This wonderful white cake can be dressed up or
down for any occasion. A versatile showpiece for any celebration, it lends itself well to almost any decorator’s vision! Use this recipe to make this month’s Sugared Cranberry Cake, guaranteed to dazzle over the winter holidays or the Geode Anniversary Cake featured on the cover! This is one of 17 delicious recipes found in the 2022 Milk Calendar.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Butter two 8-inch (2 L) spring form or 2-inch (5 cm) high cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together milk and sour cream.
In a large bowl, using a stand or handheld mixer, beat butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat mixture for about 2 minutes or until light coloured and very fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Stir in 1/3 of the flour mixture then 1/2 of the milk mixture, repeat once ending with remaining flour. Stir until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans equally and smooth top. Bake for about 35 minutes or until tester inserted in centre comes out clean and cakes are light golden all over. Let cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes, then turn out onto rack and remove parchment paper. Let cool completely
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting: Meanwhile, in a large bowl, using a stand or handheld mixer, beat butter until very light in colour. Slowly beat in half of the icing sugar. Add cream and vanilla and beat until combined. Beat in remaining icing sugar until light and fluffy. Set aside at room temperature.
Turn cakes over and, using a long serrated knife, trim cake top to be level if necessary. Cut each cake in half to get 4 layers. Place 1 layer on cake stand or board and spread with a generous 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the buttercream. Repeat with remaining layers. Spread some of the buttercream all around the cake to create a thin layer of buttercream, which will set the crumbs. (Keep remaining buttercream at room temperature, simply cover with plastic wrap.) Refrigerate cake for at least 1 hour or until buttercream is firm and set. Remove cake from fridge and spread with remaining buttercream and decorate as desired. Refrigerate up to 2 days ahead. Let come to room temperature before cutting to serve.
Sugared Cranberry Cake
Tint half of the vanilla buttercream with a touch of red paste food colouring. Use the plain buttercream for your crumb coat. Carefully swirl any remaining into tinted buttercream and spread all over cake in a decorative pattern.
Bring a small pot of equal parts water and sugar to boil (1/2 cup (125 ml) each). Add 1 cup (250 mL) whole fresh cranberries and let simmer for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove cranberries onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Let stand for 30 minutes. Sprinkle cranberries with 1/2 cup (125 mL) of sugar, rolling well to coat evenly. Let dry for 4 hours before adding to cake decoration.
Once layers are together cut out a small chunk of the cakes in a v-shape or “V” to create the space to create the geode look (enjoy the cake you take out) then spread some buttercream in the exposed cake layers as well as all over the cakes. Refrigerate cake for at least 1 hour or until buttercream is firm and set.
Spread remaining buttercream all over cake. Using rock candy or pop rocks candy, press into the “V” space to fill in the whole area. If you have some gold or silver flakes carefully place along edge of cake with tweezers to finish the edge. Refrigerate until firm.
Spread cake with layer of buttercream and roll out fondant to cover cake. Carefully place over cake and smooth on sides including into cut piece where geode will go. Refrigerate until firm. Spread some more buttercream into cut side of cake and start placing rock sugar into it with darker pieces on the inside and lighter on the outside. You can place some silver edible glitter or flakes along the edges to finish the look.