Here's a delicately flavored, pretty white cake with berry filling, good for bridal/baby showers or just when you want to show off.
This recipe is adapted from Restaurant Eve's white cake. It's the only treatment of a cake batter I've seen in which the butter is melted and combined with the flour first, and it works wonders. It's also, as far as I can tell, pretty much foolproof. I have beaten this batter within an inch of its life and it came out fine.
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temp.
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. (I HIGHLY recommend using the paper. This batter is delicate and sticks like crazy.)
Combine sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat in melted butter in 3-4 stages. Beat for about 2 minutes; the texture will resemble cornmeal.
In a separate bowl, combine eggs, vanilla extract and milk. Add to the flour-butter mixture in two batches (scraping the bowl once), and beat until smooth.
Distribute the batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes. Remove cakes from pans to cool completely.
1 cup strawberries
3 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs lemon juice
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 cup blueberries
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blackberries
In a food processor or with a potato ricer, mash strawberries with the sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla until you have pulp. Mash the other berries lightly (best to do the blueberries alone, or they don't get mashed well) and then combine all. Let sit a bit for the flavors to mingle.
In a small saucepan, combine flour and milk over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens. This will happen suddenly, but don't panic; keep whisking until very thick, like brownie batter, then remove from heat immediately and put into your mixing bowl. Stir in vanilla. Resist the urge to taste it; it will be fairly weird at this point.
Now set the gravy aside to cool to room temperature. You can cover it and put it in the fridge for a bit, but if it gets hard it will be difficult to blend. It must be completely cool before the sugar/butter are added.
While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. You don’t want any sugar graininess left. Then add the completely cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture and beat until uniform and fluffy, like whipped cream at the stiff stage.
Speaking of whipped cream:
I like to cut my filling-frosting with whipped cream to reduce the sweet and stretch the amount, so you may also want 2 cups of hard-whipped cream on hand.
To assemble cake:
Cut each layer in half horizontally (I don't have to explain what this means, right?) so you end up with four cake layers. A long serrated bread knife works well enough for a home kitchen.
Take out about 1/3 of the frosting mixture and fold the whipped cream into it.
On the first cake layer, smear on a generous coating of the berry mixture with a large spoon (not so much that it will ooze out the sides). Spread the icing-whipped-cream combo on top of the berries.
Repeat with layers 2 and 3.
Put the top on the cake, and frost the sides and top with the uncut frosting. Refrigerate promptly. This cake is probably best after it has chilled and the layers have set up a bit.