Very Vanilla Layer Cake

Very vanilla cake - Domestic GothessVanilla is a flavour that is quite often overlooked, overshadowed by it’s bigger, bolder brother chocolate, it is most often used to enhance other ingredients rather than allowed to shine on it’s own. But when used well, vanilla is a beautiful stand-alone flavour, sweet, complex and comforting. I decided to bake a cake flavoured only with vanilla to highlight just how delicious it can be.

Very vanilla layer cake with ermine frosting - Domestic GothessI added (a generous amount of) vanilla to both the cake and buttercream; the cake is a fairly simple sponge, made using the reverse creaming method which makes for an extremely moist, melt in the mouth crumb. The icing is ermine buttercream, also known as cooked flour frosting, which is one of my absolute favourite buttercreams; it is positively ethereally light and fluffy, almost mousse like, and is incredibly easy to spread and pipe. It sounds like an odd way to make icing – cooking milk and flour and then beating it into butter and sugar, but it really works and is so much nicer than the standard butter and icing sugar frosting, and is also easier and less temperamental than swiss meringue buttercream.

Very vanilla layer cake - Domestic GothessThe cake stayed soft and moist for nearly a week when kept in an airtight container at room temperature. Very vanilla cake is the ideal cake for any celebration as it can be enjoyed by everyone, young and old; the flavour is simple enough for children, yet it is anything but boring. The texture is smooth, light and fluffy, the silky buttercream is flecked with vanilla bean seeds, hinting at the flavour. I enjoyed it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for an all out vanilla experience, but it is also lovely dressed up with some strawberries for the perfect Summer cake.

Vanilla layer cake with ermine frosting - Domestic Gothess

Very Vanilla Layer Cake
 
Serves 8-10
Author:
Ingredients
Cake
  • 4 large egg whites (about 120g)
  • 210ml (3/4 + ⅛ cup) full fat milk
  • 2½ tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 240g (2 cups) plain flour
  • 25g (scant ¼ cup) cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 265g (1 + ⅓ cups) caster sugar
  • 17g (1 slightly rounded tbsp) baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 150g (1/2 cup + 2tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
Buttercream
  • 200ml (3/4 cup + 1tbsp + 1tsp) full fat milk
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 175g (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 175g (3/4 cup + 2 tbsp) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1½ tsp vanilla bean paste
  • pinch salt
Instructions
Cakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Grease three 15cm/6in round cake tins and line with baking parchment.
  2. Mix together the egg whites, 80ml (1/3 cup) of the milk and the vanilla bean paste in a jug. Place the flour, cornflour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer and mix briefly to combine.
  3. Add the butter and the remaining 130ml of the milk and mix on low (with your stand mixer or an electric whisk) until moistened, turn the mixer up to medium and beat for about a minute and a half until smooth. Add the egg white mixture in three separate additions, beating well after each one and scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the three pans and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for 15 minutes or so before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. I find it easiest to ice cakes if they are cold or frozen (less crumbs), so if you like, once the cakes are cold you can put them in the freezer for an hour or two before you ice them; by the time you come to eat the cake they will have defrosted.
Buttercream
  1. Whisk together the milk and flour in a small pan until smooth. Place over a medium-low heat and whisk constantly until the mixture is very thick and paste-like. Scrape into a bowl, cover with clingfilm directly on the surface and refrigerate until completely cold.
  2. Once the flour mixture is cold, place the butter and sugar in a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk on high speed for a good few minutes until extremely light and fluffy. Whisk in the vanilla and salt.
  3. Whisk in the flour mixture a tablespoon at a time, whisking well after each addition, until it has all been mixed in and the buttercream is completely smooth, it should almost have the consistency of whipped cream.
  4. Place one of the cake layers on a cake stand or serving platter, spread a dollop of the buttercream over the top, place another cake layer on top, press down gently and repeat. Place the final cake layer on top and give the whole cake a very thin coating of buttercream, just enough to fill in the gaps. Use a palette knife or dough scraper to get it smooth.
  5. Place the remaining buttercream in a piping bag fitted with an open star nozzle (or nozzle of your choice) and pipe dollops of it over the top of the cake, starting with a ring around the outer edge and working your way inwards.
  6. The cake will remain soft for several days if stored in an airtight container at cool room temperature.

Β Very vanilla layer cake with cooked flour frosting - Domestic GothessI am sharing this with Fiesta Friday hosted by Cooking With Aunt Juju and Food Eat Love, Friday Features, Fabulous Foodie Fridays, Foodie Fridiy, Foodie Friends Friday and Friday Favourites

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53 Comments on Very Vanilla Layer Cake

  1. Girl and the Kitchen
    July 16, 2015 at 2:09 pm (2 years ago)

    Your cakes are always so gorgeous looking! And I agree sometimes we just need the glorious vanilla sparkle πŸ™‚ Beautiful photos as always πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      July 18, 2015 at 4:38 pm (2 years ago)

      *blush* Thank you! πŸ™‚ x

      Reply
  2. Hilda
    July 16, 2015 at 3:13 pm (2 years ago)

    You had me at vanilla, but I also love your butter cream recipe. I must give that a try.

