Lemon Meringue Delight Cake

Lemon Delight Cake via Sweetapolita

Have you ever noticed that the best thing to pair with lemon seems to be . . . lemon? Every time I make a lemon cake or cupcake, aside from my occasional frolic with lavender and lemon or blueberry and lemon, all I want to do is add more lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon extract, lemon filling, lemon topping, lemon curd, lemon frosting and lemon buttercream. Lemon!

Lemon Delight Cake via Sweetapolita

During some of my recent baking in preparation for my sister-in-law’s baby shower, I did some lemon cupcakes filled with lemon curd and topped with lemon frosting, and I realized that I haven’t made a completely lemony layer cake in a long time. It was definitely time. And wait! Before you scroll down and read the recipe, just know that there are a few components in this cake that do take some time, but don’t let that scare you away — most of this cake can be made up to a few weeks ahead of time, so the actual assembly of the cake really is pretty quick and simple.

So what is a Lemon Meringue Delight Cake? It’s three layers of moist, lemony sponge cake filled with homemade lemon curd, lemon curd Swiss meringue buttercream and baked meringue discs, and frosted in more lemon curd Swiss meringue buttercream, topped with more lemon curd, swirls of buttercream, baked meringue swirls and lemon drop candy. In other words, a lotta lemony loveliness.

Lemon Delight Cake via Sweetapolita

A lemon party of sorts.

Lemon Meringue Milkshake via Sweetapolita

Remember these Lemon Meringue Milkshake & Mini Swirl Meringues? I make those little swirl meringues often, and I thought they’d make perfect little lemon cake decorations, so I just made them a bit bigger and a tad more swirly for this cake. In this particular recipe I did the meringues with a Swiss meringue method (heating the sugar and egg whites over a pot of simmering water until they reach 140-160°F and then whipping them in the mixer), but you can also do them with a traditional French meringue method (whisking the room temperature/warm egg whites in the mixer until they become foamy, then adding the sugar gradually, beating until stiff peaks form). I found, though, that the Swiss version seems to bake very glossy and the French meringue bakes a little more matte. The ones I used on the cake ended up being the French version, but I made some last night using the Swiss method and they were so nice and glossy. (They seem to taste the same either way.)

Baked meringues have my heart because, aside from their addictive sweet, light and crispy-ness, you can make a big batch and keep them airtight for weeks, making them ideal for topping cakes or cupcakes. And, of course, for random snacking. I thought it would be fun to make a few larger discs and put them right on top of the lemon curd filling in the cake, so when you’re taking lemony cake bites you hit little bursts of lemon meringue surprises along the way.

Lemon Delight Cake via Sweetapolita

Lemon Delight Cake via Sweetapolita

Lemon Meringue Delight Cake via Sweetapolita

Lemon = Happy.

Again, I know the recipe looks a little daunting because of all of the components, but if you do a bit ahead of time, it really is a joy to make. Keep remaining lemon curd in an airtight container in the freezer for a zippy addition to pancakes, muffins, scones and more  – you’ll thank me! ♥

Lemon Meringue Delight Cake

Yield: One 3-layer, 8-inch round cake

Serving Size: 8-10

Three layers of moist lemon sponge cake filled with lemon curd and crisp baked meringue cookies and topped with lemon curd buttercream, more lemon curd and baked meringue swirls.

Ingredients

    For the Baked Meringue Swirls/Discs:
  • 3 egg whites (90 g)
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
  • A drop soft gel paste color, yellow
  • You will also need:
  • A large pastry bag
  • Decorating tip #1A
  • A small paintbrush
  • For the Lemon Curd:
  • 4 lemons (or 6 Meyer lemons), preferably organic
  • 2 whole eggs plus 4 egg yolks (set whites aside for buttercream)
  • 1 cup sugar (200 g)
  • 4 tablespoons (60 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into small even cubes
  • For the Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
  • 7 egg whites (210 g)
  • 1-1/2 cups (300 g) sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups (454 g) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) lemon curd
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • Few drops of soft gel paste colour, yellow (I used electric yellow)
  • For the Lemon Cake:
  • 3/4 cup (170 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups (400 g) sugar
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups (270 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon (4 g) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon(4 g) salt
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.75 ml) lemon extract
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) plain yogurt, at room temperature
  • baked meringue swirls, for decorating
  • lemon drop candy, for decorating

