This past weekend, I helped a dear friend celebrate one of her last night’s as a single woman in the City of Brotherly Love. To commemorate the occasion, I made a four-layer white cake with chocolate buttercream, covered with purple fondant, and topped with Barbie who had a little too much to drink and lost one of her shoes.
I used a traditional American “white cake” recipe. This is the type of cake that is traditionally used in formal cakes, such as wedding cakes. It has an almond-y flavor, and a tender crumb. I made an Italian Meringue Buttercream, which I flavored with Scharffen Berger 99% cacao Fine Artisan Dark Chocolate. (Scharffen Berger was America’s first contemporary Artisan Chocolatier, and my personal favorite American brand.)
I had several mishaps with the buttercream, and ended up having to make three batches. The first batch: I added too much vanilla (which contains alcohol, and too much alcohol will “break” the emulsification). The second batch: I spilled half of it on the floor. I guess the third time’s a charm..
Next, I “filled in the holes” and coated the cake with a think layer of Swiss Meringue Buttercream for the “crumb coat.” (This is kind of like glue–something for the fondant to stick to.)
Next, I mixed purple and white fondant (since the purple alone was too dark), and I rolled it out and masked the cake. I then added a band at the bottom, designs, and rhinestones. I also made Barbie a fondant “Bachelorette Sash” which unfortunately did not survive the night. (I think drunk Barbie lost the sash at the first stop.)
I also made a mini Vegan cake since the Bride-to-Be is Dairy Free. I converted a Vegan Chocolate Cupcake Recipe, and I used tiny cake pans (the only modification was that I lowered the baking temperature from 350 to 300/325, and I baked it longer).
White Cake Recipe (for three 9-inch round cake pans)
18 tablespoons (2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 1/2 c. cake flour
1 1/2 c. whole milk
9 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 cups sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour three 9-by-2-inch round cake pans, tapping out excess flour; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, stir together, milk, egg whites, and extracts. Into a second medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. With machine running, gradually add the sugar. Continue beating until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl as necessary.
Add one-third of the flour mixture and one-third of the milk mixture, and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Add remaining flour and milk mixtures in 2 separate batches beating between additions to fully incorporate. Scrape down sides of bowl, and stir by hand to finish.
Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Smooth surface with a rubber spatula. Bake until top of cake springs back when lightly pressed and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
Let cakes cool in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. Run a small metal spatula around the sides of the pan, and invert cakes onto greased racks. Reinvert cakes onto cooling rack. Let cool completely before filling.
Place one cake layer on a cake stand. Spread 3/4 cup buttercream evenly over top of cake. Top with a second layer. Repeat with a second layer. Top with third cake layer. Insert a few skewers into cake to keep cake from sliding. Spread remaining buttercream evenly over surface of cake. Decorate. Remove skewers before serving.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe
4 large egg whites
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. unsalted butter, (3 sticks), softened, cut into tablespoons
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Put egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm (about 160 degrees).
Attach bowl to a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg-white mixture on high speed until it forms stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, about 6 minutes.
Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low, add butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. (If frosting appears to separate after all butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, 3 to 5 minutes more.) Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low; beat 2 minutes to eliminate air bubbles. Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth.
A few more pics from the night…