Baby Vanilla Bean Cake Recipe
Baby Vanilla Bean Cake Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Baby Vanilla Bean Cake Recipe

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Need an impressive dessert for a spring or summer celebration? You'll fall for our moist cake with a rich vanilla custard and cream cheese frosting.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 1 hour + standing Bake: 25 min. + cooling
MAKES:10 servings
Test Kitchen Approved
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 1 hour + standing Bake: 25 min. + cooling
MAKES: 10 servings


  • 1 teaspoon meringue powder
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Edible flowers of your choice
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • CAKE:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 4-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cardboard cake circle (5 inches)
  • 4 wooden dowels (2 inches x 1/4 inch)

Nutritional Facts

1 piece equals 930 calories, 41 g fat (21 g saturated fat), 226 mg cholesterol, 583 mg sodium, 133 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 10 g protein.


  1. In a small bowl, dissolve meringue powder in water. Lightly brush over all sides of flowers to coat completely; sprinkle with sugar. Allow to dry on a waxed paper-lined tray for 4 hours or until firm and dry.
  2. For cake: In a large bowl, cream the butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Split vanilla bean in half lengthwise. With a sharp knife scrape the beans to remove the seeds; stir seeds into creamed mixture. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.
  3. Pour into a greased and floured 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 22-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. For pastry cream: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir in milk until smooth.
  5. Split vanilla bean and scrape seeds; add bean and seeds to milk mixture. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to low; cook and stir 2 minutes longer.
  6. Stir a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; discard vanilla bean. Stir in butter. Cool for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate until chilled.
  7. To frost and assemble: For frosting, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth.
  8. Cut cake into two 6-in. squares, two 4-in. squares and one 2-inch square. Place a 6-in. cake on a cake plate; top with 2/3 cup pastry cream and remaining 6-in. cake. Cut cardboard circle into a 3-1/2-in. square; top with one 4-in. cake. Layer with remaining pastry cream and 4-in. cake.
  9. Frost tops and sides of 6-in. layer cake; insert dowels 1 to 2 in. apart into center of cake to support the next layers. Top with 4-in. layer cake; frost top and sides. Top with the 2-in. cake; frost top and sides. Decorate with candied flowers as desired. Yield: 10 servings.
Editor’s Note: Meringue powder is available from Wilton Industries. Call 1-800/794-5866 or visit Verify that flowers are edible and have not been treated with chemicals.
Originally published as Baby Vanilla Bean Cake in Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook Annual 2009, p186

Sweet White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a sweet white wine such as Moscato or a sweet Riesling.

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Reviewed Feb. 23, 2015

"Question- with the pastry cream, does the cake need to be refrigerated? If so, how long can it be left out? Haven't made it yet- sounds divine!"

Reviewed Nov. 2, 2013

"I made the vanilla bean cake for a church function.. Everyone raved about it. This is the best vanilla bean cake I've ever had...sooo moist!!"

Reviewed Apr. 25, 2012

"Cake is moist and the pastry cream is excellent, however the cream cheese icing is overkill. The cream cheese dominates the delicate flavors of the cake and pastry cream. I suggest substituting vanilla or white chocolate frosting."

Reviewed Apr. 24, 2012

"for the person asking for an easier way to bake the cake for layers. With 2 cups of flour, you can probably make either an 8 or 9" layer cake or about 20-24 cupcakes. The pastry filling would be awesome inside the center of the cupcakes as well. Perhaps a white or chocolate ganache frosting with a candied flower on top would be beautiful, especially for Mother's Day! Just an idea."

Reviewed Apr. 24, 2012

"Great Cake! To the reviewer who mentioned "rice cakes", that's not nice! Why is it that you had to say that? The reviewer who has diabetes did not say anything bad about the cake, they spoke the truth! Did you read far enough in their review to see they ended it on a very positive note! Do you have diabetes? I bet not... How cruel, you haven't a clue!"

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