Hard to believe it’s December already! If you’re still wondering about what to bake for the holidays I’ve got you covered. 😉 Bring a little rustic charm to your Christmas table with this White Chocolate Mousse Cake.
I’ve had white chocolate on the brain for some time ever since I made a cake for my brother’s girlfriend using a white chocolate mousse recipe I found from Gretchen’s Bakery. I know that there is a Team White Chocolate and a team of purists that is all REAL chocolate or bust.
Trust me when I tell you this mousse is SO good! My husband (who is Team Dark Chocolate) said that it reminded him of a Bavarian cream… which is good because I now have a reference for what my result should be. #recipeunderconstruction Thankfully, there was still plenty left for the cake after he had a little bowl topped with raspberries all to himself. 🙂
In addition to making the delicious white chocolate mousse, I’ve also had this perfect vanilla cake recipe on my radar from Kara’s Couture Cakes. Why, you might ask? Because the method is unlike any cake I’ve ever made before. That’s what struck me when I first came across it. You’ll see what I mean in the recipe instructions. Not sure why, but I was skeptical. Skeptical because, I’ve tried A LOT of vanilla cake recipes, but they always tend to come out a bit dry or too dense and are rather temperamental in my opinion.
I’ve gotten them down pretty good over the years, but I can’t say that I have a “go-to”… until now. I think that I just may have found THE vanilla cake I’ve been searching for. This cake has a fine crumb, it had a nice density so it stands up to torting and decorating very well, and it’s NOT dry! Angels are singing… for reals!
Kara is a cake goddess! I couldn’t be happier with the result. She is after all a pro. LOL Speaking of pros… you’ll notice that I’ve included weighted measurements in addition to the volume measurements so many of us home bakers are used to. The reason is that professional pastry chefs actually weigh all their major ingredients (ie flour, sugar, butter… baking powder, salt, etc. are still measured using teaspoons). This way the results are consistent and able to be duplicated easily.
When we are working in our home kitchens with our favorite utensils and we are BFF’s with our ovens we get consistent results because WE are the ones executing all the components start to finish. I bet if you asked one of your kids (without any tutorials) to just measure out all the ingredients for your favorite recipe, you probably won’t get the same result you normally do. Most European recipes are written in weighted measurements as well.
This cake actually reminds me of a cake you would get from your favorite European bakery. It’s light and contrary to how white chocolate recipes tend to be quite sweet, it’s not overly sweet. The buttercream is creamy and light and the raspberries add a nice tartness of course. I do hope that you’ll give this cake a try. If you do, drop me a comment and let me know what you think. 😉
I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas filled with many tasty treats and a fabulous New Year!
A few notes about the recipe:
- There are precise times listed for mixing the cake batter. I carried these right over from Kara’s recipe. I know this is contrary to the usual “do not over mix” that we live by as bakers, but seriously just set your timer and let the mixer do it’s thing.
- I adjusted the recipe to accommodate 2 – 8″ round pans that are 2″ high. The recipe calls for 3″… I’m not that fancy with my equipment yet and I don’t have a third 8″ round AND I was too lazy to line the sides with parchment paper. LOL
- The cake uses egg whites so the egg yolks were used to make the delicious French buttercream. I used the Swiss method which is less scary than the sugar syrup method normally used to make French buttercream. The Swiss method also allows for you to heat the egg yolks up to pasteurize them. I’m not terribly offended by egg yolks, but if they happen to make you nervous then use pasteurized eggs for the recipe and you’re good to go.
- Since the cake is filled with white chocolate mousse and fresh raspberries, it is best to keep it chilled. Slice it when it’s still cool, then make your coffee or tea. By the time that’s done, the piece will be the perfect temperature for you to enjoy with your cup of Joe.
- 12 oz (2½ c) flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 16 oz (2¼ c) sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ¾ c (1½ sticks) butter, room temperature
- 5 egg whites, room temperature
- 1½ Tbsp canola oil
- 1 Tbsp vanilla
- 9 oz (1 c plus 2 Tbsp) whole milk, room temperature
- 6 oz fresh raspberries
- 1 Tbsp (heaping) seedless raspberry preserves
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 8 oz (1¼ c) white chocolate
- ⅓ c milk
- 2 tsp unflavored gelatin
- ¼ c cold water
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 c heavy whipping cream
- pinch of salt
- 5 egg yolks
- ½ c sugar
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 c (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
- ¼ c white chocolate
- 1 tsp whole milk
- white chocolate shavings for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prep 2 - 8" round cake pans with either baking spray or butter and flour.
