This is a home version of the basic vanilla cake we use at Carlo's. The custard is optional, but really makes the cake unfailingly moist.
Buddy Valastro's Vanilla Cake
- 2½ cups cake flour, plus more for flouring the cake pans
- 2 cups sugar, plus more for unmolding the cakes
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 4 extra-large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- Unsalted butter (about 2 tablespoons), nonstick spray, or vegetable oil
- Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 350°F
- Put the flour, sugar, vegetable oil, baking powder, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with the paddle attachment. (If you don't have a stand mixer, you can use a hand mixer, but take extra care no to overmix.) Mix on low speed just until the ingredients are blended together, a few seconds, then raise the speed to low-medium and continue to mix until smooth, approximately 1 additional minute.
- With the motor running, add one egg at a time, adding the next one after the previous one has been absorbed into the mixture. Stop the motor periodically and scrape the bowl from the bottom with a rubber spatula to integrate the ingredients, and return the mixer to low-medium speed.
- After all the eggs are added, continue to mix for 1 additional minute to ensure the eggs have been thoroughly mixed in. This will help guarantee that the sugar is dissolved and that the flour has been thoroughly mixed in, which will help produce a luxurious mouthfeel in the final cake.
- With the motor running on low speed, add the milk, ½ cup at a time, stopping the motor to scrape the sides and bottom between the two additions. Continue to mix for another 1 minute or until the mixture appears smooth. Before baking, be sure the batter is between 70° and 73°F, or the cake will crown. (Test by plunging a kitchen thermometer into the center of the batter; if it is too warm, put the bowl in the refridgerator for a few minutes; if too cool, let it rest at room temperature.)
- Grease two 9-inch cake pans (2 inches deep) and flour them.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl and get as much batter as possible out.
- Bake until the cake begins to pull from the sides of the pan and is springy to the touch, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes, preferably 1 hour. The cakes should be at room temperature before you remove them from the pan.
- Put a piece of parchemnt paper on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with sugar, and one at a time, turn the pans over and turn the cakes out onto parchment; the sugar will keep them from sticking.
Refrigerate or freeze until ready to decorate.