As I mentioned in my yellow cake post here, I have been prepping for my friend Melissa’s birthday party. She rented a room at Artifact Coffee, (sister restaurant of Woodbury Kitchen) and friends and family were flying in from all over the country to celebrate. I made an elegant dessert for the occasion- layered yellow cake with raspberry buttercream filling and finished with vanilla swiss meringue buttercream.
I worked on sugar roses last week, and did all the baking and assembly the day before the party. I was a little terrified to drive the cake three hours down to Baltimore, as the slightest bump could wreck my masterpiece, but luckily it arrived safely. It helped that I secured the cake box in the passenger seat and drove with the A/C on- I know, slightly ridiculous- but I bundled up to stay warm! It was all worth the effort to see Melissa’s smile after blowing out her candles. Everyone was thrilled with the cake, and I was so happy to share in her special day.
Yellow Layer Cake (Adapted from Food52 here) – double recipe for 5 layer 9-inch cake
5 1/2 cups of cake flour (625 grams)
1 tsp. salt
4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
4 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cup whole milk
2 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350º. Butter and flour (with parchment circles) 5, nine-inch cake pans (don’t worry if you don’t have 5- I did mine in two rounds). Sift cake flour, salt, and baking powder in a very large bowl and set aside. Whisk eggs and sugar in a stand mixer on medium-high for a minute. Slowly whisk in vanilla, whole milk, and oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the very large bowl with the dry ingredients, and fold until smooth. Divide evenly into pans (approx. 550 grams or 1/4 full) and bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool on wire racks for about ten minutes and then invert the cakes out of the pan to finish cooling.
Note: I was attempting to make an ombre pink cake, but forgot that because the cake is yellow, adding pink made it more of a peach color. While it wasn’t a bad look, in the future I would attempt an ombre effect on a white cake recipe instead of a yellow cake.
Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream (Modified from Martha Stewart’s recipe here)
2 1/2 cups sugar
10 large egg whites
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
2 pounds (8 sticks) of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (see here)
1/4 tsp of salt
Combine sugar, egg whites, and cream of tartar in a heat-proof bowl and whisk over a small saucepan of simmering water. Be sure that the bowl is not touching the water. Whisk the mixture constantly until the temperature reaches 160ºF. Remove from heat, strain into a mixing bowl, and whip on high until stiff peaks form, about ten minutes. Switch the whisk attachment for a paddle attachment and slowly add butter, one tablespoon at a time, on medium until fluffy. If mixture starts to look curdled, don’t panic, just keep mixing, I promise it will come together. Add vanilla bean paste and salt for flavoring.
Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream Filling
1 1/4 cups sugar
5 large egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 pounds (4 sticks) of unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 tsp of salt
4-6 oz. red seedless raspberry jam
Repeat the above steps for vanilla swiss meringue buttercream. Once the buttercream comes together, add salt and raspberry jam to taste.
Large serrated knife
Large pastry bags with tips (16mm & 14mm)*
9″ greaseproof cake round
Offset spatulas (5 inch & 8 inch)
Begin by taking the cooled cakes and leveling the tops with a large serrated knife (think cutting a bagel in half). Place vanilla buttercream in a pastry bag with a 16 mm tip and raspberry buttercream in a pastry bag with 14 mm tip. Once all layers are even, place cake round on the turntable (a piece of non-skid shelf liner or damp tea towel helps keep it in place) and use a small amount of buttercream to stick the first layer of cake to the cake round. Pipe a ring of vanilla buttercream around the edge of the cake and pipe the rest in with raspberry buttercream. Use a small offset to smooth the top.
Place the next layer on top and push down slightly to ensure there are no air bubbles. Repeat the frosting technique and keep layering until you reach the fifth and final layer. Pipe some additional vanilla buttercream around the sides and top of the cake and smooth with a large offset spatula. Use a bench scraper to finish the cake sides, remembering that this is just a crumb coat, so don’t overdo it with the frosting. Firm up the cake in the fridge before finishing the cake with a top coat.
*If you don’t have pastry bags, use a large ziplog bag and cut off one corner to pipe.
For additional baking tips & tricks, see here.