Years ago my daughter made the cutest Valentine’s Day Cake with mini cupcakes and pink chocolate hearts. If you need something a little more simple for Valentine’s Day dessert, try this cake. The cake and frosting are both 100% from scratch.
We give you both metric and standard measurements to ensure success. It may seem like a lot of work, but the smiles on your loved ones faces will be worth it.
Homemade Vanilla Cake
This makes two 9″ round cakes that you can stack on top of each other for a layered cake. Mix the ingredients just as the recipe states for a perfectly textured cake.
You’ll notice that the cake has a slight yellow color even though it is vanilla. That is from the butter. Butter gives amazing flavor so you don’t want to skip it.
The recipe calls for unsalted butter, but if all you have is salted, you can use that. Reduce the salt in the recipe by ½ teaspoon (and you can just leave the salt out of the buttercream recipe).
You’ll need 3 teaspoons of baking powder. Please note that it calls for aluminum free baking powder. If you don’t use aluminium free, it can cause your cake to have a metallic flavor. I use Bob’s Red Mill aluminum free baking powder.
How do you know when a cake is done? I do the “touch test”. Touch the center of the cake. If it springs back, it is done.
Pink Vanilla Buttercream
It’s important to use a stand mixer (or high powered hand mixer) when you make frosting. Cream the butter until it is almost white in appearance. This is nearly impossible to achieve by hand (without losing your mind or your arm 😆 ).
The butter should be at room temperature, not at all melted. You’ll know the butter is ready if it gives just slightly when you touch it. If the butter is too melted, the frosting will not come together correctly.
If the buttercream comes out too thick, add heavy cream by tablespoons until it is the perfect texture.
Decorating the Cake
Get the frosting as smooth as possible, but if you like a little texture to your frosting, you can leave it a little more rough.
Our trick for getting smooth frosting is to place the spatula in hot water to heat it. Wipe it off, then use that hot spatula to go over the outside of the cake. It will smooth it beautifully. As the spatula cools, you’ll need to place it back in the hot water and wipe it with a cloth, then smooth the cake again.
How to Fill a Piping Bag
Snip the tip of the piping bag (or disposable zippered bag) off with a pair of scissors. Place the piping tip you’d like to use in the bottom of the bag. I used Wilton 2D tip here.
Place the bag in a tall glass and fold the sides of the bag over the sides of the glass. This will make it easier to fill the piping bag with the frosting without getting too messy.
Fill the piping bag. Twist the end of the piping bag to close.
Then simply squeeze swirls of frosting onto the top of the cake as you’d like. Add sprinkles before the frosting sets.
This cake is safe to store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. It will also freeze well for up to 6 weeks.
Grease two 9" round cake pans with shortening, then dust with flour. You can also line them with parchment paper or use cake release to ensure the cakes come out cleanly.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
In a large bowl, melt the butter using the microwave.
Add the granulated sugar and mix together.
Beat the eggs in a small bowl, then pour them into the butter and sugar mixture. Mix well.
Add the vanilla extract and mix again.
Add the sifted all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Mix together until the mixture is well combined with no lumps.
Pour evenly into the two prepared pans.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cake springs back when you touch the center. Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes, then turn the cakes out to a wire rack to cool completely.
*Make the buttercream:
As the cakes are cooling, make the buttercream. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on high until the butter is almost white in appearance.
Add in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time. This is so that the sugar doesn't go flying everywhere.
When you have finished adding the powdered sugar, add the vanilla extract, heavy cream and pink food coloring. Mix together on medium speed until it forms a creamy, smooth buttercream.
Assemble the cake:
Place a cake layer on a cake plate.
Cut of the dome of the first layer if needed to make it flat. Add a dollop of buttercream to the top of the cake. Begin to spread it around, covering all parts of the first layer including the edges.
Turn the second layer of the cake upside down and place on top of the first layer. Place buttercream on top of the second layer ensuring that it's covering the top completely.
Begin to spoon buttercream on the sides of the cake, using a flat icing spatula to smooth the edge of the cake.
For the final touches, get a cup of hot water and put the cake palette knife into it for it to heat up, wipe it with a tea towel and then begin to smooth out the buttercream. The heat from the palette knife will warm the buttercream giving it a smoother finish.
Place the palate knife back into the hot water, wipe it, then go around the top of the cake carefully folding over the edges of buttercream pushing the scraper away from you.
Put the remaining buttercream in a piping bag with a 2D nozzle size and pipe swirls onto the cake.
Sprinkle valentines theme sprinkles onto the buttercream swirls and onto the bottom of the cake.
Store the cake in an airtight container at room temperature.
*This makes enough for a thin layer of frosting. If you’d like thick layers of frosting and enough for lots of swirls on top, make a double recipe of the frosting.Refer to the article above for more tips and tricks.The calories shown are based on the cake being cut into 15 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 slice of cake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**