Quest for Vanilla Cake

I have been on a long journey to find a delicious vanilla cake recipe. You name it, i have probably tried it. Vanilla bean cake; was light and fluffy but oh so lacking in the vanilla department. Fantastic vanilla “funfetti” cake was great a few times and absolutely awful a few times. Some times too dense and heavy, some times just right, it is a very picky cake… not my kind of cake at all. I love when you don’t have to super precise with your measurements, when you can scoop some flour and not have to worry about a small amount of extra making your cake bad.  So, i am working on my very own vanilla cake recipe… I am hoping to try it before the weekend, i will share my results if it turns out well!

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8 Ingredient Amazing Lemon Cake

I stumbled upon the original recipe in one of my moms old Southern Living Magazines. When i first tried it out i was baffled by the lack of rising agents… After all what is a cake that doesn’t rise?! Ha! That is what i thought! But it did rise. This turned out to be the most amazing lemon cake i have made to date. It is soft and has a great texture, light and fluffy with a softer lemon flavor that goes amazingly with a simple lemon glaze. I have made a couple of alterations to it just because i wanted something with a little bit more lemon punch.

The players in this mysterious rising lemon cake game are; Butter, sugar, eggs, lemons, vanilla extract, lemon extract, all purpose flour and finally…. Lemon-lime soda. Yep, that’s it folks. That is what makes this cake light and fluffy. So strange and so, so good. Below is my version of this wonderful cake…

You will need to zest your lemon, i use a box grater, but any fine toothed grater would work. Work your way around the outside of the lemon to remove only the colored part of the peel, that is the zest!

This recipe makes one standard bundt cake. However i have also used it in my 8 inch rounds and as cupcakes and they all bake beautifully, just keep an eye on them as they are cooking if you decide to go with a smaller pan.

8 Ingredient Lemon Cake
  • 1 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 Cups granulated sugar
  • 5 Eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons Lemon zest (will take about 3 lemons)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 3 Cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Cup lemon lime soda

Preheat oven to 350ºF

In a large bowl beat butter at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add in sugar and beat until light and fluffy; should take about 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time blending well after each addition.

Add in flour alternately with lemon-lime soda beginning and ending with flour.  Beat on low after each addition until completely blended.

pour into a lightly greased 10 cup bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25-30 minutes.

 

Happy Baking!

-B

Liam’s First Birthday Cake

On my extremely busy weekend filled with my best friends wedding, i also made a little boys first birthday cake.

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His mother decided to go with something fun along with some jungle animals because he loves them.

I made the little creatures out of fondant. It was so much easier to work with than the stinky gumpaste i used to sculpt a couple weeks ago. Note to self; only sculpt in fondant from now on. It is so much more forgiving. For the giraffe i simply made a long log and cut it into equal sections, then i squeezed them together at the top. Since he was sitting there wasn’t a need for a neck and body. Then i made a ball and pressed on the sides a bit to square it up for the head.

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For the lion i did tapered logs for the feet, a ball for the head and an oblong ball for the body.  For the mane i used a flower cutter i had that worked out to be the perfect size!

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Adam & Hannah’s Rustic Wedding

My best friend got married this weekend! It was exciting to see her finally make her marriage dreams come true with the man she loves. It was a very busy weekend for me as i was not only making the wedding cake, but i was also the maid of honor! Her theme was burlap and lace, very rustic with a vintage twist. It was a beautiful day for a wedding!

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The flavors they selected were vanilla and lemon in alternating layers. I made a lemon pound cake that was super simple with only 8 ingredients and a mystery contender as the rising agent… lemon-lime soda. it turned out incredibly with a soft lemony flavor and then i filled it with a sweet lemon buttercream. I will be posting the recipe soon!

While it was a beautiful day for a wedding it was a scary day for a cake outside… 85 and full sun. Luckily the cake was in the shade, it held up good and was still cool when it came time to cut the cake. I set it up about 3 1/2 hours before the cutting. I put a decent layer of buttercream under the fondant (a little less than 1/4 inch) because that is the part that everyone likes so much. I chilled the cakes overnight before i covered them in fondant then after i put the fondant on allowed them to come to room temperature so that the fondant wouldn’t sweat and get soggy. The fondant dried hard and held the icing in during the heat outside. This method worked really well on all cakes except for the small one. I think i got a little crazy with how thick i put the icing on and it created bubbles underneath as the fondant dried. I had to take the fondant off and recover it….. The second time was beautifully smooth and silky looking.

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Rebecca & Jeremy’s Cupcakes

Rebecca and Jeremy wanted to have cute cupcakes instead of a large wedding cake. Some of them were decorated with simple small orange and green flowers they pulled the color scheme from the place they met, Ireland. There were a total of four different flavors that way they could satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth with a flavor they would enjoy. Chocolate, vanilla, red velvet, and pumpkin were the flavors of choice. The style was simple with there being only smooth swirls on the majority of the cupcakes.
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Since they weren’t having a cake they wanted something special for the “topper” and the cupcakes they would do the traditional cake feeding with. She came up with the idea to do a little tux and dress bust on the cakes to imitate the bride and groom attire. They were surprisingly easy to make and they turned out cute for an alternative topper and top tier.

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There was only one stand and then the rest of the cupcakes were on clear trays. The cupcakes on the stand were all decorated with a cute little flower to add in some color and break up the simplicity of them. Cupcakes are a really cute and fun alternative to the seriousness of a tiered wedding cake, keeping them simple reduces the overall cost of the cupcakes. They are a great option for anyone who wants something different and fun.

Sara & John’s Blue Magnolia Cake

This was my first cake with so many different elements going on the same cake. It was also the first cake i have ever delivered by myself (and was unfortunately rushing to get it put together on scene). That is what i get for having a little sister as an assistant that is only 15…. She isn’t very dependable.

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I made the magnolias out of gum paste and used the ball tool to ruffle the edges. I wasn’t going for the exact look of a magnolia for the cake, but more of an artistic rendition of one. After cutting out a petal i would ruffle the edges, then i would place a small floral wire in the base of each so that they could be attached later on once they dried. I don’t have any fancy flower petal shaping methods; i had a deviled egg carrier and i simply turned it upside down and placed the petals on  there to dry so they stay curved and beautiful…. It’s not like that deviled egg carrier is getting any other use. After they were all dried and put together i painted them. I used denim blue luster dust for the edges, i got a bottle cap and put a tiny bit of vodka (however any strong clear alcohol would work) then added in my dust. This kept the whole process neat and it made the blue really look dark and gorgeous.

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This was the flower before i painted the edges. Honestly, i loved them so much more when they were white. They were simple and beautiful. Here is a close up post-blue trimmings. I did another coat of blue the next day to get it to the right shade, it was unfortunate that my “denim blue” looked more sky blue even after using the painting method. I was determined and made it work.

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The bride requested a little hunter or deer to be popping out of the cake on the bottom so that her husband could be a part of the cake too; he loves to go deer hunting, the fencing reflected from the brides hobby and love of horses, It was cute that is was so personal. So i sculpted a little gum paste head and arms and put a little blaze orange cap on him  like most deer hunters wear. He turned out pretty cute, and everyone really liked the added character to the cake.

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The cake overall was a great learning experience. This was my first time doing fondant and gum paste flowers. The end result turned out well. Of course being my toughest critic i do see all the little imperfections and lots of details i would have loved to have added in. But on this cake journey to hopefully starting my own business there will always be imperfections, room for improvement and learning… lots and lots of learning.