I was debating between ‘The ultimate vanilla cake recipe’ and ‘A great vanilla cake recipe’ as a title, mainly for two reasons: first, the ultimate makes the conclusion that perhaps nothing greater could come after it, and a great one is a testimony that although it is great, perhaps it’s not the best?
Words hold meaning, obviously, but they are very important when they try to convey to a reader the truth about one thing or another. Which in this case, the route this recipe takes: is it the ultimate, the best, or just a great one? I chose mediocracy. It is my first try at a ‘great’ vanilla recipe, after researching it for some time. I really wanted to search for a vanilla recipe that was as good as my chocolate cake one (the chocolate cake recipe is truly the best: That I can attest to!). So, I tested a couple of recipes to get to this one …and it’s pretty good, trust me.
I’ll paint the picture a little bit more for you: have you ever been to a wedding and had the best slice of a classic vanilla cake? A simple, yet delicate, rich and sweet yet subtle, non-airy not too dense texture, with buttercream frosting that was just the right amount? regardless if you scraped it off or not? That was the cake recipe I wanted, and searched long for!
You might think: well, what’s so different about this one? And to that question I will have no answer. I went with my guts. I read many classic vanilla recipes that were fairly the same. And most are. But this one isn’t quite. Was that what got me to try it? Maybe. Either way, I was very satisfied with the results.
So, a classic vanilla cake recipe was served up to my friends and they absolutely loved it!
A classic vanilla cake recipe with buttercream frosting
Total time: 70 minutes
Serving size: 6-8
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
- 1/4 tsp vanilla salt
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup water
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, salt, cream, water, egg yolks and egg until smooth.
- Add 1 cup of flour and baking powder, beat until combined.
- Add the remaining 1 1/4 cup of flour, beat until combined.
- Pour the batter into a cake pan and bake for 40 minutes – your toothpick should come out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.
Lessons learned: Based on a couple of cake tests, here’s what I found:
- I changed the sugar amount of this recipe because it initially called for 1.5 cups of sugar and I left it at just 1 cup. The frosting makes it sweeter, and I found it unnecessary to put all that sugar in (based on a couple of cake tests).
- I also believe that although some recipes call for ‘room temperature’ butter, melted butter worked better for this recipe.
- I found the recipe amount not very large, and I tried locating the original source of this recipe and couldn’t (it’s from a blogger but they didn’t cite where they initially got the recipe from); as you can see, the ingredients aren’t very large for a very large cake. Therefore, you might need to double the amount depending on the size you’re going for.
- You can substitute heavy cream for milk, and butter for Becel butter and it will still turn out great.
- You might need to reduce the baking time to 30-40 minutes depending on the size of the cake pan you’re going with.
- The cake you see required me to DOUBLE the ingredients of this recipe. **
Total time: 10 minutes
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons milk
- Cream room temperature butter with a hand mixer, the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, or a wooden spoon until smooth and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until fully incorporated.
- Beat in vanilla extract.
- Pour in milk and beat for an additional 3-4 minutes. This step is crucial because the more you beat it, the fluffier and higher in volume it will get.
- You can refrigerate it, but the cream will harden because of the butter. However, putting it out on the counter for 30 minutes and then mixing it again in the mixer will help before decorating your cake.
Lessons Learned: This is by far the best buttercream frosting recipe I’ve tried thus far. It resembles the frosting cake professionals use, and it tastes and looks like one. It is the ideal recipe for a professional looking cake. However, recipe size might be small and you’ll need to double it according to the size of cake you want to use it for.
Recipe taken from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/174347/quick-and-almost-professional-buttercream-icing/