I really love this cake. I’m a big fan of cinnamon, so adding two tablespoons of cinnamon to a cake recipe just made me happy. Then I flavored a swiss meringue buttercream (my favorite frosting) with strawberry, rhubarb and brandy. The layer cake is dramatic, but elegant, what with the many layers and delicate pale pink frosting. The classic strawberry rhubarb puree creates a subtle, but flavorful complement to the cinnamon cake. I’m just kind of in love with the the whole thing and could just go on and on about it, but I’m going to rein myself in. In fact, that’s all I’m going to say about it. I’m just going to let the pictures speak for themselves as a sort of meditation on cake. Enjoy.
- Cake Recipe
- 5⅜ oz sifted Cake Flour (approx 1⅓ C)
- 4 oz All Purpose Flour (approx ¾ C plus 2 Tbsp)
- 2 Tbsp ground Cinnamon
- 1½ tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 4 oz Butter, unsalted (8 Tbsp or 1 stick)
- 14 oz Sugar (approx 2 C)
- ¼ C + 2½ Tbsp Canola Oil
- ½ Tbsp Vanilla Extract
- 4 Egg Yolks, room temperature
- 3 Eggs, room temperature
- ½ C Buttermilk, room temperature
- ½ C Heavy Cream, very cold
- Strawberry Rhubarb Swiss Meringue Frosting
- 2½ oz peeled and chopped Rhubarb
- 8 oz roughly chopped Strawberries
- ¼ C Brandy
- ½ Lemon
- 10½ oz Egg Whites (whites from 9 or 10 large eggs)
- 17½ oz Sugar (approx 2½ C)
- 1½ lbs Butter (6 sticks), I like European-style butter, cool (not cold) and cut into 1" pieces
- 2 tsp Vanilla
- ½ tsp Salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prep 2 8" pans or 3 6" pans with non-stick baking spray and parchment paper.
- Sift the cake flour, all purpose flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt together into a bowl and set the dry ingredients aside.
- Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream them until light and fluffy - about 5 minutes. Make sure to stop and scrape the bowl frequently if the ingredients are getting packed against the sides.
- Slowly drizzle the oil into the bowl. The butter and sugar will start getting really light and fluffy as the oil is incorporated.
- Mix in the vanilla.
- Add the egg yolks, one at a time, mixing until just incorporated after each addition. Add the eggs, following the same procedure, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches. (start and finish with the dry ingredients.) Mix until the last round of dry ingredients has been just incorporated and then turn up the speed and mix for 20 seconds.
- In a separate bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks. Mix ⅓ of the whipped cream into the batter and then fold in the rest.
- Distribute the batter evenly amongst the prepped pans (approx 1lb 6oz for 8" pans and 14 - 15oz for 6" pans).
- Bake in the 350 degree F oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Set the cake pans on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a wire rack and peel off the parchment paper on the bottom. Cool completely.
- Combine the rhubarb and brandy in a small pot. Heat until the rhubarb starts to soften and then add the strawberries. Continue to cook until the strawberries soften as well, then remove the fruit from the heat. Let it cool for a moment, then transfer the fruit and juices to a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
- Push the puree through a strainer to remove and seeds and then set the remaining puree aside to cool. You should end up with just over ½ C of puree.
- In preparation for the meringue, wipe down all your tools with the lemon half. This includes the mixer bowl, whisk, spatula and anything else coming in contact with the egg whites.
- Set a medium pot with a few inches of water on the stove and bring to a simmer.
- Combine the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and set the bowl over the pot of simmering water, Whisking continuously, but gently, heat the egg whites and sugar until the sugar has fully dissolved and it reaches a temperature of 160 degrees F.
- Remove the bowl from the pot to the stand mixer (whisk attachment) and begin to whisk the hot egg whites. Start with a slower speed and work your way up to med-high and whisk until the bottom of the bowl is room temperature to the touch (not warm, actual room temperature). At this point, you should have a very thick, stiff meringue.
- Add the butter, one chunk at a time, mixing well after each addition. Don't worry if you go through a weird soupy, cottage cheese-esque phase, just keep mixing and it will come together. If the mixture is too warm, you may have to stick it in the fridge for a little and then continue mixing. This stage could take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes.
- Once the butter and meringue have come together to form a beautiful buttercream, Add the vanilla and salt, mixing well.
- Lastly, mix in the completely cooled strawberry-rhubarb mixture a little at a time, tasting as you go, until you get the right amount of flavor and color. If desired, you could also mix in a little food coloring at this point to create a deeper color.
- Slice each cake layer in half to create more cake layers. Glue the bottom layer to a cake board by adding a dollop of frosting to the board and setting the cake layer over it. Spread a generous layer of frosting over the top of the cake layer and then set the next cake layer over the frosting. Continue stacking frosting and cake until you've used all your layers.
- Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the top and sides of the cake (crumb layer) and then set the cake in the fridge to let the frosting set.
- Once the frosting as set, spread a thicker layer of frosting over the top and sides of the cake and then decorate however desired with the remaining frosting.
If you like this recipe, you may enjoy the following links:
On Peaches Please:
Out in the world:
Six-Layer Dark Chocolate Strawberry Buttercream Cake by Sweetapolita – I adapted this wonderful strawberry buttercream recipe for this strawberry rhubarb frosting.
Vintage Cakes: Timeless Recipes for Cupcakes, Flips, Rolls, Layer, Angel, Bundt, Chiffon, and Icebox Cakes for Today’s Sweet Tooth by Julie Richardson – I adapted the classic cake recipe from this book for my cinnamon cake recipe.
Sith Strawberry and Rhubarb Rebellion Filled Tartlets by Coffee and Crumpets. Because, come on, Star Wars pastries!
Strawberry and Custard Icebox Cake with Rhubarb Ice Cream by Curly Girl Kitchen