I first tried this cake when I went to a Central Market cooking class taught by Nick Malgieri. I love going to cooking classes because I usually take away a few new techniques, or I get to learn about different authors. Nick had some wonderful stories, plus this cake was amazing. I made it a few times after the class just so that I could reassure myself that it was as good as I remembered.
The story that Nick told during the class was about how someone had submitted this recipe to a James Beard baking contest. Apparently Mr. Beard thought the cake was delicious, but he thought that it was too simple to be considered a winner. I have to admit that I used to be guilty of the same thing. I used to worry that people wouldn’t like my food unless it was extremely difficult to make. I’ve gotten over that! Now, I figure that if the food tastes good, that’s enough!
What I love about this cake, besides the simplicity, is that it isn’t overly sweet, and it’s super light! The whipped cream in the batter makes a huge difference. I made this last week for a group, so I turned the recipe into cupcakes. I also added some orange zest and used a cream cheese frosting. I’m going to give you the recipe as Nick wrote it, because you should try the original first!
Whipped Cream Cake
from The Modern Baker, by Nick Malgieri
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon water
- 3 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350º
- Combine the flour, 3/4 cup of the sugar, the baking powder, and salt in a bowl and stir well to mix.
- Put the cream and vanilla in a large bowl. Nick says you should whisk by hand, but I say use the mixer and beat until thickened and stiff. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Whisk in the remaining 3/4 cup sugar. Whisk in the flour mixture in 3 separate additions, whisking smooth after each addition.
- Grease and line 2 9″ pans with parchment. Divide the batter between the 2 prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake the layers 30 to 35 minutes.
- Cool the layers in the pans for 5 minutes and then unmold.
- For the whipped cream frosting: Combine the 1/2 c. sugar and water in a heavy saucepan and stir well to mix. Put 1/2 cup of the cream in a second small saucepan. Place the first pan on medium heat and cook undisturbed until the sugar begins to melt and caramelize—you’ll see a few wisps of smoke coming out of the sugar. Reduce the heat to low and stir occasionally so that the sugar melts and caramelizes evenly. Remove it from the heat when the caramel is still very pale . Slide the pan with the cream off the heat. As soon as the cream has some bubbles around the edge, add it to the caramel at arm’s length, averting your face—the caramel will boil up and may splatter out of the pan. Pour the diluted caramel into a medium bowl and cool it to room temperature. Stir in the remaining 2 1/2 cups cream and the vanilla and chill until you are ready to finish the cake (this can be made the day before).
- To finish the caramel whipped cream, beat the cream mixture until it hols a stiff peak. Spread the whipped cream between the two cake layers and then all around.