Recipe: huckleberry chantilly cake
This past weekend we ventured out into the Colorado high country with Neva for her very first backpacking trip. Even though Jeremy and I have been backpacking together for 21 years, it was a bigger deal for us than it was for her. Do we bring a toy? We should probably pack a towel in case she goes swimming or gets filthy. Be sure to pack the poop bags and poop bottle… Don’t forget the halti collar. We did attempt to strap a dog pack on her at home so she could get used to wearing one and perhaps carry some of her own things. But Kaweah’s old packs – cinched to the tightest setting – practically slid off of Neva who is not only smaller and skinnier, but still a puppy. So it really felt like a hike to Neva since we were the ones carrying the packs and all of her accessories.
jeremy escorts little miss neva up the trail
taking the footbridge across the stream
fireweed turning a brilliant red
our camp just below the continental divide
Once we settled on a place to set up camp, we strung some utility cord between two trees (camp required that we at least be near krumholtz), slapped a carabiner on it, and tethered Neva to the run with her leash. It was the only way we could get anything done before dark. She immediately wrapped herself around one tree, and then the other tree. She wrapped the leash around herself in four different ways. Eventually, Neva just ran back and forth sniffing and playing with sticks. Neva was supercharged with no signs of letting up. At dusk, we could hear elk bugling in the valley to our north. By the time it was dark, we brought the pup into the tent for the night. She marched right to the foot of the tent and curled up into a little ball on our sleeping bags, falling sound asleep.
jeremy reads the map while the milky way adorns the night sky
predawn color on the horizon and twilight reflected on the lake
neva on her tether while we pack up camp
on the way out, we stopped to sample a few of the ripe huckleberries and whortleberries
lots of pretty cascades
Overall, Neva did well on the backpack and seemed to enjoy everything except the halti collar and the lack of sweet sweet freedom. Once home, she slept for a long time. Being an adventure pup is hard work! While she slept, we unpacked and sorted our gear. “So what would you like for dinner on your birthday?” I asked Jeremy. It’s like pulling teeth to get him to tell me what he really likes because he doesn’t want to put me to any trouble. That and I think Jeremy draws a blank when you ask him things like, “What’s your favorite food?” or “What movie should we rent?” Eventually he muttered something like steak or salmon – just something simple. I can do simple. In my culture (or maybe it’s just my family?) it’s bad luck to celebrate birthdays early, so I planned for a special Monday dinner. We started with things I know he loves, brie and fig jam, Kumamoto oysters with bubbles. For dinner, we kept it simple: grilled ribeye steaks topped with chanterelles sautéed in butter and garlic and a side of local corn and zucchini.
oysters and bubbles
And then there was dessert. Over the summer, whenever my parents had us to their place for dinner, I would be tasked with bringing dessert since I do those things. On occasion, I came up short on time and went to the local Whole Foods to pick up one of those mini 4-inch cakes. My favorites were the little boozy adult cakes (adult because of the booze, not because they were “adult” cakes) like the sidecar or the daiquiri. As I walked toward the cake counter, a young woman was scooping cake into little cups for people to sample. I usually ignore the samples, but I heard her say “peach chantilly cake” and I turned on my heel to get a taste. Lovely, light, fruity – it has a mascarpone frosting instead of the usual buttercream. This would be great with huckleberries or any berry.
So I found a copycat recipe online and went from there. Here’s the thing. I hated the cake part. The frosting was great, the fruity part was great, but the cake was heavy, oily, coarse crumbed. Everyone who ate it said it was good, but I felt the texture was wrong and the flavor was mediocre at best. For Jeremy’s birthday cake, I replaced the cake component with my go-to chiffon cake – spongy, soft, light, yet durable – and the result was perfection. The recipe I give at the bottom of the post has my chiffon cake instead of the original cake, but the photos in this post are of the original cake recipe. If you want photos of the chiffon cake process, you can reference this post sans lemon juice.
sugar, flour, vanilla, vinegar, butter, baking powder, baking soda, salt, coconut oil, milk, buttermilk, eggs
whisk the dry ingredients together
add milk, buttermilk, vanilla, and vinegar to the eggs
stir in the melted butter and coconut oil
The full recipe makes a 9-inch round 4-layer cake. I opted to do half a recipe and make a 6-inch round 3-layer cake (there was an extra layer left over). You could certainly go 4-layer on the 6-inch cake, but I felt the 3-layer was structurally more stable and visually more proportional.
combine the wet and dry ingredients
pour the batter into prepared baking pans
cooling the baked cakes
One of the reasons I love the chiffon cake so much is that it doesn’t fall apart when you soak it in soaking syrup. The soaking syrup is a basic simple syrup flavored with whatever fruit you are using. I used huckleberry syrup, but if you’re doing this with raspberries, blueberries, and/or strawberries, then base your syrup on those fruits. I also added a little bit of lemon juice to play against the sweetness of the syrup. And if you want it boozy, add vodka to taste.
