This white cake pairs well with all sorts of frostings and fillings, but the chocolate frosting in this recipe is one of my favorites. Pressed for time? Add 1/2 tsp. of almond extract to a white cake mix instead. —Diane Shipley, Mentor, Ohio
- CHOCOLATE FROSTING:
- 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
- 1/4 cup butter, cubed
- 2-1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 4 egg whites
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2-1/2 cups cake flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted
- OPTIONAL DECORATIONS:
- Recipe for Christmas Lights Cookies or decorated cookies of your choice
- Green frosting
- For frosting, in a small saucepan, heat chocolate chips, cream and butter over medium-low heat, stirring until blended. Transfer to a large bowl; gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a covered container; refrigerate until cold or overnight.
- For cake, place egg whites in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°. Line bottoms of two greased 9-in. round baking pans with parchment paper; grease paper.
- In a large bowl, cream shortening and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in extracts. In another bowl, whisk cake flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition.
- With clean beaters, beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high after each addition until sugar is dissolved. Continue beating until stiff glossy peaks form. Fold into batter.
- Transfer batter to prepared pans. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks; remove paper. Cool completely.
- For custard, in a small heavy saucepan, mix sugar, all-purpose flour and salt. Whisk in milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to low; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.
- In a small bowl, whisk a small amount of hot mixture into egg; return all to pan, whisking constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a small bowl; stir in extracts and almonds. Press plastic wrap onto surface of custard. Refrigerate until cold.
- To assemble cake, in a large bowl, beat cold frosting until fluffy and spreadable. Cut a small hole in the tip of a pastry bag or a corner of a food-safe plastic bag; fill bag with 1/3 cup frosting.
- Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Pipe a border of frosting along edge of cake. Fill center with custard. Top with remaining cake layer. Frost top and sides with remaining frosting. If desired, decorate with cookies and pipe with green frosting. Refrigerate until serving.