It’s starting to get warmer and feel more like spring. The other day I was just in the mood for something cute to make and since I had some cake flour from Janie’s Mill, I thought playing with my cake recipe would be fun. I signed up for their flour subscription to have something new to play with and experiment with. It’s nice to try other types of flours and see if there’s any better results in my standard recipes. With cake flour on hand, how can I not do my classic vanilla cake? Since we are still dealing with covid I like to keep my batches small anyways so it was perfect to have this little treat around without having to make too much. Since it’s so cute and petit I thought someone else might like to make this as well to enjoy at home.
I didn’t go too crazy on anything here. Let’s start with my cake recipe. Below is my go to vanilla cake recipe that I use to create new cakes flavors as well. Everyone needs a simple easy cake recipe to go to for any base or in a pinch project. I love it because it’s moist and tender. It has a nice soft texture but is a little dense than a boxed cake so it works great in any type of cake project. Since it’s my standard recipe I use all purpose flour since it’s typically around, but cakes benefit from the lower protein content of cake flour. It gives an even more tender crust and is easier to mix. The important thing when making this recipe is to really beat the butter and sugar. Make sure the butter is soft and beat for several minutes to get light and fluffy. Using room temp eggs with create the creamiest cake batter. I love it so much.
Classic Vanilla Cake
Makes 1 - 8in layer, or ½ sheet pan
210g Cake Flour
7g Baking Powder
2 ea Eggs
238g Granulated Sugar
169g Unsalted Butter, soft
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. (approx. 3-5 minutes)
Add the eggs one at a time followed by the vanilla. Scrape bowl and beater often.
Add a third of the flour mixture then mix while slowly adding half the milk. Repeat another third of flour and remaining milk, finishing with the last of the flour.
Spread into a greased and parchment lined ½ sheet pan. (13x18 inches)
Bake 15-20 minutes until top is mostly dry and springs back when pressed.
Cool completely then cut in half.
Spread a thin layer of buttercream on one half and place second half on top.
Trim edges and cut into 6, 8, or 12 pieces.
Decorate as desired.
The cake turned out pretty well. A little softer than normal and a bit lighter. To finish them off, I wanted to have just a cute pastel color and a little shine with some dragées. It’s getting into spring, nice and fun for this time of year. If you just like cake, absolutely only make cake but a little buttercream just makes it a nice treat. This is my favorite Swiss buttercream recipe. I always keep egg whites in the freezer from custards and this helps me cycle through them.
115g Egg Whites (about 4 eggs)
230g Granulated Sugar
300g Unsalted Butter, unsalted and room temp
Splash Vanilla Extract
In the bowl of a stand mixer over a pot of simmering water, whisk the egg whites with the sugar and cook until 165°F. This will make the eggs safe to eat.
Move to the mixer and whip until airy and bowl is barely warm to the touch.
Add the butter a chunk 1-2 tablespoons in size at a time until all is added.
Whip until light and fluffy, this will take a few minutes and depending on exact butter and meringue temps let it go for a few minutes to get there. After 5 minute if the mixture is thin and fluid, cool in fridge for 10-15 minute then whip. If lumpy and butter is noticeable, heat bowl with flame or place on pot of water for 20-30 seconds to heat slightly and mix further.
Dye with gel food colors and use as necessary. Lasts 2-3 days at room temp, 1-2 weeks in the fridge, and can be frozen up to 6 months.
I love the creamy and silky texture of Swiss buttercream. You can also do a simple America style with butter and powdered sugar, but please try Swiss at least once. As for color, four pastels. I use gel food color. It mixes in well and quickly. Liquid for pastels is fine but it will take some beating to get the color smooth. I used one color with a single tip. Yellow is a round, pink in a very fine star tip, blue was a petal tip, and the purple was a double textured basket weave tip. Some fun shapes and playing with piping on these. Great project to do with kids or anyone at home.
These cakes turned out so cute and were super fun to do. I like the size of 6 squares but definitely cut them smaller if you’d like. In other experiences with my cakes and buttercream, they freeze well. You can easily freeze half for another day and have a sweet treat on hand! Share some pictures if you make some of these at home!