Five layer cakes, two days, and one tiny NYC apartment


 
Five layer cakes, two days, and one tiny NYC apartment  - tips and tricks for making a whole bunch of cakes all at once over the course of two days #weddingcake #layercake #deconstructedweddingcake
Five layer cakes, two days, and one tiny NYC apartment  - tips and tricks for making a whole bunch of cakes all at once over the course of two days #weddingcake #layercake #deconstructedweddingcake
Five layer cakes, two days, and one tiny NYC apartment  - tips and tricks for making a whole bunch of cakes all at once over the course of two days #weddingcake #layercake #deconstructedweddingcake
Five layer cakes, two days, and one tiny NYC apartment  - tips and tricks for making a whole bunch of cakes all at once over the course of two days #weddingcake #layercake #deconstructedweddingcake
Five layer cakes, two days, and one tiny NYC apartment  - tips and tricks for making a whole bunch of cakes all at once over the course of two days #weddingcake #layercake #deconstructedweddingcake

I got to do a really special thing last weekend - I made cakes for our friend’s wedding. Our good friends got married, and when we heard that they were engaged, I offered to make cakes for them! It’s such a fun thing to do for friends, and I got a zillion questions about my process, so I decided to pop it all here so I have a place to direct people! Rich said multiple times throughout the process “I can’t believe how chill you are about this” (Usually I’m super stressed and panicky about literally everything I do in my life, ever), which I think came down to the planning I did leading up. I planned a lot throughout the week, but did the majority of the workload across two days.

We changed things up a little from the traditional tiered wedding cake, and instead went for five individual cakes. There were 100 guests at the wedding, so I did four 8” cakes, and one larger 10” cake to make sure there would be enough. The great part about having a site with loads of recipes on it that you know is that I can direct people here, and get them to choose from the recipes I already have. They chose a whole bunch of different cakes, which was not only super fun to make, but looked amazing all lined up at the venue! I have a good sized collection of Aheirloom cake stands, so I used them to keep some continuity, but I think this would look so pretty with a whole range of different cake stands too. Cake tables for the win. They were such a huge hit, and I am so honoured to be have been included in our friend’s day! Congrats Damon and April! x

I wanted to leave all my wee tips and tricks I could think of here just in case they are helpful! One thing that REALLY helped is that we have a walk in fridge in our reception of our building (So weird, but SO convenient), so I was able to put two of the cakes down there overnight, which helped loads. Clearing out your fridge would work well too, or borrowing a friend’s fridge space! Just make sure the cakes have time to chill before you transport them. You want them to be nice and cold so that you don’t have to worry about any meltage.

Here are the cakes that we ended up with (in the order they are pictured)

  • Earl Grey Cake with Marmalade filling and Vanilla Bean German Buttercream

    • This cake, with a double batch of the buttercream, and a store bought marmalade, decorated in the style of this cake.

  • Vanilla Bean Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue buttercream

    • I didn’t make any switches in this recipe - I just used this one from my site.

  • Chocolate Mud Cake with Cherry Filling and Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream

    • This one was twin peaks inspired (I haven’t seen it before!), so I did a 1.5 x of this cake, which I baked into 3 x 8” pans, and then cut each cake into two, giving me six layers. I swapped the gluten free flour called for in the recipe for regular flour as it was not required to be gluten free. I then filled it with a store bought Cherry Jam, and finished it with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream, which I coloured hot pink. This cake also had a sprinkle twin peaks inspired top and sprinkles on the sides - I used sprinkles from Sprinkle Pop Shop.

  • Dairy Free Lemon Cake with Dairy Free Lemon Curd and Torched Meringue

    • The Bride’s Mum is Dairy Free, so I tweaked this recipe a little - I used vegan butter in the curd, and cashew yoghurt in the cake, and it turned out amazing! I then made a quick powdered sugar based buttercream (american buttercream, half this recipe but with vegan butter and no milk or coconut would work great) to stack the cake, then chilled overnight and then covered the day of with swiss meringue, which I torched.

