Turmeric Layer Cake with Blueberry Ginger Filling
A show stopping spiced layer cake that doesn't need to take you all day to make!
Turmeric Spice and Everything Nice
I have been searching for a way to showcase turmeric in a bake for awhile and eureka, I got it! This was part of Christina Tosi's online recipe development classes offered through Monthly.com. The project was to design your own layer cake a-la Milkbar layer technique and style. This recipe features a Turmeric spiced cake, blueberry-ginger compote, cardamom crunchies and vanilla frosting. These flavors complement each other so well without one taking away the whole show. And visually the golden turmeric cake is something to behold! Baking with turmeric and these other warm spices give off the vibes of a turmeric latte. I'm not going to say this is an inflammatory cake (due to the high amounts of sugar), but it can't hurt right? 😉
Yes, this does sound like a lot of components and very time consuming. I will not lie, doing all of this in one day is a lot. It's doable, but you will be exhausted by the end and no one likes an all day baking endeavor. That's why I will tell you how to make this into an easy layer cake recipe for your next event. We will go over step by step instructions on how to make each component ahead of time to save you time on your feet while still producing a show stopping cake!
Cake: The Need to Know
The most important steps for getting a light and fluffy cake begins with the creaming process. If your foundation hasn't had enough time to fluff up, then you might find your cake coming out dense. Take your time at each step to make sure the butter/sugar is extra fluffy, that you beat in the eggs until REALLY combined and most importantly slowly stream in your liquids!! It's a lot of fat and if you add it too fast it could separate your batter. Ain't nobody got time for that.
If you are familiar with the Milkbar recipe process then you know that this cake is baked in a quarter sheet pan and NOT cake pans (Say what?!). I'm officially sold on this process. It allows the cake to cook evenly and you don't waste as much cake (like when you need to trim the lumpy tops of circle cakes). Even though you will end up with some snacking cake scraps, the guaranteed even baking is *chef kiss* a beautiful thing to see. You can bake the cake several days ahead of time. Just leave it in the pan, cover to seal in freshness and leave in fridge until ready to use.
For this cake I used my blueberry-ginger compote as the filling. You can find the recipe for this here. This recipe uses gelatin powder which is a must. It turns the filling into a thick jam so it doesn't ooze from the cake or slide over! It takes at least 3 hours for the jelly to set, but good news is this can be made up to 5 days ahead of when you need it! This way you know it's ready for layering when it is time to assemble your cake.
Cardamom Crumb Crunch
This is a signature part of the Milkbar cake, the "cake crumb". These are crunchy tid bits that add extra texture and a chance to squeeze in even more flavor. These are really quick to whip up and can be stored in a tupperware up to a week ahead of when you need them. These taste like mini cardamom oatmeal cookies and also make for great decor on top of the cake. The crunchies can easily be omitted if it's not something you are feeling that day.
Dreamy Creamy Frosting
How do you not overwhelm an already flavor packed cake? By making a frosting that assists with the structural hold while providing a creamy flavor that is not quite a buttercream or cream cheese frosting. The secret? Vegetable shortening, i.e Crisco. Something I would NEVER have thought to use, but after testing out some of the Milkbar recipes I can really see why they suggest it. The shortening provides the texture of butter, without adding an overwhelming amount of flavor. This lets the cream cheese shine while not being a super tart frosting. I would recommend not making the frosting ahead of time, since it would make it difficult to get it back to room temp and whipped up.
Looking For a Bake-A-Thon Project? Then Let's Get Moving!
Here is a break down of when to do each item so that you can breeze through the building process if you are trying to make everything in one day.
Blueberry Filling: Needs at least 3 hours to set so do this first! Also make sure to store it in a wide container so it cools faster.
Turmeric Cake: Assembly doesn't begin until this thing is cool! Once your cake is in the oven you can start making sure your frosting materials are coming to room temperature and begin the batter for your crumb crunch.
Crumb Crunch: Super fast to throw together and bake. Get this done so they can begin cooling and you can prep your frosting.
Frosting: Make this last so that it is extra fluffy!!
To get the naked cake look like the pictures this will require a cake ring and acetate to assemble it. You can still make this without it! For the assembly process you will need to make a frosting damm for the blueberry filling so it doesn't ooze out. This will still give you a great slice shot!
Turmeric Cake with Blueberry-Ginger Filling, Crunch Crumbs and Vanilla Frosting
Total Bake Time: 4 Hours
Makes 1, 3-layer 6inch cake
Tools Required: Quarter sheet pan, acetate, 6 inch cake ring
Turmeric Spice Cake
Makes 1 quarter sheet cake or 3 6inch cakes
115g (1 stick) Unsalted butter, Room Temp.
