Recently, Dear Hubby turned 38. For this magical milestone he made one simple (not so simple) request. The best vanilla cat birthday cake I could make.
Now, vanilla cakes and cupcakes are hard to make. They are hard, because vanilla itself is just so simple. There is nothing you can hide behind if it goes wrong. In the weeks coming up to this deadline for the BEST EVER VANILLA cake I did a lot of experimenting (much to his delight and waistline). Some were too dry, others not vanilla-ry enough, even more were good but not the BEST EVER.
Others, while good in taste were too soft to hold any icing and collapsed or became lopsided after being iced… certainly not something you want for a birthday celebration.
In the end I used this recipe and it was a winner all around. It is moist and full of vanilla flavour. It is perfectly creamy and soft, but firm enough to hold multiple layers, icing and decoration. It is also a lovely white cake… the longer you cream the butter and copha the whiter the cake will be so can be a wonderfully themed cake. I will let you know, that it will NEVER be as white as a cake where you only use egg whites but using the whole egg adds a depth of flavour that you can only get from whole egg. You will want to print this recipe, save it and use it often. I’ve already had requests for another two most vanilla-ry, BEST EVER cakes.
You will need:
- 2x 8inch cakes
- 2x 9inch cakes
- 2x Icing recipe (or more, depending on own preferences)
- frosting equipment
- sharp knife
- frosting knife
To begin, cut out the shapes you will need for the head and ears out of the 8 inch rounds.
Now, spread frosting on the 9 inch round and secure the second level of the cake to it. Add frosting to secure the cat head to the cat body.
You should now have something that resembles a 2 layer cat. Use icing to attach the ears – this is tricky and I recommend using a cold butter knife to make sure the frosting gets applied evenly.
Before you frost the rest of the cake, put aside some icing (2 table spoons) in small mixing bowls so that colouring can be distributed evenly into the icing. Using the rest of the buttercream icing, cover the whole body and head of the cake with buttercream. Use a frosting spatula or large flat knife to spread the icing evenly.
Now you are ready to decorate your cat. I prefer to ‘paint’ the colour onto the cat as it provides texture that is similar to the fluffy nature of a cat, if you are piping the icing it stops looking like a regular fluffy cat.
Here, choose the colours for your icing. The eyes and mouth can be painted directly onto the cake, but the body will require larger amounts of colouring. As such, it is easier (and more economical) to thoroughly mix the colouring into the left over buttercream and use a paintbrush to apply the coloured icing. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different colours, textures and application methods to mimic the natural coat of a cat.
BESTEST MOST VANILLA-RY CAKE EVER
- 1 cup butter, softened
- ½ cup copha (coconut shortening)
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 5 eggs, room temperature
- 3 cups plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup milk, room temperature
- ½ cup buttermilk (you can make buttermilk by mixing ½ c milk with ½ tablespoon lemon juice and letting sit for 5 minutes)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 180º C. Prepare cake pans with non-stick baking spray or coated well with butter and floured, taking care to remove all excess flour.
- Cream together butter and shortening until light and fluffy with an electric mixer. Slowly add sugar one cup at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each cup before adding another. Add eggs one at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding another.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour milks and vanilla into measuring cup and whisk together with a fork. Add to butter and shortening mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.
- Gently stir all ingredients until well combined. Stop mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl, making sure to have all ingredients mixed well.
- Evenly distribute cake batter between cake pans and place pans into oven. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove and allow to cool slightly in cake pans for about 5 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.
- 90g softened buttered
- 1 cup icing sugar/mixture
- 3 teaspoons milk/cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- Beat butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy
- Add icing sugar, milk/cream and vanilla and beat until well combined