Would you believe that while creating The Sweetapolita Bakebook—a book filled to the brim with a flurry of sprinkles, color, fun and wow-factor, one of the most important tasks for me was to create the perfect vanilla cake recipe? See, one thing I learned from having a baking blog with very enthusiastic readers is that finding the perfect vanilla cake matters. A lot. Sure, tiers of decorated sweets and fancy layer cakes make us all happy, but without the best possible vanilla cake recipe to start from, they can leave a little to be desired.
I knew I wouldn’t stop until I had a white cake that can stand up to a day of assembling with several components while staying moist, welcome the addition of confetti sprinkles, and work for everything from fluffy birthday cupcakes to fondant-covered wedding tiers. Kind of a tall order! So, when I spent 6 months recipe testing the “Prized Basics” portion of the book, I knew that creating a super-moist, fluffy and flavorful vanilla cake was key, and I simply couldn’t publish my Bakebook before I figured this out.
Alas! I have proudly come up with what I call “Super White Cake,” which, I believe, is all of those things and more. Fresh from the oven with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar and tea, or a building block for a sky-high layer cake or even tiered, fondant-covered wedding cake, to me this is the ultimate vanilla cake. And while the tender crumb and moist texture are just two of its best qualities, I have to admit that it’s the flavor that gets me every time. In place of pure vanilla or vanilla bean, I use Lorann Oils Princess Cake and Cookie Baking Emulsion, which elevates the “vanilla” taste and does not fade away while the cakes bake.
Another reason I adore the Princess Baking Emulsion in my vanilla cakes, cupcakes and sugar cookies is because it brings me straight back to childhood—trips to the local bake shops, birthday parties, bake sales, and more–with the unique blend of vanilla, lemon and almond, the flavor it imparts is what I refer to as a magical cross between fluffy white wedding cake and a Twinkie. It’s subtle but addictive, and leaves people guessing what it is you’ve added to make your baked goods so delightful!
Since I love it so, I use this Super White Cake base for a few of my favorite creations: first, the Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake, which boasts 4 layers of Super White Cake filled with frosting, sprinkles, colorful cupcake bits and sugar cookie dough and frosted in sprinkle-laded turquoise frosting with bright pink borders (a vanilla dream!). I also use this cake base for the ever-colorful and oh-so-happy Rainbows & Sprinkles Cake—a 6-layer cake tinted candy-inspired colors, frosted in teal buttercream, and covered in a medley of sprinkles. I love the way the vanilla buttercream frostings pair with that subtle hint of “Princess” and I don’t think I could ever make a vanilla cake without it!
You will find that I call for Lorann Oils Baking Emulsions throughout my book—both the Princess and Red Velvet varieties—in everything from The Perfect Sugar Cookie Cutouts, Black Velvet Cake, Black Velvet Cookies, Confetti Cupcakes, and so much more (once you start using them, it’s kind of hard to go back to typical extracts!). I recommend letting your imagination run wild and experimenting with all of the Baking Emulsions (I’m thinking Coconut, Rum and Orange are next on my to-bake list)—cakes and cookies forever!
Sweetapolita’s Ultimate White Cake
3 1/4 cups (375 g) cake flour, sifted
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups (450 g) superfine sugar
3/4 cup (170 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) milk, room temperature
2 teaspoons Princess Cake & Cookie Bakery Emulsion
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
7 large egg whites, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease the bottoms of three 8 x 2-inchround cake pans and line with parchment.
- Into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the sugar. With the mixer running on low speed, add the cold butter one piece at a time. Beat until all of the butter is incorporated, about 3 minutes. The mixture should have a fine crumbly, cornmeal-like texture.
- In a medium measuring cup with a spout, combine half the milk, the emulsion and lemon juice. In a separate measuring cup, gently whisk the egg whites and remaining milk.
- Increase the mixer speed to medium-l,ow and gradually add the emulsion mixture and beat for 5 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spacial. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the egg white mixture. Beat for 2 minutes, occasionally stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Fold the batter once or twice to ensure everything has been incorporated. Divide the batter evenly amount the prepared pans.
- Bake the first two layers in the center of the oven until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs, 20 to 22 minutes. Repeat with the final layer. Let the cake layers cool in their pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Using a knife, loosen the sides of the cakes and carefully turn them out onto wire racks. Peel off the paper liners and let cool completely. The Cake layers will keep wrapped tightly in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 2 days.
- Top with frosting of choice or Rosie’s Vanilla Bakery Frosting.