You wouldn’t know it by looking at this blog, but cakes are one of my favorite things to make. I’ve made several decorated cakes for family and friends, and I love watching their faces when they see the cake for the first time. Clara’s not even four months old, and I’m already brainstorming ideas for her first birthday cake. I didn’t think I’d have an occasion to make a cake anytime soon, so I was elated when my friend and neighbor Kristi asked me to make her daughter’s first birthday cake. She wanted a rainbow cake but gave me free reign on flavors and decoration.
This is a standard cake recipe that is slightly more time consuming than normal due to the fact that it has to be divided into six portions and tinted before being baked. The more cake pans you have, the faster this process will go. Other than tinting the batter, this recipe is straight forward and yields a delicious vanilla cake. It uses only egg whites, making the cake incredibly light. So many people think flavor is lacking in white cake, but that is certainly not the case with this one. Instead of using the tablespoon of vanilla extract the recipe calls for, I substituted vanilla bean paste and almond extract. The almond isn’t strong, but it gives this cake that fresh from a bakery flavor. I struggled with what type of frosting to use – Swiss meringue, seven minute or buttercream. I ultimately decided to use a vanilla bean buttercream, and it complemented this cake perfectly. I wanted to give the cake that fluffy cloud look on the outside, and the buttercream was perfect for that technique. Even though the birthday girl wasn’t really into the cake, all the guests seemed to love it. Kristi, thanks for letting me help celebrate Isla’s birthday in such a special way!