Saturday, April 25, 2015

Vanilla layer cake with chocolate-mascarpone filling, mascarpone frosting and edible flowers

Last Saturday, I made a cake that felt like spring.

There was lots of vanilla, mascarpone, and a touch of chocolate, because where would I be without chocolate?

But mostly, there were flowers, edible ones.
Pansies, of the yellow and purple kind, that decorated the cake in the most beautiful way.

Two vanilla cakes, aromatic and sweet, dense but not stodgy, separated only by a thick layer of chocolate-mascarpone cream that was light, airy and filled with the deep flavor of good quality cocoa powder.

Covering the cake, a luscious, soft and pillowy mascarpone frosting, whiter than white, the perfect canvas for the yellow and purple flowers to show off their effortless beauty and gorgeous hues.

The cake was just the right amount of sweet, with the intense flavor and aroma of the vanilla being present with every forkful. Light, fluffy, bright, elegant, delicious cake, enjoyed to the fullest. Nothing more we could ask for.

Vanilla layer cake with chocolate-mascarpone filling, mascarpone frosting and edible flowers

I used edible pansies to decorate the cake but any edible flowers will do. Violets would be stunning if you could find some.

This is a fairly easy cake to make for any type of celebration. Everyone will be wowed and you won’t have made a huge mess in the kitchen or spend a huge amount of time preparing it. Win-win.

Yield: 1 layered cake / 12-14 slices


for the vanilla cake
200 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the pans
130 g caster sugar
3 medium-sized eggs
45 ml whole fresh milk
1½ tsp vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
225 g all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt

for the chocolate-mascarpone filling
125 g mascarpone
30 g icing sugar
20 g Dutch-processed cocoa powder
125 ml cream, full-fat (35%)

for the mascarpone frosting
250 g mascarpone
55 g icing sugar
100 ml cream, full-fat (35%)
½ tsp pure vanilla extract (I didn’t add paste as I wanted the frosting white without the vanilla seeds showing, but you can add vanilla paste if you like)

Edible flowers, for decorating

Special equipment: two round 18cm springform baking pans, baking paper, stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer, fine sieve, large serrated knife, frosting spatulas (large straight and/or small offset)


for the vanilla cake
Butter the bottom and sides of two 18cm springform pans. Line the bottom with baking paper. See here how to make a baking paper circle.

Preheat your oven to 175°C.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl), add the butter and sugar and beat, using the paddle attachment (or a hand-held mixer), on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, for about 5 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until fully incorporated. Add the milk and the vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt straight into the bowl and beat on medium speed until combined.

Divide the batter between the two baking pans. I weigh the mixture and divide it in half between the two pans, but if you don’t want to use a scale, eyeball it. Smooth the tops with the back of a spoon or a small offset spatula.

Place both pans on the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until a cake tester or knife inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake otherwise the cakes will be dry.

Remove pans from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Then remove cakes from the pans and leave to cool on the wire rack completely.

Take a large serrated knife and cut the tops off the cakes to level them.

for the chocolate-mascarpone filling
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl), sieve the icing sugar and cocoa powder and add the mascarpone. Beat with the whisk attachment (or a hand-held mixer) on medium speed until creamy. Then add the cream and beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to overwhip or the mixture will split.

Choose the plate, stand etc. where you’ll place your cake, cut four thick strips of baking paper and form a square outline on the plate. This will ensure that your plate or stand will not be covered with frosting when you apply it over your cake.

Place the first cake (cut side up) onto the pieces of baking paper and add the chocolate-mascarpone filling on top. Spread the filling over the top of the cake, smoothing it out with the help of a small offset spatula (or a regular spatula). Be careful not to spread too close to the edges, leave some space for the filling to spread out when you add each layer on top.
Carefully place the second cake on top (cut side down) and press down gently to secure.

Put the cake in the fridge in order for the filling and cake to firm up and be ready for the application of the frosting. Leave in the fridge for 10 minutes and make the mascarpone frosting.

for the mascarpone frosting
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl), sieve the icing sugar and add the mascarpone, the cream and the vanilla. Beat with the whisk attachment (or a hand-held mixer) on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to overwhip or the mixture will split.

Remove the cake from the fridge and apply the frosting evenly over and around the cake using a small offset spatula or a larger regular one.

Remove the baking paper from around the bottom of the cake carefully and place the cake in the fridge for 40 minutes to set. Right before you serve it, decorate the top with the edible flowers.

Note: Keep the cake in the fridge until it’s time to cut it. Don’t leave it out of the fridge because the frosting will get too soft.

You can keep the cake in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It’s best if you remove the flowers from the top. They should be super fresh when consumed.


  1. This is a gorgeous cake! I love the beautiful simplicity of the flowers :)


  2. It's really nice and looks so yummy! I want a piece right now! xx

  3. What a lovely celebration of spring, Magda! I love this cake for so many reasons - the chocolate filling, the mascarpone icing, the flowers, its beauty! I am definitely trying this, even though my pansies and violas are a little past their prime... the fresh flowers may need to wait for a cooler season here... xo, David

    1. Hope you enjoy it if you try it David. Pansies, or any other flowers are optional. Berries would be great as well!

  4. The cake and flowers are stunning (do the pansies have an actual flavour or is it neutral?), but so is the beginning of your batter in your stand mixer bowl: how do you manage to make everything so pretty, even the contents of a bowl???

    1. You are too kind Fiona. Thank you :)
      To be honest, they don't have much of a flavor, but we ate them anyway.

  5. Just saw this cake - and we are just coming into spring here in Melbourne so perfect timing I suppose! I love the vibrancy of the edible flowers and the chocolate-mascarpone frosting - gorgeous!

    1. Thanks Claudia. It is perfect for Spring. Hope you enjoy it! :)