- In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. No sifting needed just mix on low speed for a couple minutes until everything is well combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg whites, oil, vanilla, and milk until combined and set aside.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the butter to the dry mixture about one tablespoon at a time. Keep mixing until the dry mixture becomes crumbly. The mixture is ready when it resembles "play sand", if you pick up a small handful and squeeze it it will hold it's shape, but then you can crumble it back up into the bowl.
- Again with the mixer on low speed, add ⅓ of the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until a paste forms, the mixture will be thick and is somewhat like cookie dough at this point. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl well.
- Add ½ of the remaining wet ingredients and increase the mixer to medium high speed, beat for 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl again.
- Add the rest of the wet ingredients and beat on medium speed for 5 minutes.
- Divide the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake in a preheated oven for 30 - 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean.
- Cool the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes then move them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
- Combine the fresh raspberries with the preserves and lemon juice. Mix gently in an effort to keep the raspberries as whole as possible.
- Place a metal bowl along with the beater bars in the freezer to chill while you prepare the mousse.
- Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and set it aside to bloom for 5 minutes.
- Heat the milk in the microwave for 1 minute then heat the white chocolate for 45 seconds. Pour the milk over the chocolate and let it sit for about a minute, then stir it until all the chocolate is melted and smooth.
- Melt the gelatin in the microwave for 15 - 20 seconds. Stir it to make sure all of the gelatin dissolved and add it to the melted white chocolate mixing to combine.
- In the chilled bowl, beat the heavy cream, sugar, and salt until medium firm peaks form.
- Lighten the chocolate mixture by adding ⅓ of the whipped cream. Then add half of the remaining whipped cream and gently fold the cream in. Repeat for the rest of the whipped cream and continue folding gently until all of the cream is incorporated. Be sure to scrape down the side and bottom of the bowl as you fold.
- Cover and chill in the refrigerator while the cakes finish cooling and you make the buttercream.
- In a double boiler combine the egg yolks, salt, and sugar using a whisk. Place the double boiler over a pot of simmering water (be sure the water does not touch the bottom of the double boiler) and whisk constantly for 10 minutes. You want the sugar to dissolve completely and the egg yolks to thicken slightly, they will be very silky. The goal is to keep whisking (yes, it is a forearm workout, but so worth it) because you don't want scrambled eggs. Adjust your heat as necessary or you can take the double boiler off the heat momentarily so as not to over cook the egg yolk mixture.
- Pour the egg yolk mixture into a stand mixture fitted with a paddle attachment and mix until cooled and the egg yolks lighten in color.
- Add the milk to the white chocolate, microwave for 30 minutes. Stir until smooth and set aside to cool slightly.
- Add the butter a couple tablespoons at a time. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed and beat on medium high until light and fluffy.
- Finally add the vanilla and melted white chocolate and beat until combined and fluffy.
- If necessary, level the tops of both cooled cakes and cut them in half to make 4 cake layers. Keep the 2 halves of each cake together so that it's easier to assemble.
- Apply a dollop of buttercream to a cake board or cake stand and place the first cake layer (bottom side down) on it.
- Spread an even generous layer of white chocolate mousse over the first layer and then place the other half of that layer on top of it.
- Using your favorite tip or a piping bag with the end cut off, pipe a ring around the cake right at the edge. Fill the inside circle with the fresh raspberry filling.
- Place the TOP half of the second layer over the raspberry layer. (TIP: when making a layer cake "mirror" the cake layers so that when fully assembled the top of your cake is actually the bottom of your 2nd cake. It give you a nice flat surface to decorate.)
- Spread an even layer of white chocolate mousse over the cake. You may have some leftover mousse... it tastes great with some fresh fruit. 😉
- Finally, place the bottom half of the second layer over the mousse layer bottom side up. Pop it in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Take the cake out of the freezer and pipe some buttercream into the spaces on the sides of the cake and put some buttercream on the top of the cake. Using an offset spatula spread an even layer of buttercream over the top and sides of the cake. This buttercream recipe makes enough buttercream to create a semi-naked cake. Some of your cake will show, but that is OK. Once you've smoothed the sides and the top of the cake. Pipe a border around the top with the remaining buttercream and garnish the top with shaved white chocolate.
- Due to the mousse and fresh raspberries, this cake needs to stay chilled until you are ready to serve it. Cut slices while the cake is still cool for nice clean slices... it's easier and far less messy. Allow the slices to rest for a few minutes and serve.
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