Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Foolproof Pure Vanilla Buttercake with Honey-Vanilla Buttercream

Watch me bake out with Steven & Chris!

If you didn't get a chance to watch it live, you can watch me online as I bake a Foolproof Pure Vanilla Cake on the Steven & Chris show now!

This recipe is brilliant! It comes together in seconds. You have a few seconds to spare, don't you?

It uses a technique similar to making pastry, where it begins with blending room temperature butter with the dry ingredients.

The fat coats the flour particles and protects the gluten proteins from linking to one another and forming longer protein chains that are stretchy and elastic. These large gluten proteins form during mixing or kneading and are responsible for the chewy texture in bread.

But we're not making bread. Are we? No, this recipe is for cake silly.

I'm after a soft, moist, tender crumb in this Foolproof Pure Vanilla Cake, so I don't want these large gluten networks to form.

The fat acts as a sort of barrier between the proteins, preventing them from linking together.
Totally cool, right?

It's hard to believe that much is actually going on in your humble cake. But, it is! And it's a wonderful thing.

Oh! And you can make cupcakes too. It's a dual-purpose recipe. Talk about being efficient!

Here it is. Your ultimate go-to Vanilla Cake Recipe (Honey-Vanilla Buttercream recipe included!)

Pure Vanilla "Pastry Blend" Cake
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup butter, at room temperature and cut into small pieces
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup full fat sour cream
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup 2% milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour two round 9x2-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with a round of parchment paper.

Sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add sugar and salt and mix on low speed until ingredients are well blended, about 2 minutes. Add softened butter and beat on slow speed until the mixture is a sandy, crumbly consistency and everything is well combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk eggs until blended. Add sour cream and vanilla whisk until smooth. Add half of the milk and whisk to blend. Gradually pour this mixture into the flour mixture while mixing at low speed for 5-10 seconds. Pour in remaining milk and continue beating at medium speed until the dry ingredients are just incorporated and batter appears smooth. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and mix for another 5 seconds. Do not over mix.

Pour batter into prepared pans and bake 30-35 minutes.
Or spoon batter into paper lined muffin tray and bake 15-20 minutes.

Vanilla-Honey Buttercream
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp liquid honey
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4 cups sifted icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp 35% whipping cream
  • 2-3 tbsp milk
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter with salt and honey on medium-low speed until smooth and creamy. Using a paring knife, slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Lay each half flat on a clean work surface and use the dull side of the knife to scrape out the seeds. Add the vanilla seeds to the butter mixture and mix until evenly blended

Add half of the icing sugar and beat until creamy. Beat in whipping cream until smooth. Add remaining icing sugar, 1 cup at a time, alternating with milk and beating well after each addition until smooth, fluffy and spreadable. Add vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. Use immediately or cover with a damp towel if using shortly.
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