My Perfect Vanilla Cake | RecipeTin Eats recipes

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C convection) for 20 minutes before starting the dough. Place the rack in the middle of the oven. Butter 2 cake tins 20 cm in diameter, then line them with parchment paper (for the cooking times of other sizes of cake tins, see note below).
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Put aside.
  3. Beat the eggs for 30 seconds over medium-high heat (speed 6 out of 10) in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or use electric hand mixers. With the beaters still running, slowly pour in the sugar over 45 seconds, then beat for 7 minutes on high (speed 8), or until tripled in volume and white in color.
  4. While the egg is beating, place the butter and milk in a heatproof bowl and microwave for 2 minutes on high to melt the butter (or use the stovetop). Do not let the milk bubble and boil (foaming is acceptable).
  5. When the egg is whipped, spread a third of the flour mixture over the surface, then beat on speed 1 for 5 seconds. Add half of the remaining flour mixture, then mix again for 5 seconds. Add the remaining flour, then mix for 5-10 seconds until the flour is just combined. Once you see no more flour, stop immediately.
  6. Pour the hot milk mixture, vanilla and oil into the now empty bowl of flour. Add about 1½ cups of the egg mixture (don’t have to be exact) into the hot milk mixture, then use a whisk to mix until smooth – you can be vigorous. It will be frothy.
  7. Turn the beaters back on to the lowest speed (speed 1), then slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture over 15 seconds, then turn the beaters off.
  8. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat on speed 1 for 10 seconds. The dough should now be smooth and flowing.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Knock each cake pan on the counter three times to remove large bubbles. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  10. Take the cakes out of the oven. Cool in the molds for 15 minutes, then gently unmold onto wire racks. If using as a layer cake, cool upside down – the light dome will flatten perfectly. Tier cake = neat layers.
  11. Decorate with icing, cream and fresh berries or jam. Although honestly the cake is so moist, you can eat it plain!


• Regular white sugar works well in place of caster sugar, but you may get tiny brown specks on the base (larger grains don’t dissolve as well).
• It is best to use a mold without a loose bottom as the batter is quite thin and therefore there may be slight leaks. If you only have a springform pan, cover the crack with softened butter.
• Baking time for other sizes of cake tins: three 20 cm cake tins – 23 minutes; two 23 cm cake molds – 27 minutes; three 23 cm cake molds – 20 minutes; two 15 cm cake tins – divide the recipe by two, bake for 25 minutes; Bundt box of 3 liters – 1 hour; a 23 x 33 cm rectangular mold – 30 minutes.
• For cupcakes, halve the batch of batter and line a 12-cell muffin pan with cupcake tins. Fill the holes two-thirds full (no more) and bake for 22 minutes.
• Unfrosted cake can be stored in an airtight container in a cool pantry. It will stay almost fresh for 5 days, which is a special feature of this cake! Or freeze for 3 months. If decorated with cream or buttercream frosting, it should be stored in the refrigerator. Always bring the cake to room temperature before serving.

Images and recipes from Nagi Maehashi’s dinner, published by Macmillan Australia (RRP $44.99). Photograph by Nagi Maehashi.

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