Vanilla bean layer cake made from two luscious layers of vanilla bean pound cake and frosted in a sweet tart buttercream infused with balsamic syrup.
Because everyone wakes up in the morning wondering what would happen if they mixed salad dressing into their birthday cake!!!!!
In defense of my sanity, this so did not happen that way.
Rather, it was a case of “what happens when one refuses to actually make sure he/she has all the ingredients he/she needs before embarking on a layer cake expedition”.
“And then is too lazy to walk across the street to the nearest grocery store to purchase aforementioned missing ingredients”.
“And has a husband who is also too lazy to walk across the street to the nearest grocery store to purchase aforementioned missing ingredients”.
Not one of my most stellar food blogger moments, folks. By a long shot.
Anyway, so there I found myself late on a Saturday afternoon, pacing around my apartment with two gloriously decadent and oh so pound cake-like vanilla bean cake layers on my table and not even a tablespoon of the pomegranate molasses that the recipe instructed me to flavor my frosting with!
NONE! NADA! ZILCH!
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?!
I’ll tell you – I must have thrown out my bottle when we moved in September, having way too much faith that my future self would actually remember that I had done such a thing and pick up a new bottle when I needed it. Pfffffttt. My past self was obviously on drugs.
So there I was pacing pacing pacing, trying to find something in my pantry that would mimic the thick sweet tart tangy syrupy flavor of pomegranate molasses, when it hit me.
Because that wouldn’t be weird in a cake at all.
And honestly you guys, it actually really wasn’t weird! At all!
I mean, sure, the.boy swore up and down that it tasted like salad dressing but that’s only because he knew what was in it. His family had no idea and happily dove in for seconds. Maybe thirds while I wasn’t looking. If anything, all you get is a hint of sweet tart fruitiness to break up the mega sweet sugary frosting coating your tongue.
It’s a good thing.
It also makes me wonder what else I should be putting in frosting that I’m not – mustard? Mayo? Pickled onions?!?
Or maybe we should just stick to things that have the word “syrup” in their name. Hmmm. Good call.
One thing you should definitely note is that you canNOT put straight up balsamic vinegar in this. First of all, it will almost certainly curdle your frosting.
Second of all, EWWWWWWW.
You can however (if you can’t find balsamic syrup), boil down about a cup of balsamic vinegar until it has all sorts of thick syrupy sweetness going on. Just make sure to let it cool before stirring it in.
OR, if you’re a recipe-following goody-two-shoes, you can just follow the original recipe instructions and use pomegranate molasses. But I truly advise you to live on the wild side with me.
It tastes good over here.
- 4 cups cake flour
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 1 cup full fat Greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp vanilla bean paste
- 2½ cups sugar
- 1 lb unsalted butter, softened
- 6 large eggs
- 16 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
- 7 cups confectioner's sugar
- ¼ to ½ cup heavy cream
- 3 tbsp balsamic syrup
- red or pink food coloring gel
- To make the cake, heat oven to 350F. Grease two 9-inch cake pans with baking spray, line with parchment paper rounds, and grease again. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, Greek yogurt, and vanilla bean paste. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes on medium speed. Add the eggs to the butter one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- With the machine off, add a third of the flour. Mix on low until just incorporated. Add in half of the Greek yogurt mixture and beat on medium-low until just incorporated. Add another third of the flour and repeat, alternating with the Greek yogurt mixture, until all of the flour and liquids have been added.
- When all the ingredients appear to be almost combined, stop the mixer and use a spatula to stir the batter and incorporate any streaks of flour.
- Divide the batter equally among the two cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 20 minutes and remove from the pans to a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the cake cools, make the buttercream. To do this, combine the butter, 3 cups of confectioner's sugar, and ¼ cup heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low until just incorporated. Beat on medium-high until creamy, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the remaining confectioner's sugar in, 1 cup at a time, and mix on low until the frosting is thick but spreadable, beating for 1 minute after each addition.
- Add in the balsamic syrup. Raise the speed to medium-high and beat for 3-4 minutes, or until very light and fluffy. Add a drop of food coloring gel and mix into the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is uniformly colored. Add more coloring to reach desired shade.
More luscious layer cakes!
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