It’s time to make a birthday cake for a special friend. His favorite color is blue, so there was really nothing else I could have done. I decided to make a French Vanilla Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting.
Honestly, baking doesn’t come easily to me, I really have to work at it. I do take help where I can. For this recipe, I used a box cake mix. Listen, there are some really good ones available. It saves a lot of time, you don’t need to measure out all the ingredients, so why not?
I am going to be adding a secret ingredient to my cake that will make it extra moist and delicious. I’ll tell you about that in a minute. Let’s get started.
I’m starting out by using three boxes of Duncan Hines French Vanilla cake mix.
Tip: Reserve the vanilla bean pod(s) for your granulated sugar. You’ll have vanilla-flavored sugar for future recipes.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Baking Time: 25 to 55 minutes (times may vary depending on oven and the different size cakes pans used for this recipe)
Equipment: 5″, 7″, and 9-inch round cake pans, parchment paper, Stand Mixer, hand-held electric mixer, 3 medium-sized mixing bowls, 1 large mixing bowl, 3 cake cooling racks, piping bag with a star tip
Note: It’s important when baking that all the ingredients be at room temperature.
3 boxes of Duncan Hines French Vanilla Cake Mix, 16.5-ounce boxes
9 large eggs, room temperature
3 cups of water, divided into thirds
1 cup of vegetable oil, divided into thirds
1 vanilla bean, reserve the pod
3/4 cup of ricotta cheese, divided into thirds
3 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract, divided into thirds
1 stick of butter, unsalted and room temperature, (for greasing pans)
3/4 cup of all-purpose flour (for the pans)
Ingredients For Frosting, Double Batch:
4 sticks (32 tablespoons) of butter, unsalted and softened
2 (8-ounce) bars softened cream cheese
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
4 cups of powdered sugar
2 drops of blue food coloring (add more for a darker blue (substitute a different color).
The first thing that you need to do is to prep all three of the cake pans with butter, parchment paper to fit the bottom of each cake pan, and flour. You want to butter the pans first, then lay down the parchment paper in each one. Butter the tops of each circle of parchment paper. Next, flour each pan. Sprinkle a little flour into the bottom of the pans then roll the flour around so the bottom and sides of the pan are floured. Shake off any excess flour into the sink and then the pans are ready.
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Note: It’s very important you mix one box of cake mix at a time. Once mixed then transfer to an extra-large bowl to hold the finished cake batter. You can combine all completed batter into the same bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs, water, vegetable oil, ricotta cheese, and vanilla bean caviar. Whisk to combine.
Using a hand mixer, on low speed, slowly add in the dry ingredients from the box to the wet ingredients, scraping down the side of the bowl to ensure to incorporate the flour, until just combined. Do not overmix. Transfer the completed batter to an extra-large bowl. Repeat this process 2 more times. All the completed batter should now be combined into the large bowl.
Place the 3 cake pans into the oven and bake for the following times.
Using a toothpick or cake tester, after 25 minutes, check on the 5″ cake, then at 45 minutes, check on the 7″ cake. Then again at 55 minutes for the 9″ cake. Remember the times may vary slightly.
Transfer the three cakes to cooling racks and allow them to cool for 30 minutes. Then use a knife to loosen the cake around the edges of the pan. Place the cooling rack on top of the pan then invert the whole pan rack included upside down. Lift the cake pan slowly to allow the cake to fall free from the pan. Repeat this process for each cake. Let the cakes cool on the racks completely before frosting.
Directions For Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment add the softened butter and cream cheese. Cream those together for just a minute until combined. Next, add the vanilla extract, mix until combined. Next, slowly add the powdered sugar until all 4 cups have been added. Mix until completely combined. Finally, add the food coloring one drop at a time. Two drops total should be perfect for a pastel blue.
In an earlier post, I talk about a bakery supply company called D & G Occasions. This is where I purchased the white roses for this cake. You can visit D & G Occasions by clicking the link at the bottom of this post.
Using an offset spatula, starting with the top and working downwards and around the outside of each particular cake. Once the cake is totally frosted, fill a large pitcher with super hot water. Dip the offset spatula in the water, shake off the excess water. Run the spatula around the top and rim of the bottom two cakes as well as the outside of each cake. This will smooth out any imperfections on the frosting. If needed, add more frosting to the needed areas. Again, smoothing it out by using the offset spatula that’s been dipped into the hot water.
After each layer of the cake has been frosted, using a piping bag fitted with a star tip, make stars around the second and third layers. On the top layer make a border of your choosing. Place the candied roses around each layer of the cake. There it is my French Vanilla Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting.
When you’re ready to decorate, let your imagination run wild.