This cake. Oh, this cake. I spent a lot of time imagining the different components before actually baking it, and was so happy that it just worked. It’s actually one of the layers of my brother’s upcoming wedding cake, where my guidelines were cardamom plus something fruity. The cake part was pretty easy — just a slight tweak to my favorite vanilla cake was all it took. For the filling I finally settled on a very lightly sweetened strawberry jam. Strawberries + balsamic is a favorite in our house, and I think it matches well with that woodsy cardamom flavor. Next time I’m making a double batch of jam — it’s so delicious, whether spread between cake layers, stirred into yogurt, or just eaten out of the jar. Not to mention easy — just mix and roast!
This white chocolate mascarpone buttercream is a grown-up version of cream cheese frosting. Normally I don’t care much for white chocolate, but here it offsets the tanginess of the cheeses nicely. (Definitely don’t skimp on the quality of chocolate, though! Good chocolate will make or break this frosting.) The mascarpone mellows out the flavor, though you can replace with more cream cheese if you prefer. This frosting spreads and pipes well if used right away too — and no icing sugar means no grittiness! Winning.
Cardamom Cake with Strawberry Jam and White Chocolate Mascarpone Buttercream
Makes one 3-layer, 6-inch cake
For the Cardamom Cake
Adapted from Cake Paper Party
- 100g all-purpose flour
- 113g cake flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground cardamom
- 225g granulated sugar
- 2.5 large eggs, at room temperature (I crack an egg into a bowl to weigh it, beat it with a fork and add half to my other eggs. The rest gets used in omelets or for an egg wash.)
- 170g / 6 oz. sour cream, at room temperature
- 1/2 Tbsp vanilla bean paste
- 113g / 1/2 cup unsalted butter, very soft
- 4 Tbsp neutral vegetable oil
For the Roasted Strawberry Balsamic Jam
- 1 pound strawberries, tops trimmed and halved (frozen is fine; keep whole and no need to defrost)
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 1.5 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the White Chocolate Mascarpone Buttercream
- 255g / 9oz best quality white chocolate, chopped
- One 8oz package regular or light cream cheese, softened
- 4oz mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- 113g / 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
- 1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (or to taste)
- Simple syrup
- Gel food coloring, if desired (I used AmeriColor Dusty Rose)
For the cardamom cake:
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line the bottoms of three 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper and grease and flour the pans.
- In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream and vanilla bean paste. Set aside.
- Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cardamom, and sugar in a medium bowl and mix on low 30 seconds to blend.
- Add butter and vegetable oil to flour mix and mix on low for 30 seconds to moisten dry ingredients. The mixture should look like wet sand.
- Add half of egg mixture and beat on medium-high for 1 minute. Add the remaining egg mixture and beat on low for 30 seconds more.
- Divide evenly between the prepared pans and smooth the tops with an offset palette knife. Bake for about 25-35 minutes until the cake is well done (the top should feel springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean). Cool 10-20 minutes in pan and then turn out to a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting; wrap in two layers of plastic wrap and refrigerate/freeze if using more than a day later. (I definitely recommend chilling the cakes completely before assembling.)
For the Roasted Strawberry Balsamic Jam:
- Combine all ingredients in a roasting pan and stir to combine well. Allow mixture to sit for 15-30 minutes to macerate. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 275F.
- Roast for 1.5-2 hours, stirring occasionally. The mixture should look dark and syrupy.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool before transferring to a jar and refrigerating. I let the jam cool completely in the fridge and puree it in a food processor before using as cake filling. You can strain the jam beforehand if you like a thicker jam, though I didn’t find this necessary. If you choose to strain, definitely reserve the syrup for brushing on cake layers / adding to drinks / drizzling on ice cream!
For the White Chocolate Mascarpone Buttercream:
- Place white chocolate in a microwaveable bowl.
- Microwave at 15 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until chocolate is mostly melted. Before chocolate is completely melted, stir until smooth allowing the residual heat to finish the melting process. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
- Place softened cream cheese, mascarpone and butter in a large bowl and beat on low speed until creamy.
Beat mixture on low speed until creamy and well combined.
- Add melted white chocolate and continue mixing on low to incorporate. Scrape down the side of the bowl as necessary.
- Add in lemon juice and beat until smooth. Use immediately.
- Tint your buttercream and level cakes if desired. Place one cake round on a cake board and brush generously with simple syrup.
- Pipe a dam of buttercream around the edge and fill the center with about 1/4 c strawberry jam. Repeat process until all layers have been used, placing the last layer cut side down.
- Spread an even layer of buttercream over the entire cake to seal in the crumbs. If you’re doing the ruffle pattern as pictured, I suggest doing a thick crumb coat (i.e. try not to have cake layers visible). Chill cake for 20-30 minutes to set the frosting.
- Complete frosting as desired. I followed this tutorial for the ruffle pattern. For the top, I tinted the buttercream slightly darker and used an open star tip to pipe rosettes and stars, then finished with a light dusting of white sprinkles.