  • Devil’s Food Cake with Hazelnut Chocolate Frosting and Salted Chocolate German Buttercream

    • This cake, doubled and baked in 3 x 10” layers (make sure you have a massive bowl), filled with one batch of this frosting and layered and stacked with a double batch of this German Buttercream

My Timeline:

Monday: Make a list of all the cakes, all the fillings, all the buttercreams, and work out what I am going to need for each.
Tuesday: Make a shopping list, and either do the shop, or order everything to be delivered via online shopping (I went for online shopping, because NYC life)
Wednesday: Get shopping delivered, organise all your groceries, clear out space in your fridge, make a game plan, make any fillings that can be done ahead such as your curd fillings
Thursday: Make alllll the layers. Cool completely, level off, and store in the fridge overnight. Make any buttercream bases (German buttercream you can make the pastry cream the day before as it ideally needs time to cool)
Friday: Make all of your buttercreams, stack and frost the cakes, chill overnight (The overnight chill makes the transport part much less stressful as you know that all your cakes are well chilled).
Saturday: Make any last touch ups, cover the lemon cake with meringue and torch (It will weep if left too long so I did it the day of), transport to the venue!

A few wee tips:

  • You can make your life easier by doing things like making all of the pastry cream for the german buttercream at once, and then portioning it out to whip up individual batches. I think I did a quadruple batch of the buttercream needed to make this cake, cooled it all in one container, and then weighed it, and used as much as I needed for one batch at a time. It means you aren’t making pastry cream a whole bunch of times, just once.

  • I used Acrylic cake discs which I got Rich to cut me on the laser cutter, but cardboard cake boards work great too. I used one that was the size of the cake, and then another which was two inches larger, stuck down with double sided tape, which made moving the cakes around super easy.

  • I popped some milkshake straws through the largest cake just to help give it some stability. Poke them down into the cake, then measure how long they need to be, and snip them off then poke them back into the cake

  • Give yourself a SOLID buffer. Like, a whole day’s worth if you can. I know someone quite well (spoiler alert - it’s me) who has had multiple cake disasters in the back seats of ubers where improperly chilled cakes had total structural blowouts. It’s not cute. Leave time to chill your cakes, and to organise all the last minute bits and bobs. I think this was key to me being a bit chill!

Please feel free to leave any questions or things I may have missed below - always happy to help! x

 

 
Five layer cakes, two days, and one tiny NYC apartment  - tips and tricks for making a whole bunch of cakes all at once over the course of two days #weddingcake #layercake #deconstructedweddingcake

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Layer Cake with Chocolate and Peanut Butter Buttercream


