Some things are no fuss, no edits, no add ons. The Starlight Cake is a classic layer cake that transcends throughout the decades.
This cake reminds me of a good friend D. As a bartender for almost 20 years, she knows how to listen and how to keep the peace. During work days, she lives in town, on her days off, D lives ½ hour away to a self-renovated clap board colonial house.
D has no excess, no dryer, no television. She has a porcelain Westinghouse stove and antique everything. Over the summer D shocked the car dealership by not wanting an LCD touch screen and automatic creature comforts. The dealer special ordered a manual transmission car with a basic radio, hand roll down windows, and no air conditioning. She follows no food trends and serves heavy cream with coffee in Buffaloware.
This Starlight Cake is just like D with her no frills. The reverse creaming method is not just straightforward, but this method also yields the perfect cake texture. The only extra step is with sifting. To get that lighter and usual crumb, the cake flour is sifted before measuring and then shifted a second time into the mixing bowl. The Starlight Cake requires this step, so don’t think you can skip this sifting.
Yes I do have crutch words. Moist, fluffy, and tender are just some of my go-to descriptors. But don’t you want those qualities in a cake? So yes, I am using those words to describe the Starlight Cake. This cake is everything you want in a vanilla cake!
I seem hypocritical saying this cake needed no amendments, because I did some changes. I transformed this cake form a two layer to a three layer cake form. Additionally, I added more fat in the form of oil. While pure butter cakes are prone to drying out, the addition of 1/8 cup oil makes for a moister cake over a longer period of time.
The deep vanilla flavor comes from the evaporated milk. The concentrated flavors of this milk supports the fragrant vanilla notes.
Finally this cake is topped with a vanilla bean frosting. Cream cheese cuts through the sweetness of powdered sugar.
So go ahead and continue a classic cake tradition!
- 3 cups plus 3 tablespoons cake flour, sifted then measured
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons fine salt
- ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks 6 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into cubes
- ⅛ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups evaporated milk
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
- pinch of salt 5 to 6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- Gel food coloring
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch cake pans with baking spray, set aside.
- Sift the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. Fit the mix with a paddle attachment and stir the dry ingredients for 10 seconds on the lowest setting. With the mixer speed still on low, add butter, a few cubes at a time, followed by the oil. The mixture should have a sand like texture.
- Add the vanilla and ½ cup of the evaporated milk. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Add the eggs and remaining milk in two batches into just incorporated. Raise the speed and beat for a final 2 minutes. Give the batter a few folds with a rubber spatula.
- Divide the batter among the three pans and bake for 25 to 29 minutes, rotating halfway. A toothpick inserted should come out with a few moist crumbs. Do not over bake this cake!
- Invert immediately onto a wire rack and cool completely.
- with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese on a medium speed until fluffy and lump free. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Add the vanilla and salt.
- On the lowest speed, gradually add the powdered sugar. To keep the frosting luscious and thick, do not over beat the frosting.
- Tint the frosting with the desired color.
- If the cake layers have domes, use a serrated knife to level off the tops. Secure the first layer to the cake board with a bit of frosting. Apply a generous layer of Vanilla Bean Frosting, add the next layer and repeat. Top with the final third layer. Give the cake an initial crumb coating. Chill for 15 minutes. Apply a thicker, second layer of frosting. Chill for another 15 minutes. Use a large open star tip to pipe the top border.
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