Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Memorial Day - Vanilla Layer Cake

Vanilla Layer Cake - made May 26, 2014 from Baking by Flavor by Lisa Yockelson
I had another post planned for today but in honor of Memorial Day, I decided to make this Vanilla Layer Cake to showcase the red, white and blue sprinkles to commemorate the day. There's nothing "Memorial Day" about this cake other than the sprinkles but I wanted something to mark the day to honor the men and women of our armed forces. Memorial Day isn't just a day off but a time to honor those who serve. It's also a good reminder that, if you're inclined to make charitable donations, there are a lot of worthy organizations out there that serve our veterans and active service personnel.
Just a few examples (note: I'm not affiliated with any of these organizations other than donating to them in the past):
Fisher House Foundation
Wounded Warrior Project
Gary Sinise Foundation
As for the cake, this can be as simple or as fancy as you choose. If you're a vanilla lover, I'd keep it simple to stay true to the vanilla flavor. The original recipe called for frosting it with chocolate buttercream but I wanted to keep it purist vanilla so I made up my own vanilla frosting recipe. My frosting came out just a trifle too sweet, maybe because I'm not a frosting person even though I have sugar running through my veins. So I kept the frosting layer very thin. Because this was all about the cake. It was delicious. Light, fluffy and exactly the cake texture I've been trying to replicate in my quest for the perfect banana cake. But this was in vanilla form and I loved it. Once again, Lisa Yockelson's Baking by Flavor reigns supreme when it comes to fabulous recipes.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
seed scrapings for 1/2 vanilla bean
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup milk blended with 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Vanilla Frosting
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2-3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
enough milk to achieve desired spreading consistency (1-3 tablespoons, more or less)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray the inside of two 8 or 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment rounds.
  2. Sift the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder and salt together; set aside.
  3. Cream the butter in the large bowl of a freestanding electric mixer on moderate speed for 3 minutes. Add the sugar in three batches, beating for 1 minutes after each portion is incorporated. Blend in the vanilla bean seed scrapings and vanilla extract; beat for a minute longer. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition.
  4. On low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients in three additions with the milk-heavy cream blend in two additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to keep the batter even-textured.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pans, dividing it evenly between them. Smooth tops witha small metal spatula.
  6. Bake the layers for 25 to 30 minutes or until set and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool the layers in the pans on racks for 5 minutes. Invert each layer onto another cooling rack, peel off the parchment round then invert again to cool right side up. Cool completely before frosting.
  8. Frosting: Beat butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Add vanilla extract and enough milk to beat smooth for your desired consistency.

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