Those who read food blogs have probably already seen this cake on hundreds of other blogs in the past few weeks, thanks to the most recent Daring Bakers challenge. I have actually had my eye on this cake for quite some time. While I do not (yet) own Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, it is the first book I grab each time I am browsing at Barnes & Noble and I peruse it, wishing it was part of my home collection. Since the weather is finally turning a corner and spring is here, fresh berries are worth buying again. When I saw Jamie’s version of the Perfect Party Cake I knew it was the perfect adaptation for me. Her brilliant use of white chocolate whipped cream and fresh berries between the layers looked wonderful to me – and it really was! I chose a simple Cool Whip frosting for the outside to complement the abundance of the fresh berries, as it seemed much more fitting than any buttercream.
I was thrilled with the final product. It was every bit as gorgeous and as tasty as I had hoped. My good friend Allie is celebrating a birthday this week so I brought this as her birthday cake to her birthday dinner last night, and it was definitely a hit. The famous “Benchiladas” were the main dish for our celebration, as they are a favorite of my friends as well :-) Happy birthday, Allie!
Perfect Party Cake
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 omitted this)
2/3 cup mixed berry preserves
1 recipe white chocolate whipped cream
1 recipe Cool Whip frosting (I actually used closer to 12 oz. Cool Whip – this recipe is very adaptable)
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 homogenous, 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 Cool Whip frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake. Top with fresh berries.
Because of the whipped cream filling and Cool Whip frosting, this cake should be stored in the refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving.