Berry Perfect Party Cake
My friends are often surprised when they find out that my favorite cake flavors are white, yellow, or banana (but I have to be in the mood for it!). Yet, I don’t really have a go to recipe for a white cake recipe. Enter Dorie’s Perfect Party Cake. I have heard a lot of raves about this cake from a lot of blogs and have put this on my mental to do list for a while. A couple of weekends ago, I ran into a copy of her cook book at a local used-book store for $10. Score! I knew that I had to make this cake right away!
Since strawberries are in the season, I decided to use sweetened whipped cream as the filling along with sliced strawberries, and frost them with fluffy butter-cream frosting, which is a lot firmer than the whipped cream. I might have whipped the heavy cream a little bit too much that it did not seal the two cake layers as well as I wanted them to; so halfway through cutting them, the two layers fell apart. Also, because I used regular butter, instead of white butter, the cake did not appear snow-white like Dorie’s on her cook book.
Overall, everyone really loved the consistency of the cake and the delicate flavor of the cake, frosting and filling! I actually liked this cake so much that I enjoyed a whole slice (which I rarely do with cakes!). It looks like I just found my go-to white cake recipe.
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
For the cake:
2 ¼ cups cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ tsp. lemon extract (I used 1/2 tsp of clear vanilla extract instead)
1 recipe of fluffy vanilla frosting (see below for recipe)
1 recipe of whipped cream for filling (or, alternatively you can use the same one as the frosting)
Fresh berries of your choice
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment paper. Dust both pans with flour, shaking out the excess. Set aside.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk and egg whites. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Mix them with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter to the sugar mixture and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Beat in the lemon extract.
Add one third of the flour mixture, continuing to beat on medium speed. Beat in half of the egg mixture, then half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans and smooth tops with a rubber spatula. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well-risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted in the centers should come out clean.
Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the cakes, invert the cake pans to remove the cake, peel off the parchment paper, and invert once more so cakes are right side up on the cooling rack. Cool to room temperature.
Using a sharp, serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half. Place one layer on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate, cut side up. Spread one third of the preserves on top. Cover the jam evenly with about 1/3 of the white chocolate whipped cream. Top evenly with fresh berries. Top with another cake layer, and again layer with jam, whipped cream and berries. Repeat once more with a third cake layer. Place the last layer of the cake cut side down on top of the cake. Use the whipped cream frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake. Top with fresh berries.
Because of the whipped cream, this cake should be stored in the refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving.
Fluffy Vanilla Frosting
Adapted from Martha Stewart
1 -1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.
Reduce speed to medium. Add the confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed; after every two additions, raise speed to high and beat 10 seconds to aerate frosting, then return to medium-high. This process should take about 5 minutes. Frosting will be very pale and fluffy.
Add vanilla, and beat until frosting is smooth. If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 10 days in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.
Whipped Cream Frosting
2 cups heavy cream
2 tbsp of powdered sugar
Place heavy cream & sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; beat until thick and spreadable. Use immediately.
Makes: 4 cups
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