A few weeks ago was my good friend Jayme's birthday party, so of course I wanted to make him a nice birthday cake. I asked what he wanted amongst his requests were vanilla cake, whipped cream and white chocolate. Sounds good already! I know he likes berries, so I decided to add some for a little contrast. After giving it a little thought, I settled on white cake with berry buttercream filling and white chocolate ganache-buttercream icing along with some fresh whipped cream on the side. With a lot of components and two dogs to pick up the day of the party (Hancock and Nova) I got started the night before the party.
Mixed Berry Compote
16 oz frozen strawberries
6 oz frozen raspberries
6 oz frozen blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
Put half of the strawberries, raspberries and blueberries into a saucepan along with all of the sugar. Over medium/medium low heat stir periodically for about 10 minutes. Smash the berries a bit with a spoon to release some of the juice. Then add the rest of the berries.
Continue stirring periodically for another 5-10 minutes.
Put them in a container and after they cool, pop it into the fridge to be used tomorrow.
Okay, so I guess I didn't do too much in advance for the party, but I like things to be fresh! I did all the rest the next day.
Lady Baltimore Cake
Another recipe from my stand-by cookbook, Fannie Farmer.
1 3/4 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup milk
3 egg whites
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cream the butter and sugar together. Separately stir the milk and vanilla together. In another bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Alternately add portions of the milk mixture and dry ingredients to the butter mixture, beating until the batter is smooth after each addition.
In yet another bowl, beat the eggwhites until they are stiff but moist.
Stir in about one third of the egg whites into the cake batter and then gently fold in the rest.
I put all of the batter into a 9"x13" pan, but this recipe says it would also work for two 8" pans. But be forewarned that it won't come out as tall as you might think, so I would consider doubling the recipe if you want a taller cake.
I wanted to make sure that the cake would come out cleanly from the pan, so I used a trick I had seen Alton Brown do on his show Good Eats. First I sprayed the pan with Pam, then place parchment paper across the widest part of the pan so that there was some coming off the edges (to be used as handles later). Then I put another piece of parchement paper along the narrower part of the pan.
Be sure to crease the paper into the corners; cake batter isn't strong enough to push it into place, and you don't want your edges to turn out all wonky, now do you? After you've laid out your parchment paper spray it with Pam. Okay, now you can pour in the batter.
Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes (time may vary depending on your oven). Test for doneness by poking in a toothpick; when it comes out clean, it's done! Let the cake cool for about 5 minutes and then using your handy dandy parchment paper handles, lift the cake out of the pan and quickly place onto a cooling rack (don't worry about removing the paper just yet).
I then repeated the entire process so I could make a large layer cake. Woops - none of the pictures of the cake on it's own turned out well, but don't worry, you'll see it in a minute with some other yummy stuff!
Mixed Berry Buttercream Filling
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup mixed berry compote (strained)
This recipe is just a mixture of my usual buttercream frosting (remember?) and the mixed berry compote from above.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and vanilla. Blend the sugar in one cup at a time. You may need to stop and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl a few times to make sure it all gets thoroughly incorporated. Beat in the milk and continue mixing until light and fluffy.
Use a colander to strain the mixed berry compote, but save the liquid! Scoop about half a cup of the now strained compote into the buttercream and beat until well incorporated. Then gently stir in another half cup; you want some of the pieces of fruit to maintain some structural integrity for texture.
White Chocolate Ganache-Buttercream
24 ounces white chocolate chips
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Put all of the white chocolate chips in a large microwave safe bowl.
Heat the heavy cream in a saucepan until it just begins to boil and then pour over the chocolate chips. Stir with a whisk until well combined. Since this can be tough work, I enlisted the hubs to do the heavy stirring for me.
When it got to the point where the chips were almost all melted, the mixture had cooled just a bit too much, so we popped the mixture in the microwave for 30 seconds to soften it so you can stir it together the rest of the way. Look at that, you just made white chocolate ganache!
I wanted the icing on the cake to be a little fluffier and more pliable than ganache, so I decided to mix in some buttercream frosting. You can probably get away with making just half of what I made for this round, but I wanted to be sure I had enough (and there's nothing wrong with a little leftover frosting - yum!).
So once again, in a large bowl, cream together the butter and vanilla. Blend the sugar in one cup at a time. You may need to stop and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl a few times to make sure it all gets thoroughly incorporated. Beat in the milk and continue mixing until light and fluffy.
After the ganache has just about cooled, stir in about a half cup of the buttercream frosting. Then mix in another generous half cup or so.
Save the rest of your buttercream!
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
Beat together with a whisk until peaks form. Make sure the heavy cream is cold before you start (and it doesn't hurt to pop the bowl into the fridge before starting either!). Turns out so tasty, even people who don't normally like whipped cream (such as myself) will like it!
Bringing it all together
Now let's assemble all this yummy stuff into a delicious cake! Carefully remove one of the cooled cakes from the parchment paper and place it onto whatever you'll be presenting the cake on. At this point it came to my attention that I don't have any pretty serving platters this big, so a cookie sheet is going to have to do (sorry, Jayme!). Spread the mixed berry buttercream onto the cake, trying to create a horizontal surface for the other cake to rest on.
Normally you would need to trim the top of your cake to make it flat, but since these didn't come out very tall I compensated with the filling. Carefully remove the other cake from the parchment paper and place it on top of the now filling topped cake.
Using a spatula, smooth the ganache-buttercream onto the cake. I recommend starting with it on top and working it over the sides.
There was a lot of real estate on top of the cake once I was done icing it, so I mixed several drops of blue food coloring into the remaining buttercream frosting. Then I scooped it into a plastic baggie and snipped a tiny corner so I could pipe some words and decoration on the cake.
I brought along the remaining mixed berry mixture (I put the strained liquid back into it) to put on the side with the cake along with the whipped cream.
After enjoying the tasty dinner that Jayme made for us we dug into the cake! Anjanette brought a cake, too! She made a marble cake with chocolate frosting, so it worked out perfectly that we had a white cake and a chocolate cake. Didn't she do a great job decorating it? Tasted great, too!
Happy Birthday, Jayme!