One of my friends was complaining that she lacks any skill to make a cake look anything more than a hot mess. Here is the fastest way to make your cake look less amateur.
No, this cake isn’t perfect. The idea was to strip away any culinary skill and show you that amateur chefs can still make gorgeous cakes. Once you have your cake, ganache and butter cream good to go, this project shouldn’t take you long to complete. Remember… the whole idea is to have a decent looking cake with very little skill:)
Old Fashioned Vanilla Cake (makes 2 x 8″ cakes)
(adapted from Martha Stewart’s ‘Versatile Yellow Cake’)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for dusting pans
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup sour cream
Basic Vanilla Butter Cream
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Chocolate Ganache (makes enough ganache to cover an 8″ cake)
- 225 gr semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (approx. 1 cup, or 8 oz)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp liquid glucose (optional)
1. Prepare your cake and butter cream icing. Once baked and cooled, trim cake layers to make sure they are level. Assemble by using once cake layer as the base, spread a butter cream layer on top, and place the second cake on top. Once this is done, you’ll want to use an off-set spatula to spread a thin crumb coat layer of butter cream. Pop your cake in the fridge for the butter cream to set (approx. 10 min).
2. Remove your cake from the fridge, and generously apply a ‘final coat’ on your cake. Using a clean off-set spatula, smooth off the top of your cake. In the cake above, I lifted the spatula in an upwards motion to create straight edges. This is much easier than attempting to create a smooth edge. Once you are happy with your cake, refrigerate for 10 more minutes to set .
3. While your cake is cooling, prepare your ganache (as below). Pour ganache over cake, using an offset spatula to spread the ganache over the edges. Top with fresh berries and serve.
Old Fashioned Vanilla Cake:
- Pre-heat oven to 350′ F. Line the bottoms of two 8-by-2-inch buttered cake pans with buttered parchment paper. Dust the bottoms and sides of pans with flour, and tap out any excess. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream butter at medium speed until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar, and continue until lightened, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides once or twice. Gradually add eggs, beating after each addition until batter is no longer slick, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides, about 5 minutes.
- Slowly add the flour mixture on low speed, alternating with sour cream, a little of each at a time. Beat in vanilla.
- Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake for 25 minutes; rotate the pans in the oven if needed for even browning. Continue baking until a cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean, 10 to 20 minutes more. Transfer to wire racks to cool, 15 minutes. Remove cakes from pans; set cakes, top side down, on wire racks, and allow to cool completely, about 1 hour.
- Beat butter and 3 cups sugar with a mixer on medium speed until combined. Reduce speed to medium-low, and continue to beat, gradually adding remaining 6 cups sugar, 1 cup at a time. Raise speed to medium-high; add vanilla. Beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes more.
*Only prepare after you have finished icing your cake
- Finely chop chocolate. Put chocolate into a large heatproof bowl.
- Bring 1 cup of cream just to a boil over medium-high heat; add glucose if you opt to use it.
- Once the cream comes to a rolling boil, remove from heat and pour over chocolate. Carefully stir the mixture until the chocolate and cream come together. It will look split at first, and slowly turn glossy.