Instructions

    For the Baked Meringue Swirls/Discs:
  1. Preheat oven to 200°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer and the whisk attachment with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease.
  2. Add egg whites and sugar to the mixer bowl and fit onto the top of a medium saucepan filled with about 1-inch of simmering (not boiling) water. (Be sure the bottom of your bowl is not touching the water.) Whisk constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 140°F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
  3. Dry the underside of the mixer bowl and transfer to your stand mixer. Whip using the whisk attachment until the meringue is thick and glossy and has reached the stiff peak stage.
  4. While the meringue is whipping in the mixer, fit your decorating bag with a plain round pastry tip. Fold over a cuff at the top of the pastry bag and paint 3, equally-spaced, thin lines of yellow gel colour using your fine paint brush (you can use any paint brush, but it should only be one you designate for food) from the pastry tip up toward the cuff.
  5. Fill the bag with your meringue (no more than 2/3 full) and pipe 1-1/2-inch swirls onto one of the lined baking sheets, spacing them about 1-inch apart. (These will be used to decorate top of cake). On the second baking sheet, pipe the remaining meringue into flat discs, about 2-inches in diameter, spacing them about 1" apart. (These will be used on top of the filling inside the assembled cake.)
  6. Bake for 60 minutes, rotating the trays after 30 minutes. Lower the oven to 175°F and bake until dry, about 40 minutes more. Keep in an airtight container until needed.
  7. For the Lemon Curd:
  8. Wash lemons really well (with a bristled brush under cold water) and using a zester, remove all of the coloured portion of the peel from the fruit (not the white pith–it’s bitter!) into a bowl or onto a piece of wax paper. Rotate fruit as necessary to get as much of the zest off. Repeat until you have 2 teaspoons (30 ml) of the zest, and set aside.
  9. Slice the lemons in half crosswise (I find room temperature citrus is best for juicing) using a sharp knife, and extract as much of the juice as you can using a citrus reamer, or I use a small, manual citrus juicer. (Just be sure to catch all of the juice in a bowl and to completely strain the seeds before using.) Repeat the juicing until you have 2/3 cup (160 ml) of the strained juice.
  10. Get your double boiler ready by filling a saucepan with 1″ of water, then placing a metal bowl on top of the saucepan. You will need to ensure the bowl fits snugly into the top of the saucepan and that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water (important, or your eggs will cook). You can now remove the bowl and continue with making the curd.
  11. Whisk the juice, whole eggs, egg yolks and sugar in the bowl until smooth. Add the butter cubes to the bowl, but don’t stir.
  12. Heat the water in the saucepan over low heat until it simmers (not boils) and place the bowl atop the rim. Stirring gently, but constantly, using heatproof spatula or wooden spoon, cook until the curd has thickened and all of the butter has melted and is incorporated, about 10 minutes (this can vary). To test if the curd is thick enough, remove the spatula or spoon from the curd and check that it’s coated.
  13. Strain the curd over a bowl using a fine-mesh sieve and then stir in the zest. Cover with plastic wrap pressed directly against the curd (to prevent a skin from forming) and chill for at least 3 hours (I like to chill it overnight). It also thickens up a bit more while chilling. Keep refrigerated.
  14. For the Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
  15. Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites, sugar and salt, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 160°F, or if you don't have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
  16. With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes or so). *Don't begin adding butter until the bottom of the bowl feels neutral, and not warm.
  17. Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated. Increase mixer speed to medium and whip until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). *If mixture is too runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes and continue mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add lemon curd and vanilla, continuing to beat on medium speed until well combined. Add yellow soft gel paste colour until desired shade of yellow is achieved.
  18. For the Lemon Cake:
  19. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease, line with parchment and flour three round 8-inch pans. I use Parchment Paper Circles for ease. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and 1 cup (200 g) of the sugar on medium high speed until very pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  20. Lower mixer speed to medium low and add the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. Add lemon juice, vanilla, lemon extract and lemon zest and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. With mixer running, add dry ingredients. Add yogurt, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is well incorporated.
  21. In another grease-free bowl, (or if you're lucky enough to have another mixer bowl) whip egg whites and remaining cup of sugar until they reach stiff peak stage. Fold meringue into batter until just combined, and divide batter evenly among the three prepared pans. Use a digital kitchen scale to weigh pans to ensure even layers, if possible (425 g of batter for each layer).
  22. Bake first two layers 2" apart in center of oven on top of a baking sheet until a cake tester comes clean when inserted into the center, about 25 minutes. Be careful to not over-bake -- check cake at 20 minutes, but not before, and once you feel it’s almost ready, set the timer for 2 minute intervals. Repeat with final cake layer. Let cool on racks for 10 minutes before loosening the sides with a small metal spatula, and invert onto greased wire racks. Gently turn cakes back up, so the tops are up and cool completely.
  23. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months. Best enjoyed day 1 or 2.
  24. Assembly of the Lemon Delight Layer Cake:
  25. Trim any doming or top crust and side crust from cake layers using a very sharp serrated knife (I use the Mac Bread Knife for all of my cake trimming, splitting, etc.).
  26. Use a cake turntable for filling, frosting and decorating, if a possible. Place a small dollop of frosting in the center of a cake plate or 8″ round thin foil-covered cake board, and place the bottom cake layer on top, trimmed side up (face up).
  27. Pipe a dam (a rim around the top perimeter of the cake layer) of lemon curd buttercream around the cake layer using a large round Pastry Tip fitted inside a Decorating Bag. Then pipe another smaller circle of buttercream a few inches toward the center. Spoon lemon curd into the open spaces and spread evenly with a small offset palette knife, taking care to keep the curd within the dam (otherwise it will ooze out of the sides of the cake). Gently place cover the filling with a layer of the flat baked meringue discs, breaking them into smaller pieces if necessary to cover most of the layer.
  28. Repeat with second cake layer and more buttercream, lemon curd and meringue discs. Place final cake layer, trimmed side down. Look straight down from above cake and be sure the layers are all lined up, shifting gently if necessary. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  29. Remove from fridge and put a generous scoop of buttercream on top, spreading evenly with a small offset palette knife and working your way down the sides until you have a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake (crumb-coat). Chill until set, another 30 minutes.
  30. Remove from refrigerator and covering the cake in another layer of buttercream, but this time using a thicker layer of buttercream and creating a smooth finish.
  31. For the top of the cake, using your decorating bag fitted with the large round tip , 2/3 full with buttercream, pipe 8 small swirls, evenly spaced. Top each swirl with a baked meringue swirls, and fill the spaces in between with lemon drop candy. Gently spoon a layer of lemon curd on top of the cake, using a toothpick to pull the curd to the inside edges of the candy and swirls.
  32. Store finished cake covered in refrigerator (due to the lemon curd filling), but serve at room temperature (you can remove from refrigerator several hours ahead of serving).

Notes

*You can make the baked meringues up to a few weeks in advance, keeping them in an airtight container at room temperature.

**You can make the lemon curd up to a month ahead, keeping it in an airtight container in freezer.

***You can make the Swiss meringue buttercream up to a month ahead, storing it in an airtight container in freezer, bringing to room temperature on counter the night before needed.

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Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • Because Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Lemon Curd both take a little longer to make than some other fillings/frosting, I recommend making both ahead of time, if possible. They freeze well, and the buttercream can be simply brought to room temperature the night before you need it. The curd can basically be used straight from the freezer. If you go ahead and make all of the components in one day, there’s a good chance you will be cursing my name at random throughout the day. But even if you do go this route, it will still be worth it.
  • You can make the baked meringues up to two weeks before you need the cake, just keep them in an airtight container at room temperature.
  • You can bake the cake layers the day before you need to assemble the cake and keep them at room temperature wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.
  • I use my the MAC Carving Knife for all of my cake trimming and slicing — it’s amazing.
  • For the Swirl Meringues and the Lemon Swiss Buttercream I used Americolor Electric Yellow Soft Gel Paste to achieve that particular shade of happy.
  • For the lemon drop decorations I used Claeys Lemon Sanded Candy Drops.
  • You can watch me frost a cake with smooth edges here.

Good luck & enjoy!


Related posts:

Pastel Meringue Nests

Pastel Meringue Nests via Sweetapolita

I’m not sure what it is about meringue, but it has this sort of ethereal and angelic quality to it that makes it one of the most special treats you can make. It’s hard to imagine that a simple whipping of egg whites and sugar can yield something so versatile, so delightfully tasty and so lovely.

A quick few swirls from a pastry bag and you can have the sweetest little nests that, once baked, can be filled with anything from fruit and frosting to curds and creams. I also love that its snow-white “colour” is the perfect starting point for achieving any possible shade you wish (a frequent obstacle us cakers face when we want to colour buttercreams and the like ). As a lover of clean pastel shades, tinting meringue is a dream.

Pastel Meringue Nests via Sweetapolita

I tinted these with a drop of turquoise gel paste and piped them using a large swirl tip, Ateco #887, for a kind of oversized swirled nest effect. While they baked I created some fondant feathers using a silicone feather mold I bought awhile back at my local cake decorating supply shop — I’ve been dying to use this thing! I used the mold and then use a sharp paring knife to give the edges some small slices and imperfections (the key to creating something organic and realistic).

Pastel Meringue Nests via Sweetapolita

I filled the nests with a generous swirl of Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and then adorned them with a single fondant feather. You could also add in some fresh berries, or curd (one way to use up all of the leftover yolks!), or anything at all really. Either way, these are a truly sweet and special treat for little ones — my cakelets not only love when I make meringue (Reese loves it straight from the bowl soft and billowy, and Neve loves it anyway at all), but they were enchanted by the process of making both the feathers and nests.

Pastel Meringue Nests via Sweetapolita

The girls’ eyes lit up when they saw the finished treat  all put together and ready for their tea party. Do you think they’ll still want me to bake them tea party treats when they’re grown and on their own? I hope so.

I wanted to the feathers to be thin and delicate, yet I also wanted them to taste good, so rather than using gumpaste, which we’d typically use for something so thin, I just added some Tylose powder to my fondant before rolling out. I do this often when I want to strengthen my fondant for decorations, but don’t want to use gumpaste. (As you’ve likely discovered, gumpaste may be super strong and dry like pure porcelain, but it doesn’t taste yummy. At all.) Once dry, I gave the feathers a little paint with bright white soft gel colour.

Pastel Meringue Nests via Sweetapolita

Fairy-princess approved. ♥

Pastel Meringue Nests

Yield: ~14 x 3-inch round nests

Sweet, glossy and crisp nests of meringue ready for filling with your favourite buttercream, curd, fruit and more.

Ingredients

  • 5 egg whites, at room temperature
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1-1/4 cup (250 g) superfine (caster) sugar
  • Drop of food gel colour of choice
  • You will also need:
  • 2 baking sheets
  • parchment paper
  • 1 large (18-inch) pastry bag
  • 1 large pastry tip of your choice

Instructions

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to lowest temperature (for my oven this is 175°F).
  2. Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer and the whisk attachment with a lemon-juice-dampened paper towel to remove all traces of grease. Separate your eggs (best done when cold) and add the 5 egg whites into the bowl. If you get any yolk into the mixing bowl, remove all contents and begin again. Leave bowl on counter until they come to room temperature, or place bowl in sink filled with enough warm water to surround the egg whites for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Once egg whites are room temperature (warm is best), place bowl back on mixer and fit with whisk attachment. Mix on low speed until egg whites become frothy, about 1 minute, and add cream of tartar.
  4. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form, about 1-2 minutes. Gradually add all of the sugar and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. You should be able to hold the bowl upside down over your head with no meringue falling out. Add gel colour and beat until combined.
  5. Fit the pastry bag with the large tip (I used Ateco #887) and pipe 3-inch (apprx.) circle, working from the middle outwards, followed by three full rings atop one another around the perimeter of the nest. Pipe 7 nests per baking sheet, placing a few inches apart.
  6. Bake both trays in oven until completely dry and crisp, but not browned, about 90 minutes (this can take much longer, depending on your environment). Nests should lift from parchment with ease. Turn off oven and leave nests inside until oven has cooled, then remove nests from oven.
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Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Yield: ~ 5 cups of buttercream

A decadent, rich and not-so-sweet buttercream perfect for frosting and filling cakes, cupcakes and baked meringues.

Ingredients

  • 5 large fresh egg whites
  • 1-1/4 cup (250 g) granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups (340 g) (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
  • 1 teaspoons (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeded and scraped
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 160°F, or if you don't have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
  2. Place bowl back on mixer and fit with whisk attachment. Whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 10 mins, or longer). Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add softened butter in chunks until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth).
  3. Add vanilla, vanilla bean seeds and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.
  4. Serve at room temperature.

Notes

Keep in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 7 days, or freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature. To get buttercream back to its satiny state after chilling, microwave about 1/3 of it in a microwave-safe bowl for about 10 seconds (until very soft) and then add back to remaining buttercream and beat for a few minutes until fluffy and soft.

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Filled Pastel Meringue Nests & Feathers

Yield: ~14 x 3-inch round filled and feathered nests

Ingredients

  • 1 batch Pastel Meringue Nests
  • 1 batch Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • Vanilla Fondant (about size of tennis ball)
  • Tylose powder
  • Confectioners' sugar or cornstarch for rolling fondant
  • Bright White soft gel paste, optional
  • You will also need:
  • A small rolling pin
  • small sharp knife
  • silicon feather mold, small

Instructions

    To make the fondant feathers:
  1. Press fondant until flattened and sprinkle with tylose powder, kneading in to incorporate.
  2. Roll small piece of fondant (placing extra fondant in small sealed bag) on a confectioners'-sugar-dusted surface until about 1/16 (I use the pink guides on the small Wilton rolling pin). Place one half of the feather mold onto the fondant and cut around the outline of the mold, about 1/2" bigger than the mold. Line up the other half of the mold, sandwiching the fondant in between by gently pressing straight down. Remove the top mold, and carefully remove the fondant feather, placing back on dusted surface. Use sharp paring knife or craft blade to trim excess fondant and to create some tiny slices along the edges for a realistic look. Let dry on crumpled paper towel, shaping them slightly to dry the way you want them (slightly curved, etc).
  3. Once dry, you can carefully paint them with a small paint brush and bright white gel color paste, if desired. Let dry completely. Dried feathers are fragile, so treat with care.
  4. To assemble the meringue nests:
  5. Fit a pastry bag with a large plain round tip and fill bag 2/3 full with buttercream. Fill each meringue nest until buttercream comes just above top of nest and top with fondant feather.
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Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • The “superfine” sugar I listed is also known as caster/castor sugar. It’s simply granulated sugar that is more fine and dissolves nicely into the meringue. I use regular sugar (vanilla sugar that I keep in the canister) and pulse it through the food processor a few times. Voila!
  • For the nests in the photos I used Americolor Turquoise  soft gel paste and piped them with the Ateco #887 pastry tip.
  • I bought my feather molds here – it comes with two sizes included and you can order it online.
  • You can add Tylose Powder to fondant to make it stronger for delicate decorations. (This will also result in a quicker drying decoration). Simply sprinkle a thin layer over your rolled piece of fondant, then knead in until blended. I use Satin Ice Fondant.
  • I use the Wilton Fondant 9 Inch Rolling Pin with the pink guides to roll even and thin rounds of fondant to use with the feather mold.
  • You can keep unfilled nests in an airtight container for about a week, and filled nests can stay at room temperature for about 1 day. Always serve Swiss Meringue Buttercream at room temperature (or it will feel and taste as though you’re eating cold butter–eew!).

