Vanilla Bean Cake Recipe, Especially for Aunt Becky

Let me start off by saying… vanilla cake is not my thing – and that’s my excuse for why I don’t have a photograph of it for this blog entry. In my years of professionally making cakes, I’ve never made a straight-up vanilla cake for anyone. I’ve made 2 vanilla layers in my 4 layer “Cookies N Cream” cake recipe, and I’ve made cakes that are white (Usually Amaretto!)… but no vanilla ones.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in the “Vanilla is not a flavor!” camp, I’m in the “Bah, too subtle a flavor for cake” camp. I may be alone in this camp… I don’t know. Also, with all of the grocery stores and mixes out there that put their flavorless “white” cakes off as ‘vanilla’… I may be a little psychologically damaged against them. Word associations and whatnot.

Anyway, speaking of psychologically damaged… (I’m so sorry! Segue I couldn’t resist!).. let me tell you about my favorite tweep/blogger!

Becky Sherrick Harks (AKA “Aunt Becky”) is the warped mind behind Mommy Wants Vodka. I first came across her twisted brilliance on “The Twitter“, and have been a fan ever since.

Yes, fan. I don’t celeb worship, or fangirl out about… well, pretty much anyone, really*. Aunt Becky’s brand of digital dementedness, though? That’s something I can definitely get behind. She’s mouthy. She curses. She’s a fellow PTSD badass. She’s witty, knows how to spell, has admirable syntax, and really… her avatar photo (pictured here) is her wielding a chainsaw – while sporting a swimsuit and jewelry. She understands the proper usage of both “irony” AND “literally”. I mean really, what’s NOT to love about this woman?

Aside from all of the fun stuff, I also admire the work Becky has done online to bring together people affected by parenting, loss, mental illness, health crises, and well… anything that is bullshit. I guess you could say that that the title for my forthcoming tornado memoir – “Tornadoes are Bullshit” – is at least partially inspired by her. Anyway, she’s built a great blog community of support awesomeness at Also, she runs, another great way to waste alllll kinds of time that I don’t have, online.

Yes. Becky is all kinds of awesome. Back to cake…

Becky’s favorite cake flavor is vanilla, with vanilla bean frosting. Because of her awesomeness, I’ll forgive her that. Anyway, It’s Aunt Becky’s birthday today, so FOR HER… I bring you my Vanilla Bean Cake recipe. It’s not your momma’s vanilla cake, though. This is IN YOUR FACE vanilla flavor. Go big or go home, forget subtlety. Just be sure to use the good stuff!

Happy birthday, Aunt Becky… from one of your faithful pranksters!

Vanilla Bean Cake

3 cups Cake flour
2 1/4 cups Sugar
2 Tbsp Baking powder
1 1/2 tsp Salt
3 1/2 oz Instant vanilla pudding mix**
6 Eggs
1 1/2 cup Water
1 1/2 cups Butter, melted
2 Tbsp Pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean

1 batch Swiss meringue buttercream
2 Tbsp Pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Liberally grease two 8″ or 10″ round cake pans with vegetable shortening, and/or spray with baking spray. Alternatively, line 25 muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pudding mix in a large mixing bowl. Add in eggs and water, beating until smooth. Carefully add melted butter and vanilla to the mix, mixing on medium speed until smooth. Split vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Mix together vanilla extract and vanilla bean scrapings, add to batter. Mix until well incorporated.

Divide batter among prepared cake pans. Bake until golden and knife inserted into center of batter comes out clean – about 45-60 minutes. (~20-22 mins for cupcakes) Allow to cool 10-15 minutes before turning cakes out onto baking rack to cool fully. Ideally, allow to cool to room temperature, wrap tightly with plastic wrap.

Allow cake to sit overnight, make frosting & ice cake the following day. (Cupcakes can/should be frosted the same day! Just allow them to cool first)

Prepare either Swiss meringue buttercream, following the applicable recipe. Mix together vanilla extract and vanilla bean scrapings, add to frosting to flavor it.

** The pudding mix can be skipped, if you’re a purist. It makes the cake extra moist and the recipe really… idiot proof.

* I would totally fangirl out about meeting Louis Pasteur, if he hadn’t gone and died 116 years ago.

Oh, and shameless plug: You should buy my book, “Evil Cake Overlord“, because it’s full of great cake recipes!

Interested in making wickedly delcious cakes? You’ll LOVE my second cookbook, Evil Cake Overlord! We’ve long been known for our “ridiculously delicious” moist cakes and tasty, unique flavors. Now, you can have recipes for all of the amazing flavors on our former custom cake menu, and many more! Bake your moist work of gastronomic art, then fill and frost your cake with any number of tasty possibilities. Milk chocolate cardamom pear, mango mojito.. even our famous Chai cake – the flavor that got us into “Every Day with Rachel Ray” magazine!

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3 thoughts on “Vanilla Bean Cake Recipe, Especially for Aunt Becky

  1. Just by reading about Aunt Becky I can say I admire her too! You’re not alone in the “Bah, too subtle a flavor for cake” camp. I also think vanilla is overrated but when I’ve read about this recipe I thought I might do it too… just in pure curiosity.

  2. So sweet of you to make a blog post and a cake for your Aunty Becky. I might do this also for my mom. Thanks for giving me an idea what to do for my mom’s birthday. By the way your cake sounds perfect and I will try this one also.

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