So my baby brother turned 18 today which is, kinda weird. I still remember him all short, chubby and with enough blubber to light 100 oil lamps. He got to request what he wanted but then at the last minute I decided that the cake should at least be a semi surprise (aka. not exactly what he asked for but kind of close). To be honest, if I had thought about it sooner I would have made him one of the classic novelty children aimed cakes and not done what he asked me at all. The swimming pool cake was a real favorite when he was little, the one in the Woman’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book. I think it was more to do with the jelly than the cake.
Perhaps, for his 21st, I will whip up a cake that brings on a wave on childhood cake nostalgia. That would be fun and I know our copy of the book is hiding somewhere in the house.
Originally this cake was going to be totally orange to commemorate his favorite, and jealously guarded colour – orange. Then I thought it might look a bit too crazy, he can settle for an orange cup from way back when. Tip: How to make your little brother scream like he’s in the worst kind of pain in the world; steal his orange plastic drinking cup.
Also, I just realised I forgot to take a picture of the slice so you can see the delicious insides. You’ll just have to trust me that this is a very dense kind of cake with a lovely crumb. It leans a bit more towards the drier side when it comes to cakes but that makes it perfect for the cream, or yoghurt, or something saucy.
Vanilla Bean Cake
Inspired by Buttered Up
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 250 grams unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 vanilla beans, halved lengthwise (or two sizable teaspoons of vanilla bean paste)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 180˚C with rack in middle. Grease 9-inch springform pan and dust sides with flour, tap out excess.
In a small bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate, much larger bowl, beat together butter and sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Scrape seeds from vanilla beans with tip of a paring knife and add into butter mixture, reserving pods for another use, and beat until well combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
Using wooden spoon, add flour mixture and milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
Pour batter into pan, smoothing and spreading evenly. Gently tap pan on counter to eliminate air bubbles.
Bake for one hour, or until a knife or skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. This took just over an hour in my oven so be sure to check. Cool in the pan for one hour then turn out and allow to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar, or decorate with celebratory appropriate icing!
Lemon & Vanilla Whipped Cream Frosting
Inspired by Joy of Baking
- 1 cup cold full fat whipping cream (35 – 40% butterfat content)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
- 1/3 cup lemon curd
Place your mixing bowl and wire whisk in the freezer for about 15-30 minutes. Then place all the ingredients in the cold bowl and beat just until stiff peaks form. If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate. Makes about 2 cups (480 ml) whipped cream.