Today’s post is a two-parter. One part recipe. One part love story. A love story that started years ago, way back in high school. At first, this love of mine was not accepted by my family. You see, my family had always been a chocolate cake family. Chocolate cake always and forever, all birthdays and all celebrations. But then, I met vanilla.
I can remember one birthday asking my mom for vanilla cake. Still to this day I’m not sure if she didn’t hear me or thought I was joking. But when I blew out the candles and the first slice was cut, the traditional chocolate cake awaited inside. It wasn’t until I started making my own birthday cakes that I was united with my true love. Ah, sweet vanilla cake!
For years vanilla has been my go-to favorite flavor. Plain and simple and always delightful. We’ve been through it all together… the ups and the downs. From the early days of baking, back when I used a box mix (gasp!). To the hundreds of cakes baked for customers and now to blogging. We’ve made it through tweaks and fads, cake crushes and cake wrecks. New ovens and even diets.
But somewhere along the way, this little love affair has grown stale. Maybe it’s too much of a good thing? Maybe I’m simply taking vanilla cake for granted after all these years. But it all seems so routine now. Just another vanilla cake.
What used to be exciting and fun now seems so ordinary and plain. So very vanilla.
So what’s a girl to do? I can’t just turn my back on vanilla cake. Not after everything we’ve been through. It’s still just as delightful as when we first met.
Like every relationship in a rough patch, I just think we need to spice things up a bit. So the remainder of my week is dedicated to vanilla cake. I think this is going to require some serious quality time. Just me and vanilla cake. Mixing it up and adding a whole lot of heat! Hopefully we can rekindle the magic… Until then, I’ll leave you with this Classic Vanilla Cake recipe. With the hopes of a spicier, zestier version to come next week!
|CLASSIC VANILLA CAKE
a recipe by Carrie Sellman
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 3/4 cups sugar
9 egg whites, at room temperature
4 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted twice then measured
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla bean paste
- Preheat oven to 350. Prepare three 8″ round pans with butter, parchment and flour.
- Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- Stir vanilla bean paste into buttermilk. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high using the paddle attachment. Cream until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- With the mixer on low, add egg whites one at a time. Mixing well after each egg.
- Add one third of your dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
- Add one half of your buttermilk. Mix. Alternate ingredients again. Dry, wet, dry and mix gently. Do not over mix.
- Divide batter between the three prepared pans. Bake 30-33 minutes, rotating pans once. Cake is finished when a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool 10 – 20 minutes before inverting cakes from pans. Cool completely before assembling cake. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate if not using until tomorrow.
For the Swiss Meringue Buttercream
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 egg whites, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- In bowl of stand mixer combine egg whites, sugar and salt. Place over a pan of simmering water and whisk continuously until temperature reaches 160 on a candy thermometer and the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. (The mixture should feel smooth when rubbed between your fingers).
- Attach bowl to mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high, whisk until stiff peaks form and mixture is fluffy and glossy, about 10 minutes. Your bowl should no longer feel warm to the touch.
- With mixer on medium speed, add butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Continue mixing until icing is smooth and silky, about 10 – 15 minutes.
- Add vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
Note: If your icing looks curdled, continue mixing and it will return to a silky smooth texture. If it is too runny, simply refrigerate it for a few minutes and then mix it again.
Wish me cake luck over the next few days… here’s hoping I have a zesty new recipe for you next week!
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Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Kraft via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Kraft.