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      July 18, 2015 at 4:39 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks Hilda πŸ™‚ The buttercream is amazing! Really worth a try

      Reply
  3. Robyn
    July 16, 2015 at 9:32 pm (2 years ago)

    This will not definitely be going on my give it a go list, but I fear it won’t look as impressive as the original πŸ™‚

    Reply
  4. Amy
    July 16, 2015 at 11:31 pm (2 years ago)

    This cake is absolutely gorgeous, and sometimes classic vanilla is the absolute best! I have made this frosting before too! It seems weird, but it always wows the crowd. We call it ‘cloud frosting’ because the texture is so light πŸ™‚ You’ve inspired me to get a-caking this weekend!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      July 18, 2015 at 4:42 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you πŸ™‚ Cloud frosting is a very appropriate name!

      Reply
  5. Jessica @ Sweetest Menu
    July 17, 2015 at 4:27 am (2 years ago)

    This is one VERY pretty cake! I am in love! Total vanilla lover over here! πŸ˜‰

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      July 18, 2015 at 4:47 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks Jessica πŸ™‚

      Reply
  6. Shari from GoodFoodWeek
    July 17, 2015 at 4:59 am (2 years ago)

    I am making a friend’s wedding cake and I have thought to make a hummingbird cake but now you have me second guessing myself.

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      July 18, 2015 at 4:48 pm (2 years ago)

      Ha ha! I think it would make a great wedding cake! (though hummingbird cake is delicious too πŸ™‚ )

      Reply
  7. Cristina @ I Say Nomato
    July 17, 2015 at 12:15 pm (2 years ago)

    Gorgeous!!! I’m going to have to try this recipe, I think! I’ve never heard of doing buttercream or sponge cake this way and I’m intrigued! I’m also in love with your plates πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      July 18, 2015 at 4:50 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you! The plate was my grandmothers wedding china! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  8. prettypolymath
    July 17, 2015 at 6:24 pm (2 years ago)

    that looks so gorgeous! that butter cream looks super fluffy and light! need this in my life ASAP!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      July 18, 2015 at 4:51 pm (2 years ago)

      It is sooo fluffy! It’s like eating a cloud πŸ˜›

      Reply
  9. dishofdailylife
    July 18, 2015 at 2:13 am (2 years ago)

    Your cakes are so gorgeous! I am always in awe of your desserts! Sharing on my Facebook page tomorrow and pinned!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      July 18, 2015 at 4:53 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks Michelle πŸ™‚

      Reply
  10. Friday Features w/Linky
    July 18, 2015 at 5:51 pm (2 years ago)

    Oh my how pretty your cake is!!! It looks delicious seeing that tall slim cake, does that make it less calories, lol. I was thinking of making a cake in large tuna cans to make a tall cake, I wonder if that would work with your recipe.

    I have not decorated a cake with pastry nozzles for years, but yours make me want to.
    I have pinned to share.

    Thank you for sharing on Oh My Heartsie Girl!!
    Have a great weekend!
    karren

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      July 24, 2015 at 9:47 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks Karren πŸ™‚ I’ve made cake in tin cans before and it turned out great! I haven’t tried this particular recipe in a can though.

      Reply
  11. Malinda (@MBPaperPackages)
    July 19, 2015 at 6:23 am (2 years ago)

    This looks just gorgeous. There is something so appealing about a simple vanilla cake.

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      July 24, 2015 at 9:47 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks Malinda πŸ™‚

      Reply
  12. bakeplaysmile
    July 19, 2015 at 10:02 pm (2 years ago)

    I totally agree with you!!!! Vanilla is the best and yet it’s always forgotten! Yum! I love your simple decorating too. Thanks so much for linking up with our Fabulous Foodie Fridays party xxx

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      July 24, 2015 at 9:48 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you Lucy πŸ™‚ x

      Reply
  13. Julie's Family Kitchen
    July 22, 2015 at 3:02 pm (2 years ago)

    Personally I love vanilla, especially the smell. Your very vanilla cake is stunning and a real show stopper. πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      July 24, 2015 at 9:52 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks Julie, the house did smell amazing while the cake was baking!

      Reply
  14. Jennifer
    July 22, 2015 at 7:41 pm (2 years ago)

    Such an impressive cake…and I love vanilla…amazing! Visiting from Cook Blog Share πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      July 24, 2015 at 9:53 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks Jennifer πŸ™‚

      Reply
  15. Honest Mum
    July 23, 2015 at 10:41 am (2 years ago)

    Another spectacularly dreamy offering, please tell me you are bringing out a book! So talented! Thanks for linking up to #tastytuesdays x

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      July 24, 2015 at 9:54 pm (2 years ago)

      Some day! πŸ™‚ x

      Reply
  16. sarahgiebens
    July 24, 2015 at 3:24 pm (2 years ago)

    WOW. What a gorgeous and delicious looking cake! Yum! Happy FF πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      July 24, 2015 at 9:59 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you Sarah πŸ™‚ Have a great weekend!

