The perfect vanilla cake
For me at least :)
I love vanilla, and this cake is so soft and fluffy, it makes my tummy tickle. Pair it with an amazing cream cheese frosting, and it can’t get any better! Oh wait! It does get better! It is pink, and lavender… a wonderful delicate yumminess. Perfection.
I wanted to bake a gradient colored cake for a long time, and I am so happy I finally did. Can’t wait to try a rainbow one too!
The original recipe for this cake was with butter cream frosting, but I don’t really like butter cream. Why would you use butter mixed with sugar for frosting? Yes, it looks good and is easy to use and frost with it, but I really don’t like the texture or taste of it. It is just greasy. And I tried them all, simple butter cream, meringue butter cream, but none works for me.
Cream cheese frosting has a lovely texture, is super creamy but not greasy, it has a tang to it, that I love, that really compliments the rich vanilla cake. It goes beautiful with chocolate too. You can as well color it anyway you want using food coloring.
You can also use a custard base cream for this cake.
And I am planning to make one covered in fondant as well. So many thinks to try and do!
The white frosting works very well with a layered and colorful cake like this, because it just makes it a wonderful surprise when you cut a simple white cake and discover such a pretty inside.
For the cake
5 ounces egg whites ( 5 large egg whites or 150 grams ) I just put 2/3 cup
3/4 cup whole milk ( 180 ml )
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract ( 15 ml )
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour ( 10 ounces or 285 grams )
1 3/4 cups sugar ( 12 ounces or 350 grams )
1 tablespoon baking powder
pinch of salt
12 tablespoons butter ( 6 ounces or 170 grams ) cut in cubes
pink and lavender food colorings
Cream cheese frosting
16 oz cream cheese ( 450 grams) I use Philadelphia regular
1 cup heavy whipping cream ( 8 ounces or 240 ml )
2 cups confectioners sugar ( 200 grams ) You can put 3 cups if you want it sweeter
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
When you bake any cake it is very important to accurately measure the ingredients and for all the ingredients to have room temperature.
Preheat oven at 350 degrees F ( 180 C ).
Butter and line with parchment paper 2, or 4 if you have, 8 inch cake pans. I have 2, so I baked the cake in 2 rounds.
Mix in a bowl the egg whites, 1/4 cup milk and the vanilla. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electrical mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the dry ingredients : flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Add the butter and remaining milk ( 1/2 cup ) and mix on low speed until combined, then on medium ( 4 ) for 1-2 minutes.
Add the egg white mixture, in 3 separate batches, beating for 20 seconds after every batch, scraping the sides of the bowl. Your batter should look smooth like this. If it curdles means you had too much liquid in the batter. I don’t know if it will work adding just a little more flour, like 1-2 tablespoons, because it never happened to me, but you can give it a try if you have a curdled batter.
Divide the batter equally in 4 separate bowls. You can do that using a kitchen scale. I don’t have one yet, so I just divided it using a large ice cream scoop like this one, that you can use to divide batter for cupcakes too. It is important to have equal amounts of batter to make sure your layers will be equal in thickness when baked.
Put one drop of pink food coloring in the first bowl, one pink plus one purple in the second, 2 purple drops in the third, and 3 drops of purple in the fourth. Mix well each, with different spoons/forks/spatulas.
You can do this using whatever colors and combination you want. This is a fun cake to make!
Bake the 4 different colored batches of batter. I put two pans at once in the oven, on the same rack, int he middle. Bake for 16 minutes. Baking time depends on your oven as well, so make sure to check them around minute 14, and see if when you insert a toothpick in center comes out clean. It can be 15, 16 or 17 minutes. Is important not to over bake, and this is easy because the layers are quite thin, so keep a watchful eye on them.
After baking the first two layers, let them cool, then delicately take them out of the pans. The layers are thin and very delicate. The colder they are the easiest will be to take them out. Parchment paper helps you a lot in this step. so it is important to use it.
Put them on a wire rack to cool completely.
Wash, dry, butter and line with parchment the pans again quickly, and bake the other two layers.
Let them cool too, and here you have 4 beautiful different colored cake layers.
Prepare the frosting:
Whip the heavy whipping cream using and electric mixer, using the wire whip attachment, until it gets stiff whipped cream. Put it aside in a bowl.
In the same bowl of the electrical mixer beat the cream cheese using the paddle attachment, on medium speed, until fluffy. Add the confectioners sugar gradually, and the vanilla, and beat on medium ( 4 on my KitchenAid ) for 7-10 minutes, until light and fluffy. Fold in the whipped cream and mix well.
I love cream cheese frosting, but I wanted it to be a little more light and airy, so I thought of combining it with whipped cream, and this is now my favorite cake frosting! It will work great on cupcakes as well, I can’t wait to try!
Place the darkest lavender colored layer ( the one with 3 drops of coloring ) on the cake stand, or serving platter you will use for the cake. Using the same ice cream scoop place two dollops of the frosting in the middle of the layer, and spread evenly using a spatula.
Place the layer with two purple coloring drops on, spread with another 2 dollops of frosting, then the one with pink and purple coloring, spread with frosting, and finally the last pink layer on top.
Frost the whole cake with a thin layer of cream cheese frosting, to crumble coat it. This will ensure that no cake crumbs will get into your final layer of frosting, and have a perfect result. Place in fridge for 30 minutes to set. You can then finish frosting it with the remaining cream.
Hope you will enjoy making this cake as much as I did. It is like playing in kindergarten! And there are so many variations you can try, just let your imagination go wild. I am planning on making a double batch of this batter, in order to make more layers to this cake! A six or seven layer cake would be so cool!
Thanks for reading!