Vanilla cake

It’s appealing, right? A piece of vanilla cake. It’s safe, it’s predictable. It’s well received by almost everyone.  After fruitcake, vanilla cake seemed like a sensible choice

He was moderately interesting. Good job, good conversationalist, nice. All good. For about an hour. And then I remembered why people embellish vanilla cake, adding frosting, maybe sprinkles, strawberries. Basically an attempt to say, vanilla cake is fine but it needs encouragement, it needs…something.

He was a nice guy, really. For one date. After that I felt I would be looking to add embellishments. And frankly, at this point of my life, he better show up already adorned!

I am a big fan of Gale Gand’s desserts. BIG fan. And her vanilla cake is spectacular. Make cupcakes, they are more fun! Don’t take my word for it, try it. and don’t forget the buttercream and sprinkles


Gale Gand’s vanilla cupcakes



White Buttercream:
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
4 egg whites
1 pound butter, cut up and softened slightly
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
3 cups sifted cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
Regular or silver cupcake paper liners


Make the White Buttercream: Put the sugar in a saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer and pour the water down the walls of the pan to moisten the sugar without letting sugar crystals wash up on the walls of the pan. Run your finger through the center making an X to allow the water to seep into the sugar if it hasn’t already. Bring the sugar to a boil over high heat and continue cooking to the “softball” stage (234 degrees F.).

Meanwhile, in a standing mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the egg whites to soft peaks and hold them on low speed until the sugar is ready. When the sugar syrup is has reached the softball stage, turn the mixer up to high and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixer. Let it continue to whip to cool down. When it’s feeling somewhat cooled but still a little warm, start adding the butter a few pieces at a time until you have a smooth, whipped butter cream. Add the almond extract. Use right away or cover and chill. Re-warm or let sit out to warm up to room temperature to use. (Or buy some, I won’t tell her)
Make the Cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a mixer with a whip attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue to cream. Gradually add the vanilla and eggs and mix in well. Sift together the dry ingredients; then mix into the butter mixture alternating with the milk. Pour batter into cupcake paper-lined muffin tins filling them 3/4 full. Bake until puffed and firm in the center and light golden brown on top, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool.
Decorate and Assemble the Cupcakes: Using a small spatula, frost the tops of the cooled cup cakes with the buttercream.






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