Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Spontaneity at its best! The other day our son decided that he wanted to surprise Dad with a cake. Of course, he is too young to bake a cake by himself so he had to get me in cahoots with his surprise. It wasn’t too difficult to say yes to such a cute little face and a heartfelt request. I can’t tell yet if our son’s love language is affirmation, physical touch, or giving gifts, but this is one example of how he likes to do things for others.

He made the request on Friday evening and it worked out perfectly because Dad had his volunteer shift for the police department the next day which meant that we could make his cake and present it to him at his mid-shift break without him even knowing about it. After Dad headed out for his first shift we figured out what type of cake to make. Our son wanted a road, police car, and the phrase “Good Job, Dad”. He didn’t know he needed to pick the flavor of the cake first. I gave him a choice from traditional flavors, chocolate, yellow, white. He decided that he thought Dad would like a white cake which was a bit disappointing for me because I am not a big fan of white cake. I quickly perused the internet and found a post that listed 50 of the best cupcake flavors. I started reading those and realized that I could make a white cake that was actually vanilla flavored; now that I could do.

The post that I mentioned that had the 50 different cupcake recipes linked to a Martha Stewart recipe which was showcasing a cupcake recipe from Billy Reece of Billy’s Bakery in New York City. The recipe made 30 cupcakes but I figured that if I halved it I could bake a 9 inch square cake.

It was very easy to bake. In fact I whipped it up while our son was taking his nap. Immediately upon coming out of his room he told me that he decided he wanted “Crime” to be on the cake. I managed to convince him to keep the “Good Job, Dad” part on there and we could add a little part about “Helping Fight Crime”. He was agreeable to this suggestion.

When it came to surprising Dad I was so afraid that he was going to drop the cake on the ground. Dad pulled up and wanted to come in the front door but I told him he needed to come around to the back. He thought that our son made some car/toy creation that he wanted to surprise him with. Instead he was surprised to see our son standing there holding the cake tray! Enjoy!

Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Source: Martha Stewart

1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare pan; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.

In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.

Pour batter into pan. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes (17 to 20 minutes for cupcakes, longer than 30 minutes for 9×13).

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cake has cooled, use a small offset spatula to frost cake. Decorate, if desired. Serve at room temperature.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting 
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
6 to 8 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add 6 cups sugar, milk, and vanilla; mix until light and fluffy. If necessary, gradually add remaining 2 cups sugar to reach desired consistency.

Makes about 30 cupcakes or a 9×13 cake

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