rubber ducky themed birthday cake...

This recipe is enough to make a two-tier cake for 40 people. I use basic yellow cake recipe, then replace the vanilla extract with vanilla bean paste. The vanilla bean paste adds a richer, deeper vanilla flavor to the cake.

makes two-tier cake (6" and 8")

Yellow Cake:
- 6 cups cake flour
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. baking powder
- 4 cups sugar
- 8 large eggs
- 4 tsp. vanilla bean paste
- 2 cups milk
- 1 lb. unsalted butter

Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
- 10 egg whites
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 lbs salted butter, softened
- 2 tbsp. vanilla extract


Yellow Cake:
1. Make sure that all ingredients are at room temperature.
2. Sift all dry ingredients together (including sugar) in the mixer bowl.
3. Whisk eggs, extract and milk together in a small bowl.
4. Alternately, add softened butter and egg mixture to the mixing bowl on low speed (whisk attachment. Increase speed to medium and beat for a minute. Scrape bowl twice.
5. Pour batter into prepared pans, 21 ounces each (two 6" pans and three 8" pans).
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, depending on the pans.
7. Let them cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
1. Whisk together egg whites and sugar in a mixer bowl over a bain-marie (hot water bath). Whisk until the mixture reaches 160 degrees and the sugar has dissolved.
2. Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer filled with whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed for until stiff peaks form, then lower to medium speed and whisk until the mixture has cooled.
3. Using medium-low speed, beat in the butter--a few cubes at a time. The mixture may curdle before coming together, just keep beating until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy.
4. Switch to paddle attachment, add vanilla extract. Beat for a minute.
5. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

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