Mid week conversations lead to me telling baby girl that I will make a cake for her the coming weekend. I am feeling ambitious and of course I am addicted to her grin and her joy when the cake is presented. I do this purely for myself and the pleasure I feel at giving someone joy. So when certain people say that they cook for other people or mean it like a favor or a job they do, I don’t get it. Because in my opinion, then, they do not enjoy cooking. They cook because they have to. Because if you love to cook, you cook because you primarily do it for yourself. Because that compliment, that beaming smile you get when you present whatever it is you have made, it is YOU that receives that compliment. It is YOU that derives happiness at having fed someone you love and deeply care about. And it is a fantastic thing to do something because you enjoy it and not because someone else may enjoy it. If they do, that is a fantastic bonus. When the food is made with the love of food, and because it makes you happy, it tastes that much better. That’s at least my take on it.
But I digress. Come weekend and I’m feeling like crap, I forget that I have promised someone a cake! Don’t worry even though my memory is failing, a ten year old’s is not! A ten year old that is quite handy on pinterest! After many hours of perusing pinterest on one elaborate cake after another, I managed to convince my monkey that a simple vanilla cake with a lovely outside might be the way to go.
And so it was decided. A vanilla cake it is.
Also to celebrate and share with you some very exciting news of the adventure I embark upon in the coming weeks. I have been invited to shoot the stills for a Bollywood movie!!!!!! As some of you might know I used to take pictures of people long before I started on food. My style is capturing and photographing real life situations. No posed anything for me. The movie is an art house film and is therefore right up my street. I am so excited I can barely breathe. And scared in the most fantastic way. I hope to share the journey with you when I can but for now lets eat this damn cake and dance in joy! Yes? Are you in?
- For the Cake
- 300 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 195 grams sugar
- 4 medium eggs
- 65 grams milk
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped
- 2 tbsps vanilla extract
- 335 grams all-purpose flour
- 2 tsps baking powder
- 2 tsps baking soda
- pinch of salt
- For the Buttercream
- 450 grams butter, room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 3-4 tbsps heavy cream
- 2 tsps vanilla extract
- food coloring of choice
- To make the cake. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Prepare 3, 6 inch cake pans by buttering a flouring them. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the one at a time, beating after each addition, until fully incorporated. Combine the milk, vanilla paste, and vanilla extract and add it to the mixture, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Beat again for 2 minutes.
- Sift the dry ingredients and add to the mixture, mixing on low until just incorporated. Divide evenly between the three cake rings and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert the cakes and cool completely.
- To make the buttercream. Whip the butter till light and fluffy. Add the sugar bit by bit till fully incorporated. Add the cream and vanilla extract and mix well. Whip in the color you want or divide the buttercream into portions of wanting more colors. I just started with basic and then kept adding more and more purple. Set aside.
- To assemble the cake, first trim the tops of each cake layer so they are flat and even. Place one round on a cake stand and add a dollop of the buttercream. Using an offset spatula, spread into an even layer. Top with a second cake round and repeat with more buttercream. The amount is upto you. For the last layer, place the top of the cake onto the buttercream so that the flat bottom of the cake is now the very top of the whole cake. This will ensure that your cake has a very nice and flat top and corners.
- To make sure the sides of the cake are even, patch up with some buttercream. Make sure there is enough to pipe the flowers on top and all around.
- Transfer the remaining buttercream into a piping bag and using tip #19 or #20, pipe out the flowers all around and on top.
- Refrigerate cake for about half hour before devouring!