Sous Vide Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Frosting

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Everyone needs a good basic vanilla cake recipe. And why not a sous vide vanilla cake? 

"Baking" the cake in the Anova Precision Cooker means you'll get a result that is tender and super moist, with no dry crumbles in sight. It’s easy to make, too — just mix up the (mostly) one-bowl batter, divide it into jars, and sous vide for 3 hours. 

You can also consider this recipe a base for experimentation — throw in some chocolate chips or fresh fruit to the batter for a twist on the classic. I've topped these cakes with an extra chocolate-y frosting that's reminiscent of those Duncan Hines boxed frostings (but much, much tastier). 

Feel free to use your favorite chocolate frosting here instead — or skip the frosting all together and serve with fresh fruit.

Note: This recipe looks long, but it is actually not challenging to make — I have simply tried to break down the recipe into short, easy-to-follow steps.

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Ingredients for 14

  • 2 cups (232.5 grams) cake flour

  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) salt

  • 1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1 cup (198 grams) granulated sugar

  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) vanilla extract

  • 1 cup (237 mL) buttermilk, at room temperature

  • 4 tablespoons (56.5 grams) unsalted butter

  • 3 tablespoons (16.5 grams) cocoa powder

  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) whole milk

  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) vanilla extract

  • 2 1/2 cups (284 grams) confectioners' sugar


  • Step 1

    Set the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker to 195ºF (90.6ºC). Generously grease 7 half-pint canning jars with non-stick oil spray or butter.

  • Step 2

    For the cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

  • Step 3

    Combine butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the mixture on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.

  • Step 4

    Beat in the egg one at a time until combined. Beat in tablespoon vanilla until smooth.

  • Step 5

    Remove the paddle attachment and place a fine-mesh strainer over the bowl. Sift one half of the flour mixture into the bowl. Return the paddle attachment and beat on low speed just until combined.

  • Step 6

    Add buttermilk and beat into the mixture on low speed until incorporated.

  • Step 7

    Remove the paddle attachment and place strainer over the bowl. Sift remaining flour mixture into the bowl. Return the paddle attachment and beat on low speed just until combined. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and fold in any stray flour.

  • Step 8

    Divide the batter between the prepared jars. Each jar should be no more than half full. Wipe off sides and tops of jars using a damp towel. Firmly tap jars on the counter to remove air bubbles.

  • Step 9

    Place lids and bands on jars and seal until just tight (do not over-tighten jars; air will still need to escape). Place jars in water bath and set the timer for 3 hours. Clean stand mixer.

  • Step 10

    While the cakes are cooking, prepare the frosting: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and whisk in cocoa until smooth. Whisk in milk and vanilla until smooth.

  • Step 11

    Transfer butter mixture to stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Sift confectioners' sugar through a fine mesh strainer into the bowl.

  • Step 12

    Starting on low speed and gradually increasing to high speed, beat butter-sugar mixture until smooth and significantly lightened in color, 3 to 5 minutes. The mixture will still be slightly runny. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 1 hour. (You can keep it in the mixer bowl.)

  • Step 13

    Return chilled frosting to the stand mixer and beat on high speed until very light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Refrigerate until ready to use.

    • Finishing Steps

    • Step 0

      When the timer goes off, remove the jars from the water bath. Place on a cooling rack. Carefully remove the lids. Let the cakes cool to room temperature.

    • Step 1

      When the cakes are cool, run a knife around the sides of the jars and carefully un-mold cakes. Using a very sharp knife, slice each cake in half horizontally to form cupcakes. Transfer to a serving platter and spread frosting on top of each cupcake. Serve.

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195 F / 90.6 C Recipe Temp
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