Good luck & enjoy!

Related posts:

Cherry-Vanilla Delight Cake

Cherry Delight Cake via Sweetapolita

I have very fond memories of cherry chip cake, I really do. (You know, as opposed to all of those very unpleasing memories of other cake varieties.) But it does seem that I hold a special place in my heart for the irresistibly sweet and old-fashioned cherry chip cake. The idea of it triggers not only childhood memories for me, but grown-up memories that make me smile.

I remember the very first birthday I celebrated with my husband’s mom and family, I was turning 29. Grant and I had been together for only 5 months at the time, and we spent my birthday weekend at their cottage in Gananoque. Grant’s mom, Mary Lou, had asked Grant what kind of cake I would like her to make. He assured her that if it was cherry chip and iced in pink, it would be the perfect birthday cake for me (who knew?). I remember that cake so well. It was a perfect cherry chip heart-shaped cake (my favourite cake-shape from childhood) smothered in glorious waves of glossy pale pink marshmallow frosting–she even adorned it with some perfect marshmallow flowers! If I didn’t already know in my heart that I was going to marry Grant at that point, that cake would have likely convinced me. ♥

Sweetapolita

You might remember my reflecting on another cherry chip cake memory, a rather monumental one, from our relationship, here in this post. You can see me sneaking a few bites of the one above, on our wedding day, after Grant (my non-baker man) surprised me by making it the day before our wedding and having the staff at the Inn put it in our room that night while we were at our wedding rehearsal. Cherry chip cake with pink icing holds a place in our hearts (you learn why here). I couldn’t resist  eating it that day–wedding dress and all–mostly because it meant the world to me, and also because it’s simply the yummiest.

Cherry Delight Cake via Sweetapolita

So if cherry chip cake means so much to me, and us, why have I never made it from scratch before? I have no idea. And I think we can add that to the wonders of the world. Sometimes life just doesn’t make sense. But, here’s what: I made this cake 4 times last week! Well, different variations of it, but I made it. Then made it again. And again. And again. See, it was my birthday and it’s all I could think about–tender vanilla cake with a hint of sweet cherry flavour and little bits of maraschino cherries throughout and smothered in a marshmallow frosting. Since the cherry chip cakes I’ve eaten in my life, and that are so cozily tucked away in my memory, were all baked from cake mixes, I decided to visit some websites to find a good scratch version. Strangely, there really aren’t many out there, but I did come across Deborah’s over at Taste and Tell–hers looks amazing!

Cherry Delight Cake via Sweetapolita

Deborah had modified a fabulous party cake recipe (Perfect Party Cake) from baking genius Dorie Greenspan to create her Cherry Chip version, and since I’ve been eager to try that recipe from Dorie’s book Baking: From My Home to Yours, I ended up slightly adapting Deborah’s recipe for what is now in my top 3 best-loved cake recipes. I did make this cake 4 times, as I said, and the first two attempts I used different cake recipe bases, but I just didn’t love them. I then went ahead and tried Deborah’s and loved it! I increased the recipe to create a 3 layer 8-inch round cake, and made only a few other small changes, such as adding almond extract, using vanilla sugar (I keep a vanilla pod in my sugar jar at all times, so when I bake the sugar enhances recipes to a super vanilla-ness), and adding a few drops of a very concentrated cherry flavour oil. Dorie’s cake layer recipe yields cake that is so light and tender that I’m eager to make an all-vanilla version soon. She is amazing.

I think I may have cherry-chipped my Instagram friends to death last week, but since I was eating, sleeping and breathing it, I couldn’t seem to help it. Here’s one of the first versions I made, and as delightfully cherry vanilla as it was, the layers were just a bit dense in the end. Because my memories are based on the cake mix variety, it was super important to me that the scratch version was a light and fluffy as possible.

Here’s a shot of the third version of the cake I made (mid-frost), with its light and tender cake layers and filled and frosted with Grant’s mom’s old-fashioned frosting (also known as 7 minute frosting, marshmallow frosting, boiled frosting, etc.) that she used for my birthday cake those years ago. The cake tasted incredible with its tender layers filled with sweet and juicy bits of maraschino cherry, hints of almond and vanilla, and covered in billowy marshmallow frosting. I tinted a small amount of the frosting pink for a pastel ombre effect (a subtle version of the pastel swirl technique from this post) and slathered it on generously. Even though the frosting is sweet, with no butter (or any fat for that matter) it’s best enjoyed in bounteous swirls.

I filled and frosted in the old-fashioned frosting, which was fluffy and glorious, but when I made it the final time I actually filled it with a sweet cherry buttercream (I made from my favourite party frosting, Whipped Vanilla Frosting). I just found that it allowed the cake to set nicely without and slipping and sliding, and then I covered the entire cake in copious amounts of the old-fashioned frosting.

Cherry Delight Cake via Sweetapolita

This cake may not look fancy, but I can sincerely say it’s my current favourite. Cherry-Vanilla love. ♥

Cherry-Vanilla Delight Cake

Yield: One 3-layer, 8-inch round cake

Ingredients

    For the Cake Layers:
  • 3-1/3 cups (370 g) sifted cake flour
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons (20 g) baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon (7 g) salt
  • 1-3/4 cups (415 ml) whole milk, at room temperature
  • 6 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) cherry juice/syrup (from the jar of cherries)
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.75 ml) almond extract
  • 1-2 drops cherry flavour, *optional
  • 2-1/4 cups (450 g) vanilla sugar (or regular sugar)
  • 1-1/2 sticks (173 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (178 ml) finely chopped maraschino cherries
  • For the Whipped Vanilla-Cherry Filling:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks)(227 g) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
  • 2 cups (250 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) milk
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) maraschino cherry juice/syrup (from the jar of cherries)
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt
  • a handful of finely chopped maraschino cherries
  • For Nanny's Old-Fashioned Frosting:
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup (200 grams) of vanilla sugar (you can substitute regular sugar)
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) light corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) water
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) pure vanilla extract (optional)

