This is the cake to make when berries are at their peak and you want to enjoy them in a dessert that leans towards the fancy side. The light lemon chiffon cake layers are a lovely foil to the rich white chocolate ganache frosting and the sweet-tart berries. Be sure to use the best quality white chocolate you can find for the ganache – my favorites are Guittard, Valrhona and Green & Black’s.
Make one 9-inch cake, serving 8
Whipped White Chocolate Sour Cream Ganache:
- 9 ounces (255 grams) high quality white chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup (232 grams) heavy cream
- ½ cup (121 grams) sour cream
Lemon Chiffon Layers:
- 1 cup (115 grams) sifted cake flour
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 large (200 grams) eggs, separated, at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons (45 grams) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) water
- 1/4 cup (54 grams) safflower or other neutral vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) finely grated lemon zest
- 1 large (30 grams) egg white
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 cups (280 grams) strawberries, washed, hulled and patted dry
- 2 cups (227 grams) fresh raspberries
- 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) freshly squeezed strained lemon juice
- 1 cup (113 grams) fresh blackberries
- Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Make the ganache:
- Place the white chocolate in the bowl of an electric mixer and set aside.
- Place the cream in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Pour the hot cream over the white chocolate and let it stand for 1 minute to melt the chocolate. Gently whisk until smooth. Allow to cool until tepid, stirring occasionally.
- Whisk in the sour cream. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the ganache for at least 6 hours.
Make the cake layers:
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom (but not the sides) of a two 9-inch cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper and grease the paper.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, 1/2 cup (100 grams) of the granulated sugar, the baking powder, and salt. Whisk until well blended and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon juice, water, safflower oil, and lemon zest. Whisk in the flour mixture, one-third at a time, mixing just until blended.
- Place the egg whites and the cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat, using the whisk attachment, at medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar; increase the speed to high and beat until the whites form medium peaks. Using a large rubber spatula, briskly fold about one-third of the whites into the cake batter. Gently fold in the remaining whites. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans, dividing it evenly.
- Bake the cakes for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean. Place the pans on wire racks and run a paring knife around the edge of the pans to loosen the cakes. Cool the cakes in the pan for 15 minutes.
- Invert the cakes onto wire racks and peel off the parchment paper. Cool the cakes completely.
Prepare the berries:
- Slice half of the strawberries ¼-inch thick and place them in a medium bowl along with 1 cup (113 grams) of the raspberries. Sprinkle with the sugar and lemon juice and toss the mixture with a spoon to combine. Set the berries aside at room temperature for 15 minutes to macerate. Reserve the blackberries for garnishing the top of the cake.
Assemble the cake:
- Place the bowl of ganache in the mixer stand and, using the whisk attachment, whip at medium speed until the ganache forms soft peaks and is firm enough spread (be careful not to overwhip it, though, as it can become grainy).
- Place one of the cake layers on a serving plate and top with the macerated berries, including their juice, spreading them in an even layer. Using a metal spatula, spread about 2/3 cup of the whipped ganache on top of the berries, going right up to the edge of the cake. Top with the other cake layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining ganache.
- Slice the remaining strawberries in half or, if large, in quarters. Arrange them, along with the remaining 1 cup raspberries and 1 cup blackberries, on top of the frosted cake, piling them up in the center. Dust the berries liberally with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. The cake should be eaten the day it’s made.