I’ve had many vanilla cakes in my life and this will always be my go-to recipe. It’s not too sweet and it's perfectly moist with a nice, tight crumb. It freezes well and is a great base recipe to build off of. Experiment with different mix-ins like chocolate chips, blueberries, orange zest, sprinkles, etc. This cake is best consumed at room temperature and make sure to use quality ingredients (especially the butter and vanilla).
Special Kitchen Equipment Required: Stand mixer, digital thermometer
Technique Tip: Use room temp ingredients; scrape your bowl; rotate cakes while baking.
Use an immersion blender to get your glaze extra smooth. Make sure to pour the glaze over a well-chilled cake. The glaze should be 90-95 F.
Swap Option: Almond milk is listed here but you can use cow’s milk, oat milk or soy milk. You can also easily make it vegan by swapping in a vegan butter 1:1 and use silken tofu in place of the eggs.
For the Vanilla Checkerboard Cake:1.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray cake pans with nonstick spray and line bottom of pans with parchment paper.2.
Sift all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt.3.
Separate eggs. Reserve the whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.4.
In the bowl of at least a 7-quart stand mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium until light and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn off mixer and scrape the bowl. Cream for another minute.5.
Combine vanilla with egg yolks. Mixing on #2 low, add to butter/sugar mixture, one yolk at a time, and mix just until incorporated. Turn off mixer and scrape bowl with rubber spatula. Continue to mix on low just until combined. Turn off mixer.6.
Alternate adding your sifted dry and wet ingredients, including almond milk and melted coconut oil, to the mixture on medium-low speed. Start with the dry and end with the dry and take care to not over-mix.7.
Mix on medium-low just until combined. Turn off mixer and scrape bowl. Continue mixing on low for 10 seconds.8.
Divide and transfer batter to two medium stainless steel bowls.9.
Color batter to desired shade, taking care to not over-mix.10.
Whisk egg whites on medium-high until medium, soft — not stiff — peaks are achieved.11.
Working in small additions, gently fold the whipped whites into the cake batter until no streaks of whites are seen.12.
Once the whites are fully incorporated, divide the batter evenly amongst the cake pans.13.
Bake cakes for roughly 25 to 35 minutes, rotating halfway through.14.
Once the cake is golden, slightly smaller than the cake pan and gently springs back to a soft touch, it is done.15.
Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes.16.
After 20 minutes, invert cakes onto the wire rack, parchment paper still intact.17.
Let cool for another 10 minutes and gently wrap in plastic wrap. Put in fridge.
For the White Chocolate Mirror Glaze:1.
Bloom the gelatin in water and let sit until hydrated and spongy.2.
Combine the sugar, milk and sweetened condensed milk into a microwave-safe bowl.3.
Microwave for about a minute and a half, stirring halfway through. Watch it closely so it doesn’t bubble over!4.
Remove from microwave, add in the bloomed gelatin and mix until it’s fully dissolved.5.
Melt the white chocolate in 20 second intervals, stirring frequently so it doesn’t burn.6.
Combine the white chocolate and gelatin mixture, stirring well to combine.7.
Pour mixture through a sieve or use a hand blender to make sure the mixture is perfectly smooth. Test the temp of the glaze to make sure it’s 90-95 F. Tint to desired shade.
Cut 2 rings out of each cake layer so it looks like a bullseye: The center circle should be about 2.5-inches and the next two rings should be just under 1.5-inches wide. Just do your best to make them as even as possible (using 2.5-inch and 5-inch round cookie cutters should do the trick!).2.
Now you have 3 rings of each size. Carefully remove the center rings and reassemble alternating colors. You should now have 2 layers of cake that are color, vanilla, color and 2 that are vanilla, color, vanilla.3.
Put a thin layer of frosting in between each cake layer and stack, making sure to alternate the colored layers.4.
Put your cake over a wire rack-lined sheet pan and place the cake on something that raises it up that’s slightly smaller than the diameter of the cake. This will allow the glaze to run off without anything getting in the way and the sheet tray will catch all of the drippings.5.
Let glazed cake set up in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before serving. Enjoy!