250g (1 ¼ Cup) Granulated Sugar
60g (¼ Cup) Brown Sugar
3 Eggs, Room Temp
110g (½ Cup) Milk
75g (¼ Cup) Vegetable Oil
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
185g (1 ½ Cups) Cake Flour
4g (1 ¼ Tsp) Baking Powder
4g (1 Tsp) Kosher Salt
4g (1 ½ Tsp) Turmeric
2g (1 Tsp.) Cinnamon
1g (½ Tsp.) Ground Ginger
Preheat the oven to 350℉. Spray a quarter sheet pan with oil and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Combine the butter and both sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and cream together until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated and scraping down the bowl between each addition. After all eggs have been added mix on high for about 4 minutes until mixture is light in color.
In a liquid measuring cup, combine the milk, oil and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low, slowly stream in the liquid slowly until incorporated. This step must be done slowly so that your batter doesn't split from adding too much fat at once.
In a separate bowl mix together cake flour, baking powder, salt, turmeric, cinnamon and ginger until combined.
With your mixer on the lowest speed, add your dry ingredients all at once and mix until there are no more dry spots (takes about 45 seconds). Scrap down the bowl to ensure fully incorporated without over mixing.
Pour batter into prepared baking sheet. Using an offset spatula smooth down the batter until flat and evenly distributed.
Bake for 30 minutes until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
Allow cake to cool at room temperature in the baking sheet.
Cake can be made up to 4 days ahead of time.
Cardamom Crumb Crunch
Makes 1 Cup
55g (¼ Cup) All-Purpose Flour
12g (2 Tbsp) Cornstarch
25g (2 Tbsp) Granulated Sugar
2g (½ tsp) Kosher Salt
40g (¼ Cup) Rolled Oats
1 Tsp Cardamom
55g (Half a stick) Melted Butter
Preheat oven to 350℉.
Mix all your dry ingredients together in the bowl of a stand mixer until evenly combined.
Add your melted butter and mix on low. You want to make sure there are no dry spots left. Mix until clumps begin to form.
Spread out on a baking sheet, breaking up any large clumps. Bake for 15 minutes or until crumb is golden brown.
Let cool on tray before storing in a container.
Crumb can be made up to 5 days prior to use.
Makes 2 Cups of Frosting
100g (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
50g (4 Tbsp.) Shortening
70g (half a brick) Cream Cheese
7g (2 Tsp.) Vanilla Extract
200g (1 ¼ Cup) Powdered Sugar
In a bowl of a stand mixer, add butter, shortening, cream cheese and vanilla extract. Mix on medium high until mixture becomes lighter in color and fluffy.
Add all of the powdered sugar and starting on low slowly mix in. Once there are no more dry spots, bring the speed up to high and beat for 5 minutes until extra fluffy!
60g (¼ Cup) Milk
4g (1 Tsp.) Vanilla Extract
Combine milk and vanilla extract, mix and set aside until use.
Cut a piece of acetate that will fit inside the entire cake ring, over lapping a bit. Place this on top of a piece of cardboard or your cake round.
Using a knife or bench scraper, go around the sides of your cake to loosen it from the sheet pan. Turn out the pan onto a counter and gently shake the pan if the cake has trouble coming loose.
Using your cake ring, measure on the back of the cake where you can cut out two full circles and 2 half circles for your cake layers. By pressing the cake ring down into the cake, cut out your pieces and put aside for assembly.
Starting with your two half circles, place them with in the acetate and cake ring with the crunchy side down, pushing them to opposite sides so there is a space between them. Using cake scraps, fill in the center so it completes the cake layer.
Use a spoon and drizzle your cake soak onto the cake, leaving enough for the other two layers.
Next add half of your compote on top of the cake and spread to an even layer.
Continue with your frosting, adding a third of the mixture on top of the blueberry mixture, spreading evenly to the edges.
Grab your crumb crunch and sprinkle on top of frosting, gently pressing them in so they stick.
Repeat the process once more with all layers.
With the last cake piece you will only be topping it with cake soak, frosting and crunch crumbs, decorating as you see fit.
Place cake in freezer for 6hours-overnight.
Take cake out of freezer 3 hours prior to serving. When you initially take it out of the freezer, immediately remove the cake ring and acetate. Place cake on plate or stand you will be serving on.
Make sure cake is defrosted prior to serving otherwise you risk your layers squishing out!