My Recipe Box

White Chocolate Macadamia Cake with Raspberries and White Chocolate Buttercream

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Serves sixteen.

  • To learn more, read:
    Cake Fancy
  • by Rebecca Rather from Fine Cooking
    Issue 102

White chocolate leaves (surely, it’s time to bring them back) and a sleek coat of buttercream give this three-layer stunner a dressed-up look.

For the cake
  • 12 oz. (1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened; more for the pans
  • 14 oz. (31/2 cups) cake flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2-1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 6-1/2 oz. white chocolate, chopped (1-1/3 cups)
  • 4 oz. (1 cup) chopped toasted macadamia nuts
For the white chocolate leaves
  • 9 to 12 organic lemon leaves, preferably different sizes
  • 6 oz. white chocolate, coarsely chopped (1-1/4 cups)
For the buttercream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 lb. (3 cups) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 8 oz. white chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature
For the filling
  • 2 cups raspberry jam
  • 2 cups (8 oz.) fresh raspberries
For the decoration (optional)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup fresh raspberries
  • 3 to 6 small sprigs fresh mint
Make the cake

Position racks in the bottom and top thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

Butter three 9x2-inch round cake pans and line each with a parchment round. Butter the parchment.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Add the vanilla and then the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add about one-third of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add half of the buttermilk and mix until incorporated. Continue adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk, alternating between the two and ending with the flour. The batter will be thick and glossy. Fold in the white chocolate and macadamia nuts.

Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Level the batter with a spatula. Set two pans on the top rack and the third on the lower rack. Stagger the pans on the oven racks so that no pan is directly over another. Bake, swapping and rotating the pans’ positions after 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 28 to 35 minutes total. Cool on racks for 10 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the racks, remove the parchment, and cool completely.

Make the white chocolate leaves

Wash the leaves and dry them with paper towels. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment.

Put the white chocolate in a metal bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water and whisk until melted and smooth.

Using a small pastry brush, paint a thick coat of chocolate on the underside of each leaf. Don’t let chocolate drip over the sides of the leaves, or they will be difficult to peel off later.

Place the leaves chocolate side up on the prepared baking sheet and leave in a cool, dry place or refrigerate until the chocolate has set.

Hold the leaf stem and peel the leaf carefully away from the chocolate. Transfer the chocolate leaves to the other prepared baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the buttercream

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs and egg yolks on high speed until thick and lightened, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, clip a candy thermometer to a 3-quart saucepan; don’t let the tip touch the bottom of the pan. Combine the sugar with 1/2 cup water in the pan and simmer over medium heat until it reaches 234°F to 235°F. Transfer the sugar mixture to a heatproof measuring cup. With the mixer running on low speed, pour the sugar mixture down the side of the bowl into the egg mixture in a slow, thin stream. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the mixture has cooled (the bowl should be barely warm to the touch), 6 to 8 minutes. Add the butter 4 Tbs. at a time, beating on medium speed until incorporated, about 20 seconds for each addition. (Don’t worry if the mixture looks thin at first; it’ll thicken as you add more butter.) After all the butter has been added, add the salt, raise the speed to medium high, and beat until thick and glossy, about 1 minute. Fold the white chocolate into the buttercream.

Assemble the cake

Put a cake layer on a flat serving platter or a cake stand lined with strips of waxed paper to keep it clean while icing. Top the layer with 1 cup of the jam, spreading it evenly with an offset spatula to the cake’s edge. Scatter 1 cup of the raspberries evenly over the jam. Repeat with a second cake layer, the remaining 1 cup jam, and the remaining 1 cup raspberries. Top with the last cake layer.

Put 2 cups of the buttercream in a small bowl. With an offset spatula, spread this buttercream in a thin layer over the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate the cake until the buttercream firms enough to seal in the crumbs, 20 to 30 minutes.

Spread the remaining buttercream in a thick, smooth layer over the entire cake. Remove the waxed paper strips.

Decorate with the white chocolate leaves, fresh raspberries, and mint leaves, if using. Before serving, let sit at room temperature until the chocolate leaves soften slightly, about 30 minutes.

Make Ahead Tips

You can bake, cool, wrap, and store the cake layers at room temperature for up to 1 day or freeze for up to 1 month. The white chocolate leaves will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. You can refrigerate the frosted cake (without the decorations) for up to 4 hours. Return to room temperature before decorating.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 1180; Fat (g): 72; Fat Calories (kcal): 640; Saturated Fat (g): 41; Protein (g): 10; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 22; Carbohydrates (g): 130; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): 290; Cholesterol (mg): 290; Fiber (g): 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Web extra: Test Kitchen contributor Nicki Sizemore demonstrates our simple method for making white chocolate leaves.

I made this cake several years ago for my daughter's December birthday. It was so beautiful! And delicious! I had never made anything so grand before, but it turned out perfect. My only problem was that I could only find salted macadamia nuts, so I had to wipe the salt off of each and every one. Still, it was worth it. A cake to remember!

Made this cake for a Holiday party. Without a doubt a fabulous cake. Made exactly as directed. The cake was moist and fabulous. Had a little difficulty getting the cake out of the pans, two of them crumbled no sweat, the cake was so good my husband had no trouble eating the crumbled pieces. So cooking it a little longer the second time helped.DO NOT USE FOIL BACKED PARCHMENT PAPER it stuck to the pan causing the cake to stick. Had no trouble with the buttercream and yes it made alot but once you make a crumb coat and then frost there wasn't that much left over. and besides there is no such thing as left over buttercream! Just eat it:) A beautiful and delicious cake. Will make again and again and again. No one had any gastric distress as reported by another reviewer.

