White and Vanilla but Far From Ordinary: The Whiteout Cake

Over the weekend, Tom and I hosted a casual birthday dinner for one of his friends, and I had a difficult time deciding what type of birthday cake I should make. At first I thought I would go the chocolate route, but then I flipped past a recipe in Baked that I couldn't pass up. "The Whiteout Cake" is comprised of white frosting on white cake; it's described as a visual modern delight of "monochromatic chic." Unfortunately, there is no photo of this cake in the cookbook, but the image in my head was enough to make me want to give it a try!

This cake and frosting recipe are made with techniques very similar to the cake and frosting for the Almond Green Tea Cupcakes recipe later on in the cookbook. The cake includes cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, unsalted butter, shortening, sugar, vanilla, ice water, cream of tartar, an egg, and three additional egg whites. The recipe is written to make three 8-inch layer cakes, but I baked it into two 9-inch layer cakes instead. The cake had a very light and tender texture, with a mild vanilla flavor. The interior was a bright white color.

The frosting is made by cooking sugar, flour, milk, and heavy cream on the stove until it boils and thickens. You beat the mixture in a stand mixer until it cools, and then add in butter, vanilla, and melted white chocolate. After a little time in the refrigerator, you have a beautifully smooth frosting that has the luscious flavor of white chocolate. The frosting is not quite white colored, but more of an ivory shade.

To assemble the cake, I split each of my cake layers so that I could make a four-layer cake. I had just enough frosting to get a decent coat of frosting all the way around, and I didn't have anything left over to pipe on additional decorations. The recipe suggests topping the cake with white sprinkles or white nonpareils, but I didn't have any on hand and I didn't want to ruin the color scheme by adding any colored sugars or decorations.

This cake is something really special. The sweet and creamy frosting is a lovely pairing with the mild and fluffy cake; the white chocolate in the frosting adds a perfect little zing of flavor. Each bite is decadent and unusual without being heavy or too sweet. I would be happy to have this cake on my table for any celebration!

Recipe: "The Whiteout Cake" from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.

Previous Post: "Too Hot to Handle: Almond Green Tea Cupcakes," May 23, 2009.