This weekend I decided to bake something exciting. I had the time. I had a book club (which meant it would disappear quickly). I hadn’t made a cake in far too long. Also, Cate made it a couple weeks ago and I got jealous. So I pulled out Ottolenghi’s Sweet cookbook and found the most colorful, interesting looking cake I could: Lemon Berry Stripe Cake.
What’s so impressive about stripe cake? The layers are vertical. It’s so cool. And totally unexpected when you look at the unassuming little pink cake. And, best of all, it’s actually easier to make then regular layer cake.
I’ll qualify that. Easier if you know how to make a roll cake. That’s the only mildly tricky part. But, fortunately for you, if you keep reading this post, you’ll know how to make a roll cake in no time!
First in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg yolks, 2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar, and lemon juice on medium-high speed until pale yellow and thick, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle half of the flour and salt over the top of the batter and fold in. Then fold in remaining flour and salt. Sprinkle lemon zest over the top of the batter. In a large bowl (or back in your stand mixer if you’re less lazy than I – I didn’t want to clean the bowl), beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar slowly and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into your yolk batter. Then fold in remaining egg whites. Spread batter in a 15×12 inch jellyroll pan lined with parchment batter. Be sure to flatten top with a spatula and push batter into edges and corners. Bake at 400°F for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool just 5 minutes in the pan. Now for the fun part. Place a clean kitchen towel over the cake and flip it upside down. Peal off the parchment paper. Lightly trim the edges to make them all straight. Sprinkle the top of the cake with confectioners sugar and then roll the cake, starting from a short edge, with the towel. This is done while the cake is still warm so you “train” the cake. Later, you’ll be able to roll the cake with frosting and not have it break. Set aside, rolled up, for about 20 minutes, until completely cool. Meanwhile, you can make the berry puree. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the berries and sugar. Stir occasionally and heat for about 5 minutes, until sugar dissolves and berries are heated through. Pour mixture into a food processor and process until finely ground. Pour through a mesh sieve into a bowl to get a smooth puree. You’ll have more than you need – Ottolenghi recommends saving some for use with yogurt. I think it would be great over vanilla ice cream. This will probably have taken you close to 20 minutes. If so, you can unroll your cake. Cut it into three equal strips the long way, about 4 inches wide each. I then rolled the whole thing up again and set it aside until I was ready to frost.
And to be ready to frost, you have to make the buttercream. To do this, start by heating the sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla seeds in a small saucepan over low heat. While that’s heating, start whisking the egg yolks on medium high speed, again going for that pale yellow and thick texture. Keep heating the sugar mixture, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has melted. Then, turn up the heat to medium, and swirl gently until bubbles appear. When big bubbles are all over the surface, you can turn off the stove. This next step should be done quickly but carefully. Your mixer should still be running. You want to pour the hot sugar mixture into the egg yolks in a slow, steady stream. However, this syrup mixture hardens really fast. So though you want to go slow, you want to aim for the yolks themselves, and not go too too slow. In the second picture below you’ll see what happens if you do: crusty syrup coating the side of your bowl. But, you also don’t want to just pour it right in. That will result in scrambled egg yolks, which probably would not taste good in a buttercream icing. You’ll figure out a good balance.
Let the mixer run for about 10 minutes, until outside of the bowl is no longer warm. Then, with the mixer still running (my KitchenAid got a really good workout today), add the cubes of butter, one at a time, letting each get incorporated before adding the next. Finally, pour in about 1/2 cup of the berry puree and beat to combine. Unroll your cake again. Spread about 3 ounces of icing on each strip. Starting with the first strip, roll it up from the short end and place it rolled side down on your serving tray. With the second strip, again spread the icing. Then, match a short end with the outside short end from the first strip and wrap it around to continue the spiral. Finally, repeat with the final strip. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining icing. Pour 1/4 cup of puree over the top of the cake. Allow to sit out at room temperature for about an hour before serving.
Then, when you’re ready to wow everyone at book club, start slicing, and relish in the oohs and ahhs.This cake will keep in an airtight container stored in the fridge. Just bring it to room temperature before eating (or the icing will taste like straight butter).
Lemon Berry Stripe Cake
- 8 eggs, separated
- 2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons (140g) sugar, plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- zest of one lemon
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (80g) flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- confectioners sugar
Mixed Berry Puree
- 10 1/2 ounces mixed berries, fresh or thawed from frozen
- 1/4 cup sugar
Mixed Berry Buttercream
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (120g) sugar
- seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon butter, cut into 1 inch cubes, softened
- 1/2 cup Mixed Berry Puree
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg yolks, 2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar, and lemon juice on medium high speed until pale yellow and thick, about 3 minutes.
- fold in half of the flour and salt using a rubber spatula. Then fold in remaining flour and salt.
- Sprinkle top of batter with lemon zest.
- In a large bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form.
- With mixer running, gradually pour in 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
- Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the cake batter with a rubber spatula. Then fold in remaining egg whites.
- Spread batter in a 12×15 inch jellyroll pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400°F for 12 to 15 minutes until golden and a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool 5 minutes in pan. Then flip cake onto a clean dish towel. Sprinkle cake with confectioners sugar and trim edges to make straight. Roll cake, starting at a short edge, with the dish towel. Set aside for 20 minutes to cool.
Mixed Berry Puree
- In a small saucepan over medium low heat, combine berries and sugar, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Berries should be heated through and sugar dissolved.
- Pour berries into a food processor. Process until smooth.
- Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Set aside.
Mixed Berry Buttercream
- In a small saucepan over low heat, stir corn syrup, sugar, and vanilla seeds until sugar completely dissolves.
- Meanwhile, in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks on medium high speed until pale yellow and thick. Allow to keep running while cooking syrup.
- When sugar completely dissolves in the syrup, increase heat to medium. When large bubbles cover the entire surface, remove from heat and pour in a slow steady stream into the egg yolks with the mixer running.
- Beat for 10 minutes until sides of bowl are no longer warm.
- With mixer running, add butter cubes one at a time, beating after each addition.
- Beat in 1/2 cup mixed berry puree.
- Unroll cake. Cut into three equal strips lengthwise – about 4 inches wide each. Spread each strip with about 3 ounces of buttercream.
- Roll the first strip, starting with the short edge, and place in the center of your serving tray. Wrap the next strip around the first, then the final strip. See pictures above for more information.
- Frost the top and sides of the cake. Pour 1/4 cup of puree over the top to dribble down the sides.