 
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Layer Cake with Chocolate and Peanut Butter Buttercream - this party cake is from the latest book from Bake from Scratch Magazine. Soft chocolate and peanut butter cake layers are sandwiched with chocolate and peanut butter buttercream, then finished off with playful blobs of the buttercream to create the perfect chocolate ombre cake. This cake is easy to make and is great to serve a crowd - you can't go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate! #chocolatecake #peanutbuttercake #chocolatebuttercream #peanutbutterbuttercream
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Layer Cake with Chocolate and Peanut Butter Buttercream - this party cake is from the latest book from Bake from Scratch Magazine. Soft chocolate and peanut butter cake layers are sandwiched with chocolate and peanut butter buttercream, then finished off with playful blobs of the buttercream to create the perfect chocolate ombre cake. This cake is easy to make and is great to serve a crowd - you can't go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate! #chocolatecake #peanutbuttercake #chocolatebuttercream #peanutbutterbuttercream
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Layer Cake with Chocolate and Peanut Butter Buttercream - this party cake is from the latest book from Bake from Scratch Magazine. Soft chocolate and peanut butter cake layers are sandwiched with chocolate and peanut butter buttercream, then finished off with playful blobs of the buttercream to create the perfect chocolate ombre cake. This cake is easy to make and is great to serve a crowd - you can't go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate! #chocolatecake #peanutbuttercake #chocolatebuttercream #peanutbutterbuttercream
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Layer Cake with Chocolate and Peanut Butter Buttercream - this party cake is from the latest book from Bake from Scratch Magazine. Soft chocolate and peanut butter cake layers are sandwiched with chocolate and peanut butter buttercream, then finished off with playful blobs of the buttercream to create the perfect chocolate ombre cake. This cake is easy to make and is great to serve a crowd - you can't go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate! #chocolatecake #peanutbuttercake #chocolatebuttercream #peanutbutterbuttercream
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Layer Cake with Chocolate and Peanut Butter Buttercream - this party cake is from the latest book from Bake from Scratch Magazine. Soft chocolate and peanut butter cake layers are sandwiched with chocolate and peanut butter buttercream, then finished off with playful blobs of the buttercream to create the perfect chocolate ombre cake. This cake is easy to make and is great to serve a crowd - you can't go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate! #chocolatecake #peanutbuttercake #chocolatebuttercream #peanutbutterbuttercream
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Layer Cake with Chocolate and Peanut Butter Buttercream - this party cake is from the latest book from Bake from Scratch Magazine. Soft chocolate and peanut butter cake layers are sandwiched with chocolate and peanut butter buttercream, then finished off with playful blobs of the buttercream to create the perfect chocolate ombre cake. This cake is easy to make and is great to serve a crowd - you can't go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate! #chocolatecake #peanutbuttercake #chocolatebuttercream #peanutbutterbuttercream
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Layer Cake with Chocolate and Peanut Butter Buttercream - this party cake is from the latest book from Bake from Scratch Magazine. Soft chocolate and peanut butter cake layers are sandwiched with chocolate and peanut butter buttercream, then finished off with playful blobs of the buttercream to create the perfect chocolate ombre cake. This cake is easy to make and is great to serve a crowd - you can't go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate! #chocolatecake #peanutbuttercake #chocolatebuttercream #peanutbutterbuttercream
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Layer Cake with Chocolate and Peanut Butter Buttercream - this party cake is from the latest book from Bake from Scratch Magazine. Soft chocolate and peanut butter cake layers are sandwiched with chocolate and peanut butter buttercream, then finished off with playful blobs of the buttercream to create the perfect chocolate ombre cake. This cake is easy to make and is great to serve a crowd - you can't go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate! #chocolatecake #peanutbuttercake #chocolatebuttercream #peanutbutterbuttercream

Put your party pants on, because this is a party cake! I am super excited to be sharing the recipe for this dude - it comes from the newest book from Brian and Bake From Scratch! Each year they put together an incredible compilation of all the recipes from the last year, and turn them into one big, beautiful book. I have a couple of recipes in there from my contribution to the holiday cookie issue last year - it’s always so, so exciting to see my photographs in print alongside some of my fave bakers and bloggers. The book is such a lovely round up, but also an amazing idea if you live outside of the States and want all the recipes that were included this past year, rather than having to get the magazine sent overseas each month!

When I was choosing something to make (with the assistance of Brooke and Brian via facetime while they had cocktail hour in their hotel), I was looking for something a wee bit epic. I went back and forth for a bit, before Brian suggested I take a bunch of recipes from their layer cake section, and mix and match them. There’s a super cool section at the start of the cake chapter that has a whole lot of cake recipes, and a whole lot of buttercream recipes, and you can essentially just pick a cake, pick a buttercream, and you have an instant combination. It’s such a clever idea - I’ve highlighted two of the cake recipes here and two of the buttercreams, but there are a whole load more in the book! Definitely pick up a copy if you can - it would make the most amazing present for the baking enthusiast in your life!

I couldn’t go past the classic peanut butter and chocolate combination for this cake. I made both the chocolate and the peanut butter cakes - both are stir together cakes (rather than needing a mixer), so come together super quickly. I made them the night before, then once they were cool, wrapped them up tightly and popped them in the freezer overnight - ideally if I have the time, this is my favourite way to frost a cake, but room temp or chilled cakes work great too! I then stacked them up, alternating not only the cake flavour, but the buttercream filling inside, which made for a super exciting cake interior.

