This light and airy Berry Cream Cake might just be the quintessential summer dessert. The creamy topping showcases whatever berries you choose to strew across it. For added flavor, feel free to pass a bowl of lightly sugared berries (not shown) of either a single type of berry you’ve used or maybe all of them, mixed together.
With all the light airiness of the cake and the creamy, billowy filling there’s another opportunity to add more berry flavor, and it’s an opportunity you won’t want to miss. A surprise layer of a “coordinating” flavor of jam is going to provide not only a punch of flavor but also a little contrast to this all-white confection.
About Berry Cream Cake:
First of all, ya gotta know this is a cake that reads very “light.” Even though it’s a two-layer cake, because of the lightness, you will want to keep in mind that this cake will be wonderful for a smaller gathering or dinner party. It’s a perfect sub for something like a strawberry shortcake.
Speaking of strawberries you can see I chose strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries for the cake shown, and I added cherries, too, which aren’t a berry at all. So it’s my cake, I do what I want, lol! Seriously, I couldn’t resist them in the store and their tartness was welcome! All in all, this cake looked quite patriotic, red, white, and blue, which was fitting since it was a 4th of July dessert. I wouldn’t hesitate to serve this for any summer holiday or special occasion. It will fit right in.
The coordinating layer of jam in my cake was blueberry, but a layer of strawberry, cherry, or blackberry jam would all have been just as delicious. I love that the layer is a “hidden secret” until revealed when the cake is cut.
I mentioned, above, passing a bowl of fruit to serve alongside. I chose strawberries – maybe it was gilding the lily and not entirely necessary but I don’t have a high tolerance for desserts that aren’t chocolate unless they’re a little over the top! Besides, there was a stellar sale on strawberries so it made sense to use them and let them shine.
About the Cake:
This delectable cake is airy and beautiful and absolutely tender. If you’d like a comparison, I feel the addition of egg yolks in this cake make it a little richer than an angel food like my Aunt Mary’s Angel Food Cake.
And while this Berry Cream Cake has enough structure to hold up to the toppings, the denser structure of my Strawberry Dream Cake just isn’t needed. The top layer of that cake has to be dense enough to perch heroically over a sea of strawberries – the berry cream cake doesn’t have to do anything but look pretty and taste delish!
The base of the cake is two layers of light and airy sponge cake that came from Mark Bittman, courtesy of the King Arthur Baking Company. I’ve never made a bad recipe from either the celebrity chef Mark Bittman or King Arthur, so when I was looking for a sponge cake recipe, it just made sense to give it a try. I wanted a higher cake for more drama. so I chose to use 8″ cake pans instead of 9″.
Success in Making a Sponge Cake:
For the technical part of making a sponge cake. It’s important to follow the directions and measurements closely. There’s no room for error! Have all ingredients at room temperature for the best rise.
- Prep the cake pans first and make sure the oven is preheated to the correct temperature; the cake can’t be waiting around while those things happen once it’s mixed up.
- Separate the eggs into three containers. One for the egg whites, one for the yolks and the third is the one you crack your egg over as you separate it. You’ll contain the yolk in your hand or egg separator or shell and let the white fall into the cup. When you have done so successfully, then transfer the yolk and the white to the appropriate containers.
- If you make a mistake and get any yolk into that “cracking” container, get a fresh clean container out and use that egg for something else. If any yolk gets in the whites, they won’t reach their full volume.
- Make sure that the beater and bowl the egg whites are whipped in is pristinely clean with no residual fat which could cause the egg whites to not reach their full volume.
- Watch the timing in the recipe for appropriately beating the ingredients and adding the sugar. Do not overbeat but know that when you run a bit of the beaten egg white between your fingers you shouldn’t feel the sugar granules.
- As far as timing for beating (or kneading) the standard in a recipe is always for a stand mixer unless otherwise stated. If using a hand mixer, you may have to go longer.
- The slow spring back when the center of the cake is touched determines when that cake is done. The “pulling away from the sides” is a visual clue but if you have to choose to go by one or the other, go by the spring back. If not baked enough the cake could fall. As is, it’s normal for this cake to shrink a bit.
- With today’s equipment, you don’t have to be so careful with a cake while it’s baking like you would have had to back in the “olden days” but do avoid checking too much and slamming the oven door as you do so.
