Monday, February 20, 2012

Vanilla Layer Cake with Strawberry Filling and Chocolate Frosting

Dreamy.  That is what this chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream is.  Hands down the best chocolate frosting I have ever had.  I found this recipe in a recent Food and Wine edition, and it is everything a decadent frosting should be.  Rich, creamy, silky, absolute perfection.  Even my husband who doesn't care for meringue buttercreams thought it was heavenly.

I used my new favorite vanilla cake recipe from Sweetapolita.  It's super fluffy, moist, and simply delightful.  It's also not overly sweet so it's the perfect compliment in a frosting-heavy cake.  I drizzled pureed strawberries over the strawberry buttercream on each layer to add a bit of flavor since the strawberries at the store are a bit lacking in flavor right now.  There are a few components to this so it isn't something to throw together in a couple of hours, but I made the cake the day before, wrapped it tightly in plastic wrap, and it was still delicious.

Note: the pictures below aren't the same scale as the recipes provided.  I actually split the cake recipe between 3 6-inch cake pans, and the cake I made is using one of those 6-inch cakes cut into 3 layers.  The recipe calls for 2 8-inch pans.  You can really do whatever you want here, just adjust baking times accordingly, and cut into as many layers as you can handle! I also used a half recipe for both buttercreams but provided the full recipe.

Fluffy Vanilla Cake
from Sweetapolita

5 large egg whites (5 ounces) at room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk (180 mL/6 liquid ounces), at room temperature
2 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (12.5 mL)
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour (10 ounces/285 grams–weighed after sifting)
1 3/4 cups sugar (12 ounces)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder (19.5 grams)
3/4 teaspoon salt (5 grams)
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (6 ounces/170 grams), at room temperature and cut into cubes

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease, line with parchment, and flour two round 8-inch pans.
2. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine and stir the egg whites, 1/4 cup of milk, and the vanilla. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients together on low speed (I use the “stir” setting on my mixer) for 30 seconds.
4. Add the butter and remaining 1/2 cup of milk, and mix on low speed until just moistened. Increase to medium speed and mix for 90 seconds.
5. Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg mixture in 3 separate batches; beat on medium speed for 20 seconds after each addition.
6. Divide the batter in two, spreading it evenly with a small offset palette knife. If you have a kitchen scale, weigh to ensure 2 even layers.
7. Bake 25-35 minutes or until a cake tester comes clean when inserted into the center. Be so careful to not overbake. Check cake at 20 minutes, but not before, and once you feel it’s almost ready, set the timer for 2 minute intervals. Let cool on racks for 10 minutes before loosening the sides with a small metal spatula, and invert onto greased wire racks. Gently turn cakes back up, so the tops are up and cool completely.
8. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months. Best eaten the same day as baked.

 Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
adapted from Martha Stewart

4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup strawberries pureed in a food processor
In the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine egg whites and sugar. Cook, whisking constantly, until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch (about 160 degrees).
Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg-white mixture on high speed until it holds stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until the mixture is fluffy and cooled, about 6 minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low speed, add butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. (If frosting appears to separate after all the butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, 3 to 5 minutes more.) Beat in vanilla. Beat on lowest speed to eliminate any air bubbles, about 2 minutes. 
Beat in strawberry puree, adding a few spoonfulls at a time until desired strawberry flavor and consistency is achieved.

Rich Chocolate Buttercream
adapted from Food and Wine

1 cup sugar
3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (9 ounces), cut into tablespoons, at room temperature
4 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled

Combine sugar and egg whites in a stainless steel bowl of a stand mixer.  Add salt.. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk gently until the sugar is completely dissolved, 5 minutes.
Transfer the warm egg-white mixture to the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk. Add the vanilla and beat at medium-high speed until stiff and glossy,  and completely cooled, about 8 minutes. Beat in the butter a few pieces at a time, making sure it is fully incorporated before adding more. The buttercream should be light and fluffy; if it appears runny at any time, transfer the bowl to the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes, then return it to the mixer and continue.
Beat in the melted chocolate until fully incorporated, scraping down the side and bottom of the bowl.

If the buttercream appears to be separating or curdling at any point, just keep beating (even for several minutes), it should become fluffy eventually.

Linked to:
Crazy Sweet Tuesday
Tuesday Tutorials 
Tuesday Talent Show 
Sweets for a Saturday 
Strut Your Stuff Saturday 
Sweet Indulgences Sunday


  1. That looks absolutely sinful. That chocolate butter cream... oh, I'd love a spoonful of that! Thanks for sharing on Crazy Sweet Tuesday!

  2. oooh, it's like darkness and light that stunning layer of creamy pinkness peeking through the dark naughty chocolate... divine!

  3. All the elements of this recipe look amazing! I love that you filled the cake with strawberry buttercream rather than chocolate!

  4. This looks so good.


  5. New follower from the blog hop!

  6. New follower, your desserts are amazing!! Pinning a few on Pinterest! =)

  7. Pinch me!! Is this a dream!? This cake is amazing!! Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe! We loved having you join us at "Strut Your Stuff Saturday." We hope you'll be back next week! -The Sisters


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