A dreamy – perfect! – white cake that came out of the freezer and championed a birthday! An absolute keeper borrowed from Volume 5 of ‘Bake From Scratch’, by Brian Hart Hoffman – enjoy!
3/4 c. (170 g) butter, softened AND 1 1/2 c. sugar
5 egg whites (150 g), room temperature
3/4 t. EACH vanilla AND almond extract
2 1/2 c. (312 g) cake flour AND 2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. kosher salt AND 1/8 t. baking soda
3/4 c. (180 g) EACH sour cream AND whole milk – whisk these together in a vessel with a spout
Sour Cream Buttercream
1 c. (227 g) butter, softened AND 1 t. kosher salt
~3 lbs. (1362 g) icing sugar
1 1/2 c. (360 g) sour cream, room temperature
For the cake – preheat the oven to 350, butter 2, 9-inch round cake pans, line each with parchment and butter the parchment. Using your electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar for a few minutes until fluffy, stopping to scrape down the bowl once or twice. Add in the egg whites and beat for a couple of minutes until combined then beat in the vanilla and almond extract.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda and then with the mixer on low speed, gradually and alternately add the flour mix and the dairy mix to the batter, beating until just combined after each addition and stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Begin and end with the flour mix.
Divide the batter evenly between both prepared pans and give each a good tap on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the middles reach 200 degrees and then allow the cakes to rest in their pans for 10 minutes, before removing the layers from their pans to a rack to cool completely.
If serving the same day then get going on the buttercream, otherwise wrap the cooled layers well and freeze until the day you wish to assemble and serve the cake.
For the sour cream buttercream – beat the butter and salt together for a couple of minutes until smooth. Gradually and carefully add in the icing sugar about 1 cup at a time, alternating with about 2 tablespoons of sour cream. Keep going until all of the sour cream is in and most of the icing sugar – the amount needed will likely depend on the heat of the kitchen. I didn’t keep track of the sugar exactly but I’m pretty sure it was all used – this recipe makes a great deal of frosting.
When the frosting is smooth and fluffy, cover and refrigerate for about a half hour to help it stiffen up a bit. It’s helpful if you give it a stir every 10 minutes or so.
To frost the cake – place a layer on a plate or stand with parchment pieces lightly tucked underneath to help with the mess. Trim the layers if you feel they need it but this is a swoopy frosting job which hides all imperfections. Spread a couple of cups of frosting evenly on the first layer, place the second layer on top, spread a skiff or very thin base layer of frosting over all to create a crumb coat and place the cake in the freezer for a half hour. I had taken my layers out of the freezer so they were still pretty cold so I didn’t do this – or rather, Marlow didn’t do this – she’s the official cake froster in this house.
Once the frosting has had time to stiffen and the cake is nice and cold, generously cover the whole cake with large swoops of frosting – Mar led this charge, nephews were involved, I was wisely out of the kitchen with a cocktail in my hand.
Remove the protective parchment strips, and serve this beauty up in large slices – it really was a marvellous cake and it worked out perfectly to have a crowd to share it with.