Vanilla cake with summer fruit: Perfect for a family-sized picnic!

Whether it be the first star of the night or a birthday candle, if you ask mini sous chef what she wished for the answer is always the same: cake. So with so much love for this particular dessert, I knew Chatelaine’s recipe for Vanilla cake with summer fruit would create a high level of excitement in our kitchen.

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Whether it be the first star of the night or a birthday candle, if you ask mini sous chef what she wished for the answer is always the same: cake. So with so much love for this particular dessert, I knew Chatelaine’s recipe for Vanilla cake with summer fruit would create a high level of excitement in our kitchen.

I was right. Once the mini knew what we were making she had the eggs (and shells) cracked into a bowl before I’d even donned my apron (note to self: do not leave eggs unattended on the counter). After fishing out the shells we got to work. You start with butter and sugar and beat until creamed. Then you add your vanilla and eggs (sans shells, ideally). All was going great until this point, when my electric hand mixer died at the critical “beat until fluffy” stage. I assured the distraught mini that I could be creative (that there would still be cake), and we scraped the nearly fluffy mixture into the food processor.

Once the eggs and vanilla are incorporated well into the butter/sugar, you add the dry ingredients (a combo of flour, baking powder, and salt), which I sifted to get as fine as possible. We put the processor on the dough setting (fingers crossed) and slowly alternated adding the flour mixture with the milk. The batter came out super smooth and poured easily into the baking dish.

After just over an hour in the oven the cake was ready, golden brown on top and quite even. We cooled it for a few hours and then topped it with the icing: a mix of icing sugar, almond extract (I was a bit heavy handed with this), and milk. The icing was quite runny but covered the cake pretty well. Cut up strawberries and blueberries went on top and completed the cake both in appearance and taste.

We served it at a long weekend barbeque we hosted, and both grown ups and kids gobbled it up. Personally, I found the icing too sweet (but no complaints from my sweet-toothed family) and the extra almond extract was a bit heavy for the cake, in my opinion. Having said that, I would definitely make it again — just with a different icing flavour (vanilla, perhaps).

Another thing to note is the size of this cake; it’s huge (the pan is 9 x 13). So in the future I’d save it for a summer party with a crowd or an extended-family picnic, versus a little sweet treat after Sunday night supper. As for the mini, well, she was ecstatic everyone had only one piece (leaving plenty for future cake cravings)…a wish come true.

Try this recipe: Vanilla cake with summer fruit