Wednesday, June 8, 2011

White Cake with Apricot Filling

Over the past few weeks I've been keeping my oven and mixer extremely busy.  I've had the privilage to make cookies, cupcakes and cakes for various occasions and have enjoyed every moment.  I look for any excuse to get in the kitchen and bake something and I've had more than my share of opportunities lately.  I'm not the only one who loves it when I bake, Tucker's face lights up when he sees the mixer and he now moves his hand in a spinning motion to tell me to turn it on...absolutely precious.  So back to the topic at hand.  My brother's girlfriend's favorite cake is a white cake with apricot filling and buttercream frosting.  Sounds easy enough, right?  Well it is when it's not a person's absolute favorite dessert that comes from a bakery that makes sweets that are sooooo good that I could only hope to make things that taste half as good theirs, oh and not to mention this is for a person who means the world to my brother.  So it is an easy task except when all of those things are standing in your way.

So, since I had a very hard task in front of me I knew I needed a cake recipe that was out of this world.  The first place I started looking was the What's Cooking board on The Nest.  Those girls are incredibly talented, so resourceful and not to mention have some fabulous blogs, I knew they would point me in the right direction.  After hearing recommendations from them I decided to research their top recs as well as read over some cake comparisons on Bridget's blog, The Way The Cookie Crumbles.  I love reading her blog and I especially enjoy all of her recipe comparisons.  If you are ever undecided about which recipe to use for a specific dish go to her blog to see if she's done a comparison, she won't lead you in the wrong direction!  After reading what she had to say about each recipe, I knew I couldn't go wrong with any of the compared recipes but it helped me choose the one I wanted to make for this particular occasion.  For this special occasion I decided to make Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake.  Although now I am looking for reasons to try the other two compared recipes because they look and sound delicious as well.

I was so happy with the way this cake turned out.  Not only did I make 2, 9 inch round cakes to fill and stack but I also make some cute, little mini cupcakes for Tucker to take to I needed to be able to do some QC (quality control) to ensure the taste and texture were perfect.  The mini cupcakes were incredible; they were light, fluffy so moist and airy but packed full of flavor...they were like sweet little pillows!  I've never had a cake this moist that was so light and fluffy.  I can honestly say this was one of the best cakes I've ever had and ever made.  Although this cake is terrific alone, the apricot filling and buttercream frosting make it that much better.  I mean, can you really go wrong with buttercream?  I think not.

So if your looking for that perfect dessert, no matter what occasion, this is the cake for you.  This cake is sure to be a crowd pleaser.  It's not overly sweet; the apricots add so much flavor but they have a little bit of a different flavor that helps cut the sweetness from the cake and buttercream.  This is one of Spencer's new, favorite flavor combinations and cakes.  Believe it or not, he was skeptical of the flavors at first.

So let's get on with the good stuff!

Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake


For the cake-

2¼ Cups (9 ounces) cake flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ Teaspoon salt
1¼ Cups whole milk or buttermilk
4 Large egg whites
1½ Cups (10½ ounces) sugar
2 Teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 Stick (8 tablespoons/4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ Teaspoon pure lemon extract

For the buttercream frosting-

1 Cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4-5 Cups powdered sugar
4-5 Tbs milk
1 Tsp vanilla

For the apricot filling-

2 6oz packages dried apricots
1 1/2 Cups water
2 Tsp grand mariner (optional)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2-3/4 Cups granulated sugar


For the cake-

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round piece of parchment paper that has been buttered as well.  Place the prepared pans on a baking sheet and set aside.

Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl, set aside.

In a separate bowl sift the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.

Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or other large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter  to the sugar mixture and with the paddle or whisk attachment, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is well combined, then add the rest of the dry ingredients. Finally, beat the batter on medium-high for 2 minutes to ensure it is thoroughly mixed and aerated.

Divide the batter equally between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch (a thin knife or toothpick inserted into the centers should come out clean).

Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes to release them from the sides of the pan, remove cakes from pans and remove parchment paper. Invert the cakes and place on cooling racks and allow to cool until room temperature.
(the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months).

For the buttercream-

Place the butter in a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip on medium-high for 1-2 minutes, until fluffy.  Gradually add 2 cups of powdered sugar and whip until incorporated, then add the vanilla and 3 tablespoons milk and whip until combined.  Gradually add 2 more cups of powdered sugar and beat on high for 1 minute, until fluffy and aerated.  If the icing is too thick add a little more milk, if it's too thin add a little more powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached.

Place the frosting in a piping bag fitted with a large tip, I used the star tip.  Lay one of the 9 inch rounds on a cake board and pipe a rim of frosting around the top of the cake, leaving a little space between the edge of the cake and the rim of frosting.  Spoon the desired amount of filling inside the frosted rim then place the remaining layer of cake on top of the filled layer and slightly press.  Frost the out side of the cake as desired. 

For the filling-

Place apricots and water in a small saucepan and allow to stand, covered, 2 hours. Simmer for 20 minutes on very low heat, tightly covered or until apricots are soft.

Place apricots and remaining liquid in a food processor and puree. Add Grand Marnier, lemon juice and sugar, mix with several on-off turns. Add a little more sugar for a sweeter filling, if desired. 

Place in a air tight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Recipe source:
cake-Dorie Greespan, as seen on The Way The Cookie Crumbles
apricot filling- Wilton
frosting-a Lynsey original


Anonymous said...

I would never have thought to put apricot filling in this cake, but it sounds perfect for summer! It looks pretty too!

Quay Po Cooks said...

This cake look simple and elegant. I am sure the apricot adds nice flavor to the cake.

VelvetMarmoset said...

I'm trying a dairy free mod of this right now! Just about to decide between coconut milk, soy milk, hemp milk, or almond milk.... Fingers crossed.

Anonymous said...

Can I used apricot filling that I use to make my apricot cookies or do I need to make the filling from dried apricots?

Lynsey said...

It's possible you could use the filling you use for you cookies. It's hard for me to say for sure since I don't know what the recipe is and what the consistency of your filling is. This filling is slightly thick, but a border of buttercream is piped around the rim of the cake to ensure the filling doesn't ooze out.

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