White Wedding Cake and Swiss Meringue Buttercream

How many times have I mentioned that I will be making my first wedding cake this year?  Fifty?  Yes, I am obviously excited.  Cautiously excited.  I’ve never made a cake of such great importance, so I’m carefully planning every step.

At the bride’s request, half the cake layers will be white with lemon curd filling, and the other half will be chocolate cake with raspberry filling. I can easily locate a good chocolate cake recipe, but I’ve been test-driving white cake recipes for almost two months now.  Last week I finally found a moist, scratch-made white cake recipe that I’m really excited about. From pristine white interior to delicate flavor and crumb, I am pleased with every aspect.

(The bride has not taste-tested this cake yet, but I’ll be sure to amend this post with her thumbs-up or thumbs-down!)

The official wedding cake will be covered in rolled fondant, but I plan to use Swiss meringue buttercream as a crumb coat – and that’s what I used to decorate this test cake.  Since I’ve been getting a few emails from frustrated Swiss buttercream first-timers, I decided to put together a video tutorial.  Hopefully this can be used with the recipe for successful results!

(Also be sure to check out Rosie’s in-depth Swiss Meringue Buttercream tutorial, and Shelly’s too!)

In this post you’ll find three recipes for this white cake in different volumes.  A 6-inch test cake, a 9-inch cake and another large quantity batter for big 14-inch tiers.  I really like this cake’s crumb as-is, but I found the accompanying simple syrup recipe added great flavor and moisture. I do not consider the syrup optional!   Be sure to use it – especially if you freeze the cakes for future use, or if you will be decorating it over the course of a few days. This tends to dry out an otherwise moist cake.

The recipe and decor idea for the test cake is adapted from the book “Wedding Cakes You Can Make” by Dede Wilson.  You won’t find any crazy-elaborate decorating or rolled fondant-covered cakes in this book, but you will find approachable cake recipes, a timeline to follow, and a cake cutting guide.  All of this is very helpful information.  I highly recommend this book!

The recipe portion of this post will be lengthy, but don’t let that overwhelm you.  The cake, lemon curd and icing recipes can all be printed separately.

The directions to make the cake as pictured is at the link below.  I’ve included a few instructional pics below, too.

LINK: Fruit Topped White Cake with Lemon Curd Filling 

White Wedding Cake

                                                                                                                                      [click for printable version]

For a 6 x 2-inch round double layer test cake:

1 3/4 cups cake flour (such as Swan’s down, do not substitute homemade cake flour)

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3 large egg whites, room temp

3/4 cup whole milk, room temp

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

For a 9 x 2- inch round double layer cake:

3 1/2 cups cake flour (such as Swan’s down, do not substitute homemade cake flour)

1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

6 large egg whites, room temp

1 1/2 cups whole milk, room temp

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

For a 14 x 2 inch round double layer cake:

Note: A stand mixer is recommended for large quantity batters

8 2/3 cups cake flour (such as Swan’s down, do not substitute homemade cake flour)

2 Tbsp plus 4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

15 large egg whites, room temp

3 1/2 cups whole milk, room temp

2 1/2 cups (5 sticks)  unsalted butter, softened

4 cups sugar

5 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease pans and line with parchment. I suggest using Wilton’s Cake Release to grease the pans.  You don’t have to use parchment with this product, and there are far less crumbs on the outside of the cake when it is turned out.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Whisk together egg whites and milk in a separate bowl; set aside.
  3. Beat butter using the paddle attachment until soft and creamy. Add sugar gradually and beat until light and fluffy.  Scrape down the bowl as needed.  Beat in vanilla.
  4. Add flour mixture alternately with the egg white/milk mixture.  Begin and end with flour mixture and beat until smooth on medium-low speed after each addition.
  5. Divide batter between pans.  Bake 6-inch cake at 350 for 25 minutes; bake 9-inch cakes at 350 for about 35 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees for 14-inch cakes, bake for about 45 minutes.  Let cool  slightly in pan, then turn out and cool completely.

