So I’ve been trying more and more to make my cakes from scratch, but I absolutely love the convenience of cake mixes. Let’s be honest, opening a bag of cake mix and dumping it into the mixing bowl, adding in the eggs, water and oil is pretty darm simple, right?
So my problem with making cakes from scratch is they usual end up with more steps than I care to have to do. Sometimes I don’t mind when I have a lot of time on my hands, but when I’m making a birthday cake, or anniversary cake, or special occasion and I’m covering that cake with buttercream, I tend to go back to using a cake mix.
This is much like my one-bowl chocolate cake recipe, which I absolutely love. It’s one bowl, not a tonne of ingredients and everything gets whipped up while the oven is pre-heating!
First off, preheat your oven to 350°F, making sure your rack is in the middle of the oven.
Then in the bowl of your stand mixer, measure out your sugar, salt and eggs (yes, I use these straight from the fridge, as I tend to bake on a whim and never usually pre-plan these things to allow things to come to room temperature). Using the paddle attachment, turn the speed on your stand mixer to 6, and beat for 2 minutes.
While the eggs and sugar mixture are whipping up nicely, get out your flour, baking powder, measure out your milk and oil (I do this in one measuring cup, measure out the milk first and then pour the oil in over top), and vanilla bean paste.
This is when I get my pans ready, as usually my oven is close to being heated up, but not quite. This uses two 8″ X 2″ pans or three 6″ X 3″ pans. Your choice. I’m using 8″ pans this time, as I’m making these for my anniversay in a week and a half. Make sure to spray your pans with baking spray and always, I repeat always line your baking pans with parchment paper. This is not an option. If you’ve ever had a cake stick to the bottom of a cake pan you know. This just isn’t a step to be missed.
Once the pans are ready, I turn the mixer back on low for 15 seconds, then remove the bowl from the stand mixer and using a rubber spatula, give it a quite stir, to ensure everything is incorporated and there are no bits of flour on the bottom of the bowl.
Then divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Yes, I weigh this out to ensure each pan has the same amount of batter. It also helps me for future bakes, as I then know each pan gets roughly 650 gr. of batter. And yes, I clean out the mixing bowl completely, no licking the bowl or beater for me. Remember to tap your pans on the counter, gently, a couple of times to release any trapped bubbles.
Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a cooling rack, flipping them back up right and allow to cool a further 20 minutes. At this point wrap in plastic wrap (if putting in the fridge to cool completely 1 layer should be fine – if freezing, like I usually do, wrap in 2 to 3 layers of plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 months).
One Bowl Vanilla Bean Cake
(Makes 2 – 8″ X 2″ cakes or 3 – 6″ X 3″ cakes)
1 1/2 cups sugar
Large pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 cup milk
3/4 cup canola oil
2 tsp. Vanilla bean paste
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
- In bowl of stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, whip eggs, sugar and salt on medium (speed 6) for 2 minutes, until light yellow in colour and almost marshmallow looking.
- Add in flour, baking powder and vanilla bean paste. Turn mixer to low (stir) and pour in milk and oil. Continue on low speed for 30 to 45 seconds. Turn mixer off.
- Prepare pans, spray with baking spray and line with parchment paper.
- Divide batter between both pans (650 gr. each).
- Bake in pre-heated oven for 35 to 40 minutes for 8 inch pans, 45 to 50 minutes for 6 inch pans. To test for doneness, if skewer comes out clean, cakes are done.
- Allow to cool for 15 minutes in pan, then turn out onto cooling rack and allow to cool a further 20 minutes.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge, or wrap 2 to 3 times in plastic wrap and place in freezer for up to 2 months.