Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bean Cake

This is a perfect summer cake. It's fresh, sweet, fruity, but still rich and delicious. I just made a basic vanilla cake recipe, put strawberries in between the layers and frosted with real vanilla bean frosting. I adapted Billy's vanilla cupcake recipe for the cake. So here's what you'll need for the vanilla cake
Butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, milk, cake flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, sift together both flours, sugar, salt, and baking powder
Slice butter into tablespoons and add to the dry mixture
Mix until the butter is crumbly and covered with dry mixture. In a large pourable measuring cup, whisk together milk, vanilla, and eggs
Slowly pour into the first mixture
Beat until just combined, being careful not to over mix
Pour batter evenly into 2 round, greased 9-inch pans. Bake
When cakes are finished baking, pull out of the oven and let cool a couple of minutes. Here's the baked cake
Flip them out onto wax paper covered wire wracks. Let cool completely. While the cakes are cooling, prepare the vanilla bean buttercream. Here's what you need
Butter, vanilla beans (or vanilla bean paste), powdered sugar, and milk. If you are using vanilla beans, cut straight down the middle to open up the vanilla bean
Take a spoon and scrape out all of the paste you can
Drop paste into a mixing bowl with butter
Mix until vanilla bean paste turns into vanilla beans
add powdered sugar, a cup at a time
Beat well, add milk until your desired spreading consistency is reached
Set the frosting aside and sweeten the strawberries. Wash and slice strawberries, place in a small bowl and add sugar
Stir together; let sit about 5 minutes so the strawberries can soak up all the sugar. Now assemble the cake! Place one layer of the cake on a serving plate. Cover that layer with frosting
Spoon strawberries onto cake, leaving behind as much juice as possible
Place the other layer on top of the strawberries
Cover with vanilla bean frosting
If you want to get a little fancy, pipe frosting around the edges and place more sliced strawberries around the top
Slice er up..
preferably hefty slices

Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bean Cake
(Adapted from Billy's Vanilla Cupcakes)

1 1/2 cups cake flour, not self-rising
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325°. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Divide batter evenly among 2 9-inch round greased cake pans. Bake about 25-35 minutes, or until the center of the cake no longer jiggles. Remove from oven and let sit in pans about 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack covered with wax paper to cool completely. While cake layers are cooling; prepare frosting. 

Vanilla Bean Frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
4 cups powdered sugar
1-2 Tbs. whole milk

Place butter and vanilla bean paste in mixing bowl. Beat together until the vanilla bean paste turns into little specks throughout. Mix in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. If needed, add milk, a tablespoon at a time. Mix throughly until frosting is light and fluffy. 

10 strawberries, washed, capped, and sliced
3 Tbs. sugar

Place in a small bowl and stir until strawberries are fully coated with sugar. Let sit about 5 minutes to let the strawberries soak up the sugar. Assemble the cake.

Place one cooled cake layer on a serving plate. Spread about 1/4 of the frosting over that layer. Then scoop strawberries over the frosting, leaving behind as much of the juices as possible. Stack the second layer on over the strawberries. Use the remaining frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake. You can pipe frosting around the edges and top the cake with more strawberries for decoration, if desired. Enjoy :)

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