I’m not usually a huge fan of American Buttercream (We all know I am a die hard German buttercream girl), but there are a two times when I absolutely love it: when it has peanut butter, and when it has chocolate. I used both of these to finish off this cake, both from the mix and match section I mentioned - I crumb coated it using both flavours, then couldn’t help but finish it off in a way that’s my ultimate go to, blobs of buttercream piped on using a french star tip. I was going to just do a sparse covering of the buttercream blobs, but always end up getting carried away (they are so, so fun), so covered the whole thing, which I’m super happy I did, as it ended up being the most perfect cake:buttercream ratio!

This cake looks super fancy but I promise that it is much easier than it looks - it’s two batches of cake, but both come together super easy, and bake up amazingly flat, with no levelling required. Then it’s just two quick batches of buttercream which you use to fill and crumb coat the cake, then transfer the remainder into your piping bags and blob away! I wanted to have three colours of buttercream so I mixed together some of the chocolate and peanut butter (I actually used the frosting that got scraped off in the crumb coating process), to give me a light brown choc peanut butter buttercream too, which worked so perfectly! This cake would be the most amazing thing to take to a celebration or for a birthday - it’s the perfect texture, and the flavour combination is just incredible.

A few wee tips:

  • I almost always add more heavy cream to american buttercream to get it to the texture I want - you want something smooth and silky that is going to be really nice to pipe, so I often add up to about a 1/4 cup more than the recipe calls for. Once you have mixed up the buttercream, just keep adding heavy cream until it is a nice soft smooth texture, then crank up the speed of the mixer and let it go on high for a few minutes to make sure it is super fluffy.

  • Once I have the buttercream super fluffy, I then like to turn the mixer to low and let it go for a minute or two, just to help get rid of any big air pockets which will make bubbles when you’re frosting the cake.

  • I ended up with a wee ombre crumb coat situation which I kind of loved - to get this, I plopped some peanut butter buttercream in a piping bag, then a little chocolate, another scoop of peanut butter, then a big scoop of chocolate, then snipped the end off the bag and used that to cover the cake on the turntable. I then smoothed it off, and used any excess to fill in holes and to do the top. The ombre was a happy accident, but I will be definitely be doing it this way again!

  • As you can see in the photos I didn’t worry toooo much about making the cake super flat on the top or getting the edges super sharp, because I knew that I was going to be covering it in blobs of buttercream.

  • When I’m making two cakes in a row, I usually cool the pan quickly by running it under cold water when I wash it - this means you can get your second cake on the go as soon as you can!

 

 

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Layer Cake with Chocolate and Peanut Butter Frosting

- Makes One Eight inch, four layer cake -

Recipe Reprinted with permission from Bake From Scratch: Artisan Recipes for The Home Baker

Chocolate Cake
133g granulated sugar
150g light brown sugar
55g canola oil
1 large egg, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
210g all-purpose flour
50g unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
240g whole milk, at room temperature
160g hot coffee

Peanut Butter Cake
220g light brown sugar
85g peanut butter (use regular, smooth packaged peanut butter - natural will separate)
75g vegetable oil or other neutral oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
185g all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp plus 1/8 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
240g buttermilk, at room temperature

Chocolate Buttercream
350g unsalted butter, at room temperature
130g unsweetened cocoa (I used dutch process)
720g powdered sugar, sifted
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp kosher salt
90g heavy whipping cream, plus more as needed (see notes)

Peanut Butter Buttercream
255g unsalted butter, at room temperature
130g smooth peanut butter
810g powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp salt
135g heavy cream, plus more as needed (see notes)

- PROCESS -

CHOCOLATE CAKE

Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Butter and flour two 8” round cake pans. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, stir together the sugars and oil. Add egg, egg yolk, and extract, and stir to combine.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, stirring just until combined after each addition. Stir in the hot coffee just until combined. Divide batter between cake pans.

Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let col in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and allow to cool on a wire rack completely. If preparing ahead, once cool, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze overnight.

PEANUT BUTTER CAKE

Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Butter and flour two 8” round cake pans. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, stir together the light brown sugar, peanut butter, and oil until combined and creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, stirring until just combined.

In a medium bowl, soft together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, stirring until just combined after each addition.

Divide the batter between the pans (I like to do this by weight).

Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.

If preparing ahead, once cool, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze overnight.

CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cocoa at low speed until well combined. Gradually add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, alternately with cream, 1 Tbsp at a time, beating until combined. Add vanilla and salt. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high. Beat until mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Add more cream if needed (see notes), and beat on high until soft and spreadable. Reduce the mixer to low and beat for 1-2 minutes to remove any air bubbles. Use immediately, or place a piece of plastic wrap over the surface of the buttercream until you use.

PEANUT BUTTER BUTTERCREAM

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and peanut butter at medium speed until smooth. Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add powdered sugar and salt, beating until combined. Add cream, beating until a spreadable consistency is reached. Add more cream if needed (see notes), and beat on high until soft and spreadable. Reduce the mixer to low and beat for 1-2 minutes to remove any air bubbles. Use immediately, or or place a piece of plastic wrap over the surface of the buttercream until you use.

ASSEMBLY

Secure one of the peanut butter layers of cake to a cake turntable using a little buttercream (I actually frosted mine on a cake stand, on top of a turntable). Add about 3/4 cup chocolate buttercream onto the first layer of cake, and smooth using an offset spatula. Top with a chocolate layer, and add about 3/4 cup peanut butter buttercream, and smooth down. Repeat the process, adding a peanut butter layer, chocolate buttercream, and finally a chocolate layer (I like to put the top layer upside down to make the top nice and flat, but I forgot this time!).

Frost the cake with a crumb coat - to do this I put peanut butter and chocolate buttercream into a piping bag (see notes), and then spun the turntable while I piped the buttercream onto the outside of the cake. Don’t worry if there are some gaps. Smooth using a cake scraper or an offset spatula, scraping off the scraper between passes, and placing the scraped off buttercream into a bowl off to the side.

Once you have crumb coated your cake, place it in the fridge to chill for about 20 minutes, while you prepare the buttercream for the outside.

Fit three piping bags with french star tips - I use Ateco #866. If you used a bowl to the side to collect the scraped buttercream (I did, and ended up with both peanut butter and chocolate buttercream), mix well to combine, adding more chocolate or peanut butter buttercream if necessary until you have a nice light brown colour. Transfer to a piping bag. Transfer the remaining chocolate and peanut butter buttercreams to the other two piping bags.

Remove the cake from the fridge, and pipe blobs of buttercream over the surface of the cake - I just blob them on randomly, switching colours every now and then to keep the pattern nice and mixed up. Repeat until the cake is completely covered in buttercream blobs.

Store in the fridge until ready to serve. Once cut, store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Layer Cake with Chocolate and Peanut Butter Buttercream - this party cake is from the latest book from Bake from Scratch Magazine. Soft chocolate and peanut butter cake layers are sandwiched with chocolate and peanut butter buttercream, then finished off with playful blobs of the buttercream to create the perfect chocolate ombre cake. This cake is easy to make and is great to serve a crowd - you can't go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate! #chocolatecake #peanutbuttercake #chocolatebuttercream #peanutbutterbuttercream

Vanilla Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream


 
Vanilla Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Perfect for any occasion - layers of vanilla cake are sandwiched with a silky vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream, and filled with a tangy, creamy passionfruit curd. #layercake #passionfruitcake
Vanilla Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Perfect for any occasion - layers of vanilla cake are sandwiched with a silky vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream, and filled with a tangy, creamy passionfruit curd. #layercake #passionfruitcake
Vanilla Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Perfect for any occasion - layers of vanilla cake are sandwiched with a silky vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream, and filled with a tangy, creamy passionfruit curd. #layercake #passionfruitcake
Vanilla Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Perfect for any occasion - layers of vanilla cake are sandwiched with a silky vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream, and filled with a tangy, creamy passionfruit curd. #layercake #passionfruitcake
Vanilla Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Perfect for any occasion - layers of vanilla cake are sandwiched with a silky vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream, and filled with a tangy, creamy passionfruit curd. #layercake #passionfruitcake
Vanilla Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Perfect for any occasion - layers of vanilla cake are sandwiched with a silky vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream, and filled with a tangy, creamy passionfruit curd. #layercake #passionfruitcake
Vanilla Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Perfect for any occasion - layers of vanilla cake are sandwiched with a silky vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream, and filled with a tangy, creamy passionfruit curd. #layercake #passionfruitcake
Vanilla Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Perfect for any occasion - layers of vanilla cake are sandwiched with a silky vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream, and filled with a tangy, creamy passionfruit curd. #layercake #passionfruitcake

