Most of you who know me probably already know I’ve been busy baking and testing recipes for my friends wedding cake. This is my second time baking for a wedding, but my first time baking the actual cake. My first and foremost thought in this process is that…my friends trust me too much…and I trust myself too little. Good combination don’t you think? But then again, it’s always been people I know believing in me that has pushed me to learn and grow and explore things I’d never have the guts to do on my own.
So far in my process I’ve been able to test out three different vanilla cake recipes. I was pretty set on the flavor because I agreed with my friend that we should go with something more neutral. She wants a lighter cake that’s not too sweet, so ideally I want a fluffier cake on the inside and I definitely don’t want to use normal buttercream on the outside [powdered sugar + butter = my teeth falling out from the sweetness]. I opted for an Italian meringue buttercream and pastry cream + strawberries on the inside. I was pretty confident about this combination, I just didn’t have a good vanilla cake recipe that I thought would be light enough. That’s why I ended up trying three different recipes.
I’ve always had a slight dislike for vanilla cake recipes. If you ask me, I think that vanilla cake is better boxed. Boxed vanilla cake mix is actually pretty good and fool proof. The vanilla cakes that I made tend to be more dry, hence my dislike. But I gave it a go anyways this time.
It was good that I made three smaller cakes to test out the flavors, because it gave me three tries to learn how to ice a cake. I’ve never been fond of making cakes because of how long it takes. I used to be very impatient and I would skip all the steps of trimming the cakes and letting them cool down. Thus I’d end up with the buttercream melting off and the cake being severely deformed. I learned my lesson this time and I let the cakes cool over night before trimming off the top domes and the caramelization on the sides and bottom [Tip: this is a very good idea if you ever make cakes on your own, don’t try to save cake scraps just use them for cake pops…just don’t skip the trimming].
^ First Attempt at frosting and texturizing the cake sides XD ^
I also made a simple syrup to spray on the cake layers before assembling the cakes. Technically this was supposed to keep the cake layers moist but I didn’t really see much benefit to it. I think I didn’t add enough syrup, I’ll do more when I actually bake the cake.
The cakes turned out denser and drier than I thought, which was kind of disappointing. I think it’s because I refrigerated the cake layers before stacking and I had to stack them on top of each other in the fridge because I had no space. They hardened and dried up too much in the cold fridge and also the weight of stacking the layers condensed the cakes.
^ This is after I assembled the cakes…but an accurate representation of how fridge space is a problem ^
The Italian meringue buttercream was a success in my opinion. It takes a lot of work and uses a lot of egg whites, but it’s not too sweet at all and very light because I whipped the whole thing for a long time. I used pastry cream inside as the filling partially because I didn’t want to waste the egg yolks leftover from the Italian buttercream. But In my opinion, since it was a vanilla pastry cream it kind of disappeared into the rest of the cake and I couldn’t really taste any effect from it. The strawberries were really nice. The tartness of the fruit helped balance out the richness of the whole cake. I should probably cut the layers thinner and have more layers of strawberries to combat how dense and rich the cake is. I’m hoping that thinner layers will help make the cake seem lighter.
Overall, my mom thinks all the cakes are too dense, which is sad, but I do agree. Of course it won’t be as light as a sponge cake (which is the type of cake my mom likes) but still I think it was on the denser side. I wanted to do sponge cake, but I think that’s a bit too light to handle the Italian buttercream. Usually sponge cakes are frosted with whipped cream, but I don’t like whipped cream on cake.
My preference is a normal cake on the inside, not sponge cake. I think I can figure out how to make it lighter, I just have to do more research. I’m thinking of adding cream cheese into the pastry cream and whipping them together to make a more tart filling (also because I just want to add in cream cheese because it makes everything better). I think that the cream cheese filling with strawberries with thinner cake layers will make a much better cake.
That’s about it for now, till next time 🙂
Vanilla Cake Recipes I Used: (click titles for links)
- I expected good results from this since I’ve been watching Yo’s youtube videos for a long time. Overall it wasn’t a bad turnout. Out of the three if I made the cakes again I’d use this recipe.
- Ok, this recipe was just weird. It did have a nicer lighter result. But I’ve never made cakes the way this recipe tells you to. It doesn’t use any yolks which is probably why it comes out paler and less yellow. But it also asks you to cream the butter with flour which is weird, and probably why the texture is very crumbly since the butter coating the flour prevents some of the gluten from forming when you add in the wet ingredients.
- This recipe turned out kind of meh. My dad liked it because it had a very fragrant vanilla flavor, but it was just too dense for me. It wasn’t that bad, just not what I was looking for in this cake. I also didn’t expect much from this recipe since it was a super random one I found through google search. I usually only trust recipes from blogs that I follow or people I watch on youtube.