White-Out Cake and a Birthday Re-Do

. August 18, 2011.

It should have been a celebratory day and a night filled with a birthday dinner, birthday cake, and who can forget the presents. But August 18, 2011, didn't go quite as planned.  And the birthday boy was not happy.

Instead of the previously mentioned events and also a brand new episode of Jersey Shore [which we were both excited about!], we spent the night a little differently.  A little darker-differently.

Mmhmm.  The one night out of the year, the day of Robbie's birth [25 looong years ago], Omaha decided to have a rather brutal storm and knock out our power.  Lights, T.V., and all.  So from 8:00 P.M. and into the next morning, Robbie, myself, and the three pups, spent the hours in the dark-as-night living room bored. as. ever.  What the heck did people do before electricity?  Because we couldn't figure it out.

This is what we felt like.

But how did this effect our cake eating?  Well the power decided to shut off mid-blending of the frosting.  Figures.  The rest of the cake was set and ready to go, but no frosting means no birthday cake for Robbie.

No lights, no Jersey Shore, no birthday cake.  All in all, a crap birthday.  And my sweet boyfriend was not a happy camper.  He went to bed at 9:30 P.M. claiming he was tired.  But the next morning he admitted he was a little upset about his botched birthday.  And can you disagree with him?    I'm not a huge fan of my own birthday, but even I would have been a little upset if the power went out on my birthday and we had to [literally] sit in the dark without anything to do.

Don't worry, I decided that we needed to re-do his birthday the following night and it was much better.  I finished the frosting, assembled the cake, we ordered a pizza [Robbie's fav] and watched the Chiefs preseason game.  I think he was much happier on the 19th.

But let's get to this cake!  I, of course, let Robbie pick out exactly what he wanted and he [like Hollyann] went basic and classic.  But sometimes those are the very best of things and this cake is definitely one of those things.  Sometimes Robbie's choice of desserts [which are usually the complete opposite of something I would choose] never cease to amaze me just how delicious they are.  Good thing I have him around.

So, Robbie wanted a completely white cake [anything vanilla always attracts him].  After brainstorming a few different combinations, he decided on a white cake with a custard filling and vanilla buttercream, which ironically are all recipes from my new Magnolia Bakery book.  And my goodness, did this combination hit the spot with us both.

The white cake is simple and fantastic.  Soft, fluffy, and sweet.  The homemade custard filling is unlike anything I've ever made before.  Thick, creamy, and a wonderful accent to the cake.  Almost vanilla pudding like but better.  Homemade better.  And last but not least [whatsoever] is that rich, smooth, vanilla buttercream.  Classic yet perfect in every way .

I will admit, the cake assembly consists of a couple steps.  But when you're making it for a birthday, those steps fall to the way side.  These celebrations call for extra special treats and this White-Out Cake [deemed so by me!] did not disappoint.

My Notes:
  • To make the whole process easier and not as time-consuming, you can break up making each component.  The the cakes can be wrapped up and kept for a night or two, the custard can be refrigerated until it's ready for use, and the frosting can also be covered and kept for quite a while.  How do I know this?  Well due to our little power outage, I had to do these exact things and everything was still wonderful.
  • For the frosting, I only ended up using 6 cups of powdered sugar.  You very well might not need all 8 cups, but that all depends on how thick you like your buttercream.  You can also use this buttercream recipe to frost two dozen cupcakes.
  • Before assembling the cake, I chose to cut off the tops of the cakes so the custard would have a flat base and I would end up with a flat, even cake.  
  • I specify to bring the custard to within 1-inch of the edges because if you bring it all the way to the edges, the custard will drip down the sides and it will be very hard to frost the cake.  Odds are you won't use all of the custard, I ended up taking some off because the drippage thing started to occur.
  • If you aren't going to eat the cake right away, refrigerate it, otherwise the custard gets a little runny.
From the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

Old-Fashioned White Cake:
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 c. sugar
2 c. self-rising flour
1 c. milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 egg whites

Creamy Custard Filling:
1 c. sugar
6 tbsp. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 c. milk
4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Vanilla Buttercream:
1 c. unsalted butter, very soft
8 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract

1.  For the cake, heat oven to 350F.  Grease and lightly flour two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with waxed paper.

2.  In a large bowl, on medium speed of electric mixer, cream butter until smooth.  Add sugar gradually and beat until fluffy (about 3 minutes).

3.  Add flour in three parts, alternating with milk and vanilla extract, beating well after each addition.  

4.  In separate bowl, on high speed of electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Gently fold egg whites into batter, making sure no white streaks are showing.

5.  Divide batter evenly among cake pans.  Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean.  Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack.

6.  For the custard, in a small bowl, combine sugar, flour, and salt.  Set aside.  In medium-sized saucepan, heat milk until very hot but not boiling.

7.  Pour milk into dry ingredients and beat until well blended.  Pour back into pot and stir continually over low for 5 minutes until very thick and smooth.

8.  Add egg yolks and cook for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.  Add vanilla extract.  Cover and refrigerate until needed.

