I love how Gracie's cake turned out -- and clearly, the birthday girl did, too!! I was selfishly hoping she wouldn't want to eat it all so her mama could have some - ha. She did feed me a few bites with her whipped cream covered little fingers and it was so very delicious. I cut a few flowers from our rose garden and a peony from a vase in the kitchen, along with fresh mint to wrap around the base. If you keep the fresh whipped cream light and airy with just a hint of vanilla and sugar, this cake really shines. I hope you enjoy it as much as my sweet little girl did!
Grace's Vanilla Cream Birthday Cake
1 C butter or 226 grams soft and at room temperature, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 1/2 C fine sugar
2 1/2 C cake flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 whole large eggs, at room temperature
1 C buttermilk: 1 C whole milk combined with 2 TBS of fresh lemon juice, let sit for 5-10 minutes
1 vanilla bean or 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, 175 degrees C.
I've found that it's really important to not over-mix or under-mix the batter. Beat ingredients on a low speed (if using an electric mixer) until they have just combined.
Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl until just combined. Set aside.
Sift together flour and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
It's also important to have all of your ingredients at room temperature, otherwise it can cause the cake to become dense. Mix the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla (if you are lucky enough to have a vanilla bean, slice it length wise and scrape out the tiny seeds with a knife), almond, baking soda, and apple cider vinegar in a separate bowl.
Alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to the large bowl of butter and sugar, mixing until just combined after each addition.
Grease the cake pan(s) -- I used these 5 Layer Cake Pan Set. (I made three layers for Gracie's cake and set aside the rest for the boys). Pour batter evenly into each pan at 2/3 full to ensure they all bake uniformly. Bake for 15-20 minutes (my oven cooks very quickly). Carefully run a butter knife around the edge of the cakes and remove from the pans to let cool.
1 C heavy whipping cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2-3 TBS sugar (depending on how sweet you'd like it! I prefer 2)
Whisk until soft peaks form. Stack the cakes upside down so that the whipped cream sits on the flat side. Spread whipped cream between each layer of cake, after they have completely cooled, and all over the sides and top. Have about a 2 inch layer of cream on the top. Decorate with fresh flowers and mint, chocolate shavings, fresh fruit, or just leave as is! Enjoy!