Lately, we have been watching baking channels on YouTube, such as Yolanda Gampp’s How to Cake It. If you haven’t seen it, and you enjoy baking, you should subscribe. Her videos are so entertaining! We also love Cupcake Jemma’s channel, and never miss her weekly posts. We should also mention Nick from The Scran Line, we enjoy his original cupcake recipes. Watching all those videos and tutorials inspired us to try their recipes and techniques at home. We set apart a weekend to bake and decorate our cake and today we are here sharing part 1 of our experience with a post on how to bake this Vanilla Cake, using another great baker’s recipe. It’s from Kara’s Couture Cakes.
About the Cake Recipe
What sets this recipe apart from others I have used, is that is uses the high-ratio method, which means you mix the dry ingredients first, and then you crumble in the butter and continue mixing until you get a sandy texture; instead of creaming the butter first and then adding the sugar, as most recipes instruct.
We recommend you get 3″ tall cake pans. We used two 8″ round pans, with high 3″ sides. We went out and bought them to make this recipe. If you live in Guatemala, you can find them at Blossom Cakes.
Tips for this specific recipe:
- As far as ingredients go, everything needs to be at room temperature: eggs, milk, and butter. Room temperature means you can’t feel cold on your hand, and you should be able to make an indent with your finger on the butter with no effort.
- Do you know what other thing we bought to make these cakes? A scale. Get a scale guys, they are inexpensive and it will ensure you get perfect baking results every time.
- Read the recipe before you start, and make sure you understand all the steps. There are specific mixing times in the instructions. Set a timer and follow them.
We baked and leveled the cakes on a Saturday, and made the buttercream and decorated on Sunday morning. Doing it all in one day would have been too much work, and we wanted to enjoy ourselves with our little project. This cake is the perfect texture for decorating, it’s easy to level and handle without the layers crumbling or breaking apart.
As far as the flavor goes, and we are not exaggerating because we are writing this post about it… I think we have found our favorite vanilla cake recipe! The crumb is beautiful, the texture and flavor is simply perfect. We also love the color. Since it uses egg whites, it bakes a beautiful light color, almost white. If you want to combine it with whatever flavor of buttercream, or maybe a jam filling, it will not be too sweet.
About Leveling and Layering the Cakes
When it comes to leveling the cake, we used a cake leveler. We were scared to use a ruler and knife, so we did it with a store-bought cake leveler, which worked wonderfully for us. Here are the tools you will need to bake, level, and cut your cake into layers:
Here is the video from Cupcake Jemma we used to learn the technique to level and cut layers using our cake leveler. Go ahead and skip to minute 2:05 if you want to get straight to the cutting tips. We only used her tips to level the cakes horizontally, we did not cut off the sides as she did.
General Baking Tips:
- Your butter, eggs and milk should be at room temperature.
- Measure your ingredients properly. Baking is an exact science. I actually did some investigating on how to measure flour properly using a measuring cup: you should fluff the flour in its container first, then spoon it into your measuring cup. Then level it out using the straight end of a knife. Or, the best way is to use a scale and weigh it, if your recipe gives you the quantity in grams.
- Make sure your leavening ingredients, such as baking powder, or baking soda (if asked for) are not expired.
- Follow the directions to the dot.
- Scrape down the bowl with a spatula after each incorporation of ingredients to your mixer. This ensures proper incorporation of all the ingredients.
- Line the bottom of your pans with parchment paper, cover the bottom and sides of the pan with butter and give them an even dusting of flour. After, I still line the bottom with parchment paper by cutting a circle the same size as the pan.
- Allow the pans to cool completely before removing the cakes. Unless the recipes instructs otherwise.
We tried Yolanda Gampp’s Perfect Italian Meringue Buttercream to cover our cake, and used her techniques as well as inspiration from Cupcake Jemma’s Unicorn Cake to decorate our own. We’ll be sharing all our tips for the buttercream and decorating in our next two tutorials.
We hope you give these recipes a try, and get inspired to bake at home and impress your family and friends with a beautiful cake made by you!
Recipe from Kara’s Couture Cakes
Yields: 2 8-inch round cakes
16-oz. all-purpose flour (3 ¼ cups)
2 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
22-oz. granulated sugar (3 cups)
¾ tablespoon of salt
8-oz. unsalted butter (1 cup, 2 sticks), room temperature
1 ½ tablespoon of vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
7 large egg whites, room temperature (about 1 cup)
12-oz. whole milk, room temperature (1 ½ cups)
1-oz. vegetable oil (⅛ cup)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease sides and bottom of two 8-inch round pans. Dust with flour and shake off the excess. Line bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
- Add all dry ingredients to a stand mixer bowl: all-purpose flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Mix with a paddle to combine well. This replaces sifting.
- In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients: vanilla, egg whites, milk, and vegetable oil, and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- Turn mixer to low and add chunks of butter slowly to the dry mix. Continue to beat on slow until there are no chunks of butter remaining and the mixture becomes crumbly, it should look like wet sand.
- On low-speed, add ⅓ of the liquid ingredients to the dry/butter ingredients and then turn to medium. Mix until a light paste forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. It will be dough like.
- Add half of the remaining wet ingredients and beat on medium-high speed for 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Add the remaining wet ingredients and beat on medium speed for 5 minutes.
- Divide evenly between the two prepared cake pans.
- Bake for 40-60 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean and sides have begun to pull away from the side of the pan. This will depend on the size of your pan, how full you make it, and on proper oven temp.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Place on a rack to finish cooling.
Have you made this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture with the hashtag #thefoodieskitchen!
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