Simple Syrup:

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

2 tsp clear vanilla extract

1. Place sugar and water in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil and cook until sugar has dissolved.

2. Remove from heat and let cool.  Stir in vanilla and set aside.

3. Use a new soft-bristled pastry brush to apply syrup to cakes. Use your discretion for applying syrup to cakes. Below are my quantity suggestions, but feel free to add more or less according to your taste and desire for moistness.

1/2 cup for 6-inch cakes

3/4-1 cup for 9 inch cakes

2-3 cups for 14 inch cakes

Swiss Meringue Buttercream(Small and Large Batch)

Batch for 6-inch double layer cake:                                                            [click for printable version]

5 egg whites

1 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

1 pound unsalted butter, cubed, softened (room temperature works too, but takes longer to come together)

3 teaspoons clear vanilla extract

Large batch (make once for 3-4 large tiers, or make 2-3 times for many-tiered cakes):

12 egg whites

3 cups sugar

1/4 tsp salt

5 cups unsalted butter, softened

1 tbsp clear vanilla extract

  1. Set a saucepan filled one-third full of water over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer.
  2. Whisk together the egg whites, sugar, and salt in a large heatproof bowl ( I suggest a stainless bowl). Set over the simmering water and whisk until the mixture is hot to the touch and the sugar has dissolved (120-140 degrees on a candy thermometer, to be sure).
  3. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
  4. Beat on low speed for 2 minutes. Increase to medium-high until stiff peaks are formed.
  5. Continue beating at medium-high speed until the mixture is fluffy and has cooled (the mixing bowl should feel cool to the touch).
  6. Turn the mixer off and switch from the whisk attachment to the paddle. Turn the mixer on medium-low and add the butter, a few cubes at a time, beating until well incorporated before the next addition.
  7. Add the vanilla extract.  Divide batter and tint with food coloring, if desired. 
  8. Beat until the frosting is thick and completely smooth.
  9. Store in an airtight container until ready for use. 

Lemon Curd

Yield: About 3 cups, enough to fill one 9-inch double layer cake 

with a little left over.

                                                                                                                                                                        [click for printable version]

8 tbsp  (1 US. stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

1/3 cup plus 4 tbsp. fresh lemon juice 

  1. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl using an electric mixer. Slowly add the eggs and yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Pour in lemon juice and mix again.  Expect the mixture to look curdled, this is normal.
  2. Cook the mixture over medium heat in a medium-size saucepan until it looks smooth (no longer curdled.) Increase the heat slightly and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens. Clip a thermometer to the side of the pan and cook until the mixture reaches 170 degrees. 
  3. Remove the curd from the heat. Transfer the curd to a bowl and press plastic wrap on the surface of the lemon curd to keep a skin from forming.  Chill the curd in the refrigerator. The curd will thicken further as it cools. Covered tightly, it will keep in the refrigerator for a week and in the freezer for 2 months.
Follow:
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
95 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rosa's Yummy Yums
Rosa's Yummy Yums
9 years ago

A splendid cake! So beautifully decorated. Great job.

Cheers,

Rosa

Natalie
Natalie
9 years ago

OMG. I'm so gonna make this cake soon!!!

beetree
beetree
9 years ago

Gorgeous cake, Heather! I think I'll have to try this- I'm a sucker for anything lemon. I do have a question about the buttercream: the small batch has 3t vanilla, while the double batch says 1T…should it be 2T if the amounts are being doubled?

Megan
Megan
9 years ago

This cake looks so tasty! And that video is adorable. Biscuit is just the cutest! I love that he sampled the frosting. 🙂

Heather Baird
Heather Baird
9 years ago

Hey beetree!

The large batch isn't a double version of the small batch. It's a little more than doubled. Of course you can use the vanilla to taste. It's just a suggestion. 🙂

Thanks!!!

Alicia Poyatos
Alicia Poyatos
9 years ago

Es una maravilla!
Me encanta que esté coronada con la fruta, es preciosa.
Mi humilde aportación a tu búsqueda de la tarta de chocolate con mermelada, en mi caso, de cerezas, es impresionante de buena http://www.olorahierbabuena.com/2012/02/telma-ha-cumplido-un-ano-tarta-de.html?utm_source=BP_recent
Besos.

Darla
Darla
9 years ago

Beautiful! I love the fruit topping, and I'm such a lemon curd addict! 🙂 I bet this cake was so delicious!