Instructions

    For the Cake Layers:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and center the oven rack. Grease, line with parchment and flour three round 8-inch pans. (I use Parchment Paper Circles for ease.) Put two of the pans on a baking sheet (you will bake two layers then the third layer afterwards).
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium-sized bowl. Whisk together the milk, eggs, cherry juice/syrup, almond extract and cherry flavor oil (if using) in a medium bowl or large glass measuring cup.
  3. In an electric mixer fitted with the whisk or paddle attachment (I used the whisk), cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until very pale and creamy, about 5 minutes.
  4. With the mixer still on medium speed, alternate additions of the flour mixture and milk-egg mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture (3 dry additions, 2 wet), beating after each addition until incorporated. Continue mixing on medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in finely chopped cherries.
  5. Divide batter evenly among 3 cake pans, smoothing the surface with a small offset spatula or rubber spatula. Use a digital kitchen scale for accuracy (mine were 560 grams per pan + one 60 gram cupcake tester), if possible. Bake until a skewer comes out with a few crumbs only, about 30 minutes. Cakes should be well-risen and springy to the touch.
  6. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for 5 minutes, then loosen the edges by running a knife around the sides. Gently turn out the cakes, peel of parchment paper bottom, then cool right side up. Bake the third cake and repeat.
  7. For the Whipped Vanilla-Cherry Filling:
  8. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 5 minutes on medium speed (I use “4″ on my KitchenAid). Butter will become very pale & creamy.
  9. Add remaining ingredients, except the cherries, and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Filling will be very light, creamy, and fluffy. Fold in cherries.
  10. Best used right away (for ideal spreading consistency).
  11. For Nanny's Old-Fashioned Frosting:
  12. Place all ingredients except the vanilla (if using) into a large heatproof bowl that fits snugly atop a medium saucepan of simmering water on the stove (about one inch of water). Place the bowl tightly on top of the saucepan and beat the ingredients with a hand mixer until thick and glossy, about 5-7 minutes. Be sure that the bottom of your bowl does not touch the water.
  13. Remove the bowl from the saucepan, wipe the bottom of the bowl dry, and place on the counter. Continue to beat until the frosting is cool (or at least just slightly warm) and beat in the vanilla extract, if using.
  14. Best used right away.
  15. Assembly of the Cherry-Vanilla Delight Cake:
  16. Trim any doming or top crust from cake layers using a very sharp serrated knife.
  17. Use a cake turntable, if possible, for filling, frosting and decorating. Place a small dollop of frosting in the center of a cake plate or 8″ round thin foil-covered cake board, and place the bottom cake layer on top, top side up (face-up).
  18. Place ~1 cup of Whipped Vanilla-Cherry Filling on top of the cake layer, and spread evenly with a small offset palette knife. Gently place 2nd cake layer, face up, on top. Repeat, then place your third layer face down.
  19. Put a generous scoop of Nanny's Old-Fashioned Frosting on top, spreading evenly from the top down to the sides until you have smothered the entire cake in the frosting. Use the back of a spoon or small offset palette knife to create the swirly texture. If you are creating the ombre effect, tint one third of your frosting with the gel colour of your choice and apply to the lower third of your cake, taking care to not over blend.

Notes

[cake layer recipe adapted from Taste and Tell]

Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://sweetapolita.com/2012/07/cherry-vanilla-delight-cake/

Sweetapolita’s Notes on the Cherry Cake Layers

  • Be sure to chop your cherries as tiny as possible so they distribute nicely throughout the cake.
  • This was the first time I had baked cake in pans upon a baking sheet, as per Dorie’s cake instructions, and I really felt this made the bottoms of the cake layers perfect. There was a very light, thin golden bottom on each cake.
  • I happened to have LorAnn Cherry Flavor Oil on hand, and although I don’t typically add this kind of candy flavouring to cakes, I felt that it would give the cherry taste a boost, and that it would be even more reminiscent of the beloved cherry chip cake mix. I added only two drops (it’s so concentrated), but I would do it again next time (and oh yes, there will be a next time).
  • As I mentioned, I keep a vanilla pod buried in my sugar canister at all times and I use that sugar for almost all of my baking and cooked frostings, etc. Once your vanilla bean is scraped and seeds and pod are buried in your airtight sugar container, you will have vanilla sugar in about 1-2 weeks. The longer it sits, the more vanilla you will taste. I typically add pure vanilla extract to recipes as well, but usually a little less than I normally would.
  • With every cake I bake, I like to place a cupcake liner into the same-size ramekin and fill 2/3 full with batter and bake along with the layers. That way I can taste test the cake before frosting, filling and serving.

Sweetapolita’s Notes on the Old-Fashioned Frosting

  • I used vanilla sugar for the frosting, so I didn’t add any additional vanilla extract.
  • You will want to make this frosting at the very last minute, right before you need to use it.
  • It goes on like a dream, but you will want to work quickly as it begins to thicken in the bowl.
  • Cakes frosted with this type of frosting are best enjoyed the day they are made.
  • This frosting does not store or keep well, but it is pure heaven the day it’s whipped up.
  • Pure white frosting makes a perfect base for gel colours–no buttery tone to work against! It makes for particularly lovely pink shades because the colours stay so true.

I’ll be back soon, my friends!

Good luck & enjoy!



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Ruffles & Roses: A Mad(ish) Tea Party

Ruffles & Roses Tea Party via Sweetapolita

You made it! You are so sweet for coming to my first tea party in honour of my enchanting friend and talented artist, Vanessa Valencia and her annual A Fanciful Twist virtual Mad Tea Party. So perhaps her tea party will be a teeny, tiny bit madder than mine, and nothing short of magical, but of course it will. That, my friends, is why she is the one and only Vanessa Valencia. I, however, am more than thrilled to share my Sweetapolita spin on a mad tea party with you all, and to me, a tea party, mad or not, could only be complete with some fancy tea-time treats. Now, let us see if we can find our way to those treats . . .

Oh my goodness, I’ve a feeling we’re not in suburbia anymore. Many miles away from suburbia, the air is different, there are open fields, seemingly endless trees and flowers, and we can hear the loons. It’s definitely a lovely day for some tea, ruffles and roses.

Sweetapolita

Why yes, roses! Now, if you can just find your way past these lovely roses, you may find a much needed cup of tea and treats.

Ruffles & Roses Tea Party via Sweetapolita

Finally, you’ve arrived, and you’ve spotted something petite and sweet . . .

Ruffles & Roses Tea Party via Sweetapolita

Fairy cakes? What a pleasant change from cupcakes with towering frosting (although I think I have spotted a few of those as well, and that’s never bad news!). Although I’ve heard of many different ideas and descriptions as to what a fairy cake really is, I can’t imagine a cuter name for a l and tastier cupcake, and so that’s what we’ll call this: a tender and buttery vanilla cupcake topped with a sugary glaze, basically a royal icing (meringue powder, confectioners’ sugar, and water). What I really like about it, aside from how lovely and pure white it is (a rare luxury that isn’t possible with butter-based frosting), is the fact that, even though the icing is very sweet, there is so little of it that it really just highlights the vanilla in the cupcake and offers a hit of sweet. And, what do you know? They are perfectly delightful with a cup of tea.

