Pink Vanilla Pocky Cake

Yield: One six-inch cake, or one slightly shorter 8-inch cake [click for printable recipe]
Note: Cake flour is recommended for this recipe.

Yellow cake:
2 ¼ cups cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
3 eggs
¾ cup whole milk, room temperature
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
In a standing mixer, beat butter using the paddle attachment until creamy and lightened. Add the sugar gradually; scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat in the vanilla.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with flour.
Divide batter between pans and bake approximately 22 minutes for 6-inch layers, 24 minutes for 8-inch layers. Cool cakes in pans for 5 minutes, unmold and cool completely on wire racks.
Pink vanilla bean frosting:
Note: if making an 8-inch version, increase the frosting recipe by 1/2

1 cup of unsalted butter, softened
2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar – the finest you can find (usually 10x)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Pink gel food coloring
* Milk or heavy cream, optional
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together the butter and confectioners sugar. Begin mixing on low speed until crumbly, and then increase to high and beat for 3 minutes.
Add vanilla bean paste and beat again for another minute until light and fluffy. Beat in food coloring a little at a time until the desired color is achieved.
*Note: If you find the buttercream is too stiff, you may add milk or heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is spreading consistency.

Assembly:
6-inch cake: Fifteen 6 quantity packets (90 pcs.) of strawberry cream pocky
8-inch cake: Seventeen-Eighteen 6 quantity packets ” “
Frost cooled cakes with an off-set spatula and transfer remaining frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large plain tip (a zip-top bag with the corner snipped would probably work also).
Pipe icing in strait lines across the top of the cake. When finished, smooth the edges with an off-set spatula. Press the strawberry pocky dipped-side down into the sides of the cake until completely covered.
The finished cake slices easily if you place the knife between pieces of pocky.