This month’s cake choice was particularly fitting for this time of year, especially as we had snow this week, a completely white cake. It comprises of three layers of white chocolate enriched cake, filled and topped with a sticky creamy white chocolate cream cheese frosting.
I was not particularly fond of this cake. That’s not to say there was anything wrong with it, I’m just not a lover of white chocolate so this cake was never going to be my ‘to-die-for’ cake from the start. Despite this I can appreciate that it was a very nice cake. The layers were dense yet still moist and fluffy and the frosting was incredibly smooth and creamy. It was very sweet, too sweet for my liking, but I suspect this is largely due to the white chocolate. My first thought on taking my first bite was Milkybar and I had images of the blonde haired Milkybar Kid float round my head which made me smile. It had that same sticky-sweet yet creamy taste and flavour to Milkybar. If you are a fan of white chocolate then this cake is for you as white chocolate makes an appearance in both the cake and the frosting.
I might try making this cake again, but replacing the white chocolate with dark as I think this would produce a lovely cake and would help balance out the sweetness.
As this cake was essentially our groups Christmas cake I set the group the extra optional challenge of decorating it with the theme – Snow. This seemed very fitting considering the cake itself was completely white.
I chose to decorate mine with some snowflakes I cut out of fondant using some very cool make-your-own-snowflake-design cutters that were an early Christmas present (thanks Mum!). I also dusted the top with some edible blue glitter which is something I only recently discovered and I think it adds a frosty nighttime feel as well as adding a little Christmas sparkle.
White Chocolate Layer Cake
(Recipe from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott)
For the White Chocolate Cake
300g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
115g white chocolate, finely chopped
110ml boiling water
200g butter, softened
450g caster sugar (I used 300g)
4 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
225ml buttermilk (see note below)
For the White Chocolate Frosting
175g white chocolate, finely chopped
350g cream cheese, softened
35g butter, softened
¾ tsp vanilla extract
375g icing sugar
Method – White Chocolate Cake
Heat the oven to 180C and grease three 8 inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a circle of waxed paper or kitchen parchment and flour the pan.
Combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a medium bowl, and stir with a fork to mix them well.
Bring 3 inches of water to an active simmer in the bottom of a double boiler or a saucepan that will accommodate a medium heat proof bowl so that it sits snugly over the water. Melt the white chocolate in the top of the double boiler or in the bowl over the simmering water. Stir often, and then pour in the boiling water and stir to mix well. Remove from the heat.
In a medium bowl, combine the butter and the sugar and beat with a mixed at medium speed to mix them together well. Add the egg yolks, one by one, beating each time to keep the mixture smooth. Add the white chocolate and the vanilla, and stir well to mix.
Add about a third of the flour mixture, and then about half of the buttermilk, beating with a mixer at low speed just long enough after each addition to make the flour or buttermilk disappear. Mix in another third of the flour, remaining buttermilk and then the last of the flour.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites at medium speed until they are foamy and opaque. Continue beating at high speed until they swell into thick, pillowy mounds and hold peaks that are stiff, but not fry. Add one third of the egg white mixture to the bowl of batter, and fold it in gently using a spatula. Add the remaining egg whites and continue to fold with a light touch, until the egg whites are blended in well, with only a few streaks showing.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pans and bake at 180C for 25-30 minutes until the cakes are golden brown, spring back when touched gently in the centre and are beginning to pull away from the sides of the pans.
Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks or folded kitchen towels for about 30 minutes. Turn them out onto the racks and peel off the paper and turn them back the right way up to cool completely.
Method – White Chocolate Frosting
In the top of a double boiler or a heatproof bowl, melt the white chocolate over hot, not simmering, water, stirring often. Remove from the heat once melted and let cool to lukewarm. Transfer the melted white chocolate to a large bowl, and add the cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Beat together at medium speed until you have a smooth sauce. Add the icing sugar and beat until smooth.
Place one layer, top side down on a cake stand or serving plate and spread it with about a fourth of the icing. Continue stacking and frosting each cake layer in the same way. Cover the sides of the cake with any remaining frosting.
Cover the cake and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Set the cake out about 30 minutes before you want to serve it.
Makes one 8 inch triple layer cake
NOTE: If you can’t find buttermilk, stir 1 tbsp lemon juice into 225ml of milk and leave to stand for 10 minutes before using.