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Baby Vanilla Bean Cake Recipe

Baby Vanilla Bean Cake Recipe

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 YIELD: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)


  • 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 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 22-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in 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.

Recipe Note

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.

Nutritional Facts

1 piece: 930 calories, 41g fat (21g saturated fat), 226mg cholesterol, 583mg sodium, 133g carbohydrate (108g sugars, 1g fiber), 10g protein.

Reviews for Baby Vanilla Bean Cake

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AnnieBanger User ID: 7589377 221206
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!"

potter_clay User ID: 7468818 115741
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!!"

VFCatto User ID: 5980616 167794
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."

mary camille User ID: 239774 102004
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."

sdeb User ID: 5934110 145123
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!"

ValerieLynch User ID: 5604852 211086
Reviewed Apr. 23, 2012

"To clinta 1 and lilithspring: You could bake them as layers in two 9 inch round cake pans."

cflinta1 User ID: 6535043 172184
Reviewed Apr. 23, 2012

"I have not yet tried the recipe, so I can't rate it. I'd like to make this cake as a layer cake. Does anyone have any suggestions as to the size pan that should be used. Oh, for those who commented about the calories, and diabetic factor - I know it sounds nasty, but eat rice cakes instead..."

sherry_vinigrette User ID: 5009498 101226
Reviewed Apr. 23, 2012

"My rating is based on the pastry cream - I haven't yet baked the cake part but I did make the pastry cream for another dessert and it was great so, please know I'm giving this recipe 5 stars for that part."

funnyface219 User ID: 2712691 126294
Reviewed Apr. 23, 2012

"When I saw this cake I really wanted to make it but being diabetic I then thought otherwise especially when I saw the nutritional facts. No way would I make a dessert that contained those killer numbers. Every number was sky high except the fiber content which all of us could and should use but in higher numbers. This cake as beautiful and probably as delicious as it sounds would not be a good choice to make unless you knew everyone's health condition because this cake would need to list these facts before anyone dare to partake in this lovely dessert. especially after eating a meal. For me, at this point, I would be save to just forget the sugar on the edible flowers and just enjoy them and pass on the cake but for those who have no health issues, I say, "EAT TO YOUR HEARTS CONTENT and ENJOY EVERY BITE"."

Lori8254 User ID: 4829422 211085
Reviewed Apr. 23, 2012

"OMG this is a 9300 calorie cake!! not that anyone would eat it all - but who has 930 calories for a piece of cake?? YIKES"

Tasting Tammy User ID: 5854194 185394
Reviewed Apr. 23, 2012

"Oh this was great! Taste,fragrance,texture was wonderful. But I'm wondering if there is a short cut as far as making maybe a four layer, eight inch cake. Some way without making it so fancy. I love to make it to often. If any one has a hint,please would appreciate it. Thanks"

lilithspring User ID: 1466124 101221
Reviewed Apr. 23, 2012

"This sounds absolutely wonderful...however; can it be made in smaller pans to layer instead of cutting? I'd like to make two separate layer cakes for easier transportation. Thanks to all that can help with this."

Acbc User ID: 6418138 167792
Reviewed Apr. 22, 2012

"moist & very flavorful"

Harriet C User ID: 3638179 183251
Reviewed Apr. 22, 2012

"I've made similar and look forward to making this version, too! However, Taste of Home: Good, moist vanilla beans are costly (I get mine from one of the big membership stores so it's not so bad) and to see in print "discard vanilla bean" seems such a waste. Perhaps on recipes that use vanilla beans you could suggest that once scraped of seeds that the pod be buried in a separate container of sugar? Or wrapped in plastic and frozen for the next time one makes pudding or custard? Toss the bean in the milk and let it distribute its flavor while the milk is coming to a boil? Place it in the back of one of the kitchen cupboards to delicately scent that area of the kitchen?

In this day where we are constantly being pestered to up-cycle, re-use, re-cycle it is a shame to throw away something that still has so much good left in it!

CharleneCSullivan User ID: 2112725 106901
Reviewed Jan. 30, 2012

"I make this cake for special occasions. I used a chocolate ganache instead as a frosting as the cake is moist and dense and needs a shot of chocolate to round out the flavors, but marscapone and berries would be amazing to try!"

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