Some mistakes are worth making again and again. As soon as my daily craving for cake hit me at full force the other day--as in, worse than usual and so a baking session had to ensue--I aimed for a gorgeous, colossal, and unbelievably smooth cake kind of like Michelle's crunch cake with...are you ready for it?? Graham cracker frosting. I know, right?! Sure, neither of these two options is healthy but I figure that the older I get the more I need to 'live a little'. You know, let loose and not bemoan the fact that I miiiiight have gained a pound over the last few months. I don't know. (Ahem, in case you're in need of a healthy dose of fitness, here are a few ideas) Okay back to our regularly scheduled program.
So obviously that gorgeous and colossal cake didn't happen because I made the mistake of using a really large pan for the small amount of batter I made. Thankfully I was able to salvage these beauties with some improvisation. I simply cut out circles with a small jar and frosted only the layers and the top and not the sides.
These itty bitty cakes are quite lovely if you can't tell. The vanilla cake batter is to die for thanks to the inclusion of 4 whole eggs, which provide us with this wonderfully moist, golden batter and an even more remarkable taste. It's rich, light, buttery, eggy, vanilla-y, and everything you can wish for, all in one.
If you're one of those people who love to throw parties and make adorable things, this recipe might be just for you. I love the fact that they're mini because anything mini makes you feel more festive. It's a fact! And the frosting is so reminiscent of those times when you munched on saltine crackers smeared with dulce de leche, sipping on yerba mate in a cool, shaded patio in some rustic whereabouts down in South America where time has no constraints. Wait, you haven't done that, you say? A good alternative would be to throw your loved ones (or yourself) a whimsical foodie party on a random Thursday with these mini cakes, then. ;)
Mini Vanilla Cakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream
Makes 6 three-layer mini cakes | vanilla cake adapted from Molly Yeh
Ingredients for vanilla cake
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt (or regular)
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
Ingredients for dulce de leche buttercream
5 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups+4 tbsp confectioner sugar
4 tbsp dulce de leche
1 tsp milk (for thinning, if needed)
sea salt for topping, optional
Preheat oven to 375 F (191 C degrees) and lightly grease two 9 inch round pans. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and set aside. Separate egg yolk and egg whites with the 4 eggs in the list. In a stand mixer or with an electric beater in a large bowl, beat the egg whites for about 1-2 minutes, or until frothy. Slowly add the sugar and vanilla extract while beating and keep going for about 2 more minutes, or until soft white peaks begin to form (like meringue).
Add melted butter and milk into the dry ingredients, then the saved egg yolks and gently mix so it's roughly incorporated, but without too many clumps. Fold in the egg white mixture with a rubber spatula but don't whisk it in. Make sure it's evenly incorporated but don't beat the air out of the batter. Pour into the pans and bake for about 20-22 minutes. Cool for at least 30 minutes.
For the dulce de leche buttercream, simply beat the ingredients in the stated order. If you need to thin it out more add a teeny bit more milk. If it's not fluffy enough, add a few more tablespoons of sugar.
Cut circles of about 4 inches with a cookie cutter or jam jar. Brush them with a damp paper towel so they don't get too messy with crumbs when you frost them! Spread about 1-2 tbsp of buttercream on the first layer. Top with another cake layer, frost, and then top with cake. Spread or pipe the frosting on top depending on the look you prefer. I sprinkled very little sea salt on top for the sweet+savory combo.
Favorite food to pair dulce de leche with?
What are your favorite mini foods?