Friday, July 14, 2017

Vanilla Cake Filled with Cookie Butter

Bakery Quality White Cake - made July 4, 2017, adapted from All in All
This is another recipe I made for the 4th of July barbecue because I could frost and decorate the cake with my handy bag of red, white and blue M&Ms. M&Ms show up better against a vanilla frosting than a chocolate one plus my nephew, Vanilla King (he's made it to being able to "sort of" tolerate chocolate but still prefers vanilla) was attending the barbecue so I defaulted to vanilla cake as one of the desserts I'd brought.
Most vanilla cakes use almond extract to add to the flavor. Not me. I love almonds and despise almond extract. I always just add extra vanilla extract or, in this case, vanilla bean paste. I knew using cake flour would give this cake a nice tender crumb and it did. Just don't overbake it - does that even need to be said anymore?
I didn't want just a plain vanilla cake with vanilla frosting though (sorry, Vanilla King) so instead of sandwiching the layers with the vanilla buttercream, I ended up filling it with cookie butter. It was almost by accident as after I had made the frosting while the cake was cooling, I wasn't sure I'd have enough frosting to fill and cover both layers. So I spread a layer of cookie butter over the bottom cake before topping it with the second layer. It worked out pretty well and I left myself enough frosting for the rest of the cake.
But in hindsight I should've followed what professional cake bakers do and piped frosting around the outer edge of the bottom cake layer before filling it. Why? Because that's what would hold the layers in place and aligned while you cover the whole thing with frosting. Because I didn't, the layers moved around on me as I frosted it. So it was slightly lopsided. Ever try straightening a cake you'd already frosted? Yeah, it doesn't work.
Regardless, this cake tasted pretty good. The crumb was tender, the cookie butter added a nice flavor to complement the vanilla cake and, miracles, I even liked the vanilla buttercream. So did the rest of the barbecue crowd.

Oh, and you'll also notice, I did my usual trick of reserving enough batter for a small taste test cake. When I'm bringing a whole cake to a party, I can't very well present it with a slice missing or an explanation of "I had to taste it first." Instead, I reserve a small portion of batter to bake separately into a ramekin which I topped with a layer of cookie butter then covered with some of the frosting. Yup, I verified it was good enough to bring to the party and share with the others.
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 cup milk
6 egg whites, about 3/4 cup
1 teaspoon almond extract (I substituted vanilla bean paste)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9" round cake pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix milk and egg whites with vanilla and almond extracts until blended.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add cubes of butter and cut in with a pastry blender or two knives until butter pieces are the size of small peas.
  4. Add the milk mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans. Bake for 25-27 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted near the center of the cakes.
  6. Cool the cakes in the pans for 5 minutes then run a small spatula along the sides to loosen cake, turn out onto plates and let cool completely before frosting.
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2-4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream or whole milk

  1. Cream butter and powdered sugar together with paddle attachment of stand mixer until well blended then beat on high for 3 minutes. 
  2. Add the vanilla and 2 tablespoons of the cream or milk and beat for another minute, adding more cream or powdered sugar to reach desired consistency.

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