Fluffy Vanilla Cake
Yield: One 8-inch round cake (2 layers)
5 large egg whites (5 ounces/150 grams), at room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk (180 mL/6 liquid ounces), at room temperature
2 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (9 grams) -- I use Nielsen-Massey Vanillas 8-oz. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract
2 3/4 cups (11 ounces/315 g) cake flour, sifted
1 3/4 cups sugar (12 ounces/350 grams)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder (19.5 grams)
3/4 teaspoon salt (5 grams)
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (6 ounces/170 grams), *slightly softened and cut into cubes
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease, line with parchment, and flour two round 8-inch pans.
2. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine and stir the egg whites, 1/4 cup of milk, and the vanilla. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients together on low speed (I use the "stir" setting on my mixer) for 30 seconds.
4. Add the butter and remaining 1/2 cup of milk, and mix on low speed until just moistened. Increase to medium speed and mix for 1 1/2 minutes.
5. Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg mixture in 3 separate batches; beat on medium speed for 20 seconds after each addition.
6. Divide the batter in two, spreading it evenly with a small offset palette knife. If you have a kitchen scale, weigh to ensure 2 even layers.
7. Bake 25-35 minutes or until a cake tester comes clean when inserted into the center. Be so careful to not overbake. Check cake at 20 minutes, but not before, and once you feel it's almost ready, set the timer for 2 minute intervals. Let cool on racks for 10 minutes before loosening the sides with a small metal spatula, and invert onto greased wire racks. Gently turn cakes back up, so the tops are up and cool completely.
8. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months. Best eaten the same day as baked.
*Slightly adapted from Classic White Cake recipe on Baking Bites
Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting
3 sticks + 2 tablespoons (375 grams/13 ounces) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
3 cups sifted (480 grams/1 lb + 1 ounce) confectioners' sugar (icing, powdered)
3 tablespoons (45 mL) milk
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract -- I use Nielsen-Massey Vanillas 8-oz. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract
pinch of salt
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed (I use "4" on my KitchenAid). Butter will become very pale & creamy.
2. Add remaining ingredients and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy, and fluffy.
3. Best used right away.
4. You can eliminate the vanilla bean and use a total of 1 1/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract.
*Adapted from Donna Hay
Vanilla Cake Assembly
1. Place bottom cake layer on cake plate or 8" round thin cake board.
2. Place 1 cup of frosting on top, and spread evenly with a small offset palette knife.
3. Gently place 2nd cake layer face down on top. Place a generous scoop of frosting on top, spreading evenly with a small offset palette knife and working your way down the sides until you have a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake. Chill until set -- about 30 minutes.
4. Remove from refrigerator and repeat step 3.
5. Store in a cake keeper at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in refrigerator for up to 5 days. Best eaten day 1.