We all need a basic cake recipe- a basic vanilla cake recipe. Sometimes, we get so carried away with creating fancy flavours, gooey ganaches, dense Dutch chocolate confections, that we sort of let the plain vanilla cake languish in the back of the cupboard. Or recipe box. Or of you are digital, saved away in the depths of your Evernote or Springpad app, tagged carelessly and not pulled out often enough.
When I was younger, it was all about chocolate for me. Dessert meant chocolate; whether it was ice-cream, cake, mousse or anything else. I still love chocolate, but I have begun to appreciate vanilla and fruit-based cakes and desserts a lot more now. The thing about a simple vanilla cake is, you can’t really go wrong with it. It’s a very agreeable base to begin with, and you can build from there and add chocolate chips or frosting or serve it with ice cream or fresh fruit- because the pairing of vanilla with anything sweet cannot go wrong.
I learned how to make this cake at the Purple Foodie Workshop as well, it’s actually taken from the caramel-apple upside down cake we made in class- which just goes to show how much you can do when a plain vanilla cake is at the heart of it all.
I made this when we had guests over and couldn’t get my hands on Granny Smith Apples. I decided to leave out the caramel sauce since I didn’t have the apples, and serve it with some nice strawberry ice cream instead.
Keeping in line with my new obsession, I swapped half the measure of flour for almond meal, just to give the cake a nibbly texture and for that speckling of brown (I don’t blanch the almonds.)
A nice tip I learnt from Shaheen is the addition of warm milk to cake batter. The warmer the milk, the moister the crumb will be. This cake has a nice, moist crumb and springs back beautifully when you gently push the surface to see if it’s done. It is moist and dense enough to be eaten all by itself; but still manages to be light and fluffy enough to soak up cold ice cream. Yup. This cake is actually that awesome.
VANILLA ALMOND CAKE (Adapted from The Purple Foodie.)
- 100g butter, at room temperature
- 200g castor sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 100g flour
- 100g almond meal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 eggs
- 80 ml warm milk
- Preheat the oven to 190C, grease a 9-inch round baking dish and set aside
- In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, sugar and vanilla. Then add the eggs, one at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Now, the dry ingredients. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal and baking powder until well incorporated. Fold this into the wet ingredients.
- Now add the milk and whisk everything together until you get an even batter with no lumps.
- Pour the batter into your baking dish and bake for 30-40 mins, until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
This cake is really good. It may not be stacked and fancy; it may not have Tahitian vanilla or marzipan fondant- but it’s an honest cake; elegant in it’s simplicity and it can be paired with most anything. (Though it’s pretty great on it’s own, too!)
♥WHY DON’T YOU♥
♥Serve it with ice-cream or creme fraiche?
♥Top it with fresh cherries or cherry preserves?
♥Slather it with chocolate ganache or good old Nutella?
♥Pipe on some tart-and-sweet cream cheese icing or basic buttercream?
♥Drizzle some caramel sauce over it, like we did in class?