Everyone in my family has a specific kind of birthday cake. When I was growing up, it was homemade carrot cake at my Dad’s house and raspberry-lemon cake from a local bakery at Mom’s. Things got a little awkward last year when I decided that I wanted to make my own cake. It was definitely worth it though.
Anyway, my brother’s birthday was this past week, so it was of course time to make another cake. Luckily for me, his is Boston Cream Pie, so I had an excuse to make this somewhat complicated but incredibly delicious recipe!
This recipe requires the cake to be frozen for at least 8 hours, so make sure to make it at least a day ahead of when you need it, or if you’re in my family/a boy scout, two days ahead. Never don’t be prepared… or something like that.
- 1.25 c milk (or 300g)
- .5 c sugar (or 100g)
- .25 c cake flour (or 30 g)
- .5 tsp salt
- 4 egg yolks*
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a medium saucepan, heat milk on medium-high until small bubbles form around the edges. While heating, stir the sugar, flour, and salt together in a small bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until blended, then slowly whisk in the flour mixture.
- Take the milk off heat and slowly add in the egg-flour mixture, a little at a time, whisking constantly. Once the mixture has been entirely combined,turn the heat back on to medium, and whisk continuously for 3 minutes or until boiling. In this time, once the small bubbles disappear and the mixture thickens, stop whisking to see if the mixture has come to a boil. Once it has, whisk for no more than 10 seconds and take off of heat.
- Push the mixture through a sieve** unto a small bowl. Stir in the vanilla, and then cover the mixture with plastic wrap, so that the wrap is on the surface of the cream to prevent a skin. Refrigerate for at least four hours, and store for up to 3 days in the fridge.
- *reserve 3 whites for the cake
- **the mixture should be as smooth as possible
- 4 large eggs, separated, and 3 egg whites
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3/4 cup (90 g) all-purpose flour
- pinch of kosher salt
- Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line a 13 x 18″ rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Using a stand mixer for 6-8 minutes or handheld mixer and medium bowl for 10-12 minutes, beat together the egg yolks, 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar, and lemon juice on high speed, until thick and doubled in volume. Stop the mixer a few times and scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that the ingredients are evenly mixed. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside. Clean the bowl and whisk attachment very well.
- Beat the egg whites on medium speed for 2-3 minutes (stand mixer) or 4-6 minutes (hand mixer) until soft peaks form. Keep beating until the whites peak then droop when the beaters are lifted out of the bowl. Still on medium speed, add in the remaining 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar about a spoonful at a time for about a minute. Keep beating for another 2 to 3 minutes, until the whites are glossy and hold a stiff peak when you lift the whisk straight out.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold about one third of the egg whites into the yolk mixture, then gently fold in the rest. Sift the flour and salt together over the top of the mixture and gently fold until completely incorporated*. Pour the batter into the baking sheet.
- Carefully spread the batter to cover the entire baking sheet, concentrating on filling the corners and edges so that the batter is the same thickness throughout.
- Bake the cake, rotating the baking sheet back to front about halfway through, for 18-24 minutes or until the top is golden brown and does not stick to your fingers when gently pressed in the center. Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes.
- Cover a large cutting board with parchment paper. Run a knife around the edge of the warm cake to loosen it from the sides of the baking sheet, and invert it onto the parchment. Carefully peel the parchment off the bottom of the cake and allow the cake to cool completely.
- Using a chef’s knife, cut the cake in half by width and then by length, so that there are 4 equally sized smaller cake layers of 5.5 x 8″.
- *It can be difficult to fully incorporate the flour into the batter, so make sure that it is well combined.
Coffee Cake-Soaking Syrup
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) hot brewed coffee
- 1/3 cup (70 g) granulated sugar
- In a small bowl, stir together the coffee and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Use while still warm.
- 4 oz (115 g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped, or 3/4 cups chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup (120 mL) heavy cream
- Heat cream in a small saucepan over high heat until small bubbles form along the side of the pan.
- Pour the chocolate into the cream and let sit for 30 seconds.
- Slowly whisk the chocolate and cream together until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is very smooth.
- Can be covered and stored in the fridge for up to a week
- 1.75 cups (420 mL) Creme patissiere
- 1 recipe (4 layers) Sponge Cake
- 1 recipe Coffee Syrup
- 1 cup (240 mL) heavy cream
- 1 cup (240 g) Ganache, warmed
- Make the creme patissiere at least 3.5 hours before the cake.
- Make the Cake. While the cake is in the oven, make the coffee syrup.
- Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of all four cake layers evenly with the syrup, using it all up.
- Place one cake layer, syrup side up, on the serving tray or plate.
- In a medium bowl, whip the heavy cream with a mixer or whisk until it holds very firm, stiff peaks. Fold in the creme patissiere until well combined.
- Spread about a a third of the cream mixture over the first cake layer, making sure to spread it out so that it is slightly thicker along the edges of the cake. Place a second layer, syrup side up again, on top of the cream layer and press down so that the cream layer is even. Spread about half of the remaining cream mixture over the cake, again concentrating around the edges. Place a third layer, syrup side up, on top of the cream, and spread the remaining cream on top. Add the final layer, syrup side up, and press down so that the cake is flat on top. Lightly wrap the cake with plastic wrap and freeze for about 8 hours or overnight*.
- Prepare the ganache.
- At least five hours before serving, remove the cake from the freezer and place it on a cutting board. Using a chef’s knife dipped in very hot water, trim the edges of the cake so that they are even**. Clean the knife several times to make sure that the sides are neat.
- Pour the warm ganache over the top of the cake, and spread quickly so that it sets in an even layer. Let excess ganache drip over the sides of the cake, leaving some of the cake exposed. Let the ganache set and the cake thaw at room temperature for three hours, then keep in the fridge until serving.
- *the assembled cake can be kept frozen for up to two weeks.
- ** I use these as a pre-party snack 🙂