Memorial Day is upon us. Lucky for us here in California, its nice, sunny and warm. My favorite kind of weather! Which also means bikini season is upon us. So I thought….Hey, lets make a cake to celebrate! I mean it has berries in it. So don’t get too worried. A piece is all you’ll need (but its so yummy you’ll want more!)
This cake will have everyone at the party in a buttercream, berry cake daydream just at the sight of it. Once they eat it, they’ll have died and gone to summer dessert heaven. Floating on clouds of vanilla buttercream. Bouncing along spongy white cake tops, popping berries in their mouths with wild abandon. At least that’s where I went with it. It’s that good. And berries are kinda my thing. So there’s that.
It’s light enough to be served at any summer affair and elegant enough to make it the center of attention.
The four layers make a spectacular plating and a very generous serving. And if you are genuinely keeping an eye on your bikini ready figure, then you could easily split this in two and share. Not gonna lie….I ate the entire piece. Now chicken, rice, tilapia and asparagus will be in my near future.
True story. More on that to come.
I really did love the combination of all these components together. The cake is light and moist. The buttercream frosting adds just the right amount of richness. While the berries are the highlight of the cake and add the perfect amount of tartness to balance it all out. And lets not over look the colors, the quintessential summer palate. Everyone wins! You will be standing on the podium giving your acceptance speech the next time you show up with this winning cake.
Summer Berry Layer Cake
For the White Cake (as adapted from Sweetapolita Perfectly Delightful Vanilla Birthday Cake)
- 1 1/2 cup (360ml) whole Milk, at room temperature
- 7 large egg whites (210g) at room temperature
- 1 whole egg at room temperature
- 1 1/2 tablespoon (23ml) pure vanilla extract
- 3-3/4 cups (430g) cake flour, sifted
- 2-1/4 cups (450g) sugar
- 1-3/4 tablespoons (25g) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt (8g)
- 1-1/2 sticks (170g) butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes
- 6 tablespoons (85g) vegetable shortening, cut into cubes
For the Vanilla Buttercream
- 2 cups (4 sticks) (460g) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
- Approximately 4 cups (500g) confectioners sugar
- 3 tablespoons (47ml) milk
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) pure vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
For the Berries
- 2 pints blueberries
- 2 pints blackberries
- 2 pints raspberries
- 1 quart strawberries
- splash of lemon juice
- sprinkling of sugar
For the Cake:
- Pre-heat the oven to 350° Grease, line with parchment paper and flour two 8″ rounds pans (you will be using the twice). If you have four 8″ rounds, you can use parchment paper circles for ease.
- In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine and stir 1/2 cup of the milk, stir the egg whites, whole egg and vanilla. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients, including the sugar, together on low speed (the “stir” setting on most kitchen aids) for 30 seconds.
- Add the butter and shortening, blending on low speed for about 30 seconds, then add remaining 1 cup of milk, and mix on low speed until just moistened. Increase to medium speed and mix for 1-1/2 minutes (90 seconds), but no more.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg/milk/extract mixture in 3 separate batches; beat on medium speed for 20 seconds after each addition.
- Divide batter evenly between the four cake pans (or divide batter into two pans, you will bake the first two layers, then follow with the remaining batter) Or the best way to do this is to weight the batter out in the pan on a scale to ensure each layer is even (this is my preferred method). Spread the batter evenly with a small offset palette knife.
- Bake cake layers two at a time in center of oven and 2″ apart for 20 minutes or until a cake tester comes clean with inserted into the center. Be careful to not overbake! Check cake at 20 minutes, but not before. If cake is not ready at 20 minutes, re-set timer for 2 minute intervals until tester comes clean. Let cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Then take small metal spatula and loosen the sides and invert cake onto greased wire racks. Gently turn cakes back up so the tops are up and cool completely.
- Wash the two cake pans and line, grease and flour again and repeat.
- Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for up to two days.
For the Vanilla Frosting
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 6-8 minutes on medium speed. Butter will become very pale and creamy.
- Add remaining ingredients and mix on low speed for one minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy and fluffy.
- Best if used right away.
For the Berries
- Pick through, rinse and dry all berries.
- Cut stems off of strawberries and quarter them with a paring knife.
- Place all berries into a bowl, squeeze about a tablespoon of lemon juice over berries and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Stir until coated.
Assembly of Cake
- With a serrated knife, gently trim the dome top of the cake layers. Set aside (these are you taste test bites!)
- Place first layer of cake, cut side up, on cake plate or an 8″ cake round (easier to use if you will be transporting your cake). Dollop a generous amount of vanilla frosting on cake. Using an offset spatula, spread frosting evenly over the cake. Then take about a 1/4 of the berry mixture and spread an even layer of berries over the frosting, keeping in mind to bring some berries to the edge so they peek out!
- Repeat process for all remaining layers. For the top layer place berries however you like for decoration.
- Place cake in refrigerator to set. Before serving bring cake out for 15-20 minutes, cut and serve.
This cake is just as much a joy to make as it is to serve. Take time this Memorial Day to honor those that gave their lives in order for us to be here having our cake and eating it too. Happy Summering everyone!