Vancouver needs a little cheering up. If you are one of the many people who have suffered through one of the dreariest winters in our city’s history (well.. at least it felt that way), then you’re with me on this one. It felt like the rain, snow, ice, wind, blizzards would never end. Thank god it’s spring! I couldn’t think of a better time to make a cake and celebrate….
Are you like me and have you been dreaming up plans for the sun-soaked days to come? It really feels like it couldn’t come sooner enough!! I live in Kits, so days biking around the city, dozing on beach blankets, making picnics, and planning weekend adventures into the mountains are all that I can think about lately. What are your favourite Vancouver summer traditions?Back to the point! Haha. This cake is sweet, fluffy, and simple. Beneath the fluffy swirls of buttercream there are three stacks of something simple: a vanilla buttermilk cake. If there is any cake recipe that I would ever recommend memorizing, it would be this one my friends.. SO good!! You can take it as it is and frost it with a simple vanilla buttercream, chocolate, or cream cheese frosting (SO classic!), or try your hand at pairing the cake with the frosting I have suggested here… a Swiss Meringue Buttercream! The frosting is the only added twist that makes this cake a little cheeky with a hint of something special… a little strawberry and rose flavour to the swiss meringue buttercream. Yes, rose (or rosé?? Lol)!!Take your time with this one. Pop a bottle of vino, book off an evening, and enjoy this project. Before starting the cake, go to a cookware store and pick yourself up a candy thermometer if you haven’t already bought one! The thermometer will help you regulate the egg-white’s temperatures to ensure that your meringue reaches the perfect medium soft peaks. When you pop that vino, pull out your block of butter out of the fridge as well to warm it up to room temperature. Ew blocks of hard butter are gross and don’t bode well for buttercream! Room-temperature butter is absolutely key to the success of this frosting! (If it isn’t warm enough, a little zap to the microwave does the trick ;)
Classic Vanilla Buttermilk Cake
3 1/4 cup cake flour, plus more for the pans 1 tbsp baking powder 3/4 tsp salt 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 2 cups granulated sugar 2 tsp vanilla (or vanilla bean paste if you wanna be fancy) 6 large egg yolks 1 1/2 cups whole milk or 2% buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour three 7 inch cake pans (or plan more time to use the same pan 3 times). Another option is to cut out a piece of parchment paper the same size as the bottom of your pans and line the pans with it. Set aside.
2. Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt)
3. In the bowl of a stand up mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar and mix on medium high until butter mixture is light and fluffy, approximately 3-5 mins.
4. Turn mixer to medium low and add vanilla and egg yolks one at a time. Stop mixer and scrape down the bowl.
5. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix on medium for no more than 30 seconds after the last streaks of dry ingredients have been combined.
6. Evenly divide the batter between the three pans, or if using one pan three times, use a third for the first batch. Bake the cake(s) for 20-28 minutes depending on the strength of your oven. (My oven runs cold, so I always need to bake the cakes longer!). Test the cakes with a wooden shishkabob skewer, a toothpick, or a chopstick to ensure that it comes out clean with no sticky dough. Let the cakes cool on the rack for about 5 minutes before running your knife around the edge, turning it upside down, and gently rocking the pan from side to side.
Strawberry Rose Swiss Meringue Frosting
6-8 medium-large organic strawberries, hulled and quartered 2 tbsp granulated sugar 1/8 tsp salt.. slash a pinch ;) 1 tsp rosewater (I bought mine here) 1/2 cup egg whites 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature 2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk them together by hand to combine. Fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water and place it over medium-high heat. Place mixer bowl on top of the saucpan to create a double boiler. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water.
2. Whisking intermittently, heat the egg mixture until it registers 160F on a candy thermometer or is hot to the touch without any grainy texture. Once hot, carefully fit the mixer bowl onto the stand mixer.
3. With the whisk attachment, beat the egg white mixture on high speed for 8-10 mins, until it holds medium to stiff peaks. When done, the outside of the mixer bowl should return to room temperature and no residual heat should be escaping the meringue out of the top of the bowl. Stop the mixer and swap out the whisk attachment for the paddle.
4. With the mixer on low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time (make sure that it is completely at room temperature!! If it is not, zap it in the microwave for about 5-10 seconds, but don’t let it get runny). Add the vanilla. Once incorporated, turn up the mixer speed to medium high and beat until the buttercream is silky and smooth, 3-5mins.
5. Place the quartered strawberries, sugar, and salt in a blender. Blend the strawberry mix until it is a smooth purée. Add about 2 tbsp of the purée to the vanilla buttercream, plus the tsp of rosewater. Blend and taste to be sure it is the flavour you like! Add more strawberry and rosewater if you prefer a stronger flavour. (Be careful though as the rosewater has a very strong taste and too much can be overpowering.)
6 Directions for the spiral frosting: Purchase Ateco brand tip #824 for a large star tip. Place the tip in the bottom of a piping bag, then place the tip and bag in a large glass cup. Take a spatula and place about 1 cup of the frosting in the bag. Twist the bag for a seal, and begin piping! Keep the tip perpendicular to the cake surface, and frost the cake with tiny circles while using even pressure. Release the pressure just as you complete the spiral to create a tail that tapers off. Be sure the pressure is completely released before pulling the tip away.
And there you have it, a beautiful rose buttercream cake to celebrate the sun drenched, gorgeous, and brilliant weather that we have coming our way to this fair city!!! In my case, I baked this cake for a dear friend of mine’s birthday, but it could be used as a celebration for any kind of event (everyone likes vanilla cake right?)! We were cheeky and brought the baby cake to this restaurant to celebrate my friend’s birthday… have you ever done that?? It’s always a little awkward, but lately I couldn’t care less and just kind of barge my way in… haha! Anyways, have a wonderful month ahead. More soon in May!! Until then. xxx
PS: I loved this article: Where have you run into an Ex?