It was recently my sister’s birthday and I had grand plans of making her a birthday cake. I drove down to Seattle for work, so I thought it would be convenient enough to take one down. Then a lot of border crossing things changed very rapidly, and I didn’t feel ecstatic about taking food across the border, nor did I feel optimistic about being able to appease border guards with extra baking. I decided to bake in her (relatively) barren kitchen instead. After spending about $30 on staple ingredients and $70 on kitchen supplies, I was prepared to make the most cost ineffective cake ever!
The cake part came out a little dense, and not very espresso-ey. And not very vanilla-ey. To be quite honest, I’m not entirely sure what it tasted like. The cardamom icing was extremely cardamom-ey (because my sister LOVES cardamom) but also very sweet. On day 1, the cake was a little too rich and sweet. The 24 hour refrigeration period worked wonders though, and it somehow tasted way better.
For the toppings, I used some caramel espresso popcorn and dark chocolate nibs.
VANILLA “ESPRESSO” CAKE
- 1.5 cup milk
- 1.5 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 315 g (2-5/8 cups) all purpose flour
- 300 g (1.5 cups) sugar
- 1.5 tsp. baking powder
- 1.5 tsp. baking soda
- ¾ tsp. salt
- 170 g (¾) melted butter
- 3 tbsp. vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line cake pans with parchment paper and grease with shortening.
- Mix milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside.
- Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
- Mix butter and vanilla with milk mixture.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients. Don’t overmix.
- Fill cake pans easily. Bake for ~30 minutes or until toothpicks come out clean.
- 227 g (1 cup)unsalted butter, softened
- 30 cardamom pods, ground
- ~3 cups icing sugar
- 2 tbsp. milk
- pinch of salt
- Cream the butter until soft. Add cardamom until well mixed.
- Add icing sugar and salt and mix well.
- Add milk and icing sugar as needed for desired texture.
Honestly, I’m not 100% sure what I’d do next time to improve this. I would ideally want to use some dark chocolate to offset the sweetness, but my sister doesn’t particularly like chocolate. I don’t know the best way to get the espresso taste into a vanilla cake without it baking off. Work in progress!