If you’re looking for the best, moistest, tastiest vanilla cake, then look no further. This is the one. The cake is so delicious, and my mom’s recipe for the buttery icing is the BEST! By request this one had coconut on it, but you can leave that off if you wish.
To celebrate a “really big birthday” recently I wanted to make an amazing cake that I knew the birthday boy (man) would love. I found the recipe for the vanilla cake on Sally’s Baking Addiction. During the party I completely forgot to take a good picture of the cake – oh no! So this is the best I could do when it was already half eaten. You can’t see in the photo, but it’s a triple layer cake.
I’ve been enjoying my mom’s vanilla icing for as long as I can remember, so finally I asked her for her “boiling icing” recipe. It’s a little trickier than some, but it’s worth it. I like it best when it’s just come out of the fridge, so the icing is a bit harder, but it’s also nice when it’s sat out for a while and the icing turns creamier.
I only made a few changes to the original recipe: I used a different frosting, and added the toasted coconut. In the method I made one change, which is what I usually do when adding dry and wet to a batter: I added half the dry, then half the wet, and then repeated the step. I find this makes it easier to mix.
Just make sure you leave time to let the cake cool completely before you put the icing on it. Alternatively, you can make the cake ahead of time and freeze it.
The recipe makes a triple layer cake, so don’t try to fit it into two pans as it won’t bake through. If you don’t have three pans (and I don’t live near you do I can’t loan you mine), you could put 1/3 of the batter into cupcake pans or a loaf pan. Your cake won’t be as tall, but then this is a really big cake, so you could get away with it.
A note about the blending flour: this is also called instant flour, and it works better when used for thickening, like in this boiled icing recipe. My mom uses it, and I didn’t, so I ended up having to run the milk and flour through a fine sieve because I had lumps. So if you don’t have blending/instant flour, you can substitute it with a.p. flour, but just beware that you will need to whisk it really well so it doesn’t get lumpy.
What you need for the cake:
- 420 grams (3 & 2/3 cup) cake flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 345 grams (1 & 1/2 cups) unsalted butter – room temperature
- 400 grams (2 cups) granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs plus two egg whites – room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 360 mL (1 & 1/2 cups) buttermilk
- (optional – toasted coconut)
What you need for the icing:
- 1 & 1/2 cup milk
- 7 & 1/2 tablespoons blending flour
- 1 & 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 & 1/2 cups granulated sugar
What you do for the cake:
- Prepare the cake pans by cutting parchment paper circles to fit in the bottoms of the pans. Grease the pans, then grease the parchment paper.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
- Beat the butter and sugar together using an electric mixer. Beat on high speed for about three minutes, until it is smooth and creamy. You will need to scrape down the sides from time to time.
- Add the eggs one at a time, including the extra whites, then beat in the vanilla. The batter may look a bit curdled as you do this, but it will come together.
- Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter on low speed, mixing until just about combined. Add half of the buttermilk, again mixing until just about combined. Repeat the process, adding flour, then buttermilk, until they are just combined. Make sure you mix to the bottom of the bowl to avoid any lumps; you can do this with a rubber spatula.
- Pour the batter into the three pans, equal amounts in each. You can weigh them if you want this to be precise.
- Bake for 23-26 minutes, testing for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the centre of the cake to see if it comes out clean.
- Allow the cakes to cool completely – leave them in their pans to do this, and place the pans on a wire rack.
What to do for the icing:
- In a saucepan combine the flour and cold milk, stirring until there are no lumps.
- Whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a simmer. Continue to whisk it until it becomes thick. Allow this to cool completely.
- Beat the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the cooled milk and flour mixture on medium speed, a little at a time. Continue to beat until it is light and fluffy.
- To ice the cake, place one layer of the cake on your serving dish. Using a flat metal spatula, spread a bit less than 1/4 of the icing on that layer, then do the same on the next layer. On the edges of the cake spread a thin layer of icing, then the same on the top. If you have time, refrigerate the cake for about half an hour, then add the final layer of icing to make it look finished. Here’s a video to show the process.
- Refrigerate the cake for at least an hour before slicing so that it will hold its shape.