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Rustic vanilla cake with fresh strawberry buttercream

rustic vanilla cake with fresh strawberry buttercream // a thousand threads
Snow and I, we don’t go way back. As a kid growing up on the coast, I can remember exactly one big snow where I think we built a snowman about half the size of six or seven-year-old me.

To really see snow we had to travel, which meant it was always on our terms. We saw snow if we felt like seeing snow, and playing with snow, and when we were done we left snow where it was and went home.

Then I moved to the east coast, and I hated everything about it, especially the weather. Hot and humid in the summer, freezing in the winter, and a spring and fall so short you can’t pinpoint exactly when they begin or end, except to say that that’s when the allergies and the tourists hit the city in full force.

The weather here is truly crap.

But this year – this winter – I don’t know. I do kind of like the snow. Even if it does keep coming down every few days.

rustic vanilla cake with fresh strawberry buttercream // a thousand threads
I finally have a warm coat and a sturdy car and I’m kind of prepared if I have to go out in the mess. And if I don’t, there are worse things than sitting inside with a big cup of coffee and watching it all come down. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a little stir-crazy, a person can’t help that, but it hasn’t quite reached the same level of desperation I’m used to… the feeling that I might scratch out the walls or my eyes before the weather ever breaks. This year I’m feeling a little more prepared all around, knowing that it’s just a matter of time before the spring breaks through and the days get long.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over time it’s that eventually, no matter where you are, you start to adapt. You might always miss home, and you might always hate the weather that hurts your face, but if you let yourself, you can start to see the beauty in where you are. The fireflies in the summer, the blooming leaves in the spring and those cold winter days huddled under a blanket with a cup of something warm. Sometimes I start to like it. Or at least I start to mind it all a whole lot less.

It’s looking increasingly like we might be hanging out under a big blanket of snow this Valentines, but as long as we’re cozy inside I’m thinking that sounds just fine.

… and if it weren’t so dangerous to lock us both up in a house with a whole cake, this one would be a very nice addition to the day.

rustic vanilla cake with fresh strawberry buttercream // a thousand threads
Rustic Vanilla Cake with Fresh Strawberry Buttercream

Vanilla Cake
Adapted from Add a Pinch
Makes 3 9-inch layers

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
½ cup coconut oil
3 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Pull out your eggs and buttermilk to allow the ingredients to warm to room temperature and preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare three 9-inch round cake pans by coating well with shortening or butter and flour, taking care to remove all excess flour. Set aside.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl and set aside.

Cream butter and coconut oil with an electric mixer, until light and fluffy. Slowly add sugar one cup at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each cup before adding another. Add eggs one at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding another.

Add flour, baking powder, and salt to butter/oil and sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Add vanilla extract. Beat cake batter on high speed for about 5 seconds to fully incorporate all ingredients. Stop mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl, making sure all ingredients are mixed well.

Evenly distribute cake batter between cake pans, spread batter and flatten tops, and place pans into oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove and allow to cool slightly in cake pans for 5-10 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.

Assemble and frost cake as desired (recipe below).

rustic vanilla cake with fresh strawberry buttercream // a thousand threads
Fresh Strawberry Buttercream
Adapted from Cake ‘n’ Knife

3 sticks + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
½ cup fresh, ripe strawberries, washed, stemmed, and hulled
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Puree strawberries in a food processor or blender and set aside.

Cream butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, about 5 minutes. Add the confectioners sugar slowly and beat until just blended.

Add strawberry puree, vanilla, and salt and beat until buttercream is light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.

17 Comments


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