My sister was married this weekend in a small ceremony near State College, Pa. The date fell on my son's 13th birthday and I heard they were planning to have a cake for him but not a traditional wedding cake...no wedding cake means no cake cutting ceremony...this would not work!
I called my friend Marzipan and told her my plan and asked for advice. We settled on a cake and frosting recipe and I was off and running - Vanilla Almond Buttermilk Cake with Apricot Filling topped with a luscious Almond Buttercream.
I baked the cake and whipped up the frosting with no problems, but started over several times in my attempt to create a pillow of roses all over the surface. Finally, after some practice and many replays of I Am Baker's Rose Cake Tutorial I was ready to go.
Vanilla Almond Buttermilk Cake with Apricot Filling
(*adapted from Sky High - Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes)
6 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 3/4 cups + 1 T. + 1 tsp. buttermilk
4 1/2 cups cake flour
3 cups sugar
6 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- (*this is the original recipe + 1/2 recipe to have enough to fill 3, 9 inch rounds. I also substituted half almond extract and half vanilla)
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.
2. Combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the mixer on low speed, blend for 30 seconds. Add the butter and 1 1/4 cup of the buttermilk. Mix on low speed briefly to blend; then raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and the remaining 1/3 cup buttermilk until well blended. Pour one-third of the egg mixture into the cake batter at a time, folding it in completely after each addition. There will be 9 cups of batter; our 3 cups batter into each pan.
4. Bake for 26 to 28 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. Turn the layers out onto wire racks by placing a rack on top of a pan, inverting it, and lifting off the pan. Peel off the paper liners and let cool completely. To make the layers easier to handle, wrap them completely in plastic, so they don’t dry out, and refrigerate them.
Almond Buttercream Frosting
(adapted from Sky High - Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
6 egg whites
6 sticks room temp unsalted butter
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (*I split the amount of almond with vanilla extract)
In a small heavy saucepan, combine sugar and water, stirring to dissolve. Bring to a boil over med. heat, without stirring. Wash down the sides of the pan a few times with a wet pastry brush to dissolve any sugar crystals, until the syrup reaches soft ball stage (238 degrees on a candy thermometer).
In a large mixer bowl, beat egg whites on med. speed until frothy. Continue beating while gradually adding hot syrup in a slow stream (be careful not to hit the beaters or it may splash and burn you). When all syrup has been added, raise the speed to medium-high and continue to whip until the mixture is very fluffy and cooled to room temp.
Reduce mixer to medium low and gradually add the butter 2-3 T. at a time. As you are adding the last few tablespoons, the mixture will appear to break, then suddenly come together like whipped butter. Beat in extracts.
When I assembled the cakes, I coated the bottom of the cakes with a skim coat of frosting then piped a rim of frosting around the outside edge - filled the center with warmed apricot preserves and placed the next layer on top. Repeat with final layer then coat the entire cake with a thin coat of frosting. I placed the cake in the fridge at this point to harden everything up before attempting the roses.
I then watched the Rose Cake Tutorial about 100 times and started swirling! I used a smaller open tip to create lots of smaller roses for a "cushioned" look. I dotted each rose with a candied pearl, then back in the fridge overnight.
I frosted the cake directly on the stand because I thought it was prettier, so I rode 3 hours to the wedding with a frosted cake between my knees!