Tuesday, February 12, 2013

February Fabulousness: Oscar Cake from Spago

It's that time of the year. Everyone's getting ready for the Oscars. As luck would have it I bumped into a charming woman at a party who used to be a pastry chef at Spago. She had made my friend's birthday cake -- a fabulous white chocolate and berry creation that literally melted in your mouth, one of the the most sumptuous cakes I've tasted. I must befriend this woman, I said to myself, she of the amazing cake, she of white chocolate scrumptiousness. Lo and behold, Dale has very kindly shared the recipe with us, (although, it must be said, this cake is not for the beginner cook). -- MsW

Dale says:
This is not a cake for faint of heart; it is expensive and gets everything in the kitchen dirty including the chef. But the payoff is worth it. I have made this cake for a couple of weddings for over 100 people and for very special friends who I am crazy about. The cake unfrosted of course freezes beautifully. My almost 90 year old mom taught me you should always have a "safety cake" in the freezer, because you never know when you might need a cake!

the unadorned white chocolate cake


3oz. White Chocolate, use the best quality you can find, of course, melted.
6oz. Butter
14oz. Sugar
4 yolks
1tsp. Vanilla extract
1 cup Buttermilk
10oz. Pastry Flour
1tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
4 Whites
1/4 cup Sugar

2 cups Whipping Cream
1/2 cup Creme Fraiche
1/4-1/2 cup Sugar


Cream butter and sugar very well (set a timer for 3-4 minutes -- that well!)
Add the yolks one at a time, add vanilla, mix well after each addition
Add melted white chocolate
Mix the baking soda and the buttermilk, it will bubble up
Sift the flours and salt
Alternate adding buttermilk and flour to your batter
Whip whites to medium peak, add 1/4 cup sugar gradually
Fold the whites into the batter in thirds

Line 2 9 inch cake pans with parchment and grease
Bake at 350 until center springs back when touched. Start checking at 30 minutes.

Cool cakes.


Whip the whipping cream and Creme Fraiche with sugar until it is heavily whipped. Transfer cakes to cake rounds. Layer bottom with the whipped cream mixture. Layer the cake with sliced strawberries. You can add blueberries as well. (I have also filled this cake with lemon curd and blueberries, which is delicious).
Cover the berries with more whipped cream. Carefully place the second cake on top of the first one. Cover the entire cake with whipped cream.
I like to band the cake with white chocolate, but even if you do not do that top the cake with loads of berries.

Dale & her friends with "the cake"

the finished cake, banded & decorated

If you are as flummoxed as I am by the notion of "cake banding" this video might help. -- Ms W

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