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Baby Vanilla Bean Cake

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


  • 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)


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • For pastry cream: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir in milk until smooth.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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.
Nutrition Facts
1 piece: 930 calories, 41g fat (21g saturated fat), 226mg cholesterol, 583mg sodium, 133g carbohydrate (108g sugars, 1g fiber), 10g protein.

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  • AnnieBanger
    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
    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!!

  • ronalie
    May 4, 2012

    No comment left

  • VFCatto
    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
    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
    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
    Apr 23, 2012

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

  • cflinta1
    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
    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
    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".