How funny is this eggy little cake? I was inspired to make it after doing some fabric shopping last week. My mom is an excellent seamstress and she’s promised to make each of my two pugs a bath robe. (Ha – I know. I can explain in the comments if anyone is interested.). While shopping for terry cloth I spotted the cutest egg print fabric. The sunny yolks made my heart do a little cartwheel.
I started thinking about my favorite elements in baking and pastry that use eggs in an obvious way. Choux puff recipes use lots of eggs and certainly taste eggy. And there’s egg whites which produce all kinds of meringue desserts like cookies, marshmallow and Pavlova. All of these are lovely, but after some serious thought I decided that my favorite egg desserts tend to be custards. I’m talking about creme brulee, flan, pastry cream and the filling in buttermilk pie.
I decided to use a simple egg custard as the filling for my favorite yellow cake (from the Sprinkle Bakes book!) which is always delicious. I recommend using the seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean in the custard recipe to make it extra-special.
I made a video of the cake building process, which is fairly condensed down to the important steps. It was only after I’d finished recording the video that I noticed I had a smear of black food color on my thumb – it’s not dirt, I promise! If you can forgive that error, then I think you’ll find the video helpful.
You’ll see in the video that I bend an oval-shaped cutter to cut the white fondant into an egg white shape. I used an inexpensive .99 cent 2-inch cutter that I found at the craft store. The egg yolk was made from yellow fondant and the open end of a decorator piping tip, but you could use a bottle cap if you don’t use pastry tips. The fondant yolk is attached to the fondant egg white with a small dot of water.
As mentioned earlier, the yellow cake recipe is a favorite of mine because, yes – it is tasty, but it also doesn’t crown much in the oven. That means you will have very little leveling to do (if any!) after the cakes bake. That also means less wasted cake and I’m all for that!
This is a great little all-purpose cake. The flavors are simple but the vanilla bean-speckled egg custard is like the best vanilla pudding you’ve ever tasted. I think it would make a wonderful birthday cake or a lovely sweet bite for company.
(Pink glitter candles are by Meri Meri!)
Vanilla Bean Egg Custard Cake
- 1/4 lb. 1 US stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 3/4 cups 350g sugar
- 3 eggs at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups 270g all-purpose flour
- 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups 300 ml whole milk, at room temperature
Vanilla bean egg custard
- 3/4 cups 150g granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 whole egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 cup 240 ml whole milk
- Pinch of salt
- Seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean
- 2 tablespoons butter
Frosting and décor
- 3/4 lb. 3 US sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 2 lbs. confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- Milk or cream to thin
- Sky blue gel food color
- Neon green gel food color
- Fondant egg décors made as directed in blog post
- White nonpareils
- Make the cakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray three 7-inch pans (or 8-inch pans) with flour-based baking spray.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt and add to the mixer bowl in three batches, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl and beat on low speed for 3 minutes. Divide the batter evenly into pans, about 2 cups of batter per pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cakes. Let the cakes cool slightly in the pans. Remove and let them cool completely on a wire rack. Level the cakes if needed.
- Make the custard: In a medium saucepan mix the sugar and flour together. Beat in the whole egg and yolks. Add the milk. Mix well. Whisk in the pinch of salt and vanilla bean seeds. Place over medium-high heat and whisk while cooking until the mixture begins to boil and thickens just like pudding. Remove from the heat and add the butter. Mix well until the butter is melted. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a shallow dish and let cool slightly. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the custard so it doesn’t form a skin. Chill in the refrigerator, about 1 hour. When custard is chilled, it should be firm enough to hold in a spoon (see blog post for example picture).
- Make the frosting: In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together the butter and confectioners’ sugar. Begin mixing on low speed until the mixture is crumbly, add cream a little at a time until the mixture just comes together and increase to high speed. Add vanilla extract. Beat for 3 minutes. Add more cream as needed until the mixture is piping consistency.
- Assemble: Remove 1 1/2 cups of the frosting and place in a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch open tip. Use 3 drops of sky blue food color and 1 drop neon green gel food color to tint the remaining frosting. Transfer the blue-green frosting to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch open tip. Pipe a ring of frosting around one top edge of a cake. Fill the center with chilled pastry cream. Stack a second cake on top and repeat the process; top with the remaining cake.
- Frost the cake with the remaining blue-green icing. Smooth the frosting using a offset spatula that has been warmed (dip in warm water, wipe clean, then smooth across the frosting). Attach egg decors to the sides of the cake, if using.
- Pipe dollops of frosting all over the top of the cake and sprinkle on white nonpareils. Add birthday candles if appropriate.
- Serve to delighted friends and family.
- Keep cake chilled in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.