sugar, huckleberry syrup, water
pour it all into the saucepan and boil
when the cake has cooled, slice your cake layers
The frosting part of the recipe was spot on. The cream cheese and mascarpone cheese lend some tang and stabilization to the frosting which is lightened by folding in whipped cream. And unlike a sometimes finicky buttercream frosting, this one comes together in a few minutes and is pretty straightforward. It’s best to make the frosting right before you use it, but if you need to make it ahead, you can refrigerate it and let it sit at room temperature for several minutes before frosting with it.
cream, cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, butter, confectioner’s sugar, salt
beat the salt, butter, cream cheese, and mascarpone cheese together
beat in the confectioner’s sugar a bit at a time
whip the cream
fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone cheese frosting
Now you’re ready to assemble the cake. Fresh fruit is what makes this cake so summery and delightful. I used fresh huckleberries in the first cake. The second time around, all of my hucks were sorted, cleaned, and frozen. I merely boiled the berries with some sugar and water until it had the consistency between a jam and a syrup when cooled and it was fantastic with a more intense berry flavor. I think both ways have their advantages.
cake layers, frosting, fresh huckleberries, huckleberry soaking syrup
brush the syrup onto the first layer
spread some of the frosting
sprinkle berries over the frosting
crumb coat the sides before frosting the cake
I was lukewarm on the cake the first time around, because I didn’t like the actual cake. I have to admit the entire ensemble was pretty darn tasty. But if I’m going to spend hours and hours hiking up into the mountains to pick huckleberries in the sun and rain and wind, I want to eat them in the very best recipes. Swapping out the first cake recipe for the chiffon cake recipe changed everything. The cake went from good to amazing. Even though it’s the end of summer, use those summer fruits in this cake. It’s birthday-worthy and Jeremy loved it.
topped with fresh huckleberries
polka dots inside and out
one last slice of summer
Huckleberry Chantilly Cake
based on this recipe
2 cups fresh huckleberries
the cake in the photos is from the original recipe, but the chiffon cake recipe below is the one i prefer
14.5 oz. (about 3 cups) cake flour (I use all purpose flour at 8500 ft.)
8.75 oz. (about 2 cups + 2 tbsps) confectioner’s sugar
0.5 oz. (1 tbsp) baking powder (omitted at 8500 ft.)
6.75 oz. whole milk
6 oz. canola oil
3.25 oz. (2 large) eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
13 oz. egg whites (about 13 egg whites)
9.5 oz. (1 cup + 3 tbsps) granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsps huckleberry syrup
1 1/2 tsps lemon juice
4 oz. unsalted butter, softened
16 oz. mascarpone cheese, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/8 tsp salt
2 1/2 – 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 cup cream
Bake the chiffon cake: Oven 375°F. Prep two 9×3-inch round pans by buttering bottom and sides. Place parchment in pan and butter the parchment. Sift flour, confectioner’s sugar, and (if using) baking powder together into a large bowl. Mix the milk, canola oil, eggs, and vanilla extract into the flour mixture until combined. Whip the egg whites and granulated sugar together to medium peaks. Gently fold the whipped whites into the batter in thirds and make sure the mixture is uniform or you may end up with separation during baking. Do not slam the cake pans on the counter to pop the air bubbles, you WANT the air bubbles in the batter. Bake until set, about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (took me 30 minutes). Remove from oven and remove from pan. Let cool on a cooling rack. Makes two 9×3-inch rounds.
Make the huckleberry syrup: Combine the water, sugar, and huckleberry syrup in a small pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Let cool.
Make the frosting: Cream the butter, mascarpone cheese, cream cheese, and salt together in a bowl until fluffy (use paddle attachment on a stand mixer). Gradually beat in the confectioner’s sugar until combined. In a separate bowl, whip the cream to stiff peaks (smooth, but not grainy). Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone frosting until incorporated. Use the frosting right away or refrigerate. If you chill the frosting, let it stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes before using.
Assemble the cake: Set the first cake layer down with the cut-side up. Brush a third of the syrup over the cake. Gently spread a layer of frosting over the cake (or you can pipe frosting onto the layer). Sprinkle a half cup or more of the huckleberries over the frosting. Set the second cake layer on top of the first. Repeat with syrup, frosting, and berries. If making a 3-layer cake, then top with a final cake layer. If making a 4-layer cake, repeat the cake, syrup, frosting, and berries a third time, then top with a final cake layer. Frost the entire cake with the remaining frosting. Serves 10-12.
more goodness from the use real butter archives
|blackberry lemon elderflower cake||lemon heaven cake||pumpkin cake w chocolate ganache & salted caramel cream cheese frosting||strawberry chiffon buttercream cake|