Fluffy Vanilla Cake with Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting
- For the Fluffy Vanilla Cake:
- 5 large egg whites (150 g), at room temperature
- 1 whole egg
- 1 cup whole milk (237 ml), at room temperature
- 2-1/4 teaspoons (12 ml) pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups (345 g) cake flour, sifted
- 2 cups (400 g) sugar
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (17 g) baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon (5 g) salt
- 12 tablespoons (170 g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 24 even pieces
- For the Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting:
- 3 sticks + 2 tablespoons (375 grams) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
- 3 cups sifted (475 g) confectioners' sugar (icing, powdered)
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) milk
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
For the Fluffy Vanilla Cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease, line with parchment, and flour two round 8-inch pans.
In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine and stir the egg whites, whole egg, 1/4 cup of milk, and the vanilla. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients together on low speed (I use the "stir" setting on my mixer) for 30 seconds.
Add the butter one piece at a time, about every 10 seconds, ensuring it's cold (you can keep some in refrigerator while you're adding pieces). Continue to mix on low until the mixture is a fine crumbly texture. Add milk, and mix on low speed for 5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg mixture in 3 separate batches, mixing until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. (You want to ensure that the batter is homogenous.) Fold once or twice to ensure the batter at bottom of bowl is incorporated.
Divide the batter in two, spreading it evenly with a small offset palette knife. If you have a kitchen scale, weigh to ensure 2 even layers.
Bake until a cake tester comes out with a few crumbs when inserted into the center, about 30 minutes. Be so careful to not over-bake. Check cake at 20 minutes, but not before, and then set the timer for 5 minute intervals. Let cool on racks for 10 minutes before loosening the sides with a small metal spatula, and invert onto greased wire racks. Gently turn cakes back up, so the tops are up and cool completely.
Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months. Best eaten the same day as baked.
For the Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed (I use "4" on my KitchenAid). Butter will become very pale & creamy.
Add remaining ingredients and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy and fluffy.
Best used right away.
You can eliminate the vanilla bean and use a total of 1-1/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract.
Place bottom cake layer on cake plate or 8" round thin cake board and spread 1 cup of frosting on top with a small offset spatula.
Gently place 2nd cake layer face down on top. Place a generous scoop of frosting on top, spreading evenly with a small offset spatula and working your way down the sides until you have a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake. Chill until set, about 30 minutes.
Remove from refrigerator and apply a final "coat" of frosting.
Store in a cake keeper at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in refrigerator for up to 5 days. Best eaten day 1.