“Cake is happiness! If you know the way of the cake, you know the way of happiness! If you have a cake in front of you, you should not look any further for joy!”
― C. JoyBell C.
From start to chocolatey towering finish, this velvety white chocolate, rich dark chocolate, strawberry filled, Swiss meringue vanilla buttercream topped, chocolate glazed, chocolate-covered strawberry four-layer Neapolitan Cake took six hours to bake and assemble. I can’t think of a better way to spend six hours can you?
There are a total of five recipes involved including two cake recipes that will give you a pretty dramatic piece of cake when sliced with alternating layers of white chocolate and dark chocolate cake. I can totally picture an evening dress and a tuxedo to celebrate its formal look whereas expanding sweatpants are probably a better option.
White Chocolate Cake
- 5 large egg whites (My eggs came from Bella Wines farm…thanks Jay!)
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 2 3/4 cup (360 g) cake flour
- 1 1/4 cups (250 g) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (170 g) unsalted room temperature butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 6 ounces (170 g) white chocolate, melted and cooled
- Note — you will also need a jar of (80 ml) strawberry preserves for assembling the cake and 12 strawberries
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans.
Stir together the egg whites and 1/4 cup of the milk in a small bowl, set aside. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low until combined. With the mixer on low add the butter, vanilla and the remaining 1/2 cup of milk until the dry ingredients are moistened. Turn the mixer to medium and mix for about a minute until combined. Stop the mixer, scrape down the bowl.
Turn the mixer to medium. Add the egg white mixture in three parts, mixing for about 20 seconds after each addition. Stop the mixer, scrape down. Add the white chocolate and mix until just combined.
Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared pans. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.
Yipeee…you have completed one recipe at this point!
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsweetened high-quality cocoa powder
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 ml) grapeseed oil (could use canola)
- 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup hot strong-brewed coffee
Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans. Your oven will also be at 350 F for these layers.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and baking soda, set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat together the oil and sugar on medium for 2 minutes. Add the eggs, egg yolk, vanilla and almond extract. Stop the mixer and scrape bowl.
Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stop the mixer and scrape bowl. With the mixer on low, stream the coffee. Mix on medium-low for no more than 30 seconds or until combined.
Evenly divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake in a 350 F oven for 25 to 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Let them cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing the cakes from the pans.
- 1 1/3 cups (8 ounces/ 226 g) chopped semisweet chocolate
- 12 medium strawberries, washed and dried well
Melt the chocolate in the top portion of a double boiler. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the chocolate from the heat and dip each strawberry into the chocolate one at a time and set it on the parchment paper to dry and harden.
Vanilla swiss meringue buttercream
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons egg whites
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups unsalted butter (very important that it be at room temperature or it won’t combine properly) cubed
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Note…you may end up making two batches to fully cover your cake and have enough left over for the rosettes…
Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer. Whisk them together by hand to combine. Make a double boiler by filling a medium pot filled with water over medium-high heat. Place the mixer bowl on top of the pot. The bottom of the pot should not touch the water.
Whisk intermittently and heat the egg mixture to 160F (candy thermometer) or until it is hot to the touch. Carefully fit the mixer bowl onto the stand mixer and whip with the wire attachment on high speed for 8 to 10 minutes, until it holds medium-stiff peaks. The bowl should be back to room temperature at this point. Stop the mixer and swap out the whisk attachment for the paddle.
With the mixer on low, add the cubed butter, a few tablespoons at a time then the vanilla. Once incorporated, turn up the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until the buttercream is silky smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.
Some Assembly Required
Once the cakes are cool, level them and choose which layer will be at the bottom. Place it on a cake plate. Spread on about 1/3 cup of strawberry preserves. Place the second layer of cake on top, alternating between the white and dark chocolate cakes and repeat. Smoothly frost the cake with the buttercream and refrigerate it, uncovered until firm.
- 2/3 cup (4 ounces/115 g) chopped semisweet chocolate
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Place the chocolate, cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low until the cream begins to steam and the chocolate starts to melt. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt until combined. Cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes.
Starting with about 1/2 cup at a time, pour the chocolate glaze into the centre of the frosted cake and use an offset spatula to spread it around the top allowing it to drip over the edges. Add more glaze until you like the way it looks.
Fill a pastry bag with a star tip with the remaining buttercream. After the glaze has set, pipe rosettes around the top edge of the cake. Place the chocolate-dipped strawberries on the rosettes.
“Your good friend has just taken a piece of cake out of the garbage and eaten it. You will probably need this information when you check me into the Betty Crocker Clinic.” Cynthia Nixon