Vanilla Celebration Cake with Perfectly Pink Strawberry Swiss Meringue Frosting
adapted from and inspired by this Vanilla Buttermilk Cake and this Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 1 1/4 cups skim milk, room temperature
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 6 tbsp cornstarch
- 4 whole eggs, room temperature
- 2 egg yolks, room temperature
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup salted butter, room temperature
- 5 egg whites
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups salted butter, removed from fridge for about 30 minutes and cut into cubes
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 5 or 6 strawberries, finely chopped
- a few drops of pink food colouring (optional)
- 2 cups apricot jam
The chocolate glaze:
- 2/3 cup dark chocolate, chopped into 1″ cubes
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1″ cubes
The garnish (optional)
- 3 whole strawberries, washed and dried
Make the cake layers:
Lightly grease and line two 9″x14″ baking pans with parchment paper. Grease the paper and preheat the oven to 350F.
In a measuring cup, stir together the milk and vinegar and set aside. In a large bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the flour and cornstarch and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of the milk mixture, eggs, egg yolks, and the vanilla. Set aside.
Add the sugar and baking powder to the flour mixture in the bowl of the stand mixer and whisk together thoroughly. Add the butter and remaining milk and mix together on low speed. Once combined, beat until light and fluffy.
Continue mixing on low speed and add the egg mixture in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions and mixing only until thoroughly incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly across the two prepared baking pans and bake the layers for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool the layers in the pans for 10 minutes and remove to cool completely on wire racks, paper removed and top side facing up.
Make the frosting:
Whisk together the egg whites and sugar in the (very clean grease-free) bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water ensuring the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Continue whisking the egg whites and sugar constantly until the sugar is dissolved and the temperature reaches 160F.
Using the whisk attachment of the stand mixer, beat the mixture until it doubles in size and cools. It will form stiff peaks by this time and the bowl will no longer feel warm to touch.
Move to low speed and begin adding the butter, one cube at a time, mixing until incorporated before adding the next cube. Continue mixing until all of the butter has been added and the frosting is smooth. Add the chopped strawberries and food colouring (if using) and mix until combined.
Assemble the cake:
If required, level the tops of the cake layers. Measure and cut the two layers into 3 equal rectangles each to end up with a total of 6 layers. Place a rectangle on to a cake plate lined with a few strips of parchment paper (to be removed after the cake is frosted) and spread ~1/3 cup of apricot jam over the layer. Stack the next layer of cake over top of the jam and spread another 1/3 cup of jam over it. Continue sandwiching apricot jam between the cake layers until you reach the sixth layer. Leave the top of it free of jam. Next, spread a thin layer of the buttercream frosting over the top and sides of the cake. This is a crumb coat so it doesn’t need to be thick nor should it be perfect looking. Wrap the cake with plastic wrap and if required lightly press the sides to ensure the cake is straightened. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Remove the cake from the refrigerator and using an offset spatula, frost the 4 sides of the cake with the buttercream. Refrigerate the cake for another 30 minutes.
Make the chocolate glaze:
Place the chocolate and butter into a dry microwaveable bowl and heat on 50% power for 1 minute. Remove and stir. Continue heating the chocolate and butter at 50% power for 30 second intervals once or twice more, stirring between each until the chocolate is completely melted and combined well with the butter.
Remove the chilled cake from the refrigerator and slowly pour the chocolate glaze over the centre of the top of the cake. Using an offset spatula, smooth the top of the chocolate, allowing for some to drip slightly over the edges of the cake. Let the chocolate set for 15-20 minutes before arranging the strawberries over top. Carefully remove the parchment strips from beneath the cake and serve at room temperature.