The Filling and “Frosting”:
If you’re a follower, you might remember the Strawberry Dream Cake I made a while back. Maybe not, maybe it’s just me that can’t remember people’s names from a party but can remember the dessert!
Anyway, I’m using the same type of filling/topping for this cake. A little cream cheese and whipping cream. The cream cheese helps this filling/frosting by giving additional stability to the whipped cream. There’s just a touch of vanilla and the faintest smidge of almond extract. There’s something about almond that’s magical in this frosting.
You’ll need to store this cake in the fridge; you’ll want to chill it after it’s made and before it’s served (at least for an hour or two.) That helps firm up the frosting. Don’t expect it to last too long once filled and frosted, though – this is going to be best put together and served the same day. Top with fruit immediately before serving.
If you have to make it ahead, it’s best to make the cake and wrap it well; it will keep for a day or two with no problem. The filling/frosting can be made the day before and refrigerated.
Leftovers: They may not look as pretty but they are gonna taste great! Store any leftovers tightly wrapped in the fridge.
Saving Money on Berry Cream Cake:
- I use the same strategy for buying almost all baking goods, especially since the rising prices of butter, cream, cream cheese, and eggs. Know your prices so you know what is a good deal and what is a great deal.Generally, the low at your grocery is going to be before any holiday, especially the Winter Holidays and Lent/Easter. Discount stores (like Aldi & Lidl) and big box stores (like Sam’s and Costco) may have great savings but they usually don’t compare to your grocery store holiday prices. To see what might be on sale before/during any major food holiday, follow my link Win at the Grocery.
- Berries of all sorts are usually on a deep discount prior to any summer holiday. If you are minding your budget, choose the berries that are most price effective.
- This cake calls for superfine sugar. Unless you’re a baker, you might not want to buy and keep on hand.
Berry Cream Cake
- Total Time: 2 1/2 hours + chill
- Yield: 6 to 8 servings 1x
- Category: desserts cake
- Cuisine: American
For the cake:
- 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
- 1 cup superfine sugar (see note)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cake flour (see note)
For the frosting/filling:
- 1 package cream cheese, softened
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
For assembly and serving:
- generous half cup of quality jam or preserves (choose to match one of the berries)
- assorted berries for top and garnish, about 2 cups, total
- about 2 cups berries to pass, sliced as necessary
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
To make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease or butter (or spray) two 8″ (at least 2″ deep) round pans. Line the bottoms with parchment, then grease or butter (or spray) and flour the parchment.
Combine the egg yolks and 3/4 cup of sugar in a large bowl. Using a stand mixer, beat on medium-high speed until the mixture becomes pale and thick, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and salt.
In a clean bowl with a clean whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, beating on medium-high speed until the whites are stiff and glossy, about 2 minutes. Fold the yolk mixture, one third at a time, into the whites.
Sift the flour over the mixture and fold gently until incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly between the pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges just begin to pull away from the pan and the center springs back when lightly touched.
Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool in the pans on a rack for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes turn the layers out of the pans, peel off the paper, and return to the rack to finish cooling right side up.
- Superfine sugar can be made or bought. To make, use 198 grams as the measurement and whirl in food processor or blender. No scale? Simply start with one cup and two to three teaspoons of granulated sugar. Do not over-process. Crystals should still be distinct, not powdered as in powdered sugar.
- To substitute for cake flour: Measure one cup of flour. Remove 1 tablespoon of the flour and replace it with one tablespoon of cornstarch.
For the Filling/Frosting and Assembly:
Beat cream cheese on medium with 1/3 cup of sugar until lightened. Slowly add the cream, beating at medium-low until incorporated. Turn speed to high and add the remaining sugar, vanilla, and almond extracts. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
Place one layer of cake on stand. Spread the jam or preserves, not quite reaching to the edge. Divide the filling in half and spread half over the jam on the bottom layer.
Place the top layer on the cake. Dollop, spread, and swirl. When ready to serve, top with berries, saving a few to garnish. If using strawberries, try fanning one or two. To pile berries, use a bit of the filling/frosting to adhere them in place.
To prepare the berries to pass with the cake, place in serving container and sprinkle with sugar. Slice any large berries like strawberries first. Best of prepare these an hour or so ahead.
Keywords: Berries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Cake, Cherries, Cream, Cream Cheese, Desserts, Jam Jelly or Preserves, Strawberries