White Chocolate Cake
Someone light the candles. Grab the champagne, pop the cork, maybe even grab a slice (or two!) of this white chocolate cake. Spare no piece of confetti or pinch of glitter, because today, ladies and gentlemen, we are celebrating.
IT’S MY ONE YEAR BLOGIVERSARY!
Yes, today this little blog is one year old, and every ounce of skin on my bones and butter in my belly is thrilled to have spent 365 days bantering recklessly with you. We’ve talked about baking and organizing and sharing gratitude. We had a baby together, went on trips together, and even rang in the new year. We shared about sisters that are cooler than us and the struggle of getting older, and I may overdone it on the amount of time I spent discussing my breasts (sorry about that.) This year has moved quickly, bringing bits of change, lots of love, and a whole bunch of cookies, and I’m honored that you were apart of it all.
I started this blog one year ago because I was tired of sitting on the sidelines. Countless people around me were taking chances, stepping into new adventures, and feeling their way through the exciting unknown of foreign territory. I read along with other bloggers, tried their recipes, chuckled at their words, and thought more than a dozen times, “Maybe I could do that.”
Fear kept me on the bench for a long time. The desire to create and write and have a seat at the table consumed my heart, but fear in the back of my mind told me that I couldn’t do it. That I didn’t have time. That I didn’t have a voice that was worth listening to.
If you’re reading these words today from the sidelines of your own world, I want to urge you to jump in. Make a list of your dreams, strategize, and go for it! Take your doubt and fear and any other person or thing that is holding you back and tell them to buzz off. You never known what kind of joy you’ll find when you finally step into something that you’re passionate about. You can’t predict how much your story might change when you decide to be the one who writes it.
The pages of this blog are humble and have a lot of room for improvement. But after 29 years, I finally have a space to do something that fulfills a part of me that was otherwise unsettled, and I’m so proud of that victory. So if you ever find yourself thinking, “Maybe I could do that,” I want to be the voice that tells you, “Yes! Yes, you can… You can and you should.”
Much like the blog, this white chocolate cake is a labor of love. It’s appropriate for today because it’s maybe my favorite cake ever. If you’re not a huge fan of white chocolate, this cake might surprise you, and if you are a huge fan of white chocolate, this cake is bound to make your heart explode. A moist, buttery cake with the subtle warmth and sweetness of white chocolate, all covered in a tangy cream cheese frosting, this confection is memorable and unique, but still all together crowd pleasing.
Admittedly, white chocolate is not always easy to work with. Melt it down at too high of a temperature and it will seize up; add it in to ingredients that are too cold and it will leave little little shards of cooled chocolate in your mixture. But if you give attention and love to the process, the result is an elegantly flavored cake that you won’t find in any average cake recipe. I encourage you to use a high quality baking white chocolate- one that you wouldn’t mind eating straight small bites of. The flavor of your chocolate bar makes a huge impact on the overall final outcome of the cake, so choose accordingly.
I chose a cream cheese frosting for this white chocolate cake because I think it needed a tang to offset an otherwise sweet frosting. It’s not a super thick or stable frosting, so I wouldn’t recommend it for stacking enormously tall layer cakes. If you require a thicker frosting, say for piping or decorating, I would recommend experimenting with substituting butter in for some of the cream cheese and adding in a bit more powdered sugar. Alternatively, you can refrigerate your frosting prior to use and that will help to keep it a bit thicker. If you’ve ever had a cream cheese frosting fall apart and become loose and viscous while you were making it, it’s possible you overworked your cream cheese. Follow the instructions of the frosting recipe carefully to ensure you don’t overbeat your mixture, and I think you’ll be more than satisfied with the results.
Friends, I am so thrilled to share this white chocolate cake with you, and even more excited about where this next year will take us. I absolutely love hearing from you, so please continue to comment and send me messages regarding recipes you like and want to see more of. March (how is it already MARCH!?!) is forecast to be super tasty in these parts, so once we wrap up this #monthofchocolate, you will be in for a treat. Consider this white chocolate cake next time you’re looking for an exceptional and extravagant way to celebrate one of life’s more beautiful moments, and please know that I am praying you get more than your fair share of them this year. Cheers to you and thank you for making this little corner of the internet a home for me.
