Image
Thursday, March 14, 2024
The Dish: 'Best Birthday Cake Ever' from New June Bakery in Philadelphia
Noelle Blizzard from Philadelphia's New June Bakery, sour cream confetti cake with homemade Swiss meringue buttercream.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- For New June Bakery owner Noelle Blizzard, baking truly called to her during the pandemic.

"Everyone was baking at home," she says. "You know, banana bread, I had a sourdough starter going, we were making cinnamon buns. I just kept baking and one day I turned to my husband and said: 'I think I want to bake all the time.'"

Blizzard found her happy place, turning a pandemic passion project into an unexpected business.

Here's something else that's a little unexpected.

"I don't like cake," she laughs. "I didn't like cake until I started making my own cakes. And now I love them!"

Blizzard started New June Bakery from her home in Fairmount.

"I took the legs off of my dining room table and put commercial risers on them," she says. "We no longer had a dining room table. I lined all the walls with shelving."

She came up with the name New June, inspired by a tradition she started with her husband. They had become tired of the same routine, and were looking to explore and try new things in town.

"He was like, 'This is new June. June is when we will only eat at new restaurants. We will only make new recipes. We're going to branch out. It was like an adventure," she said.

Blizzard's passion for baking is definitely in her DNA. She gets it from her grandfather, Bruno.

"Growing up in Italy, during World War II, his first jobs were in cafes," Blizzard explains. "He worked in Italian bakeries."

He immigrated here, and became a chef in Sin City.

"He says he cooked for Frank Sinatra at old dining tables in Las Vegas," she says.

Now, she's carrying on that dream. New June just moved into a brand new industrial space, where Blizzard is living the cake life that she manifested.

"It's very 'pinch me' to know that I live here, and I started a business here," she says. "I have this community in Philly buying cakes from me. It's very, very special."

Blizzard also shared with us her recipe for what she calls the "best birthday cake ever" - a sour cream confetti cake with homemade Swiss meringue buttercream.

"If you do a box cake, it's just calling for water. There's not all of this flavor in it. You're missing that and that's the secret sauce!" she says.

New June Bakery's Sour Cream Confetti Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Birthday Cake Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2.5 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 4 eggs (room temperature)
  • 2 egg whites (fresh, separated from eggs)
  • 7 ounces buttermilk (full fat at room temperature)
  • 1 cup sour cream (full fat at room temperature)
  • 5 tablespoons avocado oil (can substitute for sunflower oil or canola oil)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 cup confetti jimmy rainbow sprinkles


1. Plan your cake pans: The recipe prepares enough for five 6" round cake pans or three 8" round cake pans.

2. Line cake pans: Use a pencil/pen/sharpie to trace the border of your cake pan onto the top of parchment paper and use scissors to cut the rounds out. With baking spray, spray the bottom, sides of the inside of your cake pans, then line the bottom with cut parchment paper. Room temp butter can be used to coat the pan as well instead of baking spray if necessary.

3. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

4. Bring dairy ingredients to room temp: Feel your buttermilk and sour cream, if you can detect a "chill" when you touch it with the tip of your finger, they are too cold. You can heat them (separately or combined) at 20 second intervals in a microwave safe dish, stirring each time until they feel "room temp" to the touch. Similarly, chilled eggs can be soaked in a bowl of warm water for 20 or more minutes; Butter (still wrapped in paper sleeve) can be microwaved at 10 second intervals, rotating butter on each side until sticks are soft to the touch.

5. Separate and combine eggs and egg whites into one bowl.

6. Cut butter into cubes and set aside.

7. Combine wet ingredients: Buttermilk, sour cream, oil, vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste.

8. Combine dry ingredients: In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment at low speed, combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt.

9. Add butter to dry ingredients: With the mixer at low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time until it looks like course sand. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl with your spatula.

10. Add eggs to batter: Continuing on low speed, slowly add the eggs one at a time, adding the next after the first is mostly incorporated after about 5 seconds. Stop mixer, scrape down the bowl after all eggs are incorporated.

11. Add wet ingredients: Turn the mixer back on low speed and add half the combined sour cream, buttermilk, and oil. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, making sure to loosen and mix in the very center bottom of the bowl. Then add the rest of the wet ingredients. Mix on medium to low (2nd speed) until well combined and mostly smooth. There will still be very small visible lumps - this is not a perfectly smooth batter and you do not want to over mix!).

12. Fill cake pans: 6" pans can be filled with roughly 350g of batter, 8" pans with with 580g of batter. If you are not using a scale, a cookie scoop is a great alternative, fill pans with an equal number of scoops of batter.

13. Bake: Bake for 30 minutes, do not open the oven or touch the pans before 30 minutes! Rotate pans top to bottom, and determine amount of additional time needed: 1) a cake tester inserted into the center should come out clean 2) cakes should look golden brown, and puffed and set at the center, and firm to the touch. When you press the center of the cake and it leaves an indentation, the cakes need more time. Start with an additional 5 to 8 minutes of baking time.

14. Remove from the oven: Allow to cool on a wire rack until cool to the touch. Then, remove from pans, level, wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze.

Swiss Buttercream ingredients:

  • 3 cups plus 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 10 egg whites
  • 4.5 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 7 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature


1. Prepare double boiler: Fill a medium sized saucepan with water about two inches high, cover and bring to a boil.

2. Combine meringue ingredients: Combine granulated sugar, egg whites, salt and vanilla extract in the mixing bowl of your stand mixer.

3. Melt the sugar: Set the mixing bowl over the double boiler and whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and is a bit warm. Test the sugar by "pinching" the mixture with your fingers and rubbing it between them, if you can feel any sugar crystals, it is not ready yet.

4. Whip the meringue: Remove mixing bowl from heat, set in your stand mixer and fit with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until a strong stiff meringue forms and, most importantly, the mixing bowl is room temperature and no longer warm to the touch.

5. Add the butter: Cut room temp butter into 1 inch cubes, add to the mixing bowl all at once and mix on medium low speed for 10-15 minutes.

6. Add vanilla bean paste & taste: Add the vanilla bean paste, mix until combined, then taste. You may want to add more salt if the buttercream is tasting too sweet for you or a little bit more vanilla bean paste.

7. To remove any further air bubbles: You can swap the whisk attachment for a paddle attachment and mix for 10 minutes more.

8. Use immediately to assemble and decorate your cake for best results. The buttercream can be stored in an air tight container with a layer of cling wrap on its surface for 1-2 days or refrigerated for up to a week and thawed overnight before using.