Vanilla and Spice Layer Cake

Christmas baking is one things I look forward to each year. This year I decided to do a take on my Naked Vanilla Cake with Buttercream and Flowers from my book Gather at Home, with the addition of holiday spices such as ginger and cinnamon to make it a little more festive. The filling of this cake is made up of layers of creamy and fluffy classic vanilla buttercream and intense apricot jam, complemnting the sublte gingerbread spices within the cake batter. I decided to ice the cake completely with the buttercream and adorn the sides and top with beautiful home made dried orange slices. A silk ribbon tied around the base of the cake stand was just the right touch to complete the look of this show-stopping cake. A memorable dessert for you and your guests to enjoy! 

MH Tip– How to make your own Dried Orange Slices:
1. Slice your orange into thin round slices.
2. Place on a baking tray, lined with parchment paper and lightly greeced to avoid slices sticking to the pan.
3. Bake for two hours at 190 degrees F. Flip the slides once at the one hour mark.
4. Let cool. Store in an air tight container.

Adapted from page 41-42 of my book Gather at Home
Serves 6 to 8

Spice Cake
2 1⁄2 cups (625 mL) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons (10 mL) baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon (2 mL) fine salt
1⁄2 teaspoon (2 mL) baking soda
1 teaspoon (2 mL) ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon (2 mL) ground nutmeg
1 cup (250 mL) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1⁄2 cups (375 mL) granulated sugar 3 eggs
1 egg yolk
1⁄2 cup (125 mL) sour cream
1⁄2 cup (125 mL) whole (3.25%) milk
1 tablespoon (15 mL) pure vanilla extract 

Buttercream Frosting 
2 cups (500 mL) unsalted butter, room temperature
7 cups (1.75 L) icing sugar, sifted
1⁄4 cup (60 mL) whipping (35%) cream
1 tablespoon (15 mL) pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup Bon Maman intense apricot jam 

Garnish (optional)
Dried Orange Slices 

  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease and flour two 6-inch (1 L) round cake pans and cut a round piece of parchment paper to fit in the bottom of each pan. This will help with removing the cake from the pans.

2. To make the Vanilla Cake, in a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda and spices. 

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes. In a small bowl, gently whisk the eggs and egg yolk until broken up, then add them to the butter mixture in 5 increments, making sure to fully incorporate after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure a uniform mixture. If it looks like the mixture is curdling a bit, do not worry. Simply add about 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of the flour mixture and continue mixing to help bring it together. 

4. In a medium bowl, stir together the sour cream, milk, and vanilla. 

5. Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Resume mixing on medium speed. Once combined, pour in the sour cream mixture and then add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated, taking care not to overmix the batter. 

  1. 6. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 prepared cake pans and bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cakes spring back when touched or a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in their pans for 5 minutes, then invert the pans onto a wire rack to remove the cakes. Let the cakes cool completely, top side down, to help flatten the concave top. 
  2. 7. To make the Buttercream Frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-high speed. Add the icing sugar in small increments so it doesn’t fly all over the place. Continue to beat the mixture for 3 to 4 minutes, until light and fluffy. Adjust the speed of the mixer to low and slowly pour in the whipping cream and vanilla. Return the speed to medium-high and beat for an additional minute until light and fluffy. 
  3. 8. If the top of each cake is still slightly concave, use a knife to flatten it, then cut each cake in half horizontally using a serrated knife. This will give you 4 layers of cake. Fit a piping bag with a 1-inch (2.5 cm) round tip. Fill the bag with the frosting. 
  4. 9. Place 1 layer of cake on the serving dish of your choice or on a turn-table, cut side up. Starting in the centre, pipe the frosting in a circular motion until you reach the outer edge and the layer is covered completely, add in a layer of apricot jam. Repeat with the remaining layers, placing the final layer cut side down. If you want to smooth out the frosting on the top layer, use an offset spatula to gently work the frosting evenly over the top and sides of the cake. 
  5. 10. To garnish the cake add dried sliced oranges to the sides and top. The iced cake will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. 

Photography by Brooklyn D Photography