I spend a lot of time (more so than I care to admit) “investigating” blogs for pretty cakes. The word cake makes me happy and looking at pretty creations is only slightly less gratifying than eating or making them. So you can imagine, that with all my research, I hunt for any and every occasion to bring cake. Birthdays, anniversaries, potlucks, graduations, farewells – you name it and I have a steady supply of cake.
Last week, my super sweet grandparents celebrated their 48th anniversary. 48! Because this was such a special occasion, the cake also had to be equally worthy. As the date rolled around, I had a basic theme in mind. I wanted it to be a layer cake with unusual flavors and raspberry and coconut sounded exotic enough. I also narrowed the frosting down to Swiss Meringue Buttercream and the cake had to be light enough to support this incredibly rich butter cream Immediately, I thought of this cake. It’s made with very little olive oil so it was definitely going to do the trick.
The butter cream isn’t too hard to make but it does need premium unsalted butter. For a special occasion, it’s worth it. If you read up on swiss meringue, it’s often feared but respected. It seems tough but it’s so rewarding that it’s become my go-to choice for cakes lately. It also helps that I’m not a big fan of regular butter cream. The cake can be made upto a day before and wrapped tightly, kept at room temperature. The butter cream too can be made up to 5 days before and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I used seedless raspberry preserves to coat the cake layers and used freshly grated coconut to adorn them. While you can always use sweetened coconut, I would avoid using dessicated coconut.
Raspberry-Coconut Ruffle Layer Cake
Serves: 10 – 12
For the Cake*:
300g caster sugar
6 tbs + 2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 – 1/2 tsp almond extract (add 1/4 tsp first and see if the flavor is strong enough. If not, add little more)
1. Pre-heat the oven to 175 deg C. Line and grease two 8″ cake tins with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment fixed, add the eggs and sugar and whip on high speed for about 8 – 10 minutes till pale and tripled in volume. When you lift the whisk, it should fall back in thick ribbons.
3. Add the flour, tablespoon by tablespoon and fold it in gently, without deflating the eggs, till its combined.
4. Finally, add the olive oil and the extract(s) and fold it in gently. Pour into cake tins, and bake for 20 – 25 minutes till a skewer comes out clean and cake is springy upon touching. Let it cool completely before frosting.
* Listing cup measurements here would not fetch very accurate results. This cake highly depends on precision and technique and I’d urge you to use a kitchen scale for this one.
For the frosting:
5 egg whites
1 cup (200 g) + 2 tbs caster sugar
1 lb. (450 g) premium unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. In a heatproof bowl, add 5 egg whites and sugar. Whisk to combine and add over a double boiler. Whisk frequently till the mixture reaches 160 deg F. Rub the mixture between your fingers to test if it has dissolved.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment fitted, add egg white mixture and beat on high speed for 8 – 10 minutes till glossy. Lift the whisk to test for stiff peaks.
3. Finally, switch to the paddle attachment and with the mixer on medium speed, add the extract and butter 2 tablespoons at a time till its combined. If it looks thin or curdled, continue to beat on medium speed for a few minutes. It should come together. At this stage, you can add food coloring if you wish.
For cake assembly:
4 – 6 tbs raspberry jam, heated in the microwave till thin (about 10 – 12 seconds)
Cake layers, cooled
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1/2 coconut, freshly grated
Simple sugar syrup
1. To begin assembly, torte one of the cakes in half. Over one half, brush with simple sugar syrup. Add a thin layer of raspberry jam and finally 6 heaped tablespoons of the frosting. Spread evenly to coat. Add grated coconut and seal with the remaining half cake layer. Repeat for other 2 cake layers.
2. Seal the cake with a thin layer of frosting on the sides and top. To create ruffles, use #103 petal tip and beginning from the bottom of the cake while holding the piping bag vertically, perpendicular to the cake, swish the tip back and forth to create a column of ruffles. Repeat till the entire perimeter of the cake has been covered.
3. Refrigerate and remove at least 40 – 80 minutes before serving.NOTE: This cake is quite a challenge to take on, especially for the novice. I love to do my research before beginning ambitious projects and while doing so, have found these following sources very helpful. I should hope that, if you need to, you’ll benefit from them just as much as I did: #1. For best way to fold in flour in a sponge cake, watch this video. #2. For the miracle that is Swiss Meringue Buttercream, read this post, this post and this post. #3. For visual clarity, watch this video on frosting a ruffle layer cake.