The next six months are big in my family. My son turns 18 in a months time, in January my daughter turns 21 and then in March and April my husband and I both celebrate our 50th birthday. So you can imagine I have a lot of cake on my mind. Birthday in our house are never celebrated without cake. We love them! Cake = Celebration.
I have been seeing a lot of layer cakes around. And they look so perfect! Ooooooh, I so want to make a wonderful cake for the most special people in my life. So I decided to practice this weekend.
It’s not perfect but I’m quite happy with a first attempt. The vanilla cake is from a great blog Cake Paper Party which has the most amazing cake combinations. Have you ever hear of a Pinot Noir cake? No, I hadn’t even imagined that flavour but how fantastic!
The Italian Meringue buttercream is by Warren Brown and is one I have used before for Jelly cakes and the Cream Horns. I love this buttercream but it can be a challenge especially if you don’t wait for the meringue to cool.
So, after this I feel I have some good celebration cakes in me for the upcoming BIG birthdays. I have a lot to learn still and by no means perfect but I look forward to creating something special for my family. Do you celebrate with cake every time?
If you enjoyed this recipe, I’d really appreciate a star rating and a comment or tag me on instagram @marcellina.in.cucina.
Either way, I love to hear from you!
If you haven’t yet subscribed to the newsletter, don’t forget to click here so that you don’t miss out on more delicious food, tips and news!
Vanilla Layer Cake with Almond and Coffee Buttercream
- 8 oz (230 grams) unsalted butter softened
- 12 oz (340 grams) superfine (castor) sugar
- ¼ cup (60 mls) canola oil
- 4 large eggs
- 5 teaspoons (25 mls) vanilla extract
- 1¼ cups (170 grams) all-purpose (plain) flour
- 1½ cups (170 grams) cake flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cups buttermilk
Italian Meringue Buttercream
- 1 cup castor sugar superfine
- ¼ cup water
- 5 egg whites
- ¼ cup castor sugar superfine
- 1 pound (2 sticks/454 grams) unsalted butter cool room temperature
- 2 tablespoons Amaretto Liqueur
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 1 tablespoon water
- 3 tablespoons powdered (icing) sugar
Almond Simple Syrup
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon Amaretto Liqueur
- a few drops of almond extract
To Finish the Cake
- 1 cup almonds
- extra coffee beans and almonds to decorate
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Grease and flour 3 x 8 inch/20cm cake pans.
- In a stand mixer, beat the butter, sugar and oil until light and fluffy which should only take 2 or 3 minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla.
- Sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until just moistened.
- Pour in the buttermilk, mix in slowly, then turn up to medium and beat for 1 minutes.
- Pour evenly in cake pans. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes until well cooked.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pans then turn out onto a wire cooling rack to cool.
Italian Meringue Buttercream ( recipe by Warren Brown)
- Heat the 1 cup castor sugar and water in a pan until the sugar is dissolved.
- Bring to boil until it reaches 245ºF/120ºC.
- At the same time as the sugar syrup is cooking start the meringue. Beat the egg whites in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form – about 2 minutes.
- While still whisking sprinkle in the ¼ cup sugar. Beat well.
- By this time the syrup should be ready. Pour it into the meringue, whisking all the while, in a slow and steady stream.
- Continue to beat until the mixture cools. This will take about 10 -15 minutes or longer.
- Once cool and not before, slowly add the butter tablespoonful by tablespoonful. The mixture will deflate slightly but all is well.
- If your butter melts the meringue is still to hot. Beat until it cools.
- If necessary, remove the bowl and place it in the refrigerator for a while. Then start again.
- Stir in Amaretto liqueur and almond extract into the finished buttercream. Taste and adjust if needed.
- Set aside until needed
Almond Simple Syrup
- Heat the sugar and water in a pan.
- Bring to boil and boil for 2 or 3 minutes.
- Allow to cool then add Amaretto Liqueur and almond extract.
Bringing the cake together
- Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC.
- Spread almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes. Chop coarsely for the filling. Set aside to cool.
- Place one cake onto your serving plate.
- Brush lightly with almond simple syrup.
- Then spread an even layer of buttercream over the cake and sprinkle with a generous layer of crushed almonds.
- Top with another layer of cake and press down lightly but firmly.
- Repeat with almond simple syrup and buttercream filling.
- Top with the last cake. Press down and check that the cake is level.
- Spread a thin layer of buttercream all over as a crumb coat. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- While the cake is cooling, mix remaining instant espresso powder with boiling water. Allow to cool.
- Then mix into the remaining buttercream along with two heaped tablespoons of icing (powdered) sugar.
Finishing and decorated the cake
- Once the cake is set and cold, spread the coffee buttercream all over side and top of the cake.
- Pipe rosettes of coffee buttercream around the edge of the cake and decorate with coffee beans and almonds.