Ruffles & Roses Tea Party via Sweetapolita

Can you tell we had a little bit of rain on our tea party day? Actually, it rained the entire day, and as it should be, everything was outside! You can see the petite fondant ribbon roses on the fairy cakes and the icing are shiny and glossy, which happens when there’s so much moisture in the air. But, we weren’t going to let a little rain (or a torrential downpour) stop our fun or our indulgence, and, actually, what’s lovelier than a tea party in warm summer rain?

Ruffles & Roses Tea Party via Sweetapolita

If you decide to make your own fairy cakes, you can always flavour the icing with a little bit almond, clear vanilla, or rosewater perhaps. Really, as long as it’s not oil-based, you can add a wee bit of any flavour your heart desires. I left these classic, but there is a lot of room for experimenting.

Ruffles & Roses Tea Party via Sweetapolita

I agree–we should have one now.

Ruffles & Roses Tea Party via Sweetapolita

And no mad tea party would be complete without mad buttercream ruffles! In the name of petite tea party treats, why not create a few petite ruffle cakes?

Ruffles & Roses Tea Party via Sweetapolita

And petite teacup cupcakes?

Ruffles & Roses Tea Party via Sweetapolita

And,  yes, more petite ruffle cakes! Under all of those angelic Swiss Meringue Buttercream ruffles, you’ll find a rich, Devil’s Food Layer Cake, which is always a nice surprise for tea party guests to reveal when they slice into this cake-for-two (or a few).

Ruffles & Roses Tea Party via Sweetapolita

And yet another petite ruffle cake . . . that is why I love the petite 4″ version, because you can fill a table with them, as opposed to one full-size cake. With ruffle cakes everywhere you turn, it would madder than mad to not take a slice.

Ruffles & Roses Tea Party via Sweetapolita

Through the ruffles and roses, I see more tea party sweets: vanilla cupcakes with simple buttercream rose swirls.  With all of that Swiss Meringue Buttercream already created for the ruffle cakes, and all of the delightfully vanilla cupcakes from the fairy cakes already made, why not take a few moments to pipe some roses on them and offer your tea party guests another treat?

Ruffles & Roses Tea Party via Sweetapolita

And since you have the open star pastry tip already out and ready to go from your buttercream roses, perhaps baking a batch of raspberry rose meringues would be a nice addition to the tea-time menu? Sweet and crunchy baked meringue is the loveliest (and simplest) of treats, however, I don’t see them offered as much as I wish they were. These have some freeze-dried raspberries and a quick and easy (and possibly unexpected) raspberry ingredient that gives them their bright pink hue.

Ruffles & Roses Tea Party via Sweetapolita

Well, I knew you were coming, so I baked a cake. Or four. Ruffles, ruffles, and more ruffles for us to share.

Ruffles & Roses Tea Party via Sweetapolita

Or one mad and not-so-petite bite-full? That would be one divine bite, I believe.

Ruffles & Roses Tea Party via Sweetapolita

Or perhaps you’d prefer more cake, less ruffles?

Ruffles & Roses Tea Party via Sweetapolita

Some little guests appear to love cupcakes and tea, or, is it teacakes in cups . . .

Ruffles & Roses Tea Party via Sweetapolita

Shh . . . what’s that sound? This little cakelet seems to hear some buzzing overhead. What could it bee?

Ruffles & Roses Tea Party via Sweetapolita

Ahh, of course, the mad sugar bee has landed. Those darn country bees are like no city bee we’ve ever seen. Must be something in those country roses.

Ruffles & Roses Tea Party via Sweetapolita

Either way, this tea party guest isn’t sharing her cupcake.

Ruffles & Roses Tea Party via Sweetapolita

Unless, of course, it’s with her beloved rabbit. What’s a mad tea party without a peculiar rabbit?

Ruffles & Roses Tea Party via Sweetapolita

Finally, after we’ve shared tea-time stories, tales, and treats it’s almost time to part, until next time, of course. Wait a mad moment–is it just me, or have our petite cakes grown? I suppose we just never know what madness will unfold over tea and cakes, but you are always welcome here. We love the company!

And truly, no tea party would be complete without a tiny tea set: Meet Violetta (and her tiny tea set). She is one of Vanessa’s most recent paintings, and, as you can see, she is gorgeous and mysterious,  just as all of Vanessa’s enchanting pieces are. “Violetta and the Tiny Tea Set” is my current favourite painting in the A Fanciful Twist Etsy shop, and Vanessa has generously offered to give away an 8 x 10 print of this original artwork to one lucky reader (so sweet, right?).  To enter (and anyone can enter, as she will ship the print anywhere in the world), simply leave a comment below telling me what your favourite tea-time treat is or would be. That’s it & good luck! Winner will be selected Monday, June 27th at 12pm EST.  *CONTEST HAS ENDED

*Winner will be randomly selected using random. org.

If you’re wondering where the non-suburban gorgeous setting for my tea party was, it was in Hillier, Ontario (Prince Edward County). What  an incredible setting.

If you would like to make some of these tea-time treats, here are the recipes:

Fairy Cakes         {click to print}

 

 

 

 

One Bowl Vanilla Cupcakes for Fairy Cakes

Yield: 2.5 dozen

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups (175 g) cake flour, not self-rising

1 1/4 cups (157 g) all-purpose flour

2 cups (400 g) sugar

1 tablespoon (15 mL) baking powder

3/4 teaspoon (5 g) salt

1 cup (2 sticks, 227 g) unsalted butter cut into 1-inch cubes, room temperature

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup (250 mL/8 liquid ounces) whole milk, at room temperature

1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract (I use Nielsen-Massey Vanillas 8-oz. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract for all of my baking)

Method

1. Preheat oven to 325°F (170°C). Line standard cupcake pans with your favourite paper cupcake liners.

2. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine dry ingredients (flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt) and mix on low speed until blended. Add cubes of butter, one at a time, and mix again until all butter is coated with flour.

3. Add eggs, one at a time, to mixer and blend until incorporated.

4. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together milk and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl with spatula after each addition. Beat until just incorporated (try not to over beat).

4. Using a 1.5 oz cookie scoop (or your cake batter tool of choice), divide batter among liners (should be 2/3 full). Bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 17-20 minutes.

