Long time no talk to! 2017 was a super busy year with my daughter Sara’s wedding to plan—and, just to make things really interesting, my husband Roger and I decided to finish our basement so that we could accommodate Sara’s bridal party. Totally nuts to tackle all that at once, but somehow we did it.
Sara, her fiancé Greg, and I went to a tasting at a local bakery that had excellent reviews for their wedding cakes on The Knot. Sara knew exactly what she wanted—a “naked” cake with just a smear of frosting all around and fruit. She and I both hate decorator frosting which looks really pretty but tastes really awful. Well, long story short, Sara turned her nose up at the offerings by the bakery and tried to talk me into baking her wedding cake. Like I needed that kind of stress!
We arrived at a great compromise where I gave the bakery a really fabulous recipe for the cake and also for my favorite basic buttercream. The recipe for the White Fudge Cake was a winner in the Pillsbury Bakeoff about 50 years ago and calls for melted white chocolate in both the cake and the frosting. The cake itself is both dense and moist and utterly delicious. Sara loved the cake but rather than the frosting that pairs with the cake preferred my basic vanilla buttercream. We did our own tasting at home, and I made cupcakes with and without coconut as an optional ingredient and also frosted half of the cupcakes with the original frosting recipe and half with the buttercream.
Sara preferred the buttercream, so that’s what we went with for the wedding. The original frosting is something you shouldn’t miss, though, so I am including both recipes here. It whips up to an ethereal topping that just melts in your mouth and is unlike any other frosting I’ve ever made.
I cut this recipe for White Fudge Cake out of the Boston Globe and have made it many times over the years as a special event cake. I will confess to having made it once as a wedding gift for a good friend who told me she was having a very small wedding with about 20 people. It turned out to be for around 75 people, and I was adding layers every time I talked to her. It was the one and only time I have ever made a wedding cake and it did come out beautifully, but I swore I would never put myself under that stress again!
At Sara’s wedding, we got lots of compliments on the wedding cake. Many people went up for seconds, and some told us that it was the best wedding cake they had ever tasted. Enough said!
One year ago: Baked Shrimp Scampi
Two years ago: Tomato Salad with Blue Cheese and Balsamic Glaze
Three years ago: Ultimate Hot Chocolate
Four years ago: Kale-Spinach Smoothie
Five years ago: Quinoa Pilaf
Six years ago: Brussels Sprouts
White Fudge Cake
Ingredients for the Cake
- 3/4 cup coarsely chopped white chocolate (I highly recommend using Ghirardelli—and it’s OK to use chocolate chips although white chocolate baking bars will melt more easily)
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk*
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/4 cup finely chopped almonds, pecans or walnuts, optional
- 1/2 cup flaked coconut, optional (I prefer the cake without the coconut)
*If you don’t have buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to 1 cup of whole milk and let sit for 5 or 10 minutes until the milk starts to curdle. Stir the milk and remove and discard 1 tablespoon of the mixture.
In small saucepan, melt white chocolate with hot water over low heat; cool.
In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set dry ingredients aside.
In large mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, followed by milk. Add in dry ingredients and blend at low speed until moistened. Beat one minute at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Add melted chocolate and vanilla. Beat one minute at medium speed. Stir in nuts and coconut if using.
Pour into two 9″ round layer pans which have been greased and floured on bottom only. Bake at 350o F for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 15 minutes, loosen edges and carefully remove from pan. Cool completely before frosting.
May be baked in 13×9 pan for 35 to 40 minutes. Can also be baked as cupcakes for 18 to 20 minutes.
Ingredients for the White Fudge Frosting
- 3/4 cup chopped or broken white chocolate
- 2 1/2 tbl. flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
- 1 cup superfine granulated sugar*
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
*If you don’t have any superfine sugar and don’t want to buy any, you can use your food processor to pulse granulated sugar down to a finer consistency.
Directions for the White Fudge Frosting
Put chocolate and flour into medium saucepan. Blend in milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until very thick. Cool completely. In large mixer bowl, cream butter, sugar and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy, about 3 mins. Gradually add cooled chocolate mixture. Beat at high speed to consistency of whipped cream, until sugar is no longer grainy.
For 50 years, the only way I had ever made this cake was with the finely chopped almonds. One time, I decided to be daring and add the coconut as well. Not a fan! I have a love-hate relationship with coconut. In some cookies, coconut elevates them to a heavenly chewiness. In cakes, I find adding coconut gives it an unpleasant texture.
My daughter and I decided to leave the nuts out entirely for her wedding cake since so many people have allergies. So, we instructed the bakery to make the cake without nuts or the coconut.
Source: I cut this recipe out of the Boston Globe about 50 years ago. The recipe was a winner in the 20th annual Pillsbury Bake-off Contest. I have searched for it online including directly on the Pillsbury website but have been unable to find any reference to it. So, the recipe has fallen down a black hole, and aren’t you lucky that I have kept it all these years! 🙂
Here is the recipe for my basic vanilla buttercream frosting. It makes enough for 12 cupcakes. If you decide to use it with this cake, double the recipe for the buttercream.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Yield: Enough to frost 12 cupcakes
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tbl. vanilla extract
Using the wire whisk attachment of your stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl once or twice.
Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the confectioners’ sugar. Once all of the confectioners’ sugar is incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and add the vanilla, mixing until incorporated. Whip at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed.
Source: Recipe from the Brown Eyed Baker