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Wild Strawberry and Lemon Verbena Layer Cake

Alternating flavors of wild strawberry and lemon verbena are stacked, filled, and frosted with tangy lemon Swiss meringue buttercream in this spring-inspired cake.

Wild Strawberry and Lemon Verbena Layer Cake

I think we're all in need of some happy colors and springtime flavors just about now. This cake is absolutely bursting with beautiful, bright flavors thanks to some special, new-to-me ingredients. A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to try products by Amoretti, makers of artisan flavorings. I absolutely loved the results, so I had to share them here!

Wild Strawberry and Lemon Verbena Layer Cake

This recipe begins with my favorite white cake recipe, which happens to use white cake mix as an ingredient. It's adapted from the popular White Almond Sour Cream (WASC) cake by Rebecca Sutterby, which is famous with bakers of wedding cakes. I always use it when I need colors and flavors to 'pop' because it is the perfect blank canvas with which to work.

Wild Strawberry and Lemon Verbena Layer Cake

Amoretti flavors are easy to use, and because they are so concentrated just a little goes a long way. The naturally flavored Wild Strawberry Compound gave the cake layers sweet, bold berry flavor. It is perhaps my favorite of all the ingredients I tried. Its aroma was intoxicating and it has the appearance of strawberries that have been cooked down like jam.

The Lemon Verbena Swirl was pungent upon first sniff, but added to cake batter, it mellowed and gave the finished layers a wonderfully fresh herbaceous note. I can't wait to use it in my favorite Orange Pound Cake recipe.

Wild Strawberry and Lemon Verbena Layer Cake

I also had the opportunity to test their oil soluble Wild Strawberry Extract. Oil soluble flavoring can be added to chocolate without fear of it seizing. I added a small dose to two melted white chocolate Baker's bars (along with some red powdered food color) for the prettiest and tastiest chocolate curls!


The entire cake is wrapped in silky Swiss meringue buttercream flavored with Natural Lemon Artisan Extract.

Wild Strawberry and Lemon Verbena Layer Cake

We relished every last bite of this delicious cake, and I'm eager to experiment with more of Amoretti's flavors. If you'd like to try them for yourself, right now you can receive a 15% discount on your order using the code SPRINGBAKING at Amoretti.com.

Enjoy!

Wild Strawberry and Lemon Verbena Layer Cake
Yields One 6-inch four layer cake
This recipe is adapted from the ever-popular WASC cake formula by Rebecca Sutterby. Swiss meringue buttercream recipe is from the Sprinkle Bakes book.
Prep: 45 minutes, total time about 3 hours

This cake starts with a box of white cake mix but is improved upon with additions of sugar, flour, sour cream and delicious flavorings by Amoretti (see blog post for resources).

Wild Strawberry and lemon verbena cake layers
1 box (16.25 oz.) white cake mix
1 cup (128g) all-purpose flour
1 cup(200g) granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup (242g) sour cream
1 cup (8 oz.) cold water
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons Amoretti Wild Strawberry Compound
2 tablespoons Amoretti Lemon Verbena Swirl
1-2 drops liquid red food color (optional)
1 drop yellow food color (optional)

Preheat oven to 350◦F. Coat four 6-inch round cake pans with flour-based baking spray.

Whisk together the first 4 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a four-cup measure, stir together the sour cream, water, and eggs. With a hand mixer running on low speed, gradually pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Scrape the bowl down and mix again until all ingredients are consistently incorporated. Divide the cake batter into two mixing bowls. To one bowl add the three tablespoons wild strawberry compound and mix well by hand (also add the optional red food color, if desired). To the other bowl, add the lemon verbena swirl and mix well by hand (also add the optional yellow food color, if desired). Divide the wild strawberry batter between two pans; divide the lemon verbena batter between the remaining two pans.

Bake the cakes for 30-35 minutes, or until they spring back when pressed in their centers. Let cool in the pans 5 minutes; turn out on wire racks to cool completely. Level cakes using a cake leveler or serrated knife.

Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream
5 egg whites
1 cup (200g) sugar
Pinch of salt
1 lb. unsalted butter, cubed, softened (room temperature works too, but takes longer to come together)
2 teaspoons Amoretti Natural Lemon Artisan Flavor

Set a saucepan filled one-third full of water over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer.
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).
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Increase to medium-high until stiff peaks are formed.
Continue beating at medium-high speed until the mixture is fluffy and has cooled (the mixing bowl should feel cool to the touch).

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. The mixture will deflate with the butter addition, this is normal - keep going - adding butter a little at a time. When all of the butter is incorporated, increase the speed to high and beat until thick and smooth. Add the lemon flavoring and beat again until incorporated.

Frost the cake: Place a lemon verbena layer on a cake plate. Top it with approximately 1/2 cup of lemon buttercream and spread evenly. Center a wild strawberry cake layer on top of the frosting and top with 1/2 cup lemon buttercream; Repeat this process with the remaining lemon verbena layer and end with the final wild strawberry layer on top. Use the remaining frosting to cover the outside of the cake. Smooth using a cake smoother or an offset spatula. Refrigerate the cake until the frosting is firm, about 25 minutes.

Strawberry-white chocolate curls and other garnishes
8 oz. white chocolate, chopped (tested with Baker’s chocolate)
1 teaspoon Amoretti Oil Soluble Wild Strawberry Extract
2-3 drops pink or red oil soluble food color (or stir in a little red petal dust)
2-3 whole strawberries with stems
White food safe flowers or other food-safe greenery

Melt chocolate in the microwave at 30 second intervals; stir until smooth. Turn a cookie sheet upside-down and pour on the chocolate. Spread evenly with an offset spatula. Place in the refrigerator for 5-7 minutes, or until the chocolate is firm and has a matte appearance.

Remove from refrigerator and let stand for a few minutes (3-5ish) at room temperature. With a small, sharp spatula, begin scraping chocolate at one edge in a thin strip. If chocolate breaks into pieces it is too cold, so allow it to stand a few minutes more at room temp. Chocolate should curl easily as you run your spatula under the chocolate and down the length of the cookie sheet. Place curls in a small bowl and store in refrigerator until ready for use. Chocolate melts at body temperature, so handle them as little as possible. If you have particularly hot hands, use a spoon to transfer the curls to the top of the cake.

Garnish cake with chocolate curls, whole strawberries with stems and food safe flowers. Bring the cake to room temperature before serving. Keep leftovers in the refrigerator loosely covered with plastic wrap.

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