The cake is very good. I did follow the recipe perfectly. The cake came out great. The cake tastes great. The only reason for giving it only 3 stars is watch out after you eat it. Do not drink water or milk or something after eating the piece of cake. The sponge type cake blows up in your stomach and you feel like you just ate a lead ball. It was a very uncomfortable feeling and nearly everyone in our dinner party felt the same way. It tastes amazing, but do not drink ANYTHING after eating it.

This cake turned out GREAT! It got rave reviews. I'm not the most skilled baker but I followed the recipe to the letter and got excellent results. The only slight problem I had was that the frosting was much more yellow that I would have liked. I'm not sure how fix that. My one tip would be to really watch the cake in the oven. It doesnt take much to over cook them.

FAB-U-LOUS!! Pulled this out of an issue last year and have been waiting for a chance to make it. That chance came this Christmas. It was worth the wait! I was paranoid about the icing due to some of the reviews below so I made it EXACTLY as the recipe said and it came out great. Yes, it made too much, but I froze the leftover and plan to make cupcakes with it soon. I agree with those below to keep the nut chunks large. I used frozen raspberries (more economical). For the first layer I followed the recipe and found the jelly too gelatinous and somewhat difficult to spread. So for the second layer I spooned the jelly (I used regular Smuckers seedless) into a bowl, added some of the liquid from the frozen raspberries, and whisked it before putting in on the cake. Worked much better.

I made this cake for a church Christmas celebration last December. It was by far the best cake I have ever made or tasted. Literally everyone loved it, even the people that don't usually like frosting. I suspect the problem people are having with the frosting is that they are not whipping it long enough. I had the benefit of reading the magazine article that went with this recipe originally. The article talked about the need to whip the butter mixture for a minimum of 5 minutes or the recipe would fail. It needs to be not only well mixed, but fluffed up with air. I plan on making this for Christmas this year for my family, they are looking forward to it!

I made this cake recently just to see if I could get the same result as the picture in the magazine. Not only did this cake look as beautiful as the one in the book, but the taste was so fantastic that my husbands co-workers...who received the finished cake...sent me flowers to thank me. The buttercream icing came together just as the instructions indicated it would. I think the key is to make sure the sugar/egg mixture is completely cool before adding the butter. I made my own raspberry jam so I could control the sweetness. This cake was a huge hit and will be added to my list of favorites.

Forget the buttercream frosting recipe. There are much better ones out there. Also, there is enough white chocolate in the cake alone. Another reviewer mentioned to keep the macadamian chunks big... I couldn't agree more. This cake deserves 4 stars because it is felixible. I made this in both two and three layers, and it was amazing with both attemps. Frozen raspberries are also great, as mentioned earlier.

I am now on my fourth attempt at this cake and thought I'd share some learnings for your benefit. 1. FORGET the frosting. Homemade buttercream would be more aptly named don't-try-this-at-home buttercream. The first time it was too thin, second time (in a move to over compensate) was too thick. The third and fourth time I punted and bought store bought buttercream. Ironically, this became the most complimented part of the cake, much to my horror...but moving on.... 2. Keep the white chocolate and macadamian nut chunks big. Two seconds in the quisinart at most. If they are too fine they make the cake dryer. I also find you'll get the full taste better with the bigger chunks. 3. Don't forget the buttermilk. For some reason, I always seem to overlook this ingredient when I make my shopping list. This causes hurried trips to Safeway in full apron and scunchie regala. Embarrassing. 4. Use the parchment paper as suggested. Don't skimp on this step. When I have skipped it, the cake has stuck to the bottom of the pan. 5. You can use frozen raspberries and they work and taste just as good as the fresh. In fact, I use a whole bag (plus the jam) in between each layer. The raspberry juice then soaks the cake to make it moist. It's actually pretty too. 6. This cake takes practice. Optimistically, my first time, I promised to make this cake and bring it to a party. This was the dreaded runny frosting incident and I ended up with a Marie Callendar's pie instead. 7. All these learnings aside, I continue to make it because it is absolutely delicious. I continue to learn and modify each time in the quest (fingers crossed) that it will someday look like it did on the cover of the magazine.

I made this gluten-free, substituting Better Batter flour for the cake flour. This was by far the best cake I have made!

very sweet but very good. whiti chocolate & raspberry great combo.

For Bootstitcher: This type of frosting is a French style butterceam, so it basically is sweetened butter lightened by eggs. I myself find them dreamy, creamy, and heavenly, but many Americans not used to that style of buttercream don’t like them in the beginning. A French buttercream is a far cry from the standard American, heavy on the powdered sugar, light on the butter style of frosting (which are just way too sweet for me). If it was smooth, light, yet thick, lightly sweetened, and spread easily, then the buttercream you made came out well.

The cake turned out beautifully but the icing was extremely problematic. We only used 1/2 of the icing recipe in the end as the amount was excessive. I would use another recipe if we attempt the cake again.

I made the cake for a New Year's party. The cake part turned out good, but the buttercream was just sweetened butter in the end and I had to make another frosting for the cake. I read the recipe several times and made sure I done it right with the correct amount of each ingredient. What did I do wrong? Any help would be appreciated.

I made the cake for Thanksgiving and it was a complete hit! I had some issues in making the frosting so it definitely wasn't as thick as shown in the picture. I think the amount that was on mine though was the perfect amount...was just the right combination of nuttyness, tartness, and sweetness. Overall, delicious!

Was really good, but very rich. The frosting on the top was about two inches high, so maybe that volume of frosting wasn't required. The nutty, jam-filled cake was delicious!

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