Making a cake is no easy task. When you think about the process of getting out your stand mixer and all those bowls and then having to clean up afterward, it can seem like a big undertaking.
The beautiful thing about this cake is it’s a one-bowl cake. The dry and wet ingredients can be incorporated together which keeps things simple (though you will need to use a second bowl for the frosting. Okay, so it’s a two-bowl cake!).
This cake is super simple and a great way to try out your baking skills if you’re new to cake-making. You won’t need any fancy equipment, and before you know it you’ll have rich, decadent French vanilla cake in no time!
What Is French Vanilla?
So, what exactly is French vanilla? And what makes this kind of vanilla so different compared to other kinds?
Oftentimes, different types of vanilla are referred to by their place of origin, like Mexican or Tahitian vanilla, but French vanilla is a bit more unique.
The actual flavor of French vanilla is not so much identified with a particular vanilla plant but more so with the French history of using vanilla in cooking and baking, primarily with custards.
Over time, the flavor of vanilla became so heavily identified with this rich, eggy, caramelized flavor that French vanilla extract came to be spiced and made with those flavors in mind.
Hazelnut and various spices are used to boost that classic French vanilla custard flavor.
So, in a nutshell, that’s French vanilla! It’s delicious and I love it.
What If I Can’t Find French Vanilla Extract?
If you can’t seem to find French vanilla extract at your local grocer, don’t worry! If you can find French vanilla creamer or French vanilla pudding, you can use these (with slight alterations to the recipe, of course).
There’s also some great French vanilla extract you can order online. I prefer mine powdered, but you can find liquid extract as well.
How To Make The Sponge Cake
Like we talked about earlier, this is a super easy, delicious cake to make.
However, you might find yourself encountering some pitfalls along the way. I certainly did! Here are a few tips to keep in mind when embarking on your cake-making quest!
- Make sure to use two springform pans instead of one. The batter will cook more evenly when divided and you’ll have a chance to incorporate some beautiful frosted layers in between each cake! How delightful!
- Your cakes absolutely have to be cooled down before your frost them. Any residual heat is gonna melt that frosting and your gonna end up with a goopy, gross-tasting cake.
- When making buttercream make sure your butter is at room temperature. If it’s too cold, it’s not gonna mix well with the other ingredients, and if it’s melted or too warm, it won’t become light and fluffy.
- Make sure to use cake flour. This’ll ensure a finer crumb and a more tender cake.
- Avoid overmixing as mixing too much can create a tough cake.
Do I Have To Use A Springform Pan?
A springform pan is an ultra-convenient baking device, and we would recommend you get one (this is a personal favorite). However, you don’t need a springform pan to make this cake by any means.
You can use truly any baking dish that is able to be used in the oven. You can even use a cupcake pan to make French vanilla cupcakes!
How To Make French Vanilla Cake
Assemble your ingredients and preheat your oven to 350°F.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder.
In a bowl, beat eggs for 30 seconds.
Add sugar and beat for 40 seconds or until the sugar is dissolved.
Fold in milk, melted butter, and flour mixture.
Stir a few times to make sure everything’s well incorporated.
Then, add the French vanilla.
Stir, but do not overmix, until the vanilla is fully incorporated.
Line two 9-inch springform pans with baking paper, both the bottom and the sides.
Divide the batter between the pans. Bake for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, make the buttercream frosting.
In a bowl, beat butter with icing sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth.
Gradually add milk so you do not end up with too soft of a buttercream.
Cool the cake completely on a wire rack.
To assemble, place the cake on a large plate or a cake stand. Place 1/3 of the batter on the cake before covering with the second sponge cake layer. Spread the remaining batter all over the top and sides.
Chill the cake for 1 hour before serving.
After being chilled, enjoy your delicious French vanilla cake!
For the cake
- 2 cups cake flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 4 eggs
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup butter, melted
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tsp French vanilla powder
For the frosting
- 1 cup butter
- 1 lb. icing sugar, sifted
- 2 tsp French vanilla powder
- 2-3 tbsp milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder.
- In a bowl, beat eggs for 30 seconds. Add sugar and beat for 40 seconds or until the sugar is dissolved.
- Fold in milk, melted butter, and flour mixture.
- Stir a few times to make sure everything's well incorporated, then add the French vanilla.
- Stir, but do not overmix, until the vanilla is fully incorporated.
- Line two 9-inch springform pans with baking paper, both the bottom and the sides.
- Divide the batter between the pans. Bake for 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, make the buttercream frosting. In a bowl, beat butter with icing sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add milk so you do not end up with too soft of a buttercream.
- Cool the cake completely on a wire rack.
- To assemble, place the cake on a large plate or a cake stand.
Place 1/3 of the batter on the cake before covering with the second sponge cake layer. Spread the remaining batter all over the top and sides.
- Chill the cake for 1 hour before serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 572Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 125mgSodium: 352mgCarbohydrates: 82gFiber: 0gSugar: 62gProtein: 5g
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