Perfect Party Cake

Those who read food blogs have probably already seen this cake on hundreds of other blogs in the past few weeks, thanks to the most recent Daring Bakers challenge.  I have actually had my eye on this cake for quite some time.  While I do not (yet) own Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, it is the first book I grab each time I am browsing at Barnes & Noble and I peruse it, wishing it was part of my home collection.  Since the weather is finally turning a corner and spring is here, fresh berries are worth buying again.  When I saw Jamie’s version of the Perfect Party Cake I knew it was the perfect adaptation for me.  Her brilliant use of white chocolate whipped cream and fresh berries between the layers looked wonderful to me – and it really was!  I chose a simple Cool Whip frosting for the outside to complement the abundance of the fresh berries, as it seemed much more fitting than any buttercream. 

I was thrilled with the final product.  It was every bit as gorgeous and as tasty as I had hoped.  My good friend Allie is celebrating a birthday this week so I brought this as her birthday cake to her birthday dinner last night, and it was definitely a hit.  The famous “Benchiladas” were the main dish for our celebration, as they are a favorite of my friends as well 🙂  Happy birthday, Allie!

Perfect Party Cake


For the cake:

2 ¼ cups cake flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk

4 large egg whites

1 ½ cups sugar

2 tsp. grated lemon zest

1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature

½ tsp. lemon extract (I omitted this)


For finishing:

2/3 cup mixed berry preserves

1 recipe white chocolate whipped cream

fresh berries

1 recipe Cool Whip frosting (I actually used closer to 12 oz. Cool Whip – this recipe is very adaptable)



Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°.  Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment paper.  Dust both pans with flour, shaking out the excess.  Set aside.


Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk and egg whites.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar and lemon zest.  Mix them with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.  Add the butter to the sugar mixture and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Beat in the lemon extract.


Add one third of the flour mixture, continuing to beat on medium speed.  Beat in half of the egg mixture, then half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.  Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogenous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.  Finally give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.  Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans and smooth tops with a rubber spatula.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well-risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted in the centers should come out clean.


Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes.  Run a knife around the sides of the cakes, invert the cake pans to remove the cake, peel off the parchment paper, and invert once more so cakes are right side up on the cooling rack.  Cool to room temperature.


Using a sharp, serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half.  Place one layer on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate, cut side up.  Spread one third of the preserves on top.  Cover the jam evenly with about 1/3 of the white chocolate whipped cream.  Top evenly with fresh berries.  Top with another cake layer, and again layer with jam, whipped cream and berries.  Repeat once more with a third cake layer.  Place the last layer of the cake cut side down on top of the cake.  Use the Cool Whip frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake.  Top with fresh berries.


Because of the whipped cream filling and Cool Whip frosting, this cake should be stored in the refrigerator.  Remove from refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving.

Source: adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan and Good Eats ‘n Sweet Treats

15 Responses

  1. It looks beautiful Annie. All those berries are making me hungry.

  2. Beautiful cake! I love all of the fresh berries!

  3. This cake is gorgeous! The berries really make the presentation look great. And yes, I agree about the cool whip frosting choice – I think it would probably be better than buttercream. I’ve read some things about the Daring Bakers, and am wondering how to get into this – is this a a group you join, or do you just submit recipes the way you do for blogging events? Thanks Annie!

  4. Nice job! And I agree… a much better frosting than the buttercream (which was far too rich!)

  5. Looks so good! Smart to not use the buttercream. And I love all of those fresh berries!

  6. Annie, has brand new copies of Baking: From My Home to Yours for $10-$15. Like you, I used to look at it every time I was in Barnes & Noble, but then a co-worker told me it was on . . .

  7. So when are you going to join the DB’s! 🙂 No pressure… lol

    Cake looks great! Although I loved the buttercream (it wasn’t as heavy as other buttercream frostings I’ve tried). I’m sure the whipped topping was excellent too!

  8. Sarah, Daring Bakers is a food blogging group. Each month they have a challenge and all members make the same recipe, posting their results at the very end of the month (or maybe the beginning of the next – I’m not sure). Check the link in my post for more info. I’m not actually part of the group so I can’t really help you out more than that.

    Nikki, I don’t plan on joining DB. It was appealing at first but now that there are nearly 1000 members, it has lost any charm for me. If that many people are doing it, it just doesn’t excite me. Plus, it’s hard to devote the time to some of the more involved recipes if I don’t have a real desire to make them. I would rather just see what the challenges were after they are posted and make the ones that interest me.

  9. What a beautiful cake. It makes my mouth water just looking at it.

  10. I have the honor of having tasted this cake.
    yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. You rock, Annie.

  11. That’s too bad… it hasn’t lost any charm to me.

  12. i am just now catching up on my google reader now that i am back from vacation, not sick anymore, and have a functioning hand 😉

    when i saw this post i thought perhaps you had joined the DB and my initial thought was “wow, we were on the same page with this cake” LOL
    then i read your post and saw that you were inspired to make my version of the cake 🙂 i’m flattered and so glad that you liked it! i love any cake with fresh berries!

    you did a great job assembling the cake, it looks fabulous!

  13. I love looking through the recipes on your site, and I decided to make this cake this week for a baby shower. The cake was easy to make, but I was nervous once I started putting the layers together. I was afraid it was going to be soggy. But it set up in the refrigerator and turned out to be a HUGE hit. It was soooo yummy…everyone loved it, me included. 🙂 So thanks for helping me impress all my co-workers!

  14. I made these as cupcakes (from your Baby Bean Cupcake post) and they were the biggest hit of my dessert night (I also made the Oreo Cupcakes, Red Velvet, and Mini Cheesecakes). Such a simple dessert got rave reviews from everyone. I hadn’t read through the recipe until I was actually making it and was surprised at how lemon-y it ended up being. Quite delicious!

  15. Just finished making these…soooo good. SO good. We love them. They almost seem to have an angel food cake texture after they’re cooked, but not really. Just very moist and fluffy and seriously the best from-scratch cupcakes I’ve ever made. Now I’m off to go buy more butter…I can’t believe we’re out, but my husband used the rest of it on your Caramel Apple Cheesecake last night…holy cow, THAT was amazing. Rave reviews from everyone who tried it.

    I love your website! Thank you!

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