You guys. Brian turned 27 this week. As in, closer to 30 than ever. What’s awesome is that I think he kind of likes it. That salt and pepper situation he’s got going on is actually making him really happy. This is yet another huge difference between men and women.
He gets grey hair, his posture straightens and he grins at how stately he looks.
I get grey hair and I freak the eff out. The problem is that I have 17 grey hairs for every one of his, but whatever.
This year Brian, being the thirsty bouche that he is, requested a rum cake for his birthday. Typical.
I didn’t want to go the traditional rum bundt cake without frosting route because that feels like “breakfast on a Wednesday” instead “Yo shawty itcha burfday.” And we might be 27 but we are not dead. Buttercream is invited to the party. (Can someone make me a t-shirt that says “You’re never too old for buttercream?” Thanks.)
Anyway, I took some visual inspiration for this cake that I saw on style me pretty because it’s effing beautiful and I wanted to do it. I have no idea what is inside of this cake but I had outer cake envy for sure.
So back to Brian’s birthday cake: Italian sponge cake soaked in an Anniversario syrup, with a vanilla custard center layer and 2 raspberry cream layers. Standard buttercream with raspberries and pistachios to finish.
Took me about 4 hours from start to finish. It’s moist, light, and most importantly, DELICIOUS. You now have your next birthday cake. You’re welcome.
To make the sponge cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom of two 8 inch cake pans with pam spray and parchment paper. Set aside. Sift flour with salt in a small bowl and set aside. In a standing mixer, whip the egg whites until foamy and then add the cream of tarter and continue mixing. Add 1/2 cup sugar slowly to the side of the bowl and increase the speed of the mixer until egg whites are form soft peaks. Scrape the contents to another bowl and set aside.
Clean the kitchenaid bowl, add the egg yolks and whip at high speed for 3 to 5 minutes until pale yellow. Slowly add sugar, cold water, and vanilla into the egg yolks and mix until combined on low speed.
Add the flour mixture to the egg yolks in two additions, and stir gently with large spatula to combine. Gently but thoroughly fold in the whipped egg whites. (Try not to deflate the egg whites doing this.)
Transfer mixture to prepared pans and bake for 30 minutes until cooked through. Remove from oven, cool, invert to wire rack. After completely cooled, slice each cake carefully into 2 even layers.
To make the rum syrup:
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and then cool. Using a pastry brush, gently pat the top of each cake layer with the rum syrup until each layer looks fully coated.
For the raspberry cream filling:
Heat 1 cup of raspberries in the microwave for 1 minute and mash with a fork, make sure all the juices release, these berries should look sufficiently macerated. If they aren't microwave for 30 more seconds. Strain liquid into a container and discard the seeds. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and reserved raspberry liquid. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute until just slightly thickened. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and vanilla. Cool.
Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Mix with the sour cream and the raspberry reduction. Fold in the remaining 1 cup of whole raspberries. Fridge until ready to assemble cake.
For the vanilla custard:
n a large sauce pot, combine the milk and vanilla bean seeds. Scald the milk.
Combine the yolks and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer, and sift the cornstarch onto a piece of wax or parchment paper. Beat the yolks and sugar until they lighten in color. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the cornstarch. Temper the egg yolk mixture by adding a little of the hot milk and whisking until incorporated. Add the tempered egg mixture back into the remaining hot milk, and place the pot back on the heat. Cook on medium high heat, stirring constantly but gently with the whisk, until the mixture comes to the simmer. Reduce heat and let it simmer for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and gently whisk in the butter. Strain the pastry cream into a bowl, place plastic wrap right down on the surface. Chill in the fridge.
For the buttercream:
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and 2/3 cup water to a boil. Continue boiling until syrup reaches 238 degrees on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, place egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on low speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and beat on medium-high speed until stiff. With mixer running, add syrup to whites in a stream, beating on high speed until no longer steaming, about 7 minutes. Add butter bit by bit, beating until well combined. Add in vanilla.
Place one rum soaked layer on a cardboard cake round. Top cake with 1/2 inch thick layer of raspberry cream filling. Spread to the edges and top with another cake layer. Top second layer with vanilla cream, spread evenly to the sides. Top vanilla custard with third cake layer. Do another 1/2 inch thick layer of raspberry cream and top with the final cake layer.
Take the buttercream and spread a thin even layer across the entire thing (crumb coat.) Fridge for 30 minutes to let the crumb coat firm up. Remove from the fridge and frost the cake generously. Garnish with raspberries and chopped pistachios.