Strawberry & Vanilla Layer Cake

Here’s to 2016, and what better way to start the year than with a Strawberry & Vanilla Layer Cake!

Strawberry & Vanilla Layer Cake

Not only can I not believe that it’s 2016 already, I also can’t believe that it’s been so long since I last posted. My New Year’s resolution is definitely to make sure I post more regularly again!

I can’t think of a better way to kick off the year than with this beautiful Strawberry & Vanilla Layer Cake. Layers of vanilla butter cake with both strawberry & vanilla swiss meringue buttercream, and all topped off with a glorious strawberry ganache drip. A great special occasion cake.

Strawberry & Vanilla Layer Cake

Strawberry & Vanilla Layer Cake

Ingredients:

Vanilla Butter Cake
– 3 cups plain flour
– 2 cups caster sugar
– 250g unsalted butter, softened
– 6 eggs
– 2 tsp baking powder
– 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
– 1 cup milk
– 3 tsp vanilla extract

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
– 6 egg whites (220g)
– 345g sugar
– 500g unsalted butter, cubed (softened but still cool to the touch)
– 2 tsp vanilla extract
– 1/3 cup freeze dried strawberry pieces

Strawberry Ganache
– 180g white couverture chocolate
– 90g thickened cream
– Strawberry oil (suitable for flavouring chocolate)
– Pink food colouring, suitable for chocolate (I used powdered colouring)

Method:

Vanilla Butter Cake

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees celcius. Grease and line two 7inch round cake tins with baking paper. Place all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high until the mixture is smooth and creamy, about 3-4mins. Evenly divide the mixture between the baking tins and place in preheated oven for 1hr 10mins or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Set aside to cool.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and put it over a pot of simmering water. Gently whisk the mixture over the heat until it reaches 150 degrees farenheit on a candy thermometer. Transfer the bowl to the electric mixer, and whisk on high speed for 10-15mins or until the egg whites are cool and the bowl feels neutral to the touch.

Switch over to the paddle attachment, and on the lowest speed, add small cubes of butter one at a time. Once all the butter is added, continue to beat on low speed for another 8-10mins or until the buttercream is thick and silky smooth. If it looks curdled don’t worry, just keep on beating and it will come back together and turn silky smooth. Add the vanilla and mix well. Split the mixture into two halves.

Place the freeze dried strawberry pieces in a food processor and grind to a fine powder. Add the strawberry powder to one half of the buttercream mixture and beat in well. I recommend adding the powder a tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired strawberry flavour you prefer.

Strawberry Ganache

To make the strawberry ganache, first place the chopped white chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it just comes to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the white chocolate and leave it to sit for 1-2mins to melt. Stir the mixture until it all comes together into a smooth ganache. Add a few drops of the strawberry oil. I like to add 3-4 drops at a time and keep tasting until I am happy with the level of strawberry flavour as different brands will require different amounts. Next carefully add the pink colouring a little at a time until you are happy with the colour. Set aside to cool slightly.

To Assemble

Level off the tops of both cakes and then cut each cake in half. Place a layer of cake on a cake board, and top with a generous layer of the strawberry buttercream. Use an offset spatula to smooth the buttercream and make an even layer. Top with another layer of cake and repeat with the strawberry buttercream until you have all four layers assembled. Top the cake with another layer of strawberry buttercream and smooth out evenly, letting it extend over the edges. Next, add both the vanilla & remaining strawberry buttercream around the sides of the cake in a random pattern, keep the buttercream thick as you go around and until it is completely covered. Take an upright palette knife and carefully smooth around the sides of the cake in one direction, you should end up with a smeared pattern of strawberry and vanilla buttercream around the cake. Smooth the top edges of the cake by pulling an offset spatula across from the outside edge to the center of the cake and repeat all the way around until the top is smooth & flat.

Next we add the ganache drip. To test if the ganache is at the right consistency, place a small drop on the edge of the cake. If the ganache drips quickly to the bottom of the cake, then it is still too warm. When the ganache drips slowly to around a third of the way down the cake then it is ready to use. Working around the edges (and working quickly) pour the ganache around the top edge of the cake in sections, encouraging it to drip over the edges in certain places to create the drips. Once you have gone all the way around the edge, pour the ganache on the centre of the cake to cover the top and level it out as neatly as you can.

Pop the cake in the fridge for 10-15mins to firm up the ganache and set the cake. Place the leftover buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Once the ganache has firmed up, pipe some extra decoration around the top and sides of the cake, this is your time to be creative and decorate however you wish. To finish, I like to top the cake with a few freeze dried strawberry pieces, strawberry pearl decorations, and fresh strawberries.

*Freeze dried strawberries can be bought at specialty food stores. If you can’t get freeze dried strawberries, you could replace them with a good quality strawberry jam instead. Strawberry oil and food colouring suitable for chocolate can be purchased from any good baking supplies store.

Strawberry & Vanilla Layer Cake

Strawberry & Vanilla Layer Cake

Strawberry & Vanilla Layer Cake

Enjoy! x

 

Advertisements