      Reply
  17. Arl's World
    July 24, 2015 at 5:41 pm (2 years ago)

    Your cake looks beautiful and delicious! Happy FF! πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      July 24, 2015 at 10:03 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you! Hope you have a fantastic weekend!

      Reply
  18. cookingwithauntjuju.com
    July 24, 2015 at 9:22 pm (2 years ago)

    I enjoy any kind of cake (just about). I like that you use vanilla bean paste in your recipe – wonderful flavor I bet! Thanks for sharing with Fiesta Friday and save me a piece or two.

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      July 24, 2015 at 10:06 pm (2 years ago)

      I don’t think I’ve ever tried a cake that I haven’t enjoyed! (yet) The vanilla bean paste does give a fantastic flavour, and I love the little flecks of vanilla seeds in the icing πŸ™‚

      Reply
    • hannahhossack
      August 1, 2015 at 7:32 am (2 years ago)

      Thanks Michelle πŸ™‚ This cake was eaten faster than any other I have made before!

      Reply
    • hannahhossack
      August 1, 2015 at 7:38 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you!

      Reply
  19. Sally Akins (@SallyAkins)
    July 29, 2015 at 3:31 pm (2 years ago)

    This cake looks absolutely amazing – I agree with you that vanilla is often overlooked as a flavour!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      August 1, 2015 at 7:45 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you πŸ™‚ I think that this cake got eaten more quickly than any chocolate one I have made before!

      Reply
  20. Rookie baker
    August 3, 2015 at 11:49 am (2 years ago)

    Hi Hannah,
    This cake looks amazing and I’m dying to make it for a friends baby shower. However, I want to use 20 cm tins to make the cake slight bigger due to the number attending.
    Are you able to advise me how to adjust the cooking time or temperature accordingly?

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      August 3, 2015 at 6:34 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi, Are you planning on scaling up the recipe? Keep the oven temperature the same as the recipe; I can’t give you an accurate baking time as I haven’t tried this recipe in larger pans, check after 25 minutes and then every 5-10 minutes after that until a skewer comes out clean (unless you AREN’T increasing the recipe amount, in which case check after 20 mins as the cakes will be thinner and therefore cook more quickly), hope that helps! Let me know if you have any more questions. πŸ™‚

      Reply
      • Rookie baker
        August 4, 2015 at 8:02 am (2 years ago)

        Many thanks Hannah that’s really helpful. I will just make thinner cakes so will reduce the cooking time.

        Reply
  21. Lucy Parissi
    August 5, 2015 at 9:28 am (2 years ago)

    I love vanilla personally and it is anything but boring! I also love a very similar recipe that have been using it for years – it is excellent for rainbow cakes as it takes colour really well. In fact I think it was one of the first major cakes I ever baked for my daughter’s birthday a few years ago. Which reminds me I must make again : )

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      August 8, 2015 at 7:48 am (2 years ago)

      I get through so much vanilla, though don’t often remember to use it as a standalone flavour. I’ve never tried a rainbow cake, though I’ve been itching to play with food colouring so maybe I should give it a go… x

      Reply
  22. Kate
    November 9, 2015 at 8:05 pm (2 years ago)

    I made this cake for my son’s first birthday and is was amazing! The icing is just the greatest too! I made extra of the icing and put it on everything! One question about the icing, how long does it last in the fridge and can you freeze it? Thanks!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      November 9, 2015 at 8:40 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Kate, I’m so glad you liked it! The icing is one of my favourites, so light and fluffy! To be honest I have never tried freezing it so I have no idea whether it would work or not, it should be fine but there is a risk of it separating when it defrosts. It should keep in the fridge for up to a week but you may need to re-whip it when you come to use it, let it come up to room temperature first. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  23. Emma
    December 8, 2015 at 11:14 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi πŸ™‚ i have made this cake several times & everyone absolutely loves it!!! It is amazing!! Is it okay to leave the cake in the freezer for a week? I need to bake ahead to save time. Thanks

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      December 8, 2015 at 11:29 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Emma, fantastic! So glad you like the cake, it is one of my favourites πŸ™‚ You can bake the cakes in advance, wrap them well in clingfilm once they have cooled and freeze them for up to a couple of months, I often bake cakes in advance and freeze them. But I’m not sure how well a fully iced cake would freeze, the icing may go weird and separate as it defrosts; I would bake and freeze the cakes in advance but leave making the icing until it is time to serve the cake if you are able.

      Reply
  24. Stephen rodgers
    February 28, 2016 at 9:33 pm (1 year ago)

    You always make your cakes soooo beautiful you are truly a master baker

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      March 8, 2016 at 11:00 am (1 year ago)

      Thanks Stephen πŸ™‚

      Reply

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