I was sat trying to write an adequate description to do this cake justice. After typing and deleting several attempts I asked my harshest critic, my Mum, what she thought of it to which she replied “ Heaven! Why? Are you making one?”
So here you have it, my recipe for Heaven.
Serves 10-12. You will need x3 20-22cm Sandwich tins, a food mixer with a whisk attachment or a hand-held electric whisk, a sugar thermometer and a palette knife.
This recipe has a couple of more advanced techniques but I have tried to make them as easy as possible, its only a cake, what’s the worst that could happen?
Egg Yolks – 120g
Caster Sugar – 330g
Vanilla Extract – 1 Tablespoon
Vegetable oil – 115ml
Egg white – 250g
Plain Flour – 380g
Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
Baking Powder – 23g
Cream of Tartar – 1/2 tsp Or Lemon Juice – 1 tablespoon
Whole Milk – 180ml
Caster Sugar – 200g
Water – 55ml
Egg Whites – 100g
Unsalted Butter at room temperature – 250g
Vanilla extract (with seeds is preferable) – 1 teaspoon ( or use 1 vanilla pod and scrape the seeds).
Raspberries – 200g
Caster sugar – 100g
Lemon juice – 1 tablespoon
The Jam: Put all the the ingredients into a medium saucepan and heat on a medium heat until starting to boil. Once you see it bubbling, increase to a high heat and try not to stir too much, but enough to make sure it doesn’t catch on the bottom. If you have a thermometer, place it in the jam and when it reaches 105°c your jam will be ready. Remove it from the heat and pour into a shallow tray to cool, you can press some clingfilm over the top of the surface when it is cool enough to touch.
The Cake: Pre-heat the oven to 180°c. Line the bases of the three cake tins with parchment paper. Weigh the egg yolks, 50g of the caster sugar and the vanilla into a mixing bowl and whisk until pale and fluffy, around 5 minutes on a fast speed. Slowly add your oil to this mix and continue whisking until it is all combined.
Now, whisk the egg whites and the Cream of tartar or lemon juice, until they form soft peaks. Whilst still whisking, add the remaining sugar gradually until fully combined and whisk for a few more minutes to form stiff peaks.
Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and add to the yolk mixture gradually, adding some of the milk if it becomes too stiff to mix. When all the flour is combined, add the rest of the milk and mix. Once the whites are ready, fold half of them into the yolk batter and then fold in the remaining until fully combined.
Divide the batter between the 3 tins and carefully spread the mix with a palette knife or the back of a spoon. Try not to play around too much with the mix getting it perfectly flat, the more you do this, the more air you will knock out of your lovely cake, it will level in the oven.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden. Insert a sharp knife to make sure it comes out clean and is cooked. Leave to cool on a wire wrack.
The Buttercream: Effectively you are making an Italian meringue and adding butter to make this, easy peasy!! Have the egg whites ready in your mixing bowl with the whisk attachment in place. Weigh the sugar and water into a small saucepan and place on a medium heat with the sugar thermometer sitting inside the saucepan. When the sugar reaches 115° start to whisk the egg whites to peaks. As the sugar reaches 121°c take it off the heat and slowly pour it into the whipped up egg whites as they are still whisking. (Pour slowly down the inside edge of the bowl, if you pour into the centre, the whisk will just throw the sugar everywhere). Once all combined, turn the mixer up to full speed and continue whisking for around 15-30 minutes, until the mixture cools.
Once the bowl feels cool to touch on the outside, you can start to add the butter gradually and continue whisking, until it is all incorporated. When it is a silky and firm consistency, add the vanilla.
Assembly: When you have removed the 3 sponges, place them onto a chopping board and carefully trim the very tops of the sponges to remove the brown layer (this just looks prettier when you slice it). Now spread some butter cream onto one of the sponges, place another sponge on top of this and spread the jam (perhaps you won’t need all the jam but don’t overfill it) and leave a small gap around the edges of the sponge. Lay the last sponge on top, flipping it upside down so the bottom edge is the top of the cake. Now sit in onto a plate or board and mask the outside of the cake just covering it lightly. Place this into the fridge for 20 minutes or so until set, then remove it and mask the cake a second time, using the palette knife to make some rustic looking scores. Set this in the fridge again, decorate as you wish and serve at room temperature.
– Obviously you can buy the jam but I prefer to make this super easy recipe as it has less sugar and its worth it.
– I make this at home with one mixer and one whisk attachment. I usually transfer the yolk mixture once it is whisked, into a large bowl, wash my whisk and mixing bowl and then whisk the egg whites. If you have a food mixer and an electric whisk… then happy days!!!
YOU MUST wash the yolk out. If you get a speck of yolk in your egg whites, they will not whisk to peaks. Science bit… basically the fat in the yolks stops the proteins in the whites from forming their network with each other and trapping the air to form the fluffy peaks.
– The buttercream!!! I’m going to let you in on a secret here…this buttercream can be known to split occasionally and yes I have done this quite a few times. It is usually down to not leaving the meringue to cool enough before you add the butter, or your butter being too cold or hot. You have to imagine that if you combine two things, you want them to be a similar consistency. Also you must add the butter very gradually and let it mix a while before you add the next bit, patience is key!
If it splits do not fear!! Put it in the fridge for a while until it cools and firms a little, then remove it and whisk it again. Now this is my very naughty tip… whilst whisking, apply some heat to the bowl. I used to just flash the outside of the bowl with the light flame on my chef’s blowtorch but be very careful, you only want to do this a little. I have been known to use my hair dryer at home before when I haven’t had my blowtorch. This usually helps and it whisks back to a smooth consistency.