Ingredients for Bonilla Vanilla Cake
- 2 ¼ cups (335 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- ¾ cup (170 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups (315 g) granulated white sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 ⅓ cups (310 ml) milk
- Food coloring
- Cooking spray
For the Magical Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces (1 cup/225 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 16 ounces (455 g) cream cheese, cold (bar not tub)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 32 ounces (910 g) powdered or confectioners’ sugar
- Food coloring: light brown, green, red, and yellow
- Cakes (2 plain vanilla, one dyed brown/black)
- Frosting (white, light brown, green, red, and yellow
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds or white sprinkles
FOR BONILLA VANILLA CAKE:
1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and put the oven rack in the middle of the oven. If you are using a convection oven, set it to 325°F (165°C).
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and whisk until they are really mixed together. You have to mix all the dry ingredients together first, so that there are no clumps in your batter, which will create white spots. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer on medium speed to blend the butter and sugar together, until they become fluffy. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula so it’s all mixed in from the sides.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, to the butter-sugar mixture, with the mixer on medium speed. Again, make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla to the milk and set it aside.
5. Mix about one-third of your dry ingredients into the butter-sugar-egg mixture, then blend in half of the milk, always mixing on medium speed.
6. Mix in the second third of the dry ingredients, then the remaining milk mixture.
7. Stop the mixer for a few seconds and use a spatula to push down anything sticking to the sides of the bowl as you go, then mix in the last of the flour mixture. Make sure it’s all mixed in from the sides and everything is smooth. You don’t want any lumps, but don’t overmix it—stop the mixer as soon as the batter is smooth.
8. Divide the batter into three portions. Dye one portion dark brown for the burger (use about 2 tablespoons dark brown food coloring, or some brown and some black); leave the other two portions plain for the buns. Pour the batter into three greased 8-inch (20-cm) round baking pans. Bake the first two and then the remaining cake for 12 minutes, then turn and bake for another 12 minutes.
9. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 5 to 10 minutes. (When they’re warm, they’re really fragile, and that’s when they tend to break.) Then flip them over onto a baking sheet or cooling rack and let them cool completely before you frost them.
FOR MAGICAL CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
Makes 6 cups (3 ½ pounds/1.6 kg) of frosting.
1. Use an electric mixer on medium speed to blend the butter until it is smooth. Add the cream cheese and blend it together until there are no lumps. Then add the vanilla. Stop the mixer and use a spatula to push down anything sticking to the sides of the bowl, making sure it’s all mixed in from the sides and everything is smooth.
2. Mix in the powdered sugar a little bit at a time on the lowest speed—otherwise it will fly everywhere! Use the spatula to push down anything sticking to the sides of the bowl, making sure it’s all mixed in from the sides and everything is smooth.
3. Dye 2 tablespoons of it light brown (for the bun), 3 tablespoons yellow (for the cheese), 3 tablespoons green (for the lettuce), and 1 tablespoon red (for the ketchup). Remember to start with one drop of food coloring, mix it in, and add more until it is as bright as you want it to be. You should have some white left over, for covering the top bun and in case you make mistakes or need more of any color.
4. Use right away. Technically the frosting will last at least a week in the refrigerator, but fresh frosting is key! It tastes and feels so much better.
1. Cover one plain “bun” cake layer with white frosting, then top it with a very thin layer of light brown frosting—just enough to make the burger layers stick. Next add the dark brown “burger” cake layer.
2. Add your condiments: Top the burger patty with layers of frosting, either with a piping bag or a knife. You can choose the order you want: Here it is cheese, then lettuce and tomato. The trick is to fully cover the burger patty with each condiment the way it would look on a real burger. The lettuce and cheese should fully top the patty, as they do in real life; then you use a pastry bag to pipe it down over the sides in a few spots.
For the ketchup, you can just squiggle it on across the top and edge—it doesn’t have to fully cover the patty. It helps to use flat petal pastry tips to apply the condiments; if you don’t have them you can cut the hole in your homemade bag at an angle.
3. Place the top bun on top of the condiments and cover just the bun completely with white frosting—use the frosting to make sure the edges are gently rounded like a real bun.
4. Now comes the real art: Use a paintbrush to brush on some light brown frosting around the sides of each bun layer and across the top of the cake, to look like browning.
5. Sprinkle the top bun with sesame seeds.