MJ
MJ
9 years ago

Wonderful video and worderful recipe.

;))

Julie E
Julie E
9 years ago

I adore the song you used for the video, it sets the perfect mood for making such a lovely cake.

Heather
Heather
9 years ago

This whole tutorial was a feast for the eyes, Heather! You made this recipe so much more approachable than I was imagining. I will actually try this, now! THANKS!! XOXO

Unknown
Unknown
9 years ago

I love white cake- especially homemade. But I am scared out of my pants to try to make one at home!

Lauren at Keep It Sweet
Lauren at Keep It Sweet
9 years ago

What a gorgeous cake! I can't wait to hear what the bride thinks. I'm a huge fan of SMB and everything else about that cake sounds delicious, too!

Heather (Heather's Dish)
Heather (Heather's Dish)
9 years ago

Absolutely without a doubt the most beautiful cake ever!

Unknown
Unknown
9 years ago

Just beautiful 'Sprinkles'. We are so excited about our niece's wedding in July. I will be itching to barge in with my camera but will stay back and remain 'reserved'. Your cake for the bride will be one of the most special memories in years to come. Can't wait to hear about it.

Unknown
Unknown
9 years ago

you make it look easy, I can see how just slowing down a wee bit would help with the look of my cakes! Lovely job.

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago

Beautiful..what size tip did you use for frosting? Thanks

Mrs. Hofeldt
Mrs. Hofeldt
9 years ago

Oh my gosh – I have that book too!! I find it amazingly helpful – I made my first wedding cake last summer and I don't know what I would have done without it!!

Eileen
Eileen
9 years ago

That is beautiful. I'd live a piece of that with my afternoon coffee. YUM!

Jeleen
Jeleen
9 years ago

Love this! What a gorgeous cake. I've been looking for a good from-scratch white cake recipe, too, so this is just perfect! 🙂

Amazing job, Heather!

Maggie @MaggieCooks
Maggie @MaggieCooks
9 years ago

WOW!!!!!!!!!
that cake looks gorgeous!!!!! 🙂

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago

Does this frosting need to be refrigerated? I have a hard time choosing frostings for wedding cakes because often they need to be assembled at least 3-4 hours before guests actually eat it. I've used a version of the salted caramel recipe on a wedding cake before and no one died. I guess it would be OK? I just get nervous about eggs. Interested in your thoughts. Thanks!!!

Kelly

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga
Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga
9 years ago

It's absolutely gorgeous! It's like food art..I can't even make my icing perfectly smooth on a sheet cake. I can't even imagine doing this. AMAZING!

Dawn
Dawn
9 years ago

With all that butter and all those eggs, I bet this cake is fantastic! I have been looking for a scratch white cake… thanks so much for posting.

Paula
Paula
9 years ago

This is beautiful. Looking forward to finding out what the bride to be thought at her taste testing.

Nicole
Nicole
9 years ago

LOVE this post. I had some problems with the last swiss meringue buttercream I tried to make so I really enjoyed your video. I tried to Pin it, but apparently Pinterest only supports YouTube videos. 🙁 Boo!

Nichole @ Tasty Alchemy
Nichole @ Tasty Alchemy
9 years ago

Your cake looks beautiful, approachable and delicious! And you can't go wrong with homemade lemon curd, d-lish.

The Red Rolling Pin
The Red Rolling Pin
9 years ago

We LOVE it Sis! Thank you SO Much!!! Love the video too! Glad my puggy nephew got to share 😀
Love you!
Megs

Sunshine - www.cancersurvivor26.blogger.com
Sunshine - www.cancersurvivor26.blogger.com
9 years ago

Wow…Kudos to you! It looks beautiful.

http://www.cancerinthecity.com

regan
regan
9 years ago

This looks amazing! And your video was awesome! So is Bisquit! Sweet!

Unknown
Unknown
9 years ago

I am not very good, no scratch that, I'm terrible at frosting cakes xD But that's ok because I hope to get better as time goes on. Your sample wedding cake looks wonderful, and the cake sounds so delicious. For some reason, white cakes are always dry, I guess it's because of the lack of egg yolks, but if yolks were added then it would be a yellow cake, right? Aaah. baker's woes 😛

Vanessa
Vanessa
9 years ago

Love the Fresh Fruit Look!

