My chicken-sitting ended yesterday, I really enjoyed looking after them, they’re all such characters. During my 10 days of fostering, we must have got almost 100 eggs! We gave a few away and ate loads of omelettes, French toast and plenty of fried/boiled/poached eggs.
Last week, I made a delicious all-yolk layer cake and, as promised, this week it’s an all whites one. It’s Rose Levy Beranbaum’s white velvet cake. Sometimes with this type of recipe, what you’re trying to achieve is a cake as white as pure, fresh snow. If that’s the case, you can make a few minor adjustments to the original cake recipe below.
Instead of using vanilla extract, use white caster sugar that has been stored in an airtight jar along with a split vanilla pod for a few weeks so that the flavour infuses. Some people swear by the use of shortening such as Stork which gives less colour than butter. Other people who care more about the taste than the colour say that butter is far superior.
Have a look at the pair of YouTube videos below the recipe where Rose herself shows us how it’s done!
- 4½ large egg whites
- 240ml/8½ fl oz milk
- 2¼tsp vanilla extract
- 300g/10½oz bleached cake flour*, sifted
- 300g/10½oz caster sugar
- 1tbsp + 1tsp baking powder
- ¼tsp salt
- 170g/6oz butter, softened
- 275ml/9¾ fl oz whipping cream
- 225g/8oz mascarpone
- 125g/4½oz icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350°F/Gas mark 4
- Grease two 23cm x 4cm (9-in x 1½-in) cake tins, line the bottoms with parchment paper, then grease again and flour
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, lightly combine the egg whites, ¼ of the milk and vanilla extract
- In a large mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend
- Add the butter and remaining ¾ of the milk. Mix on a low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened
- Increase to medium speed (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for 1½ minutes to aerate and develop the cake's structure
- Scrape down the sides
- Gradually add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure
- Scrape down the sides again
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with a spatula. The pans should be about half full
- Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted near the centre comes away clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the centre. The cakes should start to shrink from the sides of the pans only after removal from the oven
- Allow the cakes cool in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes
- Loosen the sides with a small metal spatula and invert onto two other greased wire racks. To prevent splitting, flip over again so that the tops face up. Allow to cool completely before frosting
- With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk the whipping cream until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat, or the cream will become grainy)
- In another bowl, whisk together the mascarpone and icing sugar until smooth
- Gently fold the whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until completely incorporated
- Use immediately to frost the top of one cake
- Place the other cake on top of the first and frost the top & sides
- *If like me you're based in the UK and find it hard to find bleached cake flour in the shops, have a look at Kate Coldrick's meticulous method to make your own version
A Victoria sandwich is a quintessentially British cake and this sponge cake with raspberry and mascarpone cream is a little twist on that. It follows the Delia Smith all-in-one sponge recipe that I use as the base of many of my sponge cakes.
I spread a few large dollops of the wild raspberry jelly I made in the summer between the layers and used a mascarpone/fromage frais mix instead of whipped cream. I like that little bit of acidity it gives to counter the sweetness of the jelly. This is a lovely cake to have for afternoon tea!