Monday, August 13

My'Stache Mondays| Versatile Vanilla Cake + Smash Cake!

I'm so glad that I came across this recipe before Little Man's first birthday. I was stressing about making a cake from scratch for a good month before his big day arrived. I thought I would be able to turn to my faithful friend, Pinterest, for help. However, when I would search for "Easy Birthday Cake", things that weren't even technically a cake would pop up. Either that or pictures like the dinosaur one would pop up. Seriously?

In what universe do people call this 'easy'?
Ok. Maybe I should have specified 'easy'...I meant easy for an average person who's best cake decorating skill is sticking the candles on top of the cake in the shape of a happy face. I'm not Martha Stewart. Then..that's when the light bulb popped up over my head. Maybe Martha Stewart had a recipe I could do. After all, it's her job to make lowly, beginning cooks like myself feel like we are perfectly capable to beat a few eggs, mix up some batter, and apply some homemade icing on a cake.

That's when I found it. The Versatile Vanilla Cake recipe. It even had a whipped topping recipe to go along with it! I'll admit, I almost broke out in hives when I saw some of the detailed instructions halfway through the recipe. I also had a mini-nervous breakdown when my whipped icing looked nothing like icing (a big shout out to the Mr. for commanding me to leave the kitchen and take a break while he solved the problem). However, the end product turned out great and it was very delicious!

Recipe for Versatile Vanilla Cake (via Martha Stewart) 


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • Whipped Frosting


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-by-2-inch cake pans*, tapping out excess flour. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined.
  3. Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until cakes pull away from sides of pans, 32 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pans and invert cakes onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.
  4. Place one cake, bottom side up, on a cake stand. Tuck strips of parchment paper underneath. Using an offset-spatula or table knife, spread top with Whipped Frosting. Top with remaining cake; frost top, then sides.

Cook's Note

Reserve the egg whites left over from the cake for the frosting. If you don't have buttermilk, substitute plain yogurt* or sour cream (not fat-free).

*The cake pans I used were slightly smaller but still worked out great (shout out to my friend S for letting me borrow them)! Also, as it states in the "cook's note", you can substitue plain yogurt for buttermilk. I did that and it worked just fine.

Directions for the Smash Cake

I used a mug that was the same size from
top to bottom.
I wasn't sure how I was going to accomplish a cute little cake for Little Man to dig into. I was tempted to just give him a slice of the main cake. Then I remembered seeing something about using a coffee mug in a microwave to cook a portion size (or two) of chocolate cake. I figured I would use that same general idea for Little Man's smash cake.

All I had to do was pour some of the same batter that I was using for the cake into the coffee mug (make sure you coat the inside with butter and flour first). I poured it about 3/4 of the way full since I knew it was going to rise a good bit. I poured the batter into the coffee mug BEFORE I poured it into the 2 cake pans. This way, I was able to evenly divide the rest of the batter between the two pans without having to worry about how much to leave behind for the coffee mug.

I stuck the two cake pans and the coffee mug all into the oven together. I baked the cake pans for about 30 minutes. However, the coffee mug cake wasn't done. I left it in the oven for another 10 minutes and then it was perfect.

I let it cool and little bit and then gently knocked it out of the mug. It was the most perfectly imperfect smash cake for my Little Man! I probably could have used a knife to even it up a little bit, but I was running out of time! 

I decorated it just like the bigger cake and then gently placed it on top. Ta-da!


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1 comment:

  1. Hi there!
    I'm an editor at, and I'd llove to feature this post in a recipe roundup I'm doing on first birthday cakes. If you're interested/would like more details, please email me directly at .