It’s always around this time of year that it feels like winter is never, ever going to end. February really tends to drag it’s butt round here - today we had snow, then freezing rain (never seen that wee symbol on my weather app until I moved here, and it’s not a fun one), so it’s kind of hard to motivate myself to do anything other than stay inside with the cat and eat soup. Which is exactly what we have been doing. Whoopsies.

I’ve been meaning to make this cake for a while now. Passionfruit is my ultimate fave fruit of all time, but almost impossible to find in NYC. It grows like crazy in New Zealand, and so I guess I just assumed it would be easy to get here, but unfortunately this is not the case. However, my local supermarket has just started stocking it in pouches (most exciting day ever when I realised), so I’m super super excited to start sharing more passionfruit recipes! I am dying to add the curd as a ripple in an ice cream, or as the base for a passionfruit cream filling in a cream puff.

If you haven’t made passionfruit curd before, it’s almost exactly the same process as making lemon curd. I removed the seeds to make the curd, then added back in a few tablespoons of them, which is nice to give a little crunch without being too overwhelming. The thing I love about passionfruit curd is that the fruit is tart enough to stand up to the egg yolks, so you don’t run the risk of the eggy taste you can get with other fruit curds, but still get the delicious flavour and velvety texture from the yolks.

The rest of the decisions from there in terms of flavour pairing were super simple - I made a basic vanilla bean cake, and paired it with a silky vanilla bean Swiss meringue buttercream. Both of these serve as the perfect base to make the curd filling really shine.

I finished the cake with an ombre finish, which is one of my favourite ways to ice a cake. You essentially plop the buttercream on, creating a gradient, then smooth it all with a bench scraper to create a beautiful ombre effect. If you haven’t tried it before it’s definitely worth giving a go - it’s super easy, but really really effective.

This cake would make the most amazing birthday cake, or anytime cake! Happy February! I hope it’s less dreary than mine.

A few wee tips:

  • This cake was made with the reverse creaming method - instead of creaming the butter and sugar together, you slowly incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients. This means that the flour particles get coated in the butter, inhibiting the formation of gluten, and giving you a tender crumb. With that being said, I did go for a slightly denser textured cake, in order to have something which stands up to the filling and buttercream.

  • For the passionfruit filling, I used pulp I found in a pouch at my local supermarket. The recipe for the curd does make quite a lot because I think it’s an amazing thing to have on hand. You can either use frozen passionfruit pulp for this recipe (don’t worry if it doesn’t have seeds in it), fresh, or packaged pulp. If you don’t like seeds in your curd, they can be left out.

  • I use Fat Daddio’s Cake pans - they aren’t too expensive, and give me a clean cake every time!

  • I like to divide the batter between the pans by weight. To do this, you zero the scales with one of the empty cake pans on it, then once you have eyeballed your dividing of the batter, you can weigh each pan to ensure that they have the same weight of batter in them. Note that this only works if your cake pans are identical.

  • If I can, I like to make the cake ahead of time, then wrap and store in the fridge until I am ready to assemble. Level it off just before you assemble.

  • I decorated this with an ombre style buttercream, then put the remainder of the buttercream (both the white and yellow) into a piping bag fitted with a wilton 1M tip, and piped on the little blobs at the top. Fill and crumb coat the cake, and then divide the rest of the buttercream 2/3 to 1/3 and colour the 1/3 portion yellow.

 

 

Vanilla Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

- Makes One 8”, 3 layer cake -

Vanilla Cake
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
330g whole milk
120g full fat greek yoghurt
600g all-purpose flour
450g sugar
3 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
345g unsalted butter, at room temperature

Passionfruit Curd Filling
450g passionfruit pulp
275g sugar
250g unsalted butter, cut into cubes (can be straight from the fridge)
10 egg yolks (around 200g worth)
1/2 tsp salt

Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream
250g egg whites
400g sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
900g (8 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes

 

- PROCESS -

CAKE LAYERS

Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Grease three 8” cake pans, and line with parchment paper on the bottom.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, milk, and yoghurt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix briefly to combine.

