The Best Cake for Christmas!
Fun fact, it’s pronounced: SHAN-TEE-YEE
Dazzling holidays call for dazzling desserts! Berries are definitely not in season around December, but their juicy, tart, and sweet flavor make for a festive party in your mouth when paired with almond infused cake and airy snow-like frosting.
This cake first popped up on the food scene at Whole Foods Market. The original artist behind it was Chaya Conrad, who created the cake while employed there. It was based on her grandmother’s recipe, and it was an instant success in Louisiana before the company extended it to its other regions.
Conrad now owns Bywater Bakery in New Orleans and is delighted that her traditional family cake has spawned so much popularity that it has become a national mainstay. She continues to make other varieties of the cake at her bakery.
My interpretation of the cake has more mascarpone cheese than cream cheese, and much more almond flavoring. I love the enriched, creamy texture as a result. The filling is simple, made with berries tossed in lemon juice to brighten the flavor, and almond extract to intensify the tang.
…berries tossed in lemon juice to brighten the flavor, and almond extract to intensify the tang…
The cake itself is a super buttery yellow cake that gets a layer of almond syrup to add nutty notes and keep the cake moist for days. In between each cake layer is a ring of the mascarpone frosting, strawberry jam, and a pile of berry filling.
If you don’t have piping tools to create the pictured look, no worries! Simply arrange the berries however you like on top of the cake. Brush each berry with apricot jam to make them sparkle against the holiday lights!
This is a small cake, only 6”. You can double the recipe for an 8” cake if you need to serve more people.
Fun fact, it’s pronounced: SHAN-TEE-YEE
Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah!Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Everybody! Happy Holidays! Enjoy the treats!
Berry Chantilly Cake
For the Cake
- 2 Extra Large Egg Yolks
- 1/3 Cup (80g) Whole Milk
- ½ TSP (3g) Vanilla Extract
- 1 Cup (115g) Cake Flour
- ½ Cup (115g) Granulated Sugar
- 1 TSP (6g) Baking Powder
- ¼ TSP (2g) Salt
- 3 TBSP (60g) Butter, room temperature
- Strawberry Jam for Cake Layers
- Almond Syrup for brushing
- Optional: Toasted Almonds crushed
- Optional: Apricot Jam for glazing
For the Cake Filling
- ½ Cup (100g) Raspberries
- ½ Cup (100g) Strawberries quartered
- ½ Cup (100g) Blueberries
- 2 TSP (10g) Lemon Juice
- 1 TSP (5g) Almond Extract
For the Icing
- 16 oz (454g) Mascarpone Cheese
- 8 oz (227g) Cream Cheese, room temperature
- 4 TSP (20g) Almond Extract
- 1 ¼ Cups (150g) Powdered Sugar
- ¼ Cup (60g) Heavy Cream
Make the Cake
Preheat oven to 350ºF(177ºC)
Line the bottom of two 6” cake pans with a cutout of round parchment paper. Spray the pan and its edges liberally with non-stick spray.
In a medium bowl, lightly beat together the egg yolks, whole milk, and vanilla.
In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
Beat the butter into the flour mixture until thoroughly combined, but do not overmix it. This should only take a minute or two.
A third at a time, beat the egg mixture into the flour and butter mixture. When all of the ingredients are incorporated, mix the cake batter for another minute to aerate the mixture. Do not overmix it.
Divide the batter equally between the two cake pans and tap the bottoms of the pans against the counter to get rid of any air bubbles.
Bake the two cakes in the middle rack of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the cake is golden yellow and a toothpick comes out clean when probed into the cake.
Brush the cake layers with a light amount of almond syrup. This will help to infuse almond flavor into the cakes while also keeping the cakes moist as they cool.
Let the cakes cool for at least 25 minutes before releasing them from the molds. Let them chill the freezer for at least an hour.
When the cake is chilled, use a serrated knife to carefully split the cake layers in half.
Make the Cake Filling
In a large bowl, toss the berries, lemon juice, and almond extract. Set them aside in a cool place.
Make the Icing
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar until creamy.
Add the almond extract and mascarpone cheese and beat until just combined
Add the heavy cream and whip it into the cream cheese mixture until just combined.
Refrigerate the icing until ready to use.
Assemble the Cake
Place one layer of cake onto a plate or cake board. Slather the middle of the cake layer with a layer of strawberry jam, then pipe a ring of icing around it. If you don’t have a piping bag, you can use a freezer bag with the corner cut out. This ring layer of icing will prevent the filling from spilling out.
Fill the layer with a third of the berry filling. Top it with another cake layer. Repeat slathering jam, piping a ring of icing around the jam, and filling it with berry mixture until you’ve used up all but one of the cake layers.
Top the cake with the final layer and smooth the icing all over the cake with a metal spatula.
If you desire, crumb the sides of the cake with the toasted almonds.
If you do not have piping tubes and tips, simply top your cake with fresh berries in a crescent shape and brush apricot glaze on top of them to make them shiny.
If you do have piping tips and tubes, you can pipe stars in a crescent shape along the top of the cake.
Next, pipe leaves between the stars.
Neatly arrange the fruit on top of the bed of leaves and brush them with a layer of apricot jam.
Pipe a few more stars on top of the fruit.
– The cake will keep refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
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Can I use these measurements for a 4 inch cake pan? Or should I divide and conquer?
The original 6″ cake is already pretty tall, so I would definitely divide and conquer. Thanks for visiting!