5. Remove from oven and immediately transfer the cupcakes onto  a cooling rack by inverting the tray. Carefully turn the cupcakes right-side-up and let cool completely before frosting.

*Recipe source: Billy’s Bakery Vanilla, Vanilla Cupcakes via Martha Stewart

Fairy Cake Icing (Royal Icing)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (125 mL) water

1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) cream of tartar

2 tablespoons (30 mL) meringue powder (I avoid Wilton brand and I like Ateco 480 Meringue Powder, 20 oz.)

*Optional: Flavouring/extract to taste (nothing oil-based) such as, almond extract, rosewater, vanilla extract (clear if you want the icing to remain very white), etc.

1 lb (454 g, about 3 3/4 cups) icing (powdered, confectioners’) sugar

Few drops food colour gel (optional)

Method:

1. Place meringue powder, cream of tartar, and water (and extract, if using) in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and mix on low speed until frothy.

2. Add the icing sugar, and mix on low speed for 10 minutes. You can use the paddle attachment or the whisk attachment and see which you prefer (I tend to use the paddle attachment because it’s how I was taught by Bonnie Gordon, but I’ve done it both ways, and they both work!). The icing will be fairly thick, but glossy and not as thick as regular royal icing at this point.

3. If too thick, add water, 1 teaspoon at a time, mixing well after each addition, until the icing just runs off a spoon and is glossy and spreadable (but not too watered down). I was also taught at Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Arts that you can run the tip of a knife through the icing and count how many seconds until the line disappears, and when it takes about 8 seconds (in this case), I find it to be the best consistency for these fairy cakes.

4. Cover with Glad “Press’n Seal” until you are ready to use, and in between use. You can also use a damp cloth over top of it to keep it from drying out, but you need to keep it covered as it will dry out and get crusty very quickly if it’s exposed to the air for too long.

5. Best used right away, but as the brilliant Callye from The Sweet Adventures of Sugar Belle explained, you can, if necessary, keep in refrigerator in the mixing bowl itself with a damp cloth and dinner plate over top, and it keeps well that way overnight. Genius! This was quite a revelation considering I used to throw unused royal icing in the garbage *cringe* after being told it couldn’t be used after day 1.

Assembly of the Fairy Cakes

1. Make your mini fondant ribbon roses: colour approximately 8 ounces of fondant desired colour (I used Sugarflair “Pink”) and seal in small Ziploc-style bag. Remove quarter-size ball from bag and roll out into a long strip 1/8″ onto lightly icing-sugar-dusted surface. Using a pizza cutter, cut out approximately 3″ x 1″ strips, folding each one in half lengthwise and thinning the folded edge slightly by pressing down gently withyour fingertips (you can place a small piece of plastic wrap between the fondant strip and your fingers). Roll the strip fairly tightly until you get a rose-like effect. Trim the underside with a small, sharp knife and set aside to dry.

2. If you would like to include the green leaves, you can either use a small silicone leaf mold, or you can always colour and roll green fondant (I use Sugarflair “Gooseberry” for a more authentic leafy green) 1/8″ thick and simply cut small leaves by hand. Set aside to dry.

2. If you would like pastel fairy cakes, divide your icing into small bowls and colour as desired (since royal icing is pure white, you need very, very little colour, particularly if you want pastel shades).

3.. Holding the cupcake in one hand, add a spoonful of icing onto the cupcake and tilt the cupcake so the icing spreads itself and clings to the sides of the paper liners. You can also use the bottom of the spoon to spread it, but be careful to not get crumbs in the icing. The last thing we want to do is to make the fairies cringe when they see crumby fairy cakes! If you find your icing is too thick, add a bit more water to the bowl of icing.

3. Set each one aside as you finish icing them, and gently add your fondant rose (or any other decoration you may choose) and leaves about a minute after you’ve iced each one. Try to avoid picking them up again until they have completely set (a few hours), or the surface won’t be as smooth as it should be, and will likely crack. I like to place them into a cupcake carrier, as I go, so that when they are complete I can just pop the lid onto the carrier to keep them fresh and to avoid too much handling.

Raspberry Rose Meringues           {click to print}

 

 

 

 

Yield: 28 2″ meringues

Ingredients

3 large egg whites, room temperature

pinch of salt

1 package (3 ounces) Raspberry Jell-O

1/4 cup freeze-dried raspberries (optional)

1/4 cup (50 g) sugar

1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) vanilla extract

Method

1. Preheat oven to 200°F (94°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Grind the sugar and freeze-dried raspberries in a food processor until it reaches a powdery consistency. (If not using freeze-dried raspberries, omit this step and add sugar on its own in step 3.)

3. Place the room temperature egg whites and salt in a grease-free bowl of an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until frothy. Add the Jell-O and sugar mixture into the mixing bowl in a steady stream, and turn the mixer speed to med-high, beating until meringue is stiff, thick, and glossy — about 5 minutes.

4. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.

5. Place the meringue into a large pastry bag (such as 14″) fitted with 1M pastry tip (or other desired open star tip) and pipe the roses onto the baking sheets. Begin in the middle and, moving outwards, pipe 2 complete circles. Keep roses about 1 1/2″ apart.

6. Bake for 2 hours, then turn off the oven and keep the trays in the oven overnight.

*Store in airtight containers or Ziploc-style bags at room temperature and away from moisture. Trust me!

*Recipe adapted from uTry.it

Petite Ruffle Cakes  

1. Bake and cool your favourite cake recipe in 4′ round cake pans. I used Devil’s Food Layer Cake, from this post. Keeping with the “petite” cake, I used only 2 layers per cake.

2. Make a batch of Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

3. Trim first cake layer so the top is nice and flat (if necessary) and place face up on a 6″ round cake board, or plate. Place 1/2 cup of Swiss Meringue Buttercream(or filling of choice) on top of layer and smoothwith a small offset palette knife. Trim the second layer, and place face down on the cake.

4. Apply a thin layer of Swiss Meringue Buttercream (I don’t recomment using sugary buttercream, but Italian or French Meringue Buttercreamswork nicely as well) over the cake, smoothing top and sides with a small offset palette knife (as you can see, I use this all of the time!) to seal in crumbs and to give the buttercream ruffles something to adhere to.

5. Using the a petal decorating tip of your choice (they come in different sizes, but I use the larger size Wilton #123 or sometimes a smaller size, such as Wilton #104) use the buttercream ruffling technique found in this previous post, complete the cake and serve!

Thanks so much for joining me at my mad(ish) tea party! I hope you enjoyed your visit, and I’ll see you soon with another baking post this coming week!

Good luck & enjoy!

