Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Vanilla Bean Birthday Cake with Strawberry Milkshake and White Chocolate Buttercream

It was my birthday on September 1st.  I turned 25.  Definitely 25.  My brain was trying to convince me the couple of weeks leading up to it that I had already had my birthday and that I am, in fact, 26.  Clearly I am feeling old.  But no, I've only just turned 25.  I still feel a bit old though.

Anyway, as I said this time last year, I have made my own birthday cake since I was about 9/10 because I am terribly picky despite liking something very simple.  Last year I did diverge from the norm slightly, in that I made something that wasn't a vanilla cake, and whilst it was quite tasty it was not amazing and more-ish.  So this year I felt I was going to have to go back to being 'boring' and do a vanilla cake again.  I admit, I was a little disappointed with myself.  That is, until I had a brainwave!  Okay, I would make a vanilla cake but I would make it special!  I would treat myself to some vanilla beans and use the seeds to flavour it!  I have never used vanilla beans before, mainly because they were quite pricey.  The ones in the supermarket are usually £5 for one!  Two if you're lucky.  Plus there's no guarantee of quality when they are packaged inside a plastic tube.  You just have to hope you get a good one.  However, I happened to be browsing around on Amazon one day and decided to see if I could get beans through them.  Turns out I could and the ones I was looking at had very positive reviews.  Better yet, they cost £4.75, for ten. TEN!  Well obviously I jumped on that deal and I can tell you, I was not disappointed.  I had read that you can tell if a bean is not dried if it is easy to deseed.  The one I used in my baking was VERY easy to deseed and it was only my first time doing it too.  Very pleased with them indeed.

So I had my base cake planned.  As for the filling and outside, I decided to just pick flavours I had previously enjoyed; namely strawberry milkshake buttercream for the filling and white chocolate buttercream for the outside.  The chocolate dripping over the top was inspired by a picture I had seen on Pinterest.  Originally, it was going to be chocolate ganache but it just refused to turn out right, which was frustrating.  It is just two ingredients and the method is so simple and yet I cannot do it.  In the end I just could not be bothered to keep persisting with it.  It was my birthday after all and I prefer plain old melted chocolate anyway.

What can I say?  This cake tasted amazing!  Especially when you got a bite of all the component parts together.  The fiancĂ© and I scoffed most of it quite happily.  It was just so good.  I was really pleased.  I was also quite chuffed with the final look, though I wish I'd not added the white decoration to the top and just left it as pink roses.  Never mind though.  I still got lots of compliments for it.

Recipe - Makes 1 x 15cm/6inch, four layer cake

Cake - adapted from a post on The Good Food Channel
  • 3 eggs
  • Caster sugar - weight equal to that of the 3 eggs in their shells
  • Unsalted butter - weight equal to that of the 3 eggs in their shells
  • Self raising flour - weight equal to that of the 3 eggs in their shells
  • 1 vanilla bean

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and grease and line two 6inch/15cm round cake tins.
  2. Separate the eggs and use a whisk to beat the egg whites until you get soft peaks.  Set aside.
  3. Remove the seeds from the vanilla bean and put them in a large mixing bowl with the butter and sugar.  Mix until fluffy and pale in colour.
  4. Whisk the egg yolks for about 3 minutes and then fold into the sugar butter.
  5. Sift in the flour and fold that in also.
  6. Add the egg whites and fold those in too until you cannot see any white in the mixture.
  7. Pour half the mixture into each tin and then put in the oven for about 30 minutes.  Do not open the oven before 20 minutes have past.
  8. Once baked. remove and let stand in the tins for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
Strawberry Milkshake Buttercream:
  • 30ml/1fl.oz full fat milk
  • 40g/1.4oz Nesquik strawberry milkshake powder
  • 375g/13.2oz icing sugar
  • 130g/4.5oz butter
  • Pink food colouring
  1. Dissolve the milkshake powder in the milk.
  2. Beat the butter in a bowl until it is creamy.
  3. Sift in the icing sugar and beat into the butter until smooth.
  4. Add the milkshake and food colouring and mix in until you get the desired colour and the buttercream is smooth.
White Chocolate Buttercream:
  • 125g/4.5oz butter
  • 250g/9oz icing sugar
  • 200g/7oz white chocolate 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  1. Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl placed over a pan of simmering water.
  2. Cream together the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add the melted white chocolate and mix in until smooth.
  • 2 vanilla cake layers
  • Milkshake buttercream
  • White chocolate buttercream
  • 155g/5.5oz milk chocolate
  1. Cut each cake layer in half so you have four layers.
  2. Place the first layer, cut side up, on the serving plate.
  3. Cover with 1/4 of the milkshake buttercream and then place the second layer, cut side down on top.
  4. Cover this layer with another 1/4 of the buttercream and then place the third layer on top, cut side up.
  5. Add another 1/4 of the buttercream to the top of this layer and place the final layer, cut side down, on top to cover.  Gently press down.
  6. Apply a very thin layer of white chocolate icing over the whole of the cake (I use a butter knife), making sure to fill in any gaps.  This will be the crumb coat.
  7. Now apply a thicker layer of the white chocolate buttercream over the crumb coat, making sure to cover the entire cake.  Smooth the buttercream down so it is nice and even.
  8. Melt the milk chocolate in a heat proof bowl placed over a pan of simmering water without letting the bowl touch the water.
  9. Pour the chocolate over the top of the cake, coaxing it towards the edges and over the sides.  Allow to set.
  10. Place the remaining milkshake buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a large, closed star nozzle and pipe roses on top of the cake by making spirals that start in the centre and move outwards.
  11. If you  have remaining white chocolate buttercream, you can also use that to add decoration too.  I used a large open star nozzle for mine.

1 comment:

  1. Your cake looks beautiful and the flavors sound just delicious!!!