Sooo, let’s start with the good news first. I made an adorable little 6″ round cake last weekend. My standard vanilla yellow cake recipe with classic buttercream frosting. It was very cute, and tasted delicious, see?
…But my mission to create a vanilla cream filling for it was a complete and utter fail. I tried not once, but TWICE, to make this recipe, and both times was a fail. So I give up. This most definitely will not be the recipe used in my best friend’s wedding cake. No sir. Nothing will be left to chance on her big day (except maybe the weather – I may be good, I can’t control that). I followed the recipe to a T and it just did. not. work. It wasn’t even that good either. This recipe I think is just supposed to be whipped cream with gelatin added so it holds its form better in a cake than whipped cream would. Well, that is what I suppose should go down. It tasted like whipped cream, and the ingredients are those of whipped cream, plus gelatin. Anyway, let’s see how I failed:
Attempt 1: I made the whipped cream fine and successfully dissolved gelatin completely in the hot cream. On this first attempt, I got slightly distracted by food while the cream/gelatin mixture was in the fridge cooling, and it got to full on jello status. I decided to proceed and my filling went from gelatin and whipped cream, straight to a butter and buttermilk curdled mixture mess (aka, it separated). Not cool. I thought maybe this was because I let the jello become jello, and it was a pretty simple recipe, so I decided to try again.
Attempt 2: Same as attempt 1, except this time I did not let the gelatin mixture firm up, and added it to the whipped cream at what I presumed to be the perfect point in time; the mixture was cool, but not solid (per the instructions!). And I slowly added it to the whipped cream as I beat it. I even got Christian to take a beautiful action shot (he was so proud of himself):
Alas, to no avail. I mixed it. And mixed it. And mixed it. And, pretty sure that I had ruined it, I decided to just mix it some more. Once I added the gelatin mixture, the filling NEVER firmed up again. My soft peaks in my whipped cream disappeared and were replaced with a goopy, gloopy, runny mess. Still tasted like whipped cream, but was far too thin to ever go in a cake. At this point I was defeated, and tired, and just wanted my cake to be done. I did some moping, grumbled a lot, scowled at (and then apologized to) Christian, and iced my whole cake in the buttercream, innards between the layers included. It’s okay though. I found another recipe I will try next week. It involves vanilla pudding. If anyone has suggestions as to what I did wrong, I’m all ears! Needless to say, I won’t post the failed recipe. If you really want it, click here. Maybe you will have more success than I did.
So that this post doesn’t leave you all completely unsatisfied, I promised you to share my yellow cake recipe, and like I’ve said before, I haven’t been around long enough to be able to get away with backing out on a promise, so you can have that recipe. Unlike the vanilla cream recipe above, I highly recommend you try this one. I’d like to give credit to whoever I got this recipe from, but honestly, I have had this recipe for so long I don’t remember where I got it. So thank you Internet genius who blessed me with this recipe!
Vanilla Yellow Cake Recipe
Yield: Two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers, and 24 cupcakes, two 8-inch squares or a 9×13 single-layer cake (If you are making a standard 8″ round cake, you may want to scale down the recipe slightly, or make a few cupcakes too, because otherwise your pan is very full and your top will be extra unround.
4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (480 grams) cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
2 sticks (1 cup, 1/2 pound or 225 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups (400 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk (475 ml), well-shaken
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment. (Alternately, you can use a cooking spray, either with just butter or butter and flour to speed this process up…that’s what I do and it works just dandy.)
2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla.
4. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled).
5. Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just Incorporated.
6. Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. (I like to drop mine a few times from two inches up, making a great big noisy fuss, wake up Christian and Daisy from their nap if I’m feeling mean.)
7. Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.
I’ll also give you my buttercream recipe, since I’m sharing my cake recipe.
Funny sidenote: I tried this recipe first during my first cake decorating class. Every week I would come in with my icing and my teacher would be like, “What are you doing to your icing?!?! It is SUPER thin!” I thought I was following the recipe perfectly every time. It was not a big deal – my frosting just required a lot more powdered sugar than others…It was only about two weeks ago that I realized why – The recipe calls for 6-7 tsp water. I was adding 7-6 tbsp. Womp woooomp…In case you don’t know, tablespoons are A LOT bigger than teaspoons. And while in the end I usually add closer to 10 tsp over the recommended 6-7, I definitely am not anywhere near the 6-7 tbsp I was adding before. Needless to say, my frosting is now the right consistency. :)
Classic Buttercream Recipe
Yield: makes enough to ice one 8″ x 4″ round cake. (2 1/2 cups)
1 cup solid white vegetable shortening (7oz)
1 tsp flavoring (almond, vanilla, lemon, etc.)
7-8 tsp water (you can use milk, but water saves better)
1 lb pure cane confectioner’s sugar
1 tbsp meringue powder (also saves better than egg whites)
1. Cream shortening, flavoring, and water together.
2. Add dry ingredients, mixing on medium speed until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Then mix another minute, until creamy.
3. If icing is too stiff, add more water, 1 tap at a time. If icing is too thin, add more sugar, or corn starch.
As for me? I’m off to Montreal for a wild and crazy bachelorette weekend with Amy!