Tag Archives: vanilla cake

Easter Egg Hunt Cake

Easter Egg Hunt CakeEaster is coming up this weekend! I grew up celebrating in style–a week full of church, family brunch at The Fort Worth Club, and a HUGE egg hunt on a friend’s grandparents’ property. As far as I can tell after nearly ten years (!) in New York, Easter is not a big holiday here. I see a few families in their Easter best, but other than that, it’s just like any other Sunday. That said, just because I’m not planning to wear any pastels or attend any holiday brunches, there’s no reason I can’t celebrate with this adorable, surprise-candy-filled Easter Egg Hunt Cake!Easter Egg Hunt CakeY’all. Y’ALL. This might be the most sickeningly cute thing I’ve ever made. I had the idea when I saw this Piñata Cake on Sally’s Baking Addiction, and I’ve been hellbent on making this Easter Egg Hunt Cake ever since. From the outside it looks springlike and holiday appropriate (hey there, sweetened flaked coconut!), but then you slice in to find a veritable treasure trove of Easter egg-shaped candy! Seriously, y’all. How cute is this Easter candy avalanche?!Easter Egg Hunt CakeNow, before you go clicking away, thinking that this cake is too much for you to handle, hear me out:

  1. If I can make this cake, anyone can. I can frost a cake, but my decorating skills leave something to be desired. If you can use an offset icing knife, you can decorate this cake!
  2. Hiding the candy in this cake is waaaaay easier than you’d imagine.
  3. Easter Egg Hunt Cake is made with my tried-and-true Vanilla Layer Cake* recipe. That cake and its corresponding buttercream frosting are my two most-requested recipes, and for good reason. They’re simple to put together and sooo good.

*Please forgive those horrendous photos–I’ll be updating them soon.Easter Egg Hunt CakeAre you still reading? I hope so.

Let’s talk cake construction. First and foremost, bake and cool four 9-inch round cake layers and whip together a double batch of (dyed-green) vanilla buttercream frosting. Yes, four layers (1.5 times my standard recipe) and a double the usual amount of frosting. This cake is huge–gotta have plenty of space for all that Easter candy!

First, place a layer of cake on a serving plate and frost the top of it, just like you would for any layer cake. Then (and this is where it gets weird), use a large round cutter to remove the centers of two of your layers. Save those centers for another task, like making a mini-layer cake or a trifle.

Place one of the cut-out layers on the frosted base layer. Top it with a layer of buttercream and the second cut-out layer. Frost that one too.Easter Egg Hunt CakeEaster Egg Hunt CakeSee that hole? Fill it with any egg-shaped Easter candy you like! I used Reeses Pieces Eggs, but you could use chocolate eggs or even jelly beans. I also added some little bunny & carrot-shaped sprinkles, because sprinkles are my love language.Easter Egg Hunt CakeAt this point, you should have one intact cake layer left. Use it to top the other layers, and then frost the tallest layer cake you’ve ever seen.Easter Egg Hunt CakeTo decorate, press dyed-green flaked coconut into the frosting, and then arrange some Easter candy on top. I found this easiest to do by piping little blobs of frosting over the coconut and sticking the candies to them.Easter Egg Hunt CakeAt this point, this cake will look like any old layer cake. Sure, it’s a huge one that’s clearly decorated for Easter, but nobody will suspect the surprise inside. And you, being cool as a freaking cucumber, will act like it’s any old vanilla cake.Easter Egg Hunt CakeBut then, you’ll start to slice the thing…
Easter Egg Hunt CakeEaster Egg Hunt CakeEaster Egg Hunt CakeWhat’s that?! A layer cake full of candy Easter eggs?! How clever of you, you beautiful, talented, homebaking human, you.Easter Egg Hunt CakeEaster Egg Hunt CakeLooking for more Easter-appropriate desserts? Check out these Carrot Cake Blondies, this Lemon Yogurt Cake, and my Coconut Cream Pie! Oh, and keep an eye out for another layer cake coming later this week 💕🐣🐰🍰🎂

Easter Egg Hunt Cake
inspired by Sally’s Baking Addiction
makes one four-layer 9-inch round cake

For greasing the pans:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)

Vanilla Cake:
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups buttermilk, room temperature

Vanilla Buttercream:
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 pounds confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
15-20 drops liquid green food coloring
5-8 tablespoons heavy cream

For Decoration:
1 14-ounce bag sweetened flaked coconut
6-8 drops liquid green food coloring
egg-shaped Easter candies (I used Reeses Pieces Eggs)

For Assembly:
2-2 1/2 cups egg-shaped Easter candies (I used Reeses Pieces Eggs)
1/2 cup sprinkles, optional

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare the pans. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together greasing mixture ingredients. Use a pastry brush to paint mixture onto the entire insides of four 9-inch round cake pans. Set aside.

