I've Moved!

Friday, January 6, 2012

berry surprise cake.

It's time to take a break from macarons and get my daily dose of sugar in the form of cake!

The recipe is from Dorie Greenspan and once I saw the title, I knew I had to try it. Originally, it's a sponge cake that's been hollowed out and filled with a refreshingly tangy cream cheese mousse and raspberries before being cleverly covered up with a sliced layer of cake and then christened with mounds of freshly whipped cream. Love.

I read about some serious sinkage problems with the sponge post-cooling so I decided to bake it in a chiffon pan to minimize the likelihood of a crater in the middle of the cake. And also because I didn't want to hollow out the cake and waste all that sponge. Baking the cake in a chiffon pan would already provide a convenient hole to pour all that delish cream cheese mousse in.

I realized that my hole was too small and narrow to store all that mousse so I used a 3 inch cutter to get a bigger storage area. I halved the recipe and baked it in a 6 inch chiffon pan, by the way. I took some of the cut out sponge and pressed it in the bottom of the hollow center just to create a base so that the mousse doesn't leak out.

Since we're talking about mousse now, I feel the need to point out that I increased the sugar as recommended by other bloggers. However, I think that's not entirely necessary unless you would prefer the mousse to be more sweet than tangy. I made it a little less guilt-inducing by using low fat cream cheese and swapping the cream that's supposed to be mixed in with the cream cheese for low fat milk. The best part is, it still tastes great!

For decoration, I used slightly less whipped cream than instructed in the recipe since I was only going to top the upper half of the cake and because I had to stuff as much mousse as I could in a limited amount of space, I left out the berries that were supposed to go inside the cake and used them to decorate the top instead. It looks much prettier anyway.

I think I need to cut myself another slice now...

Berry Surprise Cake
recipe taken from here

For the cake:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
4 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the syrup:
1/3 cup water
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp kirsch, chambord, framboise or raspberry syrup (I didn't have so I omitted)

For the filling:
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature (I used low-fat and used it straight from the fridge)
1/2 cup (I subbed with milk) + 2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp sugar (extra tablespoon optional if you prefer it on the sweet side)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the topping:
1 cup cold heavy cream
3 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 to 1 1/2 pints fresh raspberries, for filling and topping (I used a mix of berries)

For the cake: Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour the insides of a 8 x 3 inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a mixer and whisk to blend. Put the bowl over a saucepan with simmering water and continue to whisk until the sugar dissolves completely and the mixture is just warm to touch, about 3 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and whisk in vanilla.

Using the stand mixer, whisk the egg mixture on medium speed until tripled in volume and forms a ribbon that holds its shape for about 10 seconds when the beater is lifted. Switch to a spatula and sift over half the dry ingredients and fold in gently. Fold in the cooled melted butter then sift over the remaining dry ingredients and fold that in too.

Bake for 30 to 33 minutes or until the top is springy to touch and the sides are starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes before unmolding and letting it cool completely. The cake will cut more easily if you let it stand overnight, wrapped and kept at room temperature.

For the syrup: Stir the water and sugar together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Pour the syrup into a heatproof bowl, stir in liqueur and let syrup come to room temperature.

For the filling: Beat the cream cheese until soft, smooth and fluffy. While beating, gradually add the 1/2 cup cream, sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until the cream is absorbed and the cheese is smooth. Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl. Pour the remaining 2/3 cup cream into the same bowl and whip until it holds form peaks. Stir about one quarter of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture then fold in the rest. There's no need to wash the bowl- you'll be using it for the topping.

For the topping: Just before you are ready to assemble the cake, whip the cream to medium peaks. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until stiff. Cover the cream and refrigerate.

Assembly: Using a serrated knife, slice off the top 1/2 inch of the cake and set aside. With the knife, cut a circle that's 1/2 inch away from the edges of the cake, stopping between 1/4 and 1/2 inch from the bottom. Carefully pull out the cake within this circle. Transfer the cake to a platter or cardboard round.

Brush the inside of the cake with syrup and spoon a thin layer of filling over the bottom. Toss in 1/2 pint of the berries and cover with the remaining filling. Lift the reserved top layer onto the cake and press it down gently.

Frost the top and sides of the cake with the whipped cream. Finish with some raspberries and refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour (or for up to 6 hours) before serving.


  1. I made this recipe today and the only problem I had was that the cake batter did not stiffen up enough to hold the ribbon shape for 10 seconds. I beat it for 15 minutes and it tripled in volume, but left me with a cake that was only about 1 1/2" tall and it was rather dense. I substituted 1/2 tsp. orange extract in place of the kirsch and it worked beautifully. I put three tbsp. sugar in the filling and it was the right sweetness for us. Excellent recipe which I will make again.

    1. Oh dear. But I heard that a huge problem with this recipe is post-cooling sinkage, perhaps that happened to you too? That's why I used a chiffon pan to play it safe. The design of the pan helps to keep the cake's sides up. It's a wonderful cake, isn't it though.

  2. Fellow teen baker(: do you have an email that i can contact you with? I'd love to swap guest blogging with you!
    let me know!