Thursday, March 21, 2013

for two: vanilla-blackberry mascarpone cake

I'm now officially a SMB (Swiss Meringue Buttercream) convert.


Now when I saw this cake at Sweetapolita, I immediately knew I wanted to do it. But instead of the usual buttercream it called for, I figured I wanted to try this swiss meringue buttercream which I've heard alot about but have been too afraid to try. It seemed pretty complex at that time. But it was now or never.

I absolutely love, love this buttercream and the cake - well, with 4 moist, fluffy cake layers, filled with a lightly sweetened whipped cream-mascarpone and blackberry preserves, I think this is pretty much perfection.

For Two: Vanilla-Blackberry Mascarpone Cake (adapted from Sweetapolita)
1/2 cup low fat milk, room temp
2 large egg whites, room temp
1 whole egg, room temp
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup + 3 tbsp cake flour, sifted twice
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp salted butter, at room temperature

Whipped Cream-Mascarpone Filling
2 tbsp cold water
2 tsp unflavoured gelatin
1-3/4 cups whipping cream, cold, divided
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese

Blackberry Filling
8-10 tbsp blackberry preserves

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
5 large fresh egg whites
1 1/4 cups superfine granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups salted butter, softened, cut into cubes
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Soft gel paste colours of your choice (I used Americolor)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F; grease and line two round 5-inch pans with parchment paper. Then flour the cake pan and set aside.
2. In a bowl, combine 2 tbsp of milk, egg whites and egg, and vanilla. Set aside.
3. Using a mixer, mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add butter into flour mixture and continue beating on low until well blended. Then add remaining milk and mix until everything is just incorporated. Finally add the egg mixture gradually, in 2-3 additions, beating well after each addition.
4. Divide the batter into prepared pans and bake in preheated oven for 20-25 mins, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Let cool for 5-10 mins, before inverting cakes onto greased wire rack to cool completely.
5. For Whipped Cream-Mascarpone Filling: In a small bowl, fill with 2 tbsp cold water and sprinkle with the gelatin, letting it sit for at least 10 minutes. In a small saucepan, heat 1/3 cup of cream just to a simmer, then pour into gelatin mixture. Mix with a spoon and refrigerate until cool but not set.
6. Using a chilled bowl with a chilled whisk attachment, beat remaining whipping cream, icing sugar, vanilla and salt until soft peaks form. Slowly add in the gelatin mixture and continue beating until medium-firm peaks form. In a separate bowl, soften mascarpone and gently fold in whipped cream mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to use.
7. For Swiss Meringue Buttercream: First, clean and ensure that your mixing bowl and whisk attachment is free from any traces of grease. Add egg whites and granulated sugar into the mixing bowl and place it over a pot of simmering hot water. Whisk the egg whites and sugar constantly, until the temperature reaches 160F. Alternatively, you can also check if all the sugar has dissolved by feeling them between your fingers.
8. Remove from heat and whip the egg white mixture until it forms stiff peaks. The bottom of the bowl should now be neutral to the touch (not the slightest bit warm). Slowly add butter until incorporated. The mixture may seem curdled after adding the butter. Good. You're in the right direction.
9. Continue mixing and it will slowly turn into a creamy, silky, smooth texture. Set this aside.
10. To assemble:  Cut each cake horizontally in two. Place one cake layer on a cake board, or serving plate, and spread a dollop (about 3-4 tbsp) of blackberry preserves on the cake. Top with whipped cream-mascarpone filling. Repeat with the other layers of cake.
16. When you have put on the final cake layer, crumb coat the entire cake with the buttercream and pop it in the refrigerator for 30 mins to firm up. In the meantime, separate the remaning buttercream into 3 bowls, tinting them as you desire.
17. Remove from refrigerator and coat the cake with tinted frosting, starting from the darkest colour at the bottom all the way to the lightest colour for the upper third and top of the cake. Using a metal spatula, blend the colours together as you normally would a cake, but be careful not to overblend.

1. I subbed the blackberry compote in the original recipe with preserves instead.
2. You may have an extra cup or so of the whipped cream-mascarpone filling because apparently this batch is as small as you can get, due to the nature of the gelatin/cream mixture. 

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  1. That cake is so beautiful! I wish I had a slice right now. Swiss buttercream is amazing, but Italian is my favorite. Have you tried that yet?

    1. Oh thank you Laura! You're so sweet! I haven't tried Italian yet though.. maybe someday hehe. But right now, Swiss is making me so happy, I think I'll stick to it for the time being :)

  2. Hi- I want to make this for a dinner party for 8. Do you think I can just double the ingredients and bake the cake in 8 or 9 inch round pans instead?

    1. Hi Jacki, thanks for stopping by :)
      I did a quick check at Sweetapolita and she mentioned that this recipe can be doubled and baked in three 8-inch pans. Hope that helps!

  3. Just wanted to point out that you forgot to mention adding the salt in the sponge part of the recipe.. I just assumed you add it to the dry ingredients in step 3.

    1. thanks for catching that Kirsten! :)


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