A simple but special layer cake, perfect for any festive fete. —Erin McDowell
Sour Cream Sponge Cake
1 1/2 teaspoons
2 2/3 cups
(2 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
confectioners' sugar, sifted
(1/2 cup) milk or heavy cream, at room temperature
In This Recipe
Sour Cream Sponge Cake
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar to combine. Place the mixing bowl over a medium pot of barely simmering water, and whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is pale and thick, 4 to 5 minutes.
Return the bowl to the mixer, fitted with the whip attachment. Whip on high speed until the mixture is very pale and thick; it should double in volume. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to combine.
Add the sour cream to the mixer and whisk until fully incorporated. Add the flour gradually, mixing just until combined and fully incorporated.
Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. Allow cakes to cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from pans and allowing to cool completely.
Slice the cakes into layers. Remove any domed part off the top of each cake—you’ll want all your layers to be nice and flat. Then, cut each cake into two layers. I use a serrated knife to slowly “score” the cake in an even line all the way around, then I follow the score marks to make the final cut.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat room temperature butter until light and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
Gradually add the confectioners' sugar (to prevent it exploding upward when you turn on the mixer), and mix on medium-low speed to combine. Once all the sugar is added, raise speed to medium-high and cream until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.
Add vanilla extract or other flavoring and mix to combine. If using milk or cream, pour it in and mix just until incorporated. T
Assemble the cake: Place the first layer on a cake stand and top with frosting (I like to use an ice cream scoop so I know how much frosting I'm using for each layer and it stays even). Be sure to fill the frosting all the way to the edge. The best naked cakes have visible frosting that’s almost flush with the layers of cake. To achieve this, frost all the way to the edge of the cake layer. When you place the next layer of cake on top, press down slightly—this stabilizes the layer and helps the frosting ooze out a bit more to the edge. Repeat with the remaining layers and a final layer of frosting on top.
I always carry three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's pie. My first cookbook, The Fearless Baker, is out on October 24, 2017.