Love, Rosie xo

Related posts:

Mascarpone Meringue Cake

 Mascarpone Meringue Cake via Sweetapolita

A cake without any cake — now that’s some serious fun. This has got to be the most unusual cake I’ve ever made, but, please, if you love me . . . or if you’ve ever loved me . . . or if you think you could love me, please go make this recipe. Make it; eat it; share it; or just eat it all alone in the closet and don’t tell a soul. Whatever you do — please try this. Dramatic? Well, yes, I’ve been accused of such, but a liar? Not as far as I know, so trust me on this one. Grant and my father-in-law each ate some today and both claimed that this is a new favourite, and that it’s now, brace yourself, in their top 10 desserts of all time. I have to agree with them, because it’s simply that good; strange and unique, but out-of-this-galaxy good.

Mascarpone Meringue Cake via Sweetapolita

I was yearning to try something totally different than a classic, or even not-so-classic, layer cake — I wanted to put a toe or two outside my comfort zone, and this was a great way to go. I am a meringue lover, no question, and I love it in every form: freshly whipped, piped and baked, fluffed into buttercream, piled high and browned on pretty much any pie, and well, now as cake layers. For those of you who haven’t experienced the simple delightfulness of baked meringue, it tastes sweet and light, and becomes airy, crispy, and biscuit-like, but completely and utterly melts in your mouth.

As a cake layer in this dessert, you get 3 layers of this amazing taste and texture, sandwiching the fluffiest, creamiest, and most flavourful mascarpone/whipped cream/Creme de Cacao filling, and then, oh, and then, layers of rich, dark, truffle-textured chocolate ganache swirled in between it all. How could a dessert not be decadent with 2 cups of mascarpone? If you’re not familiar with it, mascarpone is an Italian triple-cream cheese that you can buy here in Canada in small containers, usually alongside the ricotta cheese. It is quite costly, though, but it’s richness and flavour are worth the price, in my opinion (if you’ve eaten Tiramisu, you’ve likely had mascarpone.). How did this cake come to be? Well, I came across a recipe from celebrated Canadian chef, Lucy Waverman, with this combination of ingredients, but structured as a rectangular dessert with paper thin layers. It was a recipe in the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) Food & Drink magazine from Holiday 1999 — a total hidden gem for recipes. Love it. Who knew going to the liquor store could inspire so many great desserts?

Mascarpone Meringue Cake via Sweetapolita

I just couldn’t resist building it layer-cake-style. For such a quirky and almost messy looking dessert, I love how clean it serves. Sounds funny, but it brought me a tremendous amount of joy to cut into it and see how easily it slices, and then how dry it leaves the doily. That may sound odd, but these things do matter to me, particularly when serving a dessert at a dinner table full of guests. I find people pay some serious attention to the unveiling of the inside of a dessert. It’s a funny observation, but I really have noticed this, so how something serves is all part of the appeal for me.

Mascarpone Meringue Cake via Sweetapolita

“Who me?  True, I do have ganache on my chin, but no, I have no idea how it got there.”

Sweetapolita

Something tells me that this is her celebratory “Woohoo! My mama’s a baking blogger!” giggle.

I mentioned in my last post that I’m cutting out the sugar for a bit, to prepare for bikini season, and of course to stay as healthy as possible, but after taking a test bite of this cake, I literally gave up dinner so I could eat the rest of the piece. A fact that I’m not sure I’m proud of, and I know I’m no role-model, but truthfully, it was completely worth it — this cake is like nothing I’ve ever eaten. Even though it’s far from German, I find it reminiscent of the cakes we used to serve at the authentic German bakery I used to work at when I was a teenager — the bakery that I hold personally responsible for my obsession with cake.

Mascarpone Meringue Cake via Sweetapolita

I hope you fall in love with this cake too, and what a fun change for Easter dinner, flourless Passover dessert, or even just for a unique option for anytime at all.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Mascarpone Meringue Cake

Ingredients

    For the Meringue Layers:
  • 12 egg whites (360 g), room temperature
  • 2-1/2 cups (500 g) granulated sugar
  • pinch salt
  • For the Ganache:
  • 18 oz (510 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups (480 ml) heavy cream
  • For the Mascarpone Cream Filling
  • 1 cup (240 ml) whipping cream (35%)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) Creme de Cacao (or other chocolate flavoured clear liqueur)
  • 2 cups (500 g) softened mascarpone cheese

Instructions

    For the Meringue Layers:
  1. Preheat oven to 250°F and line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using an 8-inch round cake pan, trace three circles onto the parchment.
  2. Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and some vinegar or lemon juice, to eliminate grease. Using whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt until foamy. Add sugar, slowly, and continue beating until it reaches glossy, stiff peaks.
  3. Using a small offset palette knife, spread an even layer (apprx 1.5" thick) of meringue over your each of the circle outlines. Bake for approximately 2.5 hours, or until dry and crisp, rotating pans every 20 minutes. Then leave in turned-off oven for another 60 minutes. *Depending on humidity in your kitchen and variance in ovens, this may take quite a bit longer to bake the meringue. You want to ensure that they are dry all the way through, so as long as they are not browning, you can keep baking them. Remove from oven and leave on tray in cool, dry area, until you are ready to use. Layers will likely have expanded slightly when baked. If you can only fit 2 baking sheets in your oven at once, you can bake the third one afterwards.
  4. For the Ganache:
  5. Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat and bring just to a boil (watching very carefully).When the cream has come to a boil, swiftly remove from heat and pour over the chopped chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute and then whisk until smooth.
  6. Allow it to cool until thick enough to spread, but loose enough that it will spread easily. To thicken, cover and place in refrigerator. To loosen chilled ganache, you can microwave in 15 second intervals, stirring after each one, or place in double boiler for a few moments.
  7. For the Mascarpone Cream Filling:
  8. In cold stainless steel mixing bowl and using the whisk attachment, whip the whipping cream with the sugar until thick. Add Creme de Cacao and whip again until it holds its shape. Place mascarpone cheese in a medium bowl, and fold in the whipped cream mixture.
  9. Assembly of Mascarpone Meringue Cake:
  10. Place first meringue layer on doily or cake round. With a small offset palette knife, spread 1/3 of mascarpone cream filling over layer. With a clean small offset palette knife, spread 1/3 of your ganache over cream.
  11. Repeat using remaining layers, finishing with ganache.
  12. Store cake in refrigerator. Cut using a sharp, non-serrated knife in a gentle sliding motion.
  13. This cake is best eaten within 1-2 days of being made.
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[Recipe adapted from Milliennium LCBO Food & Drink Magazine Holiday 1999, by Lucy Waverman]

Good luck & enjoy!



 

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