Make the cake batter. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add eggs and egg yolks one at a time, beating completely after each addition. Beat in buttermilk. Add dry ingredients in three installments, beating just until combined. Scrape down the bowl as necessary.

Divide batter evenly into prepared pans. Tap each full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake cakes 23-27 minutes, rotating top to bottom and back to front at the halfway point. Cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let cakes cool in pans for fifteen minutes. Run a small thin knife around the edges of the pans and invert the cakes onto cooling racks to cool completely.

Make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Beat in confectioner’s sugar in three installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Beat in salt, followed by vanilla and food coloring. Add in heavy cream until desired consistency is reached.

Prepare the decoration. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to combine coconut and food coloring until desired color has been reached. Set aside.

Assemble the cake. Place one round on a serving plate and top with a layer of frosting. Set aside.

Use a 4-6 inch cutter (or a wide-mouthed cup or jar) to cut the centers out of two layers. Set centers aside for another use. Place one cut-out layer on the bottom layer and top with a layer of frosting. Place the other cut-out layer on top and frost. Fill the hole in the cake layers with candies and optional sprinkles. Top with the last (fully-intact) layer of cake. Frost cake as desired. Cover with dyed green coconut. Decorate with additional Easter candies as desired.

Layer cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Easter Egg Hunt Cake

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Vanilla Bean Ricotta Cake

 Everyone has their go-to dessert–that thing they make when a friend has a baby or they’re asked to bring dessert for a dinner party. For my mom, it’s angel food cake with fresh blueberries and whipped cream. For my grandmother, Mame, it was a cherry-pineapple dump cake, which she called “Simply Delicious,” because who wants to eat something called dump cake?! 

My go-to? This Vanilla Bean Ricotta Cake. Now, the words “vanilla bean” and “ricotta” make it sound fancy, but it’s not–it’s basically pound cake. There’s no frosting or layering because this cake simply doesn’t need that kind of adornment. It’s easy to put together and bakes up super dense and moist, with tons of vanilla bean flavor.

For those of you who aren’t much for ricotta in other applications, you should know that I’m not either. Ricotta cheese doesn’t belong in my lasagna, on my toast, or anywhere else…except this cake. The milky flavor and grainy texture that turn me off in savory foods are what make this cake so insanely moist and delicious. The cheese melds so well into the simple batter, it’ll turn even the staunchest of ricotta-haters. If you really don’t want to use the stuff, you may substitute an equal volume of full-fat sour cream.
 This recipe makes a small loaf cake. It will not rise above the top of the pan. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in versatility. Vanilla Bean Ricotta Cake is buttery and moist with a distinct vanilla flavor. It’s the kind of cake that’s fantastic by itself with a cup of coffee or tea, but it is a wonderful base for pretty much any toppings you can think of! Mix up a quick vanilla glaze (like the one used here) and drizzle it over the top of the cooled cake before slicing. Top slices with fresh strawberries and whipped cream for a sort of makeshift strawberry shortcake. Use it in trifles or ice cream cakes. Seriously, this cake is good with just about anything. 

This weekend, I’m going to serve Vanilla Bean Ricotta Cake with Blueberry Compote. I just love the look of the berries on the sliced cake, and the blueberry-lemon flavor goes so well with the vanilla bean! Make it this Memorial Day Weekend and enjoy it with your family and friends. Maybe it’ll become your go-to dessert, too 😊 

 Vanilla Bean Ricotta Cake
makes one 9×5″ loaf, about 8-12 servings

For the pan:
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)

Cake:
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste**
4 ounces (1/2 cup) full-fat ricotta cheese, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease the pan. Mix together flour and neutral-flavored oil. Use a pastry brush to paint mixture over the entire inside of the pan. Pour out any excess. Set aside.

Make the batter. In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Beat in vanilla bean paste, followed by ricotta. Add dry ingredients in two installments, combining completely after each addition.

Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any air bubbles. Bake 35-40 minutes, tenting with foil if it starts to brown too quickly. Cake is done when it’s golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with only a few moist crumbs.

Let cake cool in the pan for ten minutes. Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan to release the cake. Invert it onto a cooling rack, and then revert. Let cool completely.

Cake will keep at room temperature for up to three days, and in the refrigerator for up to five.

Notes:


1. I use Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste.
2. If you don’t have or don’t want to use vanilla bean paste, you may use an equal volume of pure vanilla extract, or the scraped seeds of one vanilla bean + 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.