Birthday Cake Club: Berry Rose Chantilly
Not just another berry cake featuring my new favorite: Hot Milk Sponge Cake.
At the height of berry season, it is somewhat criminal to eat berries any other way than plucked straight from the berry basket. But stuff them in this creamy, three-layer cake and you’ve got a whole celebration on your hands.
June is a special Birthday Cake Club month, but why? It’s my birthday month! If you don’t already know, Birthday Cake Club was originally conceived for my daughter who was born in December. In a promise to make her birthday special each year, despite being during the busy holiday season, I created this monthly cake series.
Each month, I develop a new layer cake recipe for everyone to make and share. The monthly cakes are festive, fun, and worthy of a crown of candles and the best birthday wishes. Whether you or a loved one has a birthday that month or not, each cake is a reason in itself to celebrate.
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The Berry Chantilly Cake gets its claim to fame from the bakery section at Whole Foods. What originated as a New Orleans special, this popular cake can now be found across the country.
Can a chain grocery cake really be that good? Perhaps, but I haven’t tried the original. The idea of a white cake, fresh berries, and whipped cream isn’t exactly groundbreaking. But try this version, with this hot milk sponge doused in vanilla rose syrup, and I guarantee you’ll be an instant fan too.
Chantilly cream in the French pastry world is sweetened heavy cream that is whipped until fluffy and flavored with vanilla extract or vanilla bean. Sound like whipped cream? Yeah, basically, but it feels fancier. This is likely where the cake got its name, however, the frosting is full of cream cheese and mascarpone.
The addition of cream cheese and mascarpone stabilizes the whipped cream and makes it much easier to work with. It also makes it taste absolutely amazing. The frosting, to me, is more like a lighter, silkier, less-sweet cream cheese frosting.
While many Chantilly Cakes are made with a basic yellow or white butter cake, I opted for a sponge cake. A hot milk sponge cake, to be specific. I wanted something that was lighter than a butter cake and that didn’t squish the layers of whipped frosting (fresh fruit leaking between the layers can be a nightmare). A sponge cake is also a great idea when working with a filling or frosting like this that needs refrigeration since it stays soft even after being chilled.
Hot milk sponge cake is my new favorite cake for layers. It is wonderfully fluffy and easy to put together. Most sponge cakes are fussy, but I think you will find that that is not the case for this cake.
Hot milk cake is more flavorful and foolproof than a genoise cake. It contains baking powder, so you don’t have to stress about carefully folding the ingredients or deflating the whipped egg whites. The milk makes it tender.
Unlike a chiffon cake that might shrink and deflate without using a proper tube pan, the hot milk cake bakes flat and is springy to the touch. Plus, you can skip separating the eggs. Lastly, a hot milk cake uses ingredients straight from the fridge - another win!
The rose in the syrup really livens up an otherwise simple cake. The flavor is quite pronounced but still delicate. I much prefer rose over the sometimes perfumey and soapy lavender, but you can adjust the amount to your liking.
Now let’s get on to the recipe!