Vanilla Cream Cakes

These mini Vanilla Cream Cakes are a soft, dense and perfectly portioned dessert.

These mini Vanilla Cream Cakes are a soft, dense and perfectly portioned dessert.

Hello, I’m Jen Farley and I’m a sugar addict. If you’ve been following along with my journey this year you are probably aware of my struggle to find a balance between working full time as a food blogger and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In January I went on a five day juice detox and then began transitioning to an 80/20 paleo lifestyle. I started writing a column over at Parade Magazine detailing my experience. So how am I doing? 

These mini Vanilla Cream Cakes are a soft, dense and perfectly portioned dessert.

Surprisingly well! I bet you didn’t see that coming since I’m sharing a sugary cake recipe today. But I have to share a cake recipe because I’m celebrating.

These mini Vanilla Cream Cakes are a soft, dense and perfectly portioned dessert.

I’m celebrating the fact that I can prepare these mini vanilla cream cakes, frost them, photograph them and eat only one. That may sound trivial to you, but for me it’s HUGE. I was completely satisfied with one mini cake. I didn’t fall into this old cycle:

  1. Jen bakes a cake.
  2. Jen photographs the cake while eating a piece of cake.
  3. Jen puts the cake away.
  4. Jen gets more cake 30 minutes later.
  5. Jen lectures herself for eating the second piece.
  6. Jen eats more cake.
  7. Jen feels like a failure.
  8. More cake.

These mini Vanilla Cream Cakes are a soft, dense and perfectly portioned dessert.

Does that sound completely ridiculous? Well it is, and it has been my life story for the past two years. I felt completely out of control which was agonizing since I love my job. By going on a juice detox and then switching to a paleo diet, I feel like I have regained control of my life. I no longer stress about my job and long term health. I’m no longer desperately seeking a solution. I’ve been slowly bringing some sugar and carbs back into my diet once a week or so. And I’m aware that it’s a slippery slope. But for the first time in ages, I feel like I have a game plan and I know what to do if I fall down.

So I’m celebrating with cake.

These mini Vanilla Cream Cakes are a soft, dense and perfectly portioned dessert.

4.75 from 4 votes
Vanilla Cream Cakes
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins

These mini Vanilla Cream Cakes are a soft, dense and perfectly portioned dessert.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 small cakes
Author: Jennifer Farley, adapted from Donna Hay
for the cakes
  • 8 ounces (1 1/2 cups) all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 vanilla bean, optional
  • 6 ounces unsalted butter, slightly above room temperature
  • 5 1/2 ounces (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
for the vanilla cream
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 315 degrees F. Grease a large muffin pan.
  2. Use a small knife to slice the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds.
  3. Whisk/sift together the flour, baking powder and vanilla seeds. Set aside.
  4. Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and cream on medium high speed until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the eggs, one at a time, allowing them to fully incorporate into the batter.
  5. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Use a spatula to scrape the bowl all the way down to the bottom to make sure no flour remains.
  6. Spoon the dough into the prepared muffin pan.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the muffin pan for several minutes and then cool on a wire rack.
  8. To prepare the vanilla cream, whisk the cream, sugar and vanilla together by hand or on medium speed in a stand mixer until it reaches a soft peak.
  9. To serve, slice the cakes in half and spread with half of the vanilla cream. Spread the remaining vanilla cream on top of the cakes and serve.
Recipe Notes

Barely adapted from Flavours, by Donna Hay


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  • I’ve been working on my own sugar addiction and your journey has been really inspiring. It’s not always so obvious but I can definitely notice progress in my eating habits, and I’ve been contemplating going on a juice cleanse too!

    P.S. Such lovely cakes – so simple yet satisfying. Yum!

  • Congratulations on your accomplishments! I would love to do a juice cleanse, it just scares me a little bit.
    These cakes looks like the perfect little pick-me-up!

  • Jen!
    I am so happy for you! That’s great! not trivial at all. . anyone who struggles with sugar or is a food blogger can relate. Totally. If I couldn’t eat just one piece and then put it away or wrap it up quickly and give the rest away to friends or the neighbors, then I don’t think I could do it. The food blogging and baking. . I’m so happy for you and am off to read more at Parade. . hey, I think you are going to BlogHer Food in Miami?. . I’ve recently decided to go. . hope to see you again there!

  • Sounds like you have regained your power..and stopped giving it to other things. Very inspiring…thank you!

  • I laughed all the way through that scenario because that is SO me! I usually have something completely sticky in one hand while hitting the shutter button down with my other sticky hand. It’s a lovely site. I’m so proud of you. Really. And I have to tell you, you’ve inspired me so much! I’ve been off sugar (OK…on and off) for a month or so and I feel wonderful! Lovely little cakes!

  • Way to go! I’m a tortilla chip and salsa addict. While I’m cooking I am usually munching on the side. Not pretty ;( but I’m proud to say that I am getting better. Baby steps. Congrats to your new eating lifestyle and so excited to see you at parade and ehow. Bravo!

  • Congrats on facing down your demons, Jen. Your struggles are far from ridiculous (and all too familiar). I’m constantly at war with myself – trying to find balance, both mentally and physically. If I’m too careful about watching what I eat and how much I exercise, I’ll easily fall back into the welcoming abyss of an eating disorder but if if not careful enough, I’ll turn to the equally welcoming soft world of overindulgence. This balancing act is exhausting, but doable. (:

    Love the light, airy photos! These cakes look scrumptious!

  • These just are the cutest little mini cakes! There is nothing wrong with having an addiction to sugar! ;) Pinning!

  • These look yummy and I think these could be modified to be more paleo healthy. I’ve had really bad candida and have learned to substitute xylitol and stevia for sugar. You should try it sometimes, baked goods can be healthy sugar free.

  • These cakes are gorgeous! I completely agree with you – everyone needs a “real” dessert every now and again. I’m so glad you feel god about what you are eating and when, etc. Keep it up!

  • Jen,
    I’m good with everything in moderation and rarely want sweets–but when I do, something really delicious like this fits the bill. I love the single serving size. My daughter baked a chocolate chip pie yesterday and the temptation to slice off just a little bit is very strong. So far, I’ve resisted, but after dark . . . especially getting up so early with the time change . . . well, we’ll see. Thanks!

  • I’m a little confused about the amount of flour to use. [8 oz = one cup, right???] I am assuming 1-1/2 cups is correct. I’m making them now, so I guess I’ll find out soon enough! Thanks for this recipe. Hope mine turn out as pretty as yours.

    • A cup of flour varies in weight. You are thinking of liquids. A cup of liquid weighs 8 fluid ounces. A cup of dry ingredients will have vastly different weights depending on what the ingredient is and how it is measured (for example, scooping the flour versus spooning it into the cup). Everyone should really invest in a kitchen scale. They’re cheap. Measuring by weight is the only way to guarantee that your cakes will look like my cakes. I can’t stress this enough and I often don’t include volume measurements for this very reason.

      • Thank you! You’re right, of course. I do have a kitchen scale but don’t use it often enough. I’m going to try to follow your advice in the future. (Mine turned out pretty good, though.)

  • I am all too familiar with cake consumption. The problem is: I love sweets! I’m currently transitioning from sweet/meat lover to a veggie based diet with one piece of meat per day. We’ll see how it goes. I’m happy to hear that you’re doing well on your Paleo diet. Keep up the good work! These wee cakes are gorgeous.