Inside-Out Neapolitan Layer Cake

Inside-Out Neapolitan Layer Cake  (Southern Devil's Food Cake with Neapolitan Swiss Meringue Buttercream)

Yield: One 3-layer 8" round cake

Devil's Food Layer Cake

Ingredients

6 oz. (3/4 cup, 170 g) unsalted butter, softened

2 cups (400 g) packed dark brown sugar

2 tsp. (10 mL) pure vanilla extract

3 large eggs, at room temperature

8 oz. (1-3/4 cups, 227 g) all-purpose flour

2-1/4 oz. (3/4 cup, 65 g) unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I can't live without Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder - Extra Dark)

1-1/4 tsp (7 g) baking soda

1 tsp (6g) baking powder

1 tsp (8 g) kosher salt

1-1/2 cups (12 fluid ounces, 375 mL) buttermilk, at room temperature

1/4 cup mayonnaise (2 liquid ounces, 60 mL, 4 tablespoons)

Method

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Butter three 8" x 2" round cake pans, line with parchment rounds, and dust with flour, tapping out of the excess.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed until lighter in color and slightly increased in volume, 3 to 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until each is fully incorporated before adding the next.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder into a medium bowl. Add the salt to the dry ingredients after sifting, and whisk dry ingredients. Alternate dry ingredients and buttermilk into creamed mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated, or finish by hand gently. Fold mayonnaise into batter with a whisk, until just blended.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. If possible, weigh the batter in each cake pan for 16 oz/1lb/454 g each (excluding the pans--you will want to tare the scale each time.) This ensures even layers.  Smooth with small offset palette knife, and bake for about 30 minutes, rotating once after 20 minutes. Cake is done when toothpick or skewer comes barely clean. Try not to overbake. I tend to underbake a few moments, so the skewer is a little bit gummy. This works well for a moist chocolate cake (not vanilla). Let pans cool on wire rack for 20 minutes, then invert cakes onto racks, gently, peeling away parchment rounds. Let cool completely.

Southern Devil's Cake Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking, by David Guas.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream          {click here for printable recipe}

Just a note that you will need approximately 2 times the Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe for this cake. Because it does take some time to make, I always make in batches of 3, because it freezes so well and saves time. A batch of 3 fits perfectly in a 5 QT KitchenAid mixer bowl.

Ingredients

5 large egg whites (30g each--total 150g)

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar

1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes

2 teaspoons (10 mL) pure vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Method

Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and vinegar, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar,  and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly, until temperature reaches 140 degrees F, or if you don't have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.

With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the mixture is thick, glossy, and cool. Switch over to paddle attachment and, while mixing on medium speed continously, add softened butter in chunks until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth).  Add vanilla and salt, mix well. You can also add a wide variety of flavourings, extracts, and more.

Notes:

Keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week, leaving out at room temperature when needed, rewhipping in mixer for 5 minutes.

Can freeze for up to 6-8 weeks. To thaw, place on counter overnight, and rewhip for 5 minutes with paddle attachment in an electric mixer.

Makes approximately 5 cups of buttercream.

For Chocolate Buttercream, add 150g (3/4 cup) melted bittersweet chocolate (the best you can get--I use Callebaut) to Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream and beat until incorporated.

For Strawberry Buttercream, add strawberry puree to taste, OR a few drops of LorAnn Strawberry Flavor Oil.

*Recipe for Swiss Meringue Buttercream adapted from Martha Stewart.

Assembly of the Inside-Out Neapolitan Layer Cake

1. Split buttercream into 3, and flavour 1/3 chocolate and another 1/3 strawberry. Leave remaining buttercream vanilla.

2. Add a few drops of pink gel food colouring to Strawberry Buttercream.

3. Trim any doming on your cake layers with a very sharp, serrated bread knife.  Wrap layers in plastic wrap and chill for 15 minutes in freezer. 

4. Spread a 1" circle of icing onto an 8" round thin cake board using an offset palette knife and place the first cake layer on top, face up.

5. Using an small offset palette knife, spread 1 cup of chocolate buttercream on top, leaving about a 1" gap from edges.

6. Place second cake layer on top, face up, and repeat step 5, using Vanilla Buttercream.

7. Place final layer on top, face down and repeat step 5, using Strawberry Buttercream.

8. Fill 3 piping bags with remaining buttercreams fitted with Wilton 8B decorative tip, or the tip of your choice, decorate edges, filling in gaps.

9. Top with dark chocolate sprinkles.

Good luck & enjoy!
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