Every great party should have a great cake. Because as Julia Child said, “a party without cake is really just a meeting.”
This cake is my favorite cake. I know – a vanilla vanilla cake as a favorite?! I can’t help it, it’s been a favorite since childhood and while I really like a lot of other cake & frosting flavors – nothing has ever topped this flavor for me. And this particular vanilla cake with this vanilla buttercream – perfection!
The cake is soft, light and fluffy. And the frosting is sweet and creamy and together they melt in my mouth and make me one happy camper. And even if vanilla vanilla cake isn’t on the top of your favorite list – you need a good vanilla cake in your repertoire. And you can’t go wrong with this crowd-pleasing party cake.
Yield: One 2-layer, 8-inch round cake or 9-inch round cake
5 large egg whites at room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
2 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour (10 ounces–weighed after sifting)
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease, line with parchment, and flour two round 8-inch pans.
2. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine and stir the egg whites, 1/4 cup of milk, and the vanilla. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients together on low speed for 30 seconds.
4. Add the butter and remaining 1/2 cup of milk, and mix on low speed until just moistened. Increase to medium speed and mix for 90 seconds.
5. Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg mixture in 3 separate batches; beat on medium speed for 20 seconds after each addition.
6. Divide the batter in two, spreading it evenly with a small offset palette knife. If you have a kitchen scale, weigh to ensure 2 even layers.
7. Bake 25-35 minutes or until a cake tester comes clean when inserted into the center. Be so careful to not overbake. Check cake at 20 minutes, but not before, and once you feel it’s almost ready, set the timer for 2 minute intervals. Let cool on racks for 10 minutes before loosening the sides with a small metal spatula, and invert onto greased wire racks. Gently turn cakes back up, so the tops are up and cool completely.
8. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months. Best eaten the same day as baked.
VANILLA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add 6 cups sugar (a little at a time), milk, and vanilla; mix until light and fluffy. If necessary, gradually add remaining 2 cups sugar to reach desired consistency.
TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE: level cakes if necessary and slice each cake horizontally (a cake leveler is a great tool to have) to make 4 layers total. Place one of the layers on a serving platter. Top with some of the vanilla buttercream and smooth in an even layer. Repeat process with remaining cake layers and frosting. Frost the top and sides of the assembled cake with the remaining frosting. If desired, apply sprinkles to the cake.
- I think it’s easiest to frost frozen cake layers, so I always put my layers in the freezer for at least 4 hours or overnight (tightly wrapped).
- Apply a “crumb coat” of frosting to the cake before the final layer. After you have put the filling between the layers, frost the cake with a thin layer of frosting, then chill the cake for 30 minutes or until the frosting is firm to the touch. (I cheat and put mine in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to speed up this process). Once the crumb coat is firm, apply the top coat of frosting – it will go on smoothly and not show any crumbs.
Happy baking! And remember, lots o party fun happening on the blog this week! xo. Manda