Tada! In terms of colour combination, the overall colour of this cake has got to be my favourite result so far. It was also a lovely success, which made me even happier 🙂 I made this cake for my dad’s birthday yesterday! Yay! Apart from the chocolate ganache that sandwiched my pistachio cookies together (used to decorate the top of the cake), I do like to use the opportunity in making a birthday cake to experiment with other ingredients apart from chocolate. Usually the idea of coming up or making a cake is a really exciting time for me. I visit all my favourite baking blogs, drawing inspiration from what others have done. I get so excited sometimes and I want to do so much for one cake that I sometimes forget that the process of actually making said cake is an entirely different matter. Not that I don’t love challenging myself and improving, but I’ll be honest, cake making can be really tiring work!
This cake, I’m happy to say, was relatively easy to make. While it did take me a whole day to complete the cake (decorating and all), if I factor into consideration things like the time I allowed for cooling, for things to come to room temperature etc. I don’t think it was too bad. The only thing I regret doing to this cake was trying to add colour into the sponge with sprinkles (if you look at the picture closely, you’ll see spots of colour in the sponge). That did not work at all; 1, because I totally forgot to add the sprinkles when I was sifting the flour, and 2, thinking it would still work by pathetically trying to stir the sprinkles in when the batter was about to go into the oven. Next time, no last minute sprinkles.
Still, if you’re looking to make a cake that is light and not too sweet, then I think this is a really good cake to try. The sharp sweetness of the berries really complemented the frosting. Instead of brushing a simple syrup over each layer of vanilla sponge, I spread a thin layer of the vanilla bean cream cheese frosting before topping with berries. My initial plan was to just have the top decorated with berries and make a lemon coconut curd for the filling, but luckily sense set in and I reasoned with myself that sometimes getting too fancy isn’t the answer. I let the sponge do its thing and soak up the juices of the berries in its own sweet time. It was wonderful, even though the picture below makes the insides of the cake look a little mangled!
The recipe for the sponge cake was from Jonanthan Melendez, chef and photographer extraordinaire from The Candid Appetite, the very same recipe I used for the strawberry shortcake. One thing I did differently was I separated the sponge batter into 3 portions. The baking time was considerably shortened down to 15-17 minutes baking time, but all three layers turned out beautifully. Please refer to JoytheBaker’s method for making your own cake flour!! She makes it so easy 🙂
Now, the frosting. No cream was used here! I’ll definitely be using this frosting again because it yielded the perfect amount for an 20cm (8 inch) 3 layered cake and was wonderful to decorate with. Even when I used 3/4 cups less of the icing sugar stated in the recipe the frosting still held superbly. Additionally, rather than just using vanilla extract I used vanilla bean paste. I have Kate from Ourbestbites.com for the seriously great vanilla cream cheese frosting recipe.
The decoration of the cake was most definitely inspired by Steph over at Raspberricupcakes.com. I visit her blog with equal parts envy and total awe at her creations. I initially wanted to try and replicate her Lemon Syrup Sponge Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Icing and Berries but then I thought it might be better suited for mumsy’s birthday.
VANILLA SPONGE WITH MIXED BERRY FILLING AND VANILLA BEAN CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
For the sponge:
Slightly adapted from: The Candid Appetite
Makes: 3 eight-inch (20cm) round cake layers Ingredients:
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Separate the eggs into two mixing bowls. Start by beating the egg yolks and sugar until very thick and lemon coloured. Add water and vanilla extract. Mix in the flour, careful not to overmix.
In another bowl, beat egg whites until frothy. Then add cream of tartar and salt. Beat mixture until whites are stiff, but not until they are dry. Carefully fold the whipped egg whites mixture into yolk mixture, so as to not deflate the egg whites.
Evenly pour the batter into three ungreased 8 inch (20cm) pans. If using a non spring-form pan, line the bottom to make it easier to remove the cake after baking. Bake at 325°F/ 163°C for 15-17 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Rotate the pans halfway through, to ensure even baking.
Allow the cakes to cool on a cooling rack. Invert the cakes.
For the Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
(Please note that the amounts listed here manage to just frost a 8 inch 3 layer cake. Please refer to pictures on blog for frosting thickness.)
Slightly adapted from: Our Best Bites
2 8-oz/approx. 225g cream cheese (light works fine, although it will yield a slightly softer frosting) at almost room temperature
1/2 cup salted butter at almost room temperature
1 1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste/vanilla extract or almond extract
Method: Whip together the cream cheese, butter until smooth. Add in extract and beat until light and fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar to taste and whip until smooth and fully incorporated. Refrigerate any frosting left over.
To assemble cake:
If you decide to use berries and anything with juice content, wash and pat dry before using.
Place first cake layer on your serving plate or stand. Placing a bit of frosting onto the centre of plate can help keep the cake from moving.
Spread a thin layer of frosting over the first layer. Arrange berry filling over the frosting. If you find berry juices spilling over the side of the cake, create a frosting ‘barrier’ by lining the berry edge with some frosting.
Sandwich with another cake layer and repeat. Crumb coat cake with vanilla bean cream cheese frosting and chill cake for 15 minutes. This will make the final frosting of the cake much easier.
Cover cake with remaining frosting, smoothing with an offset spatula. Decorate the top of the cake however you’d like!