Cake. Its something pretty traditional; some may even go further to say boring. If this dessert is boring to you, then you’re doing something wrong. Done well, a basic cake has the potential to impress. Ditch the mediocre box mix for this simple, but delicious recipe. Traditional buttercream can be unimpressive. I mean it’s pretty much just sugar and butter. The addition of salt and cream cheese balances out the crazy amount of sugar in frosting. I add a small amount of cream cheese, so you cannot tell its there, but the taste is richer. The addition of jam is optional, but it adds a pretty light pink color and accompanies the cream cheese. If you are looking for a go-to basic cake recipe, this one is it. This recipe tastes exactly like that familiar “cake batter” flavor in ice cream, oreos, etc. (duh… its vanilla cake). I have nothing thought-provoking or ground-breaking to say about this recipe; it’s just really damn good.
Vanilla Bean Cake:
- Butter or nonstick cooking spray
- 2 ¼ cups of cake flour (and more for the pan/pans)
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- *or … omit flour, salt, and baking powder with self rising cake flour
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or the seeds from a vanilla pod
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 cup whole milk
- To be fancy… add gold leaf to the edges of the cake once its frosted like I did
Secret Amazing Frosting Recipe:
- 4 ½ cups confectioners sugar
- 1 ½ cups room temperature butter
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- ¼ cup jam
- ⅓ cup cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease and flour as many or as little pans as you want. This depends on whether you want a layer cake. The cooking time will adjust based on how many layers you do. The more pans= shorter time. If you are looking for a traditional layer cake, use four six-inch cake pans.
If you are not using self rising flour, sift flour, salt, and baking powder together and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar and whichever vanilla you chose. Mix on medium high until its fluffy for 3-4 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
Turn the mixer to low and add the egg yolks one at a time. Stop it again, and scrape down the bowl.
Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in a few batches, alternating with the milk. Start and end with the dry ingredients. Mix for no more than 30 seconds after the last addition.
Evenly divide the mixture among the pans. I used one pan and baked it for 45 minutes. If you are doing four pans, bake it for just 22-25 minutes. It honestly does not matter, as long as you check every so often. If a toothpick comes out mostly clean, its ready. Its common sense that if it’s still soupy in the middle, it probably needs more time. It is so important that you let the cake cool for an hour or so, before trying to get them out of the pans. It will fall apart if you don’t wait or it you don’t coat the pans well enough.
With a paddle attachment on medium speed beat your butter sugar and vanilla until fluffy.
Add the rest of the ingredients and beat until well combined for 2 minutes.
You can adjust it to your liking with more heavy cream or sugar.
Putting it together:
If you are doing multiple layers, add a generous amount of frosting to the middle of the layers after leveling the cakes to your liking (leveling: evenly cutting off cake top for a flatter surface).
Spread those layers and assemble the cake.
Then you should do a crumb coat by adding just enough frosting to cover the outside of the cake, to prevent the crumbs from being visible in the end product.
Spread this evenly with the straight edge of a butter knife or leveling spatula.
Refrigerate the cake for 15 minutes.
Add the rest of the frosting and spread evenly, while rotating it on a cake stand.