whole grain hot milk cake with vanilla bean flour buttercream-

Whole grain hot milk cake with flour buttercream

whole grain hot milk cake with vanilla bean flour buttercream

My quest for the ideal yellow cake with buttercream continues with this hot milk cake and flour buttercream combo (which also makes good use of my vanilla beans picked up on our Costa Rica trip).


Adapted for use with whole grain wheat flour milled in my kitchen from Chef Zeb’s Hot Milk Cake and How to Make Flour Buttercream or Ermine Buttercream — The Battle of the Buttercreams 2.0

Process notes

  • cut both recipes in half
  • reduced butter in cake recipe to account for whole wheat flour
  • for cake, added vanilla bean to milk and butter mixture before bringing it to a boil
  • baked at 315° because I used a square glass baking dish
  • used electric handheld mixer
  • baked 48 min., then cooled completely before frosting
  • made buttercream ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to use
  • for buttercream, I let the butter get too soft and it didn’t get fluffy at all, just got very smooth and silky, so I tried refrigerating the butter and then bringing back to 60° which helped a tiny bit but not really
  • added vanilla bean to flour/sugar/milk mixture before heating



  • 195 g granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 33 g canola oil
  • 120 g freshly-milled hard white wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla bean pod
  • 20 g salted butter
  • 113 g whole milk


  • 18 g freshly-milled hard white wheat flour
  • 100 g granulated white sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 c whole milk
  • 112 g unsalted butter
  • seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla bean pod


First, as is often the case when I bake with my whole grain flour, you’d never know this was made with whole wheat. It has no bitter wheaty flavor at all.

Second, I loved this buttercream so much! To me, it’s a perfect balance of sweet and buttery. It was fussy to make, but I think it’ll go better next time. It was the right amount for frosting the top of my 8×8 sheet cake.

whole grain hot milk cake with vanilla bean flour buttercream

I overbaked the cake so it came out too dry. I think what happened was as I tested the top, there was a thin layer that had puffed up and that’s what was feeling not-yet-done. So next time I’ll shave time off and take it out earlier. I also noticed the top was really lumpy in the oven, but it smoothed out a little after cooling.

The vanilla bean really made the flavor of the cake and buttercream fantastic. It’s from our trip to Costa Rica, when we visited Villa Vanilla for a spice tour. I’ll be sad when it’s used up (I really notice a difference between the flavor of these beans and what I had previously bought at Penzey’s), but I’ll use the pods for DIY vanilla extract and we’ll see if I can’t get some of that deliciousness to keep going.

Adjustments for next time:

  • whip eggs and sugar for cake longer so they’re fluffier (try more like 3 min)
  • use half soft white wheat / half hard white wheat in cake
  • check cake at 35 min for doneness
  • leave butter for the buttercream in the refrigerator until I’m ready to use so I can monitor the temperature and shoot for fluffier whipped butter