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This simple white cake recipe, taken straight from the legendary Mary Berry, is super versatile and can be adapted to a number of fillings and frostings. It’s so simple it literally has 3 ingredients! It has become one of our go-to recipes at home, to the point that my kids can whip it up on their own.
One of our favorite ways to prepare it is with a simple pastry cream and preserves of your choice. Try it and put your own spin on it and let us know how it goes!
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Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Cook method: Bake
Ingredients for the cake:
Ingredients for the pastry cream:
Serve your cake with our homemade limoncello.
1. Start by making the pastry cream. Put the milk and vanilla bean in a heavy saucepan and heat to hot (steaming) but not boiling, then remove from heat and let steep for 10 minutes.
2. In large, heatproof bowl, vigorously whip the eggs, sugar, and corn starch until smooth and thick. This usually takes 2-3 minutes of constant whipping.
3. Remove the vanilla bean from the milk, then gradually whisk the milk into the egg mixture. Return to the pan and heat, stirring constantly in a single direction, until it forms a smooth, thick cream.
4. Put in a bowl and press cling wrap to the top to prevent it forming a skin. Let cool, then put in the refrigerator to chill completely.
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5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and butter two 8 or 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment.
6. In a stand mixer, whisk the eggs until frothy, then add the sugar and continue to whisk for 5 minutes until it form a fluffy and thick batter. The mixture will increase in volume greatly as you mix it. (You can do this by hand if you have the patience and the arm strength!) Gently fold in the flour until fully incorporated, being careful not to de-gas the egg/sugar mixture.
7. Divide into the pans and spread evenly, then bake for about 20-22 minutes.
8. Remove from oven and remove immediately from the pans, using a knife around the edges to loosen them. Let cool upside down on a rack covered with parchment and sprinkled with sugar.
9. Finish the pastry cream by whipping the heavy cream to form stiff peaks. Then, fold it together with the chilled custard.
10. Once cool, cut each lengthwise in half to form 4 separate layers. (One trick: put toothpicks in the sides of the cakes as cutting guides.)
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11. Assemble by placing one layer, cut side up, on a cake plate. Thinly spread 1/4 cup of your favorite jam or preserves over the top. (Or if you want a more unique flavor, try drizzling with a very small amount of lavender syrup.) Top with 1/3rd of the pastry cream, spread evenly. Add another layer, cut side up, and repeat, doing the same for each layer.
12. I like to serve it with a simple dusting of powdered sugar, but you could easily ice the whole thing with a buttercream frosting for a richer and more festive cake.
Try serving it with homemade caramel ice cream!
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By Peg Kern
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2 thoughts on "Simple White Cake with Pastry Cream Filling"
When and how do you mix in the flour in the white cake? The recipe only mentions the eggs and the sugar.
Oops! Thanks for pointing that out. You fold the flour in gently after mixing the eggs and sugar. I’ll fix this now!