Monday, July 29, 2013

Basic White Cake with Guest Blogger Carrie

Jan here, stepping aside for my daughter to make another guest appearance at the cafe.

Long story short - last January, when I was asked to take over the Christian Education duties at our church, VBS was just a distant cloud on the horizon. No problem, I thought, I'll just plan around that one week in July....

Yeah, right.

What I didn't know then was that I would have two (2!) deadlines looming, and what I had conveniently forgotten was what a time-sucker VBS is for the director!

So here we are, the first day of VBS 2013, and Carrie offered to make a cake for the blog.

"Sure!" I said, "I'd love it!"

So, take it away, Carrie!

All right, Folks, it’s Carrie again! This is beginning to become a habit, but it’s a habit I’m not sure I want to break. This blog is going to be a lesson in making recipes for the first time, and realizing that not everything you make will look a) pretty and b) exactly like it does in the picture.

On Sunday afternoon, I set about to make a basic vanilla cake with a white chocolate frosting and cookie crumbles on top. While what I got was exactly that, I also found out that this is not my favorite cake recipe, and it's hard to keep people from eating Oreos before you need to use them!

Here is the cake recipe I used (you can definitely substitute your own favorite vanilla cake recipe). I found it in a Food Network Magazine. I had made the chocolate version earlier this month for my mom’s birthday. The chocolate version was delicious, fudgey and moist, so I figured the vanilla would be the same right?

Basic Vanilla Cake


2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, at room temperature.
3 C. All purpose flour
1 TBSP Baking Powder
½ tsp salt
1 ¼ C. Sugar
4 large eggs
1 TBSP Vanilla Extract
¾ C. Heavy Cream mixed with ½ C. Water

1) Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9"x13" pan.

2) Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and sugar on medium until light and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the vanilla (The mixture may look separated at this point) Beat in the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the heavy cream mixture. Beginning and ending with flour.

3) Pour batter into pan. Bake until the cake is lightly golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. About 30-35 minutes.

Sounds easy enough? It sure was, the cake went together great, but the batter was much thicker than I expected. I even reread the directions to see if I had missed some extra liquid. I hadn't, so I soldiered on. I baked my cake and it looked and smelled delicious. It even tasted delicious after I had let it cool. But the texture was something more like a coffee cake or a muffin than a delicious cake.

The frosting, that was a different matter. This frosting turned out delicious and I can see it being extra tasty on a chocolate cake.

White Chocolate Frosting:


3 oz. White Chocolate, finely chopped
1 ½ sticks butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
1 ½ C. Confectioners’ Sugar
10 Oreos, or other chocolate sandwich cookie, crushed

1) Melt the white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth. Beat butter, vanilla and salt together in a mixer until smooth. Add the melted white chocolate and beat until combined. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth.

Frost the cake and then sprinkle on crushed cookies to top it off.

It didn't quite end up like the magazine. But it was worth a shot, and next time I get the hankering for a cookies and cream cake I'll definitely use the chocolate recipe!

Jan here again. One step Carrie left out is that she cut her 9"x13" cake in half and layered it. It was a VERY rich cake, but tasty. I agree with her, though - next time, it should be chocolate!

We'll leave you with some shots from the hike we took on Carrie's birthday earlier this least, from the first half of the hike. We watch the thunderheads gather, and then the heavens opened up, and we were almost a mile from the car! Yes, we got soaked, but it was worth it!

And finally, a gratuitous puppy picture! Here's Thatcher at 17 weeks, playing with his best buddy, Maggie-the-Cat-who-thinks-she's-a-dog:

Wasn't it smart of me to get color coordinated pets?

We've had recipe fails at the cafe before, but we still keep pushing on, don't we? What's the next new recipe you're planning to try?


  1. Doesn't seem like a fail to me. Looks and sounds delicious! But I've cut out most sugar and am possibly going gluten-free (guess I should decide before going grocery shopping later!), so this is one recipe I will have to avoid. *pout* Thank you for sharing, Carrie! And thanks, Jan, for the beautiful pics! (At one point we had a black dog, a white dog, a black-and-white cat, and a white-and-black cat--talk about color coordinating!) :D


    1. I think it was the visual fail that bothered Carrie the most. You know, kind of a Pinterest thing, where the real thing rarely turns out looking like the picture?

      And even if you don't get to eat the cake, you can still make it for special occasion, right?

  2. looks good to me! I dont' think some of those pics on Pinterest are real..think they've been photo-shopped or something!


    That's how we ended up with so many cake balls last week! If you add enough frosting and raspberry jam or caramel to cake and smush it, ball it, and dredge it in chocolate, even less than great cake comes to life.

    Carrie, this cake mix with the four eggs and the heavy cream automatically says "heavier consistency".... And your mom taught me about the cake flour and that probably would have helped this one too...

    I think my current fave white cake from scratch recipe is the Light Golden Cake from Betty Crocker, but I'm still searching just like you.

    Let me know if you find one first!!!!

  4. this reminds me of a romance book I read not too long ago - ws trying to remember which one - think it was a Linda Howard cowboy one..the heroine needs to hide out and goes to this ranch to be the cook - the hands keep raving about the cook who left so she keeps trying and sees a white cake recipe that says no fail or something like that but it comes out it's her challenge to make it come out right and near the end the old cook comes back and says she only tried that recipe once because it came out so bad...the cooking scenes were the best part of that romance I think! can't remember the title but it's one of the newer ones she's done.

  5. Ooohhh -- I've never made a cake with heavy cream before. Sounds decadent. So is heavy cream whipping cream or table cream? Love the idea of white chocolate frosting. That will be my new recipe to try. And I just might have to make a layer cake some time. They look soooooooooooo good.

    As to Thatcher and the long-suffering cat -- I see that the pup's middle is kind of fuzzy. Must mean he's really tussling with that ol' cat. Who came out the winner?

    Good luck with all your deadlines, Jan. And thanks for sharing your culinary talents, Carrie.

  6. Carrie, thank you for sharing!! I'm still laughing about the Oreo comment. :) Sounds like our house!

    Jan, I really enjoyed your photos! Gorgeous.

  7. Jan, I also meant to say I hope VBS goes well!!

  8. Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Sorry I was AWOL, but the hardest part of VBS is over. My task now is to help keep the evenings running smoothly.

    And tomorrow, I get to work on those deadlines again!