If you’ve been keeping up with my last few posts on the blog or been stalking me on Instagram, you will have certainly come across a few hints at “an awesome/extravagant/amazing/anything-but-simple/delicious” layer cake. I’m normally a simple and easy snack cake kinda gal, but every now and then I get a craving to get totally fancy and overly-complicated and spend the better part of my day in kitchen making a single cake. It doesn’t happen often, but the mood struck a few weeks ago, and all I could think about, were layer cakes. I became obsessed, and it was becoming problematic, because I just couldn’t shake the thought. The only way to fix the situation was to go ahead and actually make myself an epic cake, but I was holding myself back because I was faced with the same problem that always stops me from making layer cakes in the first place. What the heck do I do with a giant layer cake once I’m done photographing it!?
I generally don’t make layer cakes often simply because I just don’t know what to do with them in the end. If there’s no birthday party or big family gathering happening during the same weekend, I’m stuck with a giant layer cake in my house, and that’s not a good thing. My dad doesn’t like frosted cakes, my mom usually thinks 85% of the things are too sweet, and well, as much as I love cake, I don’t love it enough to eat an entire cake by myself (my pants and other clothes thank me for this). Fortunately, however, my latest layer cake craving just so happened to coincide with news that my close friends/former roommates from college were having a potluck style housewarming dinner, which for me, meant only one thing. CAKE. I had the perfect opportunity to make giant cake, and there would be lots of people around to eat it. These types of occasions don’t happen all too often, so I knew that my contribution for this potluck party just had to be cake. I didn’t know what kind of cake yet, but there would be cake.
I had a really, really difficult time deciding what kind of cake I wanted to make. The only condition I gave myself was that it had to somehow a spring celebration kind of cake, and I didn’t want any heavy components in it. I automatically ruled out anything with chocolate, peanut butter, booze, and the like, and instead found myself debating between coconut, carrot, lemon meringue, and some kind of berry cake. I’m not going to even bore you with how long I debated between these four flavors and my arguments in favor of each because I would just end up embarrassing myself. Let’s just say that I didn’t really decide what I was going to make until the morning of the housewarming party and leave it at that. As I was researching different recipes, I came across a recipe for a buttermilk cake from Sweetapolita, and I couldn’t get it out of my head. There was just something about it that made it seem so fluffy and delicious, and the perfect base for any cake that I could come up with. I had a container of mascarpone sitting in my fridge, and the idea of a mascarpone berries and cream cake sounded so right. It was the perfect cake for celebrating spring!
My plans for celebrating spring couldn’t have come on a worse day. The day of the housewarming party felt like anything but a beautiful spring day. It was dark, gray, cold, and it just did not stop raining for the entire day. There I was in my living room, trying to photograph all these lovely spring flavors and coaxing every bit of sunlight I could possibly get to shine through my living room window, but the day was just not cooperating with me. Photographing the cake was a frustrating experience, but it was nothing compared to the frustration of actually transporting the cake from Long Island to Brooklyn in the middle of a huge rainstorm via very crowded public transportation. It wasn’t fun and I was completely drenched by the time I arrived at my friends’ place, but the cake made it in one piece. It was a perfect little ray of spring sunshine on that dark and dreary day.
Enough talk about all that though. Let’s talk cake now. This buttermilk cake is without a doubt my brand new favorite cake recipe, and it’s one that I can see myself making over and over again whenever I need to make a layer cake. It’s lightly sweet, moist, and incredibly fluffy, and actually has a texture that is reminiscent of that of a boxed cake…I know it’s a weird comparison, but who doesn’t love the fluffiness of a cake made from boxed mix? The cake is mixed together in a slightly unusual order, but it’s really not any more difficult than a traditionally mixed cake. This cake starts out with the reverse creaming method, in which cold butter is added to the dry ingredients first, rather than creaming softened butter with sugar, and then the liquid ingredients are added at the end. Mixing up the cake in this order is the secret behind its fluffy baked self. I know that there’s a ton of ingredients and steps involved in the making of this cake, but really, none of it is overly difficult or complicated. In fact, you could make the berry compote and whipped mascarpone filling the day before and just leave them in the fridge and mix up the cake and frosting the next day. Don’t be intimidated by the laundry list of ingredients because I promise you, this will be one of the best cakes you’ll ever make.
My friends absolutely devoured this cake, literally. I knew this cake was a winner as I was putting it together, and I just couldn’t wait until I could try it for myself. I was a little sad when I had to cut out a slice to photograph the interior, but my friends didn’t mind that showed up with a cake that was missing a slice. They were too busy eating what was left! Now that it’s finally feeling more like spring, this is the perfect cake to make for spring parties, Easter lunches, and more. Enjoy!
Buttermilk, Berries, and Mascarpone Cream Cake
cake, compote, mascarpone filling, and frosting recipes adapted slightly from Sweetapolita
For the Buttermilk Cake