Last year, it was lemon and strawberries; this time, vanilla and passion fruit take the stage to celebrate my sister’s birthday.
I don’t bake layer cakes as often as I would like to, but when I do this is the first book I reach for – again, the results were great. The cake layers turned out tender and the ganache was delicious and light, yet easy to spread and firm enough to hold the cake together (I adapted a white chocolate ganache recipe from the book).
Not completely sure if Jessica’d liked the cake, I asked: “wanna take some home?” - when she smiled and eagerly said “yes!” there was no doubt left. :D
Vanilla buttermilk cake with whipped passion fruit ganache
adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups (300ml) buttermilk – divided use
3 cups (420g) cake flour, sifted*
2 cups (400g) sugar – I used vanilla infused sugar
4 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (226g/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
Passion fruit ganache:
168g (6oz) white chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup + 1 ½ cups (440ml) heavy cream – divided use
2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup (120ml) pulp of passion fruit
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Butter the bottom and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans or spray to coat with vegetable oil. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and grease the paper.
Put the eggs and the yolks in a medium bowl, add the vanilla and ¼ cup (60ml) of buttermilk. Whisk to blend well.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl – it has to be large, because there will be a huge amount of batter; whisk to blend. Add the butter and the remaining 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk and butter to these dry ingredients and with the mixer on low, blend together. Raise the mixer to medium speed and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add the egg mixture in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing only until thoroughly incorporated. Divide the batter among the prepared pans.
Bake the cake layers for 28-32 minutes or until a cake tester or a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let the cake layers cool in the pan for 10 minutes; then carefully turn out onto wire racks, peel off the paper liners and let cool completely.
Prepare the ganache: put the white chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring 1/3 cup (80ml) of the cream to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, let stand for 1 minute then whisk until smooth. Let stand until cool to room temperature.
Process the passion fruit pulp in a food processor or blender to crack the seeds. Pass through a fine sieve directly onto the white chocolate mixture and mix well (I left a bit of seeds in the ganache just to make the cake look more like a passion fruit).
In a chilled bowl, with chilled beaters, beat the remaining 1 ½ cups of cream (360ml) with the sugar until softly whipped. Stir in the passion fruit cream and beat until fairly stiff, taking care not to overbeat the mixture, which would cause the ganache to separate.
To assemble the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread about ½ cup of the whipped ganache over the layer right to the edge. Repeat with the next layer. Plate the last layer on top and use the remaining ganache to frost the top and sides of the cake.
* homemade cake flour: 1 cup (140g) all purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons corn starch