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Milk Street Bowtie Claire Ptak’s Three-Layer Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream and Sugared Fruits

Claire Ptak’s Three-Layer Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream and Sugared Fruits

16 to 20 Servings
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This statuesque cake comes from Claire Ptak, cookbook author, food stylist and owner of Violet Cakes in London. Her gorgeous dessert features three layers of tender spice cake sandwiching a silky-smooth orange-mascarpone filling. For subtly boozy notes and extra moisture, Ptak soaks two of the three cake layers with a simple brandy syrup. To finish, a blanket of velvety brown sugar buttercream coats the entire creation. There are several components to this showstopper, but a couple can be made in advance. The cakes can be baked and cooled, then each one wrapped well in plastic and refrigerated for up to two days; bring to room temperature before assembly. The soaking syrup also can be refrigerated for a few days. The mascarpone filling and the buttercream, however, are best made the day you plan to assemble the cake. Note that the butter to make the cake batter should be soft and very spreadable; this allows for proper creaming and emulsification. The butter for the buttercream, however, should be just slightly cooler and firmer in order to produce a perfectly silky-smooth frosting. Before making the buttercream, Ptak premixes the butter to ensure it has the correct consistency; it should yield when stirred, with a little effort, and should not be so soft as to be squishy. For a festive flair and elegant, artful finish, top the cake with sugared fruits, herbs or edible flowers. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator under a cake dome for a few days, but bring to room temperature before serving.

16 to 20

Servings

488 grams (3¾ cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon baking powder
1½ teaspoons table salt
5 large eggs, room temperature
1⅓ cups whole milk, room temperature
141 grams (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
499 grams (2⅓ cups) white sugar
½ cup sunflower oil or vegetable oil
54 grams (¼ cup) white sugar
1 to 1½ tablespoons brandy
2 8-ounce containers mascarpone cheese, cold
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons orange juice
62 grams (½ cup) powdered sugar, sifted
339 grams (24 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cool room temperature
4 large egg whites
298 grams (1½ cups) packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or the seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
For the cake:
  • 488

    grams (3¾ cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans

  • 1

    teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ½

    teaspoon ground ginger

  • ¼

    teaspoon ground cloves

  • ¼

    teaspoon grated nutmeg

  • 1

    tablespoon baking powder

  • teaspoons table salt

  • 5

    large eggs, room temperature

  • 1⅓

    cups whole milk, room temperature

  • 141

    grams (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 499

    grams (2⅓ cups) white sugar

  • ½

    cup sunflower oil or vegetable oil

For the soaking syrup:
  • 54

    grams (¼ cup) white sugar

  • 1 to 1½

    tablespoons brandy

For the mascarpone filling:
  • 2

    8-ounce containers mascarpone cheese, cold

  • 1

    cup cold heavy cream

  • 2

    tablespoons orange juice

  • 62

    grams (½ cup) powdered sugar, sifted

For the buttercream:
  • 339

    grams (24 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cool room temperature

  • 4

    large egg whites

  • 298

    grams (1½ cups) packed dark brown sugar

  • 1

    teaspoon table salt

  • 1

    teaspoon vanilla extract or the seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

Directions

Claire Ptak’s Three-Layer Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream and Sugared Fruits

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