With the mixer on low, add the butter a cube at a time, until fully incorporated and the mixture looks like sand.

Add half of the wet ingredients into the mixer. Mix until just combined, then add the second half of the wet ingredients. Mix on medium speed until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and give a few folds with a rubber spatula to ensure that no dry ingredients remain.

Divide the batter between your three cake tins (I prefer to do this by weight - see notes). Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cakes are springy to the touch, and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes in their pans, then turn onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

 

PASSIONFRUIT CURD FILLING

Place the Passionfruit pulp in a blender or food processor. Pulse a few times to separate the seeds from the pulp. Strain through a sieve into a medium saucepan. Reserve the seeds.

Add the remainder of the ingredients to the saucepan, and place over medium heat. Whisk well to combine. Place over medium low heat, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the curd has thickened significantly - enough that it coats the back of a spoon well, and when you run a finger through, it leaves a very clear track.

Strain through a fine mesh sieve into an airtight container, and stir in 1-2 Tbsp of the reserved passionfruit seeds. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the surface of the curd. Refrigerate until completely cool, ideally overnight.

VANILLA BEAN SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

Place the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a heat proof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bowl. Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 160˚f / 70˚c on a thermometer and the sugar has dissolved. Carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer, and fit with the whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on high until they are snowy white and fluffy, 8-10 minutes. Add the butter one chunk at a time. The mixture may look curdled - but just keep mixing! Once all the butter is incorporated, mix on high for a further 10 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.

Once the buttercream has finished mixing, and is smooth and silky, add in the vanilla bean paste. Mix for a further 2-3 minutes, then switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for one minute to remove any air.

ASSEMBLY

Level off the cake layers. Transfer some of the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip - this will be used to make a buttercream dam to hold in the passionfruit filling between layers.

Secure one of the layers of cake to a cake turntable using a little buttercream. Add about a cup of buttercream onto the first layer of cake, and smooth using an offset spatula. Create a buttercream dam using the buttercream in the piping bag by piping a ring of frosting around the outside edge of the first layer. Fill in the ring with approximately 1/2 cup of the passionfruit filling. Place the second layer of cake onto the first, pressing very lightly to secure, and sealing the joins with a thin layer of buttercream. Repeat the layering process - add a cup of buttercream, make a dam, fill with 1/2 cup hazelnut filling, then top with the third layer of cake - I like to put this one upside down to ensure that the top of the cake is flat. Return the rest of the buttercream in the piping bag to the bowl with the buttercream.

Crumb coat the cake - to do this, apply a thin layer of buttercream over the surface of the cake, and smooth with a bench scraper or icing smoother. Refrigerate the cake for 30-45 minutes, until the crumb coat has set.

Divide the Remaining buttercream 2/3 to 1/3. Colour the 1/3 portion with gel food colouring to your desired shade.

Create an ombre effect by spreading the bottom 1/3 of the cake with yellow buttercream using an offset spatula, and the top 2/3 with white. Blend the middle section by spreading blobs of white and yellow. Spread buttercream on the top of the cake using an offset spatula.

Smooth the buttercream on the outside of the cake using a bench scraper, scraping down between passes. Fill in any gaps, and add additional colour where needed to give you a nice transition of colour. Continue until you are happy with the finish.

Transfer the remainder of the buttercream (both yellow and white) into a piping bag fitted fitted with a Wilton 1M tip or similar. Pipe blobs onto the top of the cake - using the 1m tip you only need to pipe blobs rather than making a swirl - the tip makes the ruffles for you.

Chill the cake until ready to serve. Remove from the fridge about an hour before serving to bring to room temperature.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge

Vanilla Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Perfect for any occasion - layers of vanilla cake are sandwiched with a silky vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream, and filled with a tangy, creamy passionfruit curd. #layercake #passionfruitcake