I had other plans for this month’s post. The vision was something frozen that highlighted the best produce of the end of summer. A recipe that was sure to satisfy your sweet tooth while keeping you out of an oven-warmed kitchen so you could soak up every last bit of summer sunshine. Sounds pretty great, right?
Well, plans changed. Because sometimes something so greatcomes along, that you have no other choice than to ditch the script and fire up the oven. That thing, as you may have guessed, is this cake. THIS CAKE. You guys, it’s unstoppable. I’ve made it twice in seven days and I’m already making plans for it’s next reincarnation.
It was an unexpected cake affair. A last minute request from a coworker for baked goods to feed a crowd at a going away shindig. The guest of honor was a cake fan, her favorite being the Berry Chantilly Cake from Whole Foods. I must admit, I’d be lying if I said the Berry Chantilly Cake from Whole Foods and I weren’t well acquainted. It has quite the following here in Austin, and from what I understand also across most other geographies that find themselves so lucky as to have a local Whole Foods. But until now, it’s components have always been somewhat of a mystery to me. A seemingly simple white cake, delicately decorated with white frosting and garnished with fresh berries. It’s the kind of cake that looks unassuming on the outside, pretty but expected. A classic beauty, if you will. And at Whole Food’s prices, it’s a beautiful cake with a hefty price tag, and thus, reserved for special occasions.
But it’s so much more than that. Delicate, airy cake layers piled high with the most delicious Chantilly cream you’ve ever tasted. At first bite, you realize it’s no ordinary cake, but somehow, in all of our encounters, I’d never bothered to ponder its ingredients. I took its existence at face value, as Whole Foods cake sorcery. Maybe, for a time at least, it was more fun that way.
But I’ve pulled back the curtain, and the homemade version? It’s even better. (Yes, I’m biased, but 5+ of my coworkers, however, are not. It’s the real deal!)
Traditionally this cake is made with layers of chiffon, but chiffon cake, while delicious, is a little fussy. So for this version, I used a traditional white cake recipe, spiked with both vanilla and almond extracts. It’s a light, sturdy cake with a soft crumb and a lovely depth of flavor thanks to our extracts. It’s the ideal palette for the only frosting you’ll ever need to make and eat for the rest of time — Chantilly cream.
Once I took the time to focus less on eating the cake and more on researching its recipe, it all made sense. Mascarpone. I love mascarpone. So much so, that just the thought of it results in a Pavlovian response. It is my #1 dessert weakness. Cream cheese is a close second. So it makes sense that this glorious cream frosting, made with mascarpone, cream cheese and heavy cream, is the be-all and end-all of frostings needed in my life. Put it on this cake, put it on a chocolate cake, eat it off of an old shoe, I don’t care how you consume it, please just do it.
(At this point it goes without saying that this combination is dangerously indulgent, so I advise you proceed with caution, it’s a special occasion treat, for sure.)
If you’re not yet convinced, might I remind you that it all comes together with a delicious smear of raspberry jam and a generous piling of fresh fruit on top? For its extreme level of indulgence, this cake is actually quite light on the palate and a wonderful way to squeeze in yet another way to consume the last of summer’s berries.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (use clear extract for a pure white cake)
1 cup whole milk room, at room temperature
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
For the chantilly frosting
8 oz. (1 block) full fat cream cheese, chilled
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
8 oz. mascarpone cheese, chilled
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1/2 teaspoon almond extract, or to taste
6 tablespoons simple syrup
To prepare the cake
Preheat the oven to 350F and line the bottom of 2 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and grease & flour the sides. Set aside.
Add the flour, baking powder and salt to a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat for 4-5 minutes or until it has lightened in color and has a slightly whipped appearance. Add the sugar and continue to beat for another minute. Add the vegetable oil and vanilla extract and mix until smooth.
With the mixer on low, alternate adding the dry ingredients and milk to the butter mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients -- dry, wet, dry, wet, dry.
In a separate bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Use a spatula to gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few crumbs. Do not over bake.
Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool.
To prepare the chantilly frosting
Fit a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and chill the mixing bowl in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. When chilled, remove and add the cream cheese and powdered sugar to the bowl. Beat until smooth, ensuring there are no lumps and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the mascarpone and beat until fully combined.
Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the cream, stopping and scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Add the almond extract.
Stop the mixer and change to the whisk attachment. The mixture will be loose at this point, but don't worry, it will thicken. Whip the cream mixture at medium-high speed for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until ribbons begin to form. Continue whipping while watching closely, mixing just until icing is the consistency of whipped cream and stands in peaks on a spatula. Do not over-whip or it will become grainy.
Keep chilled until ready to use.
Level the two cake layers with a serrated knife, removing the domes that formed during baking. (Eat cake tops as a snack.)
Brush about 3 tablespoons of simple syrup onto the top of each cake. This will help it stay moist and boost the flavor.
Place the bottom layer of cake onto a cake round or the serving dish you plan to use. Add about 1/2-3/4 of a cup of frosting and spread into an even layer. Cover the cream with an even layer (2-3 tablespoons) of raspberry jam and then top with a layer of sliced strawberries & blueberries.
Add the top layer of cake. Cover the entire cake with a thin layer of frosting and chill for 15 minutes. Once chilled, smooth frosting all over the entire cake, in whatever design you desire.
Top the cake with piped icing and more fresh berries. Refrigerate until time to serve. Enjoy!
Lark & Linen Interior Design and Lifestyle Blog https://jacquelynclark.com/
I am making a wedding cake for my best friend and she is wanting a Chantilly Cream cake. I was a little worried about the sturdiness of the sponge but your recipe seems like it will hold up through the stacking process. I was wondering if you have tried making it with butter instead of oil? I am going to try it out soon (like this weekend)! Your post is an answer to lots of research.