I know...two dessert posts in one week...what the heck is wrong with me?? :)
Seriously, though, my boss just celebrated her 40th birthday and I wanted to do something nice for her, so I decided to make a cake. Now this is big for me....not only did I make a cake AND the frosting, but I made a LAYER cake!! I have made one... yes, that's right, count it...ONE... layer cake in my life and it was quite flat. It tasted great, but it lacked any height whatsoever.
Anyway, back to my boss....I was actually going to make a chocolate cake for her, as I know her love for all things chocolate, but one of the owners went out the Friday before her birthday and bought this ginormous chocolate layer cake that I just knew I could not compete with. So, I changed the plans a bit. I was just going to make a plain vanilla cake, but when I opened the pantry, I realized that I still had a vanilla bean hiding in there. (YAY!) So I did a bit of a search online and came up with this deliciously light cake. It takes time...trust me, I wanted to rush through half of the steps, but I didn't. I practiced patience and was rewarded with a cake that was light and fluffy. It was a thing of beauty, let me tell you. And the flavor was AMAZING! Topped with the white chocolate frosting...it was quite heavenly!
On a sad note, my wonderful boss has accepted another job and I will be loosing her in less than a month. It's a tough blow as I thoroughly enjoyed working for/with her. She gave me a chance and has really taught me a lot in the last year. She will be sorely missed, and that, my friends, is an understatement!!
Well, at least I got to make her this scrumptious cake before she left :)
Vanilla Bean Cake with White Chocolate Frosting
Cake recipe courtesy Confections of a Foodie Bride; Frosting adapted from Diana's Desserts
3 cups cake flour (I could not find cake flour, so I searched and found that you can substitute all purpose flour - for every 1 cup of cake flour used 1 cup minus 2 Tbls SIFTED all purpose flour)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 cup unsalted butter, cubed and room temperature
2 cups sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
5 large eggs at room temperature
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
1 Tablespoon vanilla
For Frosting -
4 1/2 ounces good quality white chocolate, finely chopped
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line two 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Split and scrape the vanilla pod into the the butter, discard pod (or reserve for another use). Beat for 3 minutes on medium-high speed until the butter is light and creamy in color. Stop and scrape the bowl. Cream the butter for an additional 60 seconds.
Add the sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, beating 1 minutes after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl before each addition. Add the eggs, one at a time. Reduce the mixer speed. Stir vanilla into the buttermilk. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk. Mix just until incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the top with an off-set spatula. Lift up the pan and let it drop onto the counter top a couple of times to burst any air bubbles and allowing the batter to settle. Center the pans onto the lower third of the oven and let bake 45-50 minutes or until the cake is lightly brown on top and comes away from the sides of the pan and a skewer inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached.
Let cool completely in the pans before removing the cakes.
When ready to frost the cake: Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Stir until smooth, let cooled to lukewarm. (I had to add a little cream to get it to be smooth)
In a bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, add the chocolate, milk, vanilla, butter, and cream cheese. Add the confectioners' sugar 1/4-1/2 cup at a time. Add more sugar or milk depending on your desired consistency.
Spread frosting over the bottom layer with a small offset spatula so it extends just beyond the edges. Slide second layer on top. Make a "crumb coat", a thin layer to seal in the stray crumbs. To start, gently sweep away any loose crumbs with a pastry brush. Next, use a small offset spatula to over the top and sides with frosting. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and around the sides of the cake.
One Year Ago: Tilapia Oreganata