A Wedding Cake Made with Love
Make this cake in steps. Bake the cakes and prep the filling the first day. You can fill and finish the cakes in the same day, but I like to spread the work out, filling on day 2 and finishing on day 3. Each 9-inch cake serves 12 to 20 people, depending on how small the slices.
Servings: 2 9-inch round cakes.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 ounces cream cheese
- 8 ounces unsalted butter , room temperature (70 degrees F.)
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 8 eggs , room temperature
- 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon oil , optional
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup water
- 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 6 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into pieces
- 1 1/2 cups lemon curd , room temperature
- 3 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur
- 2 1/2 teaspoons (about 1 envelope) powdered gelatin
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cups organic cane sugar
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2/3 cup canola oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups cold water
Chocolate Truffle Filling:
- 1/2 cup plus 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces good-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate , chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
Coffee Simple Syrup:
- 1/2 cup hot strong coffee
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/3 cups plus 2/3 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup
- 6 egg whites (2/3 cup)
- 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 to 4 tablespoons liqueur or 1 teaspoon extract flavoring , optional
The lemon cake:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush two 9-inch round pans with melted butter and dust lightly with flour, or spray generously with cooking spray. Line the bottoms with circles of parchment or waxed paper.
Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.
With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together until very pale and little tails form as the beater goes around.
Add the sugar and lemon zest and beat well, until mixture is fluffy.
Scrape bowl well. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend before adding the next one.
On low speed, add the dry ingredients, lemon juice and lemon oil, if using. Mix just until incorporated, being careful not to over mix.
Divide into prepared pans. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, until light golden in color and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out with just a few crumbs on it.
The lemon curd:
Put the egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and butter in the top of a double boiler. Place over gently boiling water; upper pan should not touch water. Cook, whisking often, until the curd thickens, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a clean container. Cover the surface with plastic wrap, so it touches the hot curd, to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate. You can keep lemon curd, refrigerated, up to a week. It also freezes very well.
Put the lemon curd in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. If the lemon curd is very cold, let it sit at room temperature for about a 1/2 hour, so the warmed gelatin will incorporate easily into the curd, without seizing.
Pour the liqueur into a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over it, and allow to soften, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whip the cream until it comes to soft peaks that hold their shape. Set aside.
Place the bowl of softened gelatin over barely simmering water and stir until the gelatin melts, about a minute.
Whisk the liquid gelatin into the lemon curd. Immediately whisk in 1/3 of the whipped cream; then fold in the rest.
To assemble the lemon cake:
You will need about 2 1/3 cups meringue buttercream flavored with 1 tablespoon orange-flavored liqueur and 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Have the cakes, lemon syrup, lemon cream and one pint of fresh raspberries at the ready.
With a serrated knife, trim any dome from both cakes so they are flat, not rounded. Trim the sides of the cake if they seem dry. Keeping the knife level and parallel to the bottom of the cake, split each cake in 2 equal and even layers.
Put one of the cake layers on a cardboard circle or a flat serving plate. Moisten it with a quarter of the syrup. Spread on roughly 1/6 of the lemon cream. Press 1/3 of the raspberries into the cream, and then top with more cream—just so it covers the raspberries, using no more than 1/3 of the lemon cream in this layer. Gently flatten a second cake layer on top and brush it with another 1/4 of the syrup.
Repeat the layering, ending with the last cake and syrup. Wrap the assembled cake and refrigerate for about 1 hour, to let the gelatin filling set.
To crumb-coat and frost the lemon cake:
Beat room temperature buttercream until it is very smooth. Add more liqueur and/or lemon juice, to your taste. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and place it on a cake turntable. With a sharp serrated knife, trim the sides of the cake, just enough to even any sharp angles, brushing off any loose crumbs.
With an icing spatula, frost the sides and the top of the cake with the buttercream (less than 1/4-inch thick) to seal in the crumbs and lemon filling. Refrigerate (ideally) overnight to let the buttercream get hard.
Finish the cold cake with another thin coat of buttercream, or rolled fondant. Decorate with a buttercream or royal icing border and optional design.
Make the chocolate cake:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush two 9-inch round pans with butter and dust lightly with flour, or spray generously with cooking spray. Line the bottoms with a circle of parchment or waxed paper.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda into a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the vinegar, oil, vanilla, and water; then add to the dry ingredients. Mix for 2 minutes–with a hand whisk or with an electric mixer on low speed. Divide into the prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until the centers of the cakes spring back when touched with a finger. Cool completely.
Chocolate Truffle Filling:
Heat the cream on medium-low until it is very hot (do not boil). Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and allow to sit for a few minutes. With a spatula, stir gently until all of the chocolate has melted and the “ganache” is smooth and glossy. Set aside to cool.
When the ganache is cool to touch but not cold, add one quarter of the cream, gently whisking until smooth. Add the remaining cream and whisk by hand until the chocolate cream holds a soft shape. (Be careful; if the ganache is too warm or if you over-whip the ganache and cream, the chocolate cream will curdle.) Refrigerate the chocolate cream until it is very cold and you are ready to assemble the cake.
Chocolate cake assembly:
You will need about 2 1/3 cups meringue buttercream flavored with 1 to 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract. Have the cakes, coffee syrup, and the chocolate truffle filling at the ready.
With a serrated knife, trim any dome from both cakes so they are flat, not rounded. Trim the sides of the cakes if they seem dry. Keeping the knife level and parallel to the bottom of the cake, split each cake in 2 equal and even layers.
Put one of the cake layers on a cardboard circle or a flat serving plate. Moisten it with a quarter of the syrup. Carefully whisk the cold truffle filling, a few strokes at a time, until you can pull your finger through the filling and it holds good shape. Spread a third of filling on the moistened cake. Gently flatten another cake layer on top and brush it with another quarter of the syrup. Repeat the layering, ending with the last cake and syrup. Wrap the assembled cake and refrigerate for about 1 hour, to let the filling set.
To crumb-coat and frost the chocolate cake:
Beat room temperature buttercream until it is very smooth. Add more vanilla extract if you wish, to your taste.
Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Place it on a cake turntable. With a sharp serrated knife, trim the sides of the cake, just enough to even any sharp angles, brushing off any loose crumbs.
With an icing spatula, frost the sides and the top of the cake with the buttercream (less than 1/4-inch thick) to seal in the crumbs and truffle filling. Refrigerate (ideally) overnight to let the buttercream get hard.
Finish the cake with another thin coat of buttercream, or rolled fondant. Decorate with a buttercream or royal icing border and optional design.
To make the meringue buttercream:
In a saucepan, mix the 1 1/3 cups of sugar with the water and corn syrup. Place over low heat and gently swirl the pan until the sugar dissolves into a clear syrup. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook until the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage (240°F on a candy thermometer.) Do not stir after the syrup begins boiling.
As the syrup boils, whip the egg whites with an electric mixer until they are foamy. Gradually add the remaining 2/3 cup of sugar and whip until they form soft peaks. You want the syrup to reach soft-ball at the same time the egg whites form soft peaks, so begin whipping the whites when the surface of the boiling syrup is thick with bubbles.
When the syrup reaches soft-ball stage, with the mixer running, pour the syrup in a thin stream over the whites. Aim the syrup between the bowl and the whisk, taking care not to let it run onto the whisk, which spatters the syrup onto the sides of the bowl. Continue beating about 10 minutes, until the egg white and syrup mixture–the Italian meringue–is cool.
With the mixer running, beat the softened butter into the meringue, a little at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl and continue beating until the mixture becomes a very smooth, spreadable buttercream. Beat in desired flavorings.