Christy
Christy
9 years ago

Congrats on your first wedding cake, I just love them!:) Love, love, love the look of your cake, just adore the generous fresh fruits atop the cake! I wish fresh fruits cake sold here in the local bakeries would be this generous with their fruits as well!:P Oooh, I spotted the blueberries and kiwis…yummy!:D

Jennifer (Delicieux)
Jennifer (Delicieux)
9 years ago

That cake looks amazing!!! I love the different fruits on top. Your video tutorial is fantastic too! I've not attempted swiss meringue buttercream yet, so it was great to see your detailed instructions. PS I love the music!

Heidi
Heidi
9 years ago

Very pretty and looks very yummy! I've been trying out white cake recipes too and I'll be interested in trying this one.

Lissa (The Wedding Bistro at Bellenza)
Lissa (The Wedding Bistro at Bellenza)
9 years ago

Test cake or not…this already looks gorgeous! Love the pristine white and then the fruit toppings, so pretty!

Unknown
Unknown
9 years ago

I was very honored to have been asked to make my first wedding cake, but I was also very worried about it. All that worry for nothing though because it turned out great. And bonus – I got requests for 2 more wedding cakes that very day. Anyway, you'll be fine, I'm sure. It is a daunting task, but it's a very rewarding one as well.

🙂
ButterYum

PS – I love Dede's recipes!

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago

What a stunning cake! I'd be happy to have this at my wedding 🙂 Love that it's a bit different too…the fruit on top is beautiful.

Dharma
Dharma
9 years ago

Maravillosa tarta y precioso paso a paso. Muchas gracias

Rituparna
Rituparna
9 years ago

That cake looks delicious ! Lucky bride.

Irmina Díaz-Frois Martín
Irmina Díaz-Frois Martín
9 years ago

Me gusta esta tarta, pero me parece muy simpático el perro.
Un saludo.

Sheri
Sheri
9 years ago

What did you use to glaze the fruit on top of the cake?

Jessica @ How Sweet
Jessica @ How Sweet
9 years ago

Oh my gosh… the video! The MUSIC!! Why aren't we best friends?!

Milena Andrade
Milena Andrade
9 years ago

Beautiful … wonderful work, congratulations!
I love your blog, I will visit more often!
kisses! (Brazil)

Also visit the Sweet Kitchen.

vanillasugarblog
vanillasugarblog
9 years ago

i'm sorry i've been late in viewing your latest creations.
so much in life going on….
you know i see these cakes (not as good as yours) at whole foods and the best part is that glaze. the shiny! I'm drawn to shiny things! LOL!

vanillasugarblog
vanillasugarblog
9 years ago

OK I watched it.
And all I can say is, when you come visit me on old cape cod, you and I will listen to Summer Wind by Sinatra while drinking cape codders.
Love the music! Perfect meringue!

Lora
Lora
9 years ago

I am a white cake freak so this post made my day. I would WEAR this to a wedding.

Baking is my Zen...sweet nibbles for the soul
Baking is my Zen...sweet nibbles for the soul
9 years ago

STUNNING Beauty! Love the flavor profiles too.

~Carmen
http://bakingismyzen.wordpress.com

Javelin Warrior
Javelin Warrior
9 years ago

I'm in awe… This is truly a work of art and just reading the instructions I'm intimidated =) Simply a gorgeous cake…

I am featuring this post in today's Friday Food Fetish roundup (with a link-back and attribution), so please let me know if you have any objections. It's always a pleasure following your food…

Heather Ozee
Heather Ozee
9 years ago

ok Sweet cousin… I think I can safely say in… hmm.. 15 years when Roxy is ready to have a beautiful little wedding she can count on Her cousin Heather to have her back 😉 with Butter Cream icing 😉

little random happiness
little random happiness
9 years ago

I've been looking for a white cake recipe and this looks wonderful. Can't wait to try it. Biscuit look so cute in the video hehe

Btw, I’m hosting my first blog giveaway today so check it out 🙂

http://littlerandomhappiness.blogspot.com/2012/03/bonjour-mon-amis.html