Here's an interesting birthday cake for you. My daughter has been begging for a horse cake for a few birthdays now. She wanted to me carve a horse out of cake and frost it to look like a horse, but I told her there's no way that I could manage that. (Especially with my farm-animal-turned-cake track record.....) Finally, I said I'd do it, but only if I could use one of her plastic toy horses. She agreed!! If only I had known that 2 years ago.... This was one of the easiest cakes ever. A single-layer vanilla bean cake, frosted with simple butter frosting (softend butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and a bit of milk), and covered with coconut grass (put coconut into a ziplock bag with two drops of green food coloring and shake, shake, shake). Mr. Horsey looks like he's enjoying a wonderful meal of ankle-deep coconut grass. Good times, good times.
1/2 cup unslated butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter and flour one 8-inch round pan, or a heart-shaped pan. Line bottom with waxed paper and butter the wax paper.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat for 3-5 minutes to get a nice, light and fluffy cake. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and vanilla bean seeds. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan. Tap pan on countertop a few times to get rid of air bubbles.
3. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until top springs back when lightly tapped, or toothpick comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes before turning out onto cooling rack.
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