This is without a doubt my most requested cake that I make. I love it because it’s quite versatile- you can do a colored ombre cake with it, a plain white cake with sprinkles, a naked cake. You can switch up the fillings- I’ve done it with strawberry or blackberry. It’s moist and it is beautiful.
It is time consuming to be sure, as are most 4+ layer cakes, but the results make it entirely worth it.
There are a few tricks to this cake. One, you absolutely have to watch the baking time. Everybody’s oven is different. In different houses, this cake has baked up perfectly for me in different times. I recommend starting to check your layers after 15 minutes, and then every 2-3 minutes after that. If they are still jiggling in the middle, they obviously aren’t done. Once they are no longer jiggly, put a toothpick in the center. You don’t want it to come out clean- you want it to come out with a few moist crumbs. That’s when it’s ready to come out of the oven.
Two, don’t overdo it on the jam. About 1/4 cup of jam per layer is perfect. Any more than that and it will be oozing everywhere instead of just a bit, which is what you’re going for. This should go without saying, but follow all of the directions, particularly the sifting of the dry ingredients and the cooling of the butter.
The other trick is to let your cake layers cool for about 10 minutes and then immediately flip them out onto plastic wrap, wrap them in plastic, then in foil, and freeze them overnight. This step is essential to a super moist cake and also makes the cake much easier to work with when you are frosting and filling it.
The pictured cake here has meringue kisses for toppers. That is a recipe for another time, but you can find the meringue recipe that I used for these here, on my Christmas Tree meringue post. I just made the meringue purple instead of green and piped them into kisses instead of trees.
Questions? Comment below.
For the cake:
3 cups all purpose flour
3 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 1/2 cups boiling water
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
For the vanilla almond buttercream:
1 cup room temperature butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3-5 tablespoons heavy cream
*you will also need your choice of homemade or store bought jam for filling. Homemade is always best, if you don’t have that, Knott’s Berry Farm jam or Smuckers are my faves.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease four 8-inch round cake pans with baking spray. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper.
- In a very large bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine them well. Add the butter and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the boiling water – splashing may occur if you add it too quickly. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and be sure the batter is well-mixed and no flour bits remain. Divide among the 4 prepared cake pans- I use 2 1/4 cups of batter per pan.
- Bake for 18 to 25 minutes on the same rack, if possible, without the cake pans touching each other, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean.(Don’t overbake!! Start testing at 15 mins and as soon as that toothpick comes out with little moist bits on it, pull the cakes out of the oven!) Let cool in the pans for about 10 minutes. Invert onto plastic wrap, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely. (*If you’re using my freezing tip, wrap them in plastic wrap while they are still warm (but not hot), then foil, and stick them in the freezer still warm)
- The next day, remove the cakes from the freezer, let thaw for about 20 minutes, and then assemble with vanilla almond buttercream. If not freezing, let the cakes cool completely to room temperature before frosting and assembling.
- For the buttercream, cream your butter in a mixer until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, beating well between each addition. Add salt, and vanilla extract and almond extract and beat well. Thin out to desired consistency with the heavy cream beating well when done until light and fluffy.
- To fill, I put some icing in a piping bag and I pipe one circle around the edge of each cake layer to hold in the jam. Fill the center of that circle with jam, top with the next layer, and repeat. Then cover the cake with the rest of the buttercream.
- This cake tastes best if store in the refrigerator until 1-2 hours before serving.