When I was in culinary school I used a lot of sponge cake recipes. They were okay and for the French style of training I was involved with it was expected we knew how to do a sponge cake. As I began to step out on my own I searched and searched for a foolproof vanilla cake recipe. Unfortunately, I didn’t find a fool-proof one but I did come across one that was absolutely perfect.
Now we all know baking is a science. So saying that anything in baking is foolproof is a long shot. Please understand baking is an EXACT SCIENCE. It’s just like school science projects. We tweak recipes all the time, but sometime’s you just have to leave things alone.
When I came across Kara’s Perfect Vanilla Cake Recipe I was as much in love with it as anyone else. It literally is amazing. Honestly, I would not suggest adding or deleting anything from this recipe. If you just so need to make it an almond or lemon cake, add a little bit of almond or lemon emulsion but that’s about it guys. Seriously.
This recipe calls for separating egg whites from egg yolks. Five of the seven egg yolks will be used to create a decadent lemon curd filling for this cake.
Let me know if you try it and how you like it!
- 16 oz all purpose flour
- 2.5 tsp baking powder
- 22 oz granulated sugar
- .75 tsp salt
- 8 oz unsalted butter
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or good quality vanilla extract)
- 7 egg whites (use yolks to create lemon curd)
- 12 oz whole milk
- 1 oz vegetable oil
- Lemon Curd
- 4 large lemons zested and juiced
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- 1.5 cup unsalted butter cut into chunks
Kara's Vanilla Cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease sides and bottom of 2 – 8” round pans (If you have issues with sticking you can add parchment circles to the bottom of your pans, however using a good amount of baking spray is perfect)
- Add all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) to a stand mixer bowl and mix with a paddle to combine well.
- n a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients (vanilla bean paste, egg whites, milk, and vegetable oil) and whisk to combine. Set aside
- Turn mixer to low and add chunks of butter slowly to the dry mix. Continue to beat on slow until there are no chunks of butter remaining and the mixture becomes crumbly.
- On low speed, add 1/3 of the liquid ingredients to the dry/butter ingredients and then turn to medium. Mix until a light paste forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add half of the remaining wet ingredients and beat on medium high speed for 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl
- Add the remaining wet ingredients and beat on medium speed for 5 minutes.
- Divide evenly between the two prepared cake pans.
- Bake for 40-60 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean and sides have begun to pull away from the side of the pan. (This will depend on the size of your pan, how full you make it, and on proper oven temp.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Place on a rack to finish cooling
- Zest and Juice Four Large Lemons (set aside)
- In a medium bowl, combine lemon zest and sugar. Rub together with your fingers until fragrant
- Add enough water to a medium saucepan to come about 1-inch up the side and bring to a simmer on the stove-top
- Combine egg yolks and sugar in a medium size metal bowl and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute.
- Measure citrus juice and if needed, add enough cold water to reach 1/3 cup.
- Add juice and zest to egg mixture and whisk smooth. Once water reaches a simmer, reduce heat to low and place bowl on top of saucepan
- Whisk until thickened, approximately 8 minutes, or until mixture is light yellow and coats the back of a spoon.
- Remove promptly from heat and stir in butter a piece at a time, allowing each addition to melt before adding the next
- Pour Lemon Curd onto Plastic wrap and wrap as flat as possible (for faster cooling) If saving the curd, pour into clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly on to of curd, refrigerate for up to 1.5 weeks.
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