This pretty 6-Layer Vanilla Bean Birthday Cake is a real vanilla bean bomb! Loaded with 3 whole vanilla beans. Yep, that’s right. And that is what makes it so great, pure natural vanilla flavor through and through. I used my favorite white cake recipe (it’s easy, tastes amazing and works great every time) in combination with a classic Swiss meringue buttercream, both packed with vanilla seeds. The end result is the prettiest and most scrumptious vanilla bean birthday cake!
The ombre frosting is actually really easy, even if you’ve never done it before. All you need is 3 different colors of buttercream… well, more on that you can read in the recipe.
I’ve been wanting to make a tutorial on how to make these cute bear toppers but instead I strongly recommend this tutorial by Cake Journal. It’s free, easy to understand and the teddy bear is just the cutest one ever. Give it a try!
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4.5 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
- 2 cups milk
- 8 large egg whites
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 2 vanilla beans
- 2.5 cups sugar:
- 4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature,
- 6 egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- 1 vanilla bean
- Food color of your choice (I used turquoise)
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C and butter and flour three 6 inch cake pans (or 8 inch cake pans).
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites and milk. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.
- In the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and seeds of the vanilla beans on medium to high speed until light and fluffy, for about 3 minutes.
- Add a third of your milk-egg mixture and a third of your flour mixture while running your mixer on low speed until just incorporated. Add the remaining flour and milk mixtures in 2 separate batches while continuing to run your mixer on low speed. Stop the mixer when incorporated.
- Spread the batter evenly among the cake pans and smooth out the batter. Bake for about 40-45 minutes until the cakes are golden and a tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool down on a cooling rack completely.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and ½ cup water to a boil. Boil until syrup reaches soft-ball stage (240°F on a candy thermometer).
- In an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat on medium high until stiff but not dry.
- With mixer running, pour syrup down side of bowl into egg whites in a steady stream. Beat on high speed for about 15 minutes until the egg whites are cool to the touch and stiff and glossy. Beat in butter a few pieces at a time. Add vanilla bean seeds and beat until smooth. If it looks curdled at any point, keep beating to smooth out.
- To make the ombre effect, take out about a third of your frosting and add 1 drop of food color. Divide the colored frosting in half, set one half aside, and add a few more drops to the remaining frosting to achieve 2 different colors.
- Cut the tops of your cooled cakes and slice them in 6 layers. Save the cake tops! You can use them to make these super delicious Vanilla Bean Cake Truffles with Toasted Pistachios and White Chocolate.
- Now frost your cake, starting with the white buttercream on top and ending with the darkest color on the bottom. If you want to find out more on how to frost your cake, read a detailed tutorial.