Summer is a wonderful time, as long as you live in a place with A/C and own a good quantity of sunscreen. It’s a time of parties – hell, all the patriotic holidays fall during summer, and even the least patriotic among us appreciate a day off of work and an outdoor BBQ. It’s also – in my opinion – a time for fruity, lighter desserts, which I appreciate as those tend to be my favorite variety (especially pie…but that’s another blog post).
Hence, as we leave Memorial Day behind and approach Labor Day, I was excited to try my hand at making Valerie Gordon‘s Golden Butter Cake with Berries and Mascarpone Frosting, which seemed like a beautiful combination of patriotic coloring and summer berry bounty.
The cake itself is quite simple – sour cream being the only mildly exceptional ingredient – and of course contains tons of butter. You can make the cake a bit ahead and store it in the refrigerator, which is lovely for party planning, and if you’re making it to travel you can do as I did, pack up all the components, and assemble the cake when you arrive.
The mascarpone frosting is a sort of whipped cream-mascarpone hybrid, and my one warning here would be that it definitely will melt in the summer heat, so the cake needs to stay refrigerated once assembled if you’re not going to serve it immediately.
The verdict? The cake is undeniably gorgeous (people will be IMPRESSED), and oh, that frosting! The cake itself, however, came out a bit heavy for my taste – almost a pound cake, which was a bit much in a three-layer rendition (a single layer + frosting and berries would have been perfect). The cake in the picture in the cookbook, however, seems a bit crumbier and lighter, so I won’t rule out user error as Valerie’s other recipes have always turned out well for me. The cookbook, by the way, is beautiful and worth a drool…
I won’t include the full recipe here, as you really should go buy the cookbook if you want that (I’m not being paid for this or anything, but it’s her cookbook and her recipe), but here’s a peek at the frosting bit to give you a proverbial taste.
From Valerie Gordon’s Sweet
I love whipped cream, and this is like a more flavorful and substantial version of whipped cream frosting. It’s so simple, yet special, and I’m sure it could even be used to accentuate just a bowl of ripe summer fruit for a light and easy dessert.
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) mascarpone
1/2 cup (2.25 ounces) icing sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 cup (8 ounces) heavy cream
In the bowl of a stand mixer or a medium bowl, mix the mascarpone, icing sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla paste together, until thoroughly combined.
In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, whip the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks. Add the mascarpone mixture and beat until combined and smooth; as soon as the frosting looks smooth, stop beating. If the frosting is overbeaten, it will become grainy.