I NEED to just break down and buy Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes. Over the past year I’ve checked it out from the library twice (did you know you can check cookbooks out from the library?) and renewed it to the maximum limit. It’s been in my possession for a total of eighteen weeks.
I like it that much.
Anybody need a cake?
The problem is that I don’t bake cakes with quite the regularity as I do cookies or those fudgy brownies. But whenever an occasion to make a cake arises, this is my go-to recipe source — as long as someone else hasn’t checked it out from the library.
Not long ago my fabulous sister-in-law came to town with her family just in time to celebrate her 30th birthday. A cake was definitely in order! She originally requested something a little fruity, but changed her mind and went with chocolate so her darling girls would enjoy their mom’s cake. She’s a good mom I tell you.
The cake and frosting came from Sky High, and I made a whipped chocolate ganache filling, courtesy of Martha. Let me just say that vanilla bean cake is GOOD. Those little specks of vanilla bean are so full of flavor, especially when they’re combined with vanilla extract. I see vanilla bean cupcakes in the future for sure.
I made the vanilla bean cake a day ahead, because frosting cake layers that have been refrigerated is so much easier. The next day I put the whipped ganache between each layer, applied a thin crumb coat of instant fudge frosting on the cake and then frosted and decorated it.
Piping the birthday girl’s message on the cake with melted chocolate was not my favorite. It just didn’t go as smoothly as I’d hoped. 🙂
Vanilla Bean Cake
from Sky High Cakes
3 cups cake flour
2 cups sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 whole vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
2 sticks, plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/3 cups milk
5 egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Heat the oven to 350. Butter the bottoms of three 8-inch round cake pans. Line each with a round of parchment paper, and butter the paper.
Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the mixer on low speed, blend well.
With the tip of a small knife, scrape the tiny seeds from inside the vanilla bean into the bowl. Discard the outer pod or reserve for another use.
Add the butter and 1 cup of the milk. Mix to blend. Raise the mixer speed to medium and beat until the better is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
In a mixing bowl whisk the egg white with the vanilla extract and the remaining 1/3 cup milk. Add this to the batter in 2 to 3 additions, scraping down the bowl well and mixing just enough to incorporate the ingredients. Divide between the 3 pans.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cook in the pans for 10 minutes. Then invert onto wire racks, remove the paper and cook completely.
Whipped Ganache Filling
adapted from the Martha Stewart Show
2 cups heavy cream
1 pound best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring cream to a full boil. Turn off heat. Add chocolate, and swirl pan to completely cover with cream. Slowly whisk mixture until smooth. Add corn syrup, vanilla and salt. Stir until combined.