9.  For buttercream, place butter in large mixing bowl.  Add 4 cups of powdered sugar and then milk and vanilla extract.  Beat until smooth and creamy.  Add remaining powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency.

10.  To assemble, place one cake on serving platter.  Cover the first cake with the custard filling, bring to about 1-inch of edges.

11.  Gently top with second cake.  Frost cake as desired, beginning with the sides to seal in the custard.  Gently frost the top, so as not to press out the custard.

Yield: 8 servings


  1. The cake looks and sounds fantastic. Glad you were able to have a re-do sometimes it is necessary. :)

  2. What a cake! I think you spoil your boyfriend! Haha! BFM

  3. This looks so interesting....can't wait to give it a try....

  4. @S.V. It definitely went over well, we have barely a little slice left! And the re-do was so necessary!

    @Anonymous Haha he for sure deserved it this time around! So great to see you guys today, the pups are utterly exhausted!

    @Wende Oo, let me know if you do try it out! It's really a fabulous cake and combination, Robbie had a great vision :)

  5. Looks deliciously moist and flavorful! So happy to find you through Robin's Mingle Monday!

  6. Well I dont know who pouted more on their birthday, myself or Robbie... Clearly we are related!:)

  7. I have a vanilla lover too, she would love this cake :)

  8. Lovely!!! I love Bavarian cream filling- I see some baking in my future!

  9. @Kelli Haha Robbie may or may not have whipped out a line or two from that night! ;)

    @Mickey Well I think you should do something extra sweet for her and make this cake!

    @Chic Homeschool Mama Is that the official name of the cream? It sounds much more sophisticated, sorry Magnolia ;) I'd love to hear if you do try this out!

  10. This sounds and looks so good...

    I shared this recipe on my Must Try Tuesday blog post yesterday...


    Thanks for sharing!


  11. Glad you got to celebrate after all. What a yummy looking cake.

  12. This cake looks delicious! What a great recipe. Thanks for sharing at Cast Party Wednesday. I hope you come back next week and join me for another party full of awesome recipes!
    I hope to see you there!

  13. What a treat! I can't wait to make this :D

  14. I've never heard of a White Out Cake but it looks absolutely delicious. I would prefer this over chocolate any day. Looks beautiful! I'd like to invite you to share your recipe on Sweet Indulgences Sunday.


  15. @Cindy Thanks so much! We were both excited that we got to actually celebrate his big day!

    @Just Jaime Haha thanks! It's definitely an addicting cake, it got eaten in about two days!

    @Lady Behind The Curtain This week had another great array of goodies, can't wait to see what's next!

    @SEO Company Los Angeles Oo I'd love to hear your opinion on this cake if you do!

    @Kim McCallie Well I kind of named this cake, I don't know if it's an actual name?! But it was also fitting since we had to sit in a black out the night before! :) And I'm heading over right now to share some recipes, thanks the invite!!

  16. I know how you feel when the electricity goes out - but I'm glad you got a redo. Such a nice fluffy cake! Thanks for linking up to Fat Camp Friday. Hope you enjoyed your weekend, see you next time!

  17. Happy Monday! I wanted to thank you for sharing this delicious recipe at Recipe Sharing Monday. The new party is now up and I'd love for you to link up again :)

  18. Yum! this looks incredible!

    I would love it if you would share this and/or any other projects you have been up to at Tuesday Talent Show at Chef In Training Tomorrow! Plus there is going to be a fun giveaway too! Thanks so much and I hope to see you there!

  19. Hi Jess-Just stopping by to let you know that two of your recipes made the top recipes on last week's Sweet Indulgences Sunday. Hope you'll stop by and share another recipe this week.


  20. This looks delicious! And I do wonder what people did in the days before electricity. One of life's biggest mysteries...

  21. Hello,

    I found you via This Chick Cooks. Your White Out Cake looks amazing. I am always looking for the perfect cake and I am absolutely going to try this one out. Cheers, Kate

  22. @Calamity Kate Oh wow, thanks so much for stopping by! And please let me know if you try out this recipe, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

  23. ohhh you are so bad!!! in this moment I don't take my breakfast and I so hungry, and for my disgrace I found your blog with all those images about that delicious cake, well I don't have any other option, buy the ingredients and prepare it.

  24. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  25. So glad the redo was successful, but when the power is out next time, light some candles, pour a glass of wine (if possible light a fire) & enjoy the quite of the time with each other, then celebrate when the time is right. The cake sounds wonderful. I can't wait to try it. D Feddersen

  26. What type of milk did you use?

    1. You can use any type of milk you like, but when I'm baking I usually stick to 2% or whole milk.

  27. A little tip about filling cakes is to create a dam around the bottom layer using your buttercream to prevent seeping of filling. If you do that, you can use more of the yummy filling and not worry about it ruining your outside decoration. (You probably know that already, but thought I would share if you didn't!)
    Great job, it looks fantastic!

  28. I can not get it to thicken. I've done it twice now and it's not working! :( Don't know what I am doing wrong. Does it really take the 5 min. for it to thicken or longer? HELP!!


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