Classic vanilla layer cake with mascarpone buttercream and fresh strawberries
Our April Instagram takeover is here! I’ve collaborated with a group of food photographers, stylists, and recipe developers around a single theme, and this month we’re bringing you the best of the best recipes featuring everyone’s favorite little berry: strawberries. Say hello to my 2 tiered vanilla layer cake with mascarpone buttercream!
Ugh, guys, I had big plans for this one! I wanted to stand out from the crowd and share a savory recipe. And then… life. Life happened and I got busy (busy is good — busy means new clients!), but I fell back on what was easiest, and in this case that meant baking.
Have I told you about my kids’ love affair with mascarpone cheese? We are never without a container. I dollop it in desserts, mix it with pasta, and just generally love it. It’s sort of a cross between cream cheese and crème fraîche. Anyway! I was working on a recipe for a client that required mascarpone and I ended up with way more on hand then we could work through before it expired.
…and so out of desperation mascarpone buttercream was born.
Legit not mad about this.
The vanilla cake leans sweet, but the strawberries cut the sugar and transform this into this perfect, light, spring dessert. Also, hello, it’s gorgeous.
Let’s talk about the actual cake. It’s reliably good. Browns evenly, stays moist on the inside, releases easily from the cake pan. Can’t ask for much more (unless it suddenly decided to bake itself, am I right?).
And while strawberries are a necessary counterpart to the mascarpone buttercream, instead of piling them up on top you could easily serve this with thinly sliced berries on the side. Just don’t leave them off entirely!
So what do we think? Is the fact that it’s Wednesday a good enough excuse for a slice?
Don’t forget to check out some of the other insanely talented creatives pushing out content for #strawberriesarethejam and show them some love! This community is full of so much talent, it’s impossible not to be inspired. You gotta get in on this.Print
For the cake
- 2 ¼ cups cake flour
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda (1)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 12 Tbsp (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, (room temperature, cut into cubes)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 egg whites
- Fresh strawberries, (for garnish)
For the mascarpone buttercream
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, (room temperature)
- 8 oz mascarpone cheese, (room temperature)
- 1 ½ cups confectioners sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp kosher salt
For the cake
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray two 8 or 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick baking spray, then line the bottom of each with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine cake flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix to combine. Add cubed butter, then mix until small pea size crumbs form.
- In a small bowl, combine buttermilk, milk, vanilla extract, eggs, and egg whites. Whisk to combine. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in ⅓ of the liquid to the flour, then beat for 1 minute. Repeat twice more with remaining batter, for a total of 3 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Divide batter evenly between the two cake pans. Place in preheated oven, leaving a little space between pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean (mine were done at 33 min).
- Allow cakes to cool for 10 minutes on a cooling rack, then invert to remove from the pan and return to the cooling rack, right side up. Cakes need to cool for at least an hour before frosting.
For the mascarpone buttercream
- Clean out the bowl of the stand mixer, then combine softened butter and mascarpone. Beat until light and fluffy, and the two are fully mixed, about 2 minutes. Add confectioner’s sugar, vanilla extract, and salt, then mix on slow until sugar is well blended. Increase speed to medium high and beat another 2 minutes.
- Once cakes have cooled completely, place on a stable surface and, using a serrated knife, even out the top of each cake so they are smooth and flat.
- Place a small about of mascarpone buttercream (about 1 Tbsp) on the center of your cake stand or cake saver, then place one layer of cake with the cut side up directly on top. Spoon about ⅓ of the buttercream on top of the cake and spread evenly using an offset spatula. Place second cake on top, cut side down (so the smoothest part of the cake is on top).
- Place about ½ of the remaining buttercream on top of the cake and, working with the same offset spatula, spread it out into a thin layer. If you want the finished cake to be “naked”, spread a very thin layer of buttercream on the sides of the cake, rotating the cake stand or turning the cake saver with your hands while pressing down slightly with your spatula. Even out as needed and wipe excess frosting off in the bowl. (If you want the cake fully frosted, use remaining buttercream to cover completely.) Slice and serve with strawberries!