Cakette Party Cake with Italian Meringue Buttercream

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After our baby cakes became so popular, our customers requested a cake that could serve a bigger crowd. We created this cake, which is a little bit fancy—and looks like a party when you open the box. It is a delicate, light white cake, with a bit of buttermilk in the batter that gives it an extra-tender and moist crumb. The Italian meringue buttercream is made by beating together egg whites, a boiled sugar syrup, and lots of butter. It has a consistency similar to that of fluffy whipped cream and it is not as sweet as frostings made with confectioners’ sugar. The flavor options with this frosting are endless; add a few drops of your favorite extract or liqueur. Folks have been begging me for this recipe for years, so here it is at last.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • teaspoons baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¾ pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2⅓ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • cups buttermilk
  • 1 recipe Italian Meringue Buttercream

Method

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a baking sheet, then line it with parchment, leaving an overhang on the two short ends of the pan. Butter the parchment as well, and dust with flour, tapping the pan on the counter to shake out the excess.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer speed down to low, add the egg whites and vanilla, and mix until completely incorporated.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with flour, mixing until just combined.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, incorporate any ingredients hiding at the bottom of the bowl, making sure the batter is completely mixed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and gently smooth the top with a spatula. Tap the pan firmly on the counter to remove any air bubbles from the batter.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake is lightly golden. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes, then carefully remove it using the parchment “handles” from the pan, to cool completely on a wire rack. Peel off the parchment.

To assemble the cake: Cut the cake in half and then in half again, making 4 pieces. Place the first piece upside down on a serving plate (you can keep the edges of the plate clean while you frost the cake by sliding strips of parchment underneath the cake). Using an offset spatula, spread the layer with a big dollop of the buttercream. Place a second layer upside down on the first layer and frost the top. Repeat with the third layer. Then put the final layer on top, upside down. Frost the top and sides of the cake with a thin layer of frosting–the crumb coat–and set in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Remove the cake from the refrigerator and frost with the remaining frosting. The cake is best served at room temperature, but it can stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.