Vanilla Cake Layers:
Note - this is a halved and slightly-simplified layer cake recipe from ChelSweets.com - I highly recommend checking out her site if you haven't before; it's amazing!!
1 ½ cups + 2 T all purpose flour
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter (or 1 stick) room temperature
1 t. vanilla extract
¾ cups buttermilk, room temperature
1/8 cup (28 grams) vegetable oil
Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.
Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.
Pour in eggs and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans (I find a kitchen scale helpful for this part). This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height.
Bake for 30-35 minutes (or until a skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers into the freezer for 30-45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process.
Once the layers have fully cooled, the caramelized bits can be trimmed from the sides / top of the cake using a serrated knife if desired. Be sure the layers are completely cooled or chilled before trimming. If you try to trim the layers while they’re still warm, they will crumble apart.
Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
6-7 c powdered sugar
2-4 Tablespoons milk
1 T clear vanilla extract
1/4 t. salt
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add vanilla and salt and beat until well combined.
- 1 7- or 8-inch cardboard cake circle
- small / large piping bag & small / large tips
- 8 ounces of fondant for decorating- fondant can be purchased,or it’s less expensive and not too difficult to make your own! (recipe below)
– this can be purchased, or it’s less expensive and not too difficult to make your own! Recipe below.
- Cake leveler, cake turntable, offset spatula, and bench scraper - not all 100% necessary but incredibly helpful!
- Edible gold spray or paint (I used Wilton spray)
- gold gel icing (If piping a name on your cake) Note – make sure you allow enough time for this to set/dry! It won’t dry hard, but it will get tacky enough to not run after about an hour).
- pink and gold pearlized sprinkles
- small circle cutters (I used two sizes, but you could use just one size if you’d like)
- oval cutter (if adding a name to the cake
- 2 circles to make gold Minnie ears – I used cardboard circles for transport stability, but you could use fondant if you have enough time for it to dry!
- ruler and/or tape measure
Once your cakes are cool, level them (if needed/desired). This can be done with a cake leveler or a large serrated knife and a ruler. Place a smear of frosting on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle. Spread the layer with frosting. I added a few pink sprinkles in the center just for a bit more color, but you could leave them out.
Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like – spreading a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer.
Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layer of frosting and smooth. I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part. Once your cake is covered, place it into the fridge or freezer to set the frosting.
I’ve tried a couple of different marshmallow fondant recipes, and Tastes Better From Scratch’s recipe is my current fave!
-16 ounce package mini marshmallows
-2-5 Tablespoons water
-8 cups powdered sugar
-1/3 cup vegetable shortening
Place marshmallows and 2 tablespoons of water in a large microwave-safe bowl.
Microwave for 30 seconds on high; stir until mixed well. Continue microwaving in 30 second intervals until they are melted and smooth. Stir in gel food color – you can add it later if you’d like, but it will involve a LOT more kneading to get the color even.
Place about 5 cups of the powdered sugar on top of the melted marshmallow mixture and gently fold it into the marshmallows.
Grease your hands and your counter-top generously with shortening. Turn marshmallow mixture onto counter and start kneading it like you would dough. Add more confectioners' sugar as needed and re-grease your hands the counter-top as needed.
If the marshmallow fondant is tearing easily, it is too dry; add water (about 1/2 tablespoon at a time) kneading until fondant forms a firm, smooth elastic ball that will stretch without tearing, about 8 minutes.
Whether you’ve purchased or made your fondant, color two thirds of it pink with a bit of pink gel food color. Roll it out into a large oblong shape and use your tape measure or ruler to cut a strip to run around the base of the cake (I used two smaller strips and a bit of water to stick them together). With an oval cutter (or I’ve foil-wrapped an oval fridge magnet and used that as a guide before), cut a pink oval if you’d like to pipe a name onto the side of the cake.
To make the Minnie bow, I used two one-by-six inch strips and one ½ by 1 inch strip of pink fondant. Double the longer strips and crimp the centers together into a bow, and wrap the smaller strip over the crimped centers.
Roll out your remaining (white) fondant, and use your circle cutter(s) to punch out several circles to make the polka dots! With your gold spray, color the white polka dots and your Minnie ears (whether fondant or cardboard) gold.
Adhere your decorations to your cake with a bit of frosting – for transport stability I used toothpicks to hold the ears in place. Up to you!
Take a step back and admire your adorable cake!
Make this recipe? Let me know how it went - or find me on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!