White Chocolate Cake
Recipe by: Kate Wood
Makes a 2 layer 8″cake
For the cake:
6 ounces high quality white chocolate, chopped
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup milk, room temperature
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups cake flour
1-1/4 cups sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
For the buttercream:
12 ounces regular cream cheese, cut into large chunks
8 ounces high quality white chocolate, chopped
24 tablespoons (12 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
To prepare the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare 2-8” round cake pans by lining the bottom with a round of parchment paper and greasing the sides lightly with cooking spray.
In a double boiler over low heat, melt the chocolate. Do not let the pan of water or the double boiler bowl get too hot because the white chocolate can scorch and seize up. Instead, allow the chocolate to melt gently. Once nearly melted, remove from the stove and allow it to continue melting. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, ¼ cup of the milk, and the vanilla, whisking gently to barely combine. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, stirring on low heat until well combined. Add the softened butter and the remaining ¾ cup of the milk, stirring on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened, and then increase the speed to medium and beat for 1-1/2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the egg mixture in two batches, beating for 30 seconds after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl again and fold in any unincorporated ingredients that may have stuck to the sides of the bowl. Add the melted whie chocolate and beat on low just until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl and fold in any unincorporated batter. Spread the batter evenly in the two pans, smoothing out the top, and bake in the oven for about 25-35 minutes. The cakes will be done when a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
Allow the pans to cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes and then remove the cakes from the pan. Allow to cool to room temp before frosting.
To prepare the buttercream:
In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the cream cheese until it is warmed, about 20-30 seconds. Add the chopped white chocolate and microwave for 20 seconds. Stir the cream cheese and chocolate and microwave for an additional 20 seconds. Stir again. If the white chocolate is not melted all the way, you can microwave for additional 15 second intervals, stirring often. Once melted and combined, all the mixture to cool slightly, either in the fridge or on the counter.
In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until lightly and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and beat until well combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the sizes of the bowl and add the cooled white chocolate and cream cheese mixture, beating just until combined. Do not over beat and do not add the cream cheese until it is no longer warm. Scrape the sizes of the bowl to ensure all of the ingredients are adequately incorporated and then set aside while you prepare to frost your cake. If the frosting is too soft, allow to cool and firm up I the fridge for 30 minutes.
To assemble the cake:
Spread a small amount of frosting on the bottom of an 8” cardboard cake round and place the first cake layer on top. Spread about 1 cup of frosting on top of the cake and spread evenly, pushing the frosting out to the edges of the cake and smoothing the top. Place the second cake layer on top and repeat the frosting process. Frost the cake with the remaining frosting to decorate as preferred.
White chocolate is extremely finicky. I cannot emphasize enough to be sure to not let it get too hot while melting it throughout this recipe. It will seize up. I typically let the water in my double boiler get hot, but not boiling, and take the pan on and off the heat while the chocolate melts. It seems like a lot of work but it is worth it to be delicate with it!
To make a cake like the one photographed in this blog post, bake your batter in 4-6” cake pans. If you have 6” cake pans with 3” or taller sides, you can bake the batter in three pans, but if not, the batter will overflow.
Before frosting cakes, I like to cut off any domed top that may have formed on the cake. Use a serrated knife to cut any rounded piece off the top. This will help you to have a neatly frosted cake.
I like to freeze my cake layers briefly before frosting. It helps to keep the crumbs from the cake getting mixed in the frosting.
While preparing the frosting, take care to not overbeat the cream cheese. Cream cheese that get overbeat will become loose and soupy. Once this happens, there is no fixing it.
If you frosting gets too warm, it will be difficult to work with. I recommend chilling it as needed while frosting the cake to make sure it stays cool enough.