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Thursday, January 11, 2018

VANILLA CAKE


In my mind, my chocolate cake recipe is the dada of cakes, and this vanilla cake is the mama of cakes.  The cake is tender, with a tight crumb.


It can be endlessly modified. I've added zest for citrusy cakes. I've added spices to make cardamom and cinnamon concoctions. Steeping tea in the milk to make an earl grey cake works really well too! All of these ideas make we want to go make something creative right now! I hope it sparks your creativity too!


You need to know...
*I put both a 6" and an 8" version of the cake below. I like the visual proportions of the 6". It looks a bit taller and thinner.
*Both recipes make a lot of cake. They are three thick layers. I'm always surprised at how much cake it is!
*Don't skimp on the details. Make sure your ingredients are really room temp. Make sure you truly cream the butter. Make sure you scrape down your bowl often. If you are well-behaved and follow the rules, you will be proud of the delicious cake you make.
*Sometimes my urge to modify things is really strong, but I try to restrain myself occasionally and just make this cake with some vanilla or almond frosting. It's so classic and amazing in it's simplest form.


8” VANILLA CAKE

Ingredients
490g all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
500g granulated sugar
255g unsalted butter, room temperature
4 eggs, large, room temperature
1 egg yolk, large, room temperature
340g milk, room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract

Directions
Prepare three 8 inch round cake pans with butter and flour. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the sugar and butter until lightened in color and fluffy. This takes a few minutes.

Add in the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, making sure that each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Scrape down the bowl as needed.

Add in one third of the dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated. Add in the vanilla extract, almond extract, and half of the milk. Mix until just incorporated. Follow in the same way with another third of the dry ingredients, the rest of the milk, and, finally, the rest of the dry ingredients. Scrape down the bowl as needed.

Divide the batter evenly amongst the three prepared pans. Bang the filled pans on the counter to level the batter and to knock out large air bubbles.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. The cake is done when it is lightly browned, pulling away slightly from the side of the pan, and springs back when lightly poked.

Cool the cakes for 5 minutes in the pans before turning them out on to cooling racks to cool completely.


Cakes can be made ahead of time. Store tightly wrapped on the counter for one day, or tightly wrapped and stored in the freezer for up to one month.

6” VANILLA CAKE

Ingredients
326g all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
334g granulated sugar
170g unsalted butter, room temperature
3 eggs, large, room temperature
226g milk, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract

Directions
Prepare three 6 inch round cake pans with butter and flour. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the sugar and butter until lightened in color and fluffy. This takes a few minutes.

Add in the eggs one at a time, making sure that each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Scrape down the bowl as needed.

Add in one third of the dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated. Add in the vanilla extract, almond extract, and half of the milk. Mix until just incorporated. Follow in the same way with another third of the dry ingredients, the rest of the milk, and, finally, the rest of the dry ingredients. Scrape down the bowl as needed.

Divide the batter evenly amongst the three prepared pans. Bang the filled pans on the counter to level the batter and to knock out large air bubbles.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. The cake is done when it is lightly browned, pulling away slightly from the side of the pan, and springs back when lightly poked.

Cool the cakes for 5 minutes in the pans before turning them out on to cooling racks to cool completely.

Cakes can be made ahead of time. Store tightly wrapped on the counter for one day, or tightly wrapped and stored in the freezer for up to one month.

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