Vanilla Bean Snacking Cake
Delicious vanilla bean paste throughout this white cake brings so much flavor while condensed milk adds sweetness and extra moisture. Heavenly on its own or with a swirl of vanilla bean buttercream, this is the perfect little dessert for when your sweet tooth is needing “something”.
Snacking cakes are the best cakes and let me tell you why: they are just enough. Seriously. When I was younger, I used to love layer cake and I’d always want the slice with the big buttercream flower on it or a corner piece just to enjoy more frosting. I still love cake and if you know me, I love buttercream, but I think I may be a snack cake convert at this point. Here are some reasons why snacking cakes are so amazing:
1. The frosting is proportionate to the cake. Even a snacking cake that is generously frosted provides just enough frosting with each bite. This is enjoyable because the flavor of the cake really comes through rather than being drowned by the frosting or buttercream. When it comes to snacking cakes, the cake is the star of the show!
2. They are a quick treat or dessert to bake in a hurry. Snacking cakes are relatively simple to make, bake and set quickly and decorating isn’t complicated. I love that all I need is a spatula and a few minutes to make a pretty dessert.
3. They store well and last a bit longer than other cakes. Since most snacking cakes are made with oil, the added moisture allows for the cake to sit out longer. If wrapped on the counter for a day or two after initially serving, it won’t dry out quickly.
4. Snacking cakes are versatile! Mix and match flavors, add sprinkles, or skip the frosting altogether!
Unlike what I mentioned above, this cake is not oil-based but uses butter. The sweetened condensed milk adds a light, slightly caramelized richness to the cake along with extra moisture. While pure vanilla extract can be used, I do recommend a high-quality vanilla bean paste. Not only are the specks of vanilla bean a beautiful, delicate touch but the flavor is bold and more present in the cake. I’ve included some of my favorite vanilla bean pastes below (and more on that laster!).
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup sweetened condensed milk
½ cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 ½ cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350°. Generously grease an 8 x 8 pan using butter or baking spray. Using a handheld mixer, cream butter for about 4 minutes. Slowly add sugar until butter becomes light and fluffy. Stir in sweetened condensed milk. Add vanilla bean paste to milk, whisk until fully combined, set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, alternating between flour mixture and milk mixture. Mix on low speed, ensuring each mixture is fully combined before adding the next.
In a separate bowl, beat egg whites on medium speed until a stiff peak forms. Using a spatula, fold egg whites into cake batter.
Pour cake batter evenly into prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted into the center and comes out clean.
For a simple vanilla bean frosting, mix 3 cups of powdered sugar, 1 stick salted butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste and 3 to 4 tablespoons of whole milk. In a stand mixer or handheld, beat on medium to high speed until desired consistency is reached.