I know. You can't believe it. You think you might be dreaming, or maybe having some sort of weird deja vu experience because I am posting yet another recipe with apricots and peaches. Can you stand it? I hope so, because this cake is actually pretty dreamy, and is an awesome Celebration Cake. Just scroll down a little bit and you can check out all the goodies that are packed into this dessert. That doozy of a title pretty much tells it all, but aren't we all visual creatures? (Men, I am not just talking about you.)
Oh yes, there is that silky, sweet White Chocolate Buttercream.
One delicious layer of White Chocolate Cake on top of another. Plus, apricot filling and more buttercream. *sigh*
This sticky, sweet peach syrup was the most beautiful amber color...
And for the finishing touch, ripe peaches decorate the top.
Ahhh, just thinking about it now is making me want to rush to my fridge and eat that last sliver of cake I have been saving! I need to resist temptation, mostly because I have already eaten a piece of cake today, two pieces yesterday, and possibly two on Friday. So far, this is ok, but I don't want to get too carried away here. (If you qualify making two layer cakes in 24 hours "getting carried away," well, I might have already done that.)
So what was the reason for making this beautiful Celebration Cake? Not that you absolutely need a reason for making a cake, but I created this dessert by order from my boss to celebrate getting lots and lots of grant money from the government for us to do our research. Yay! As anyone in science knows, times are still relatively tough for getting grant money so this was really an accomplishment and definitely worth a tall sugary dessert for congratulations.
Here is what I especially love about this cake: I won't tell you it is easy to make, but it is definitely not the hardest or most labor intensive thing I have made either, and I have provided some techniques and tips below. As far as flavor goes, the combination of white chocolate with fruit is a winning one, and makes this cake infinitely adaptable; the apricots are fantastic, but if you like, swap them out for strawberries between the layers, or maybe raspberry jam. The cake is moist and dense, and the white chocolate makes this cake rich and sweet but not overpowering. On Epicurious, it was listed in the Top 30 cakes and I am not surprised because it is phenomenal overall. So next time you need a cake to celebrate a special occasion, give it a go, you will not be disappointed!
White Chocolate Layer Cake with Apricot Filling and White Chocolate Buttercream
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, June 2003 via Epicurious
Rather than rewrite the entire recipe here, since that would be tedious for me and repetitive for you, I will direct you to Epicurious to check out the recipe and I will tell you about the small changes I made and also my suggestions for techniques and tricks that helped me out.
First. Learn from the masters. There are undoubtedly many master bakers, but Deb over at Smitten Kitchen has an awesome write up about one of her favorite layer cakes and a list of 10 tips for better layer cakes. (Those last two links are the same. I want to make sure you don't miss it. Should I post it again? It is very helpful.) Three things Deb mentioned that worked really well for me:
1.) After my cakes were out of the pans and completely cooled, I flash froze them for about 20 minutes, then took them out of the freezer and sliced them in half. This was an infinitely more pleasant task because they were cold and hard and I did not need to fret about them breaking in half. After they were sliced, I wrapped each of the four halves doubly in plastic, and put them in freezer bags for the next day. This is preparing ahead and good planning. :)
2.) Absolutely put some waxed paper etc. just underneath the base of your cake to protect your cake board or serving plate from your messy frosting or nuts or whatever crazy things you put on your cake. Think of this like painters tape to give your cake a clean finished edge and protect the areas you don't want to get dirty. You can see how I did this in the photo below, and I actually just used the remnants left over from when I cut out the parchment rounds.
3.) Crumb coat, crumb coat, crumb coat. If you don't know what I am talking about, the crumb coat is a very thin layer of frosting that catches all the crumbs so they don't get caught up in the final frosting and make your cake look less beautiful; also, it helps to put a first layer of color on the cake, to prep for the final color. Again in terms of painting, think of it like priming a wall. Make sure to let the crumb coat set in the fridge or freezer as the recipe suggests. This gives you a perfect clean slate to apply to thicker coat of frosting.
And now for small recipe changes and tips from The Cilantropist:
-Definitely follow the recipe when it lists times for letting the cake set in the fridge but also for time spent out of the fridge. The buttercream will not be soft enough if you don't let the cake sit at room temp before serving.
-An angled icing spatula like the one below is SUPER helpful for putting on smooth frosting, but not essential. Mine is from Wilton, and you can pick it up for just a few bucks. In a pinch, I have used a regular angled spatula (like you would use for flipping eggs or pancakes) and it has done the job.
-For the cake, I used only 7 ounces of white chocolate and it tasted great. Go with what you can easily buy (some bars are 3.5oz, others are 4oz).
-Rather than 1 1/4 pound of white chocolate in the buttercream, I used just barely over 1 pound. White chocolate is expensive and sweet, and I didn't want to go overboard with either.
-I am not a huge fan of walnuts, so I put slivered almonds on the sides of the cake instead.
-For the apricot filling, I used 4 apricots diced and 1 1/2 cup of peach jam (divide apricots and jam evenly between 3 layers).
-Instead of plain sugar syrup to moisten the cake, I had some reserved peach syrup from making jam and so I used that. Use what you have on hand, and don't worry about making the peach syrup unless you want to make the jam as well.
-I put sliced peaches on the top of the cake.
Enjoy, and as always, email with any questions or post in comments below!