So it’s been quite a while since my last post and a lot of things have happened. First of all, I just came back 2 days ago from vacationing in Estonia for 10 days. It was nice spending a few days abroad and getting out of busy Vienna for a change. We stayed in Tallinn – the capital. I’ve never really been a big city lover so staying in that small town, of only half a million inhabitants, was really nice and relaxing.
One place that really fascinated me the most was the antique bookshop I found, while me and my brothers family visited the city Pärnu to go to the beach. Now I’ve never been that much of a beach person..or rather swimming person. And as it turned out neither was my 3 year old niece. So after grabbing some lunch me and my niece decided to take a walk while the others went back to the beach. That’s when we stumbled across that bookstore.
Since I really love anything vinatge that bookstore was like heaven to me. I’m a bit sad that I couldn’t stay there longer since we had to get back to the beach to meet the others. I did get some old piano notes and an Estonian childrens book for my niece however. The books only cost me 3 euro. I actually knew about these kind of shops since I went to them quite a few times back in the day when I used to live in Estonia. It just felt good to browse through one again.
Now – about the the cake! Lately I’ve been having a tiny obsession with layer cakes. I feel like the more layers a cake has the more dramatic and glorious it looks. So while I was in Estonia I actually made a 6 layer cake 3 times! Yes it took up quite some time but I think in the end it was worth it. Unfortunately the first cake I made didn’t taste that good in my opinion and I also managed to lose all of the pictures I took of it so I wont post about it. It was a white vanilla cake soaked in some ginger syrup and layered with blueberry compote. I frosted the cake with a cream cheese and mascarpone frosting, which was a disaster since my mom (who offered to buy all of the ingredients) opted for a light cream cheese. Now I don’t know if any of you ever bake with light products but for me this is absolutely not an option. The cream cheese was way too runny and I ended up putting the frosted cake in the freezer to let it firm. Even the taste wasn’t the same as the typical sweet but tangy cream cheese icing. All in all people still came up to me and told me they liked my cake but I just wasn’t too happy, so I won’t make it again and I won’t bother with the recipe.
After that I made two more 6 layer cakes. I actually made two of exactly the same cakes. Chocolate cake with strawberry buttercream. I’m quite happy with how it turned out, I used the same chocolate cake recipe that I used before I only increased it slightly which meant i had thicker layers. Then I filled and frosted it with strawberry swiss meringue buttercream, which I actually really started to like. The buttercream is soft, light and sweet and the strawberry and chocolate pair very well with each other. I made the cake once for a small birthday celebration and once when I met with my friends one evening. Both times people really enjoyed it and I felt content with myself that I managed to satisfy people’s sweet tooth. Now here’s the recipe:
215 g all-purpose flour
400 g fine caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar
100 g dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
125 ml vegetable oil
250 ml buttermilk
250 ml hot freshly brewed coffee
2 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
First preheat your oven to 180°C (or 350° F) and line three 7-inch greased cake pans with parchment paper on the bottom. Now sadly, i only own one 7-inch pan so I actually had to bake each three layers separately. When I think about it now, I can’t believe I had the patience to do that.
Next you want to sift all your dry ingredients into a big bowl and slowly add the wet ingredients with your electric mixer to your flour mixture. This cake recipe is pretty simple and straightforward.
Now divide your cake batter into the three cake pans (or in my case into two bowls and one cake pan). To do that as accurately as possible I always weigh out my cake batter to make sure I get the layers even.
Bake the cake(s) in the oven for around 20 minutes and rotate them. Then bake an additional 7-10 minutes. I admittedly underbaked my layers a little because I really wanted a moist cake.
After the cake is done baking leave it cool on your counter and take it out of the cake pan after 15 minutes or so. I kind of rushed that step since I had two more batches to bake and didn’t want to spend the whole day in the kitchen.
Let your cake layers cool completely and once cooled freeze them for approximately 30 minutes before slicing and filling or frosting them.
Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
250 g fine caster sugar
150 g egg whites (about 5 egg whites)
340 g cubed butter, should not be completely cold but still firm
1 tsp vanilla extract
250 ml strawberry puree (I pureed frozen strawberries that I thawed for a couple of hours)
Add the egg whites and sugar in a stainless steel bowl and place it over a larger pot of simmering water without letting the bowl touch the water. Whisk the mixture lightly and heat it until the sugar has dissolved completely. Most recipes actually suggest using a candy thermometer but since I don’t own one I just rub a tiny bit of the mixture between my fingers and if it’s not grainy anymore that means the sugar has dissolved. Take it off the heat and beat the meringue until very fluffy and white, about 8 minutes. The bottom of the bowl and the meringue should have cooled completely. Now slowly start adding the butter cube by cube, beating after every single addition. Once the butter is added just keep on beating the mixture on high speed until the buttercream comes together. If it curdles at one point don’t worry – it will come together eventually. When it does, add the vanilla and pureed strawberries and mix until everything comes together.
Dark chocolate glaze
115 g good quality bittersweet chocolate
76 g cubed butter
Melt the butter and chocolate in a stainless steel bowl over a pot of simmering water on low temeprature. Let it cool a bit.
To assemble the cake
crumb coated cake in the fridge
Crumb coat the entire cake with a thin layer of buttercream and place it in the fridge to set for about 30 minutes. Then repeat adding a thicker layer of buttercream over the entire cake. Smooth the surface with a benchscraper. Slowly pour the chocolate glaze on the top of the cake, spreading the glaze with a spatula slowly that it can run down the sides a bit. Place the cake in the fridge to make the chocolate set and bring to room temperature before serving.
Finished cake. I should have chosen a nicer background, I know
The cake is very decadent and most people couldn’t eat more than one slice. Only some of my hard core sweet tooth friends asked for another thin slice after 10 minutes. Even though the cake is small in diameter, it is very high and easily serves over 10 people.
Until the next cake recipe,