A picture is worth a thousand words, and this Berry Chantilly Cake is worth a thousand pictures. It’s as dazzling as a movie star and tastes even better than it looks!
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When I hear the word “Chantilly,” I think of wrap-around porches and mint-juleps. I also think of this show-stopping Berry Chantilly Cake that can be enjoyed in a swing on one of those porches or directly off the cake plate when no one’s looking.
There is a little time commitment to making this sweet masterpiece, but the payoff is worth its weight in, well, cake!
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF CHANTILLY?
“Chantilly” is a town in France (known for that delicate “Chantilly lace” the Big Bopper sang about). The name is associated with Chantilly cream because it was developed by a French chef.
Whether you call it Chantilly, Chantilly cream, or crème Chantilly, it’s the namesake of this cake for a reason.
The Chantilly cake origin is European, basically a way to turn a layered trifle into a cake. The original recipes were big Bundt-like constructions with custard, whipped cream, and fruit stuffed in the middle.
Americans, who invented the layered cake, adapted that recipe to create the Chantilly cake we know and love today.
American though it may be, this recipe is on the opposite end of the time-commitment spectrum from one of our other favorites – the dump cake.
Berry Chantilly Cake has layers and layers, and fillings, and frostings, but it’s one of those mind-blowing confections like my Strawberry Shortcake Cake and Coconut Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting that will live on in legends told by the fortuitous few who get to sample it.
WHAT FLAVOR IS CHANTILLY?
The flavor of Chantilly can vary, but traditionally it’s sweetened whipped cream that may have added vanilla or almond extract. There’s also a Hawaiian version of “Chantilly” that resembles the coconut-based frosting used on German chocolate cakes.
My Chantilly cream, as well as others like the Chantilly cake Publix sells, incorporates cream cheese to add a subtle tartness to the Chantilly. I wouldn’t exactly call my version of this cake a “copycat,” but the flavor is similar to the Publix Chantilly cake recipe.
WHAT IS CHANTILLY CAKE FROM PUBLIX?
The Publix version of Chantilly cake is a vanilla-based cake with fresh fruit between each of the layers and a generous exterior coating of cream-cheese-enriched Chantilly frosting flavored with almond extract.
The Whole Foods Chantilly cake has similar ingredients, but it has frosting between the layers (like mine does) mixed with the berries.
A shout out for The Big Easy: The Chantilly cake Whole Foods sells is actually a Chantilly cake New Orleans inspired. It was created by one of their staff bakers as an homage to a family recipe, and it’s a really popular sell for them around Easter . . . so popular the Whole Foods Chantilly cake inspired a king cake version!
WHAT IS CHANTILLY KING CAKE?
A Chantilly King Cake is a creative twist on the standard king cake, sold all around the U.S. around Mardi Gras each year. Traditionally, these cinnamon-roll-esque cakes aren’t stuffed at all, but the Chantilly version is filled with a rich Chantilly cream and fresh berries.
You may be wondering, “Is there a Chantilly cake near me,” since you probably want a big slice of Chantilly Cake or king cake or any other kind of cake right about now, but I’d suggest rolling up your sleeves, donning your best apron, and getting to work making one yourself.
My homemade version has thicker, richer cake layers (eight eggs, people!), and the frosting is lighter in texture though similar in flavor. Mine also has more berries than the store-bought versions, and the juicy beauties add lovely color but also tons of bright fruit flavor to the cake.
I’m a fan of showing-off when it comes to cakes, and I’ll admit to occasionally using a little help from the grocery store in recipes like my Strawberry Triple Layer Cake, but this one is so special it begs for something from scratch.
I’m using one of my favorite yellow cakes here, so rich it’s almost like a pound cake. The recipe makes nice generous layers with a moist crumb that marries really well with all the berries.
Unless the recipe specifies otherwise, you always want to start with room temperature ingredients when you’re baking.
Not only will cold ingredients throw off the cooking time, the butter won’t cream as well which will alter the perfect crumb of this cake. The sour cream won’t get incorporated as seamlessly, and the eggs won’t get as airy.
We’re going to the trouble of separating the eggs and folding in the whipped whites to add some extra lightness to the cake, so it’s really a critical part of this recipe.
After we drizzle the cooked (and cooled) layers with vanilla-infused simple syrup, we’ll cover the bottom two cake layers with raspberry jam. If you can’t find a seedless version, make sure you push the jam through a sieve to remove the seeds.
Also, leave a little “margin” around the edges of each layer jam-free or else our lovely Chantilly Cake frosting will go sliding off the edges.
HOW DO YOU MAKE CHANTILLY FROSTING?
You can make Chantilly frosting by simply using sweetened whipping cream, flavored with either vanilla or almond extract (or no flavoring at all). Many recipes stabilize the whipping cream by incorporating cream cheese.
For my recipe, you’ll make both a cream cheese frosting and whipped cream, then combine the two for a light but velvety, rich topper for this cake.
I like to use both cream cheese and mascarpone, an Italian double- or triple-cream cheese that’s super smooth and buttery, to really enhance the silky texture of the frosting. Both will need to be room temperature to create a lump-free frosting.
The whipping cream, on the other hand, should be whipped straight out of the fridge for the best texture and volume. I sometimes have my mixer bowl and whisk in the fridge as well to make sure it stays cold throughout the whipping process.
When it’s time to add the frosting to the layers, I use a little trick of piping it around the edges, then filling it in (also with the piping bag). This makes the process go more quickly and keeps you from chasing frosting off the sides of your cake.
Next, you’ll place the macerated fruit filling, which you’ve drained really well, onto each of the layers. Marinating the fruit adds a subtle, extra layer of flavor, but if you don’t want to use alcohol you can skip this step or just use orange juice. The cake will still be delicious!
We’re in the home stretch now, finishing off the top layer of macerated fruit (which you’ve arranged in a way to get all the “oohs” and “ahhs”) with melted apricot jam.
This is a step that can be skipped if you’re pressed for time or if you forget to get it at the store, but it adds that extra layer of “pretty” to the finished cake by making the fruit nice and shiny.
At this point, all that’s left to do is sit back and admire your handy work because I promise your guests will. You can serve it now or let it hang out in the fridge until you’re ready.
Just make sure YOU get the first slice of this gorgeous cake. You’ve earned it!
RECIPE NOTES FOR BERRY CHANTILLY CAKE:
Use what’s ripe – Depending on the time of year and the availability of fresh fruit in your grocery store, you may need to adjust the fresh berries in this recipe.
You can make a strawberry Chantilly Cake recipe if that’s all you can find, substitute blackberries for the blueberries, etc. Just make sure you use fresh since frozen berries won’t work well for this cake.
Simple syrup – It’s not just for cocktails!
Simple syrup is in every professional baker’s toolkit, and it’s one of the simplest things you can do to up your own cake-baking game. Many grocery stores sell this already made, though you can certainly make your own.
The basic ingredients are equal parts sugar and water, plus anything you want to infuse the syrup with, things like vanilla beans for Vanilla Simple Syrup, candied fruit peels, or cinnamon sticks.
Simple syrup will keep the cake layers moist, which is especially important when you’re dealing with a more elaborate, multi-step cake construction like this one. It can also be used to add additional flavor either to complement or intensify the flavors you already have going on in your cake, plus it helps to set the crumbs so they don’t get all rolled up in your frosting.
Time-Saver – Even though this cake isn’t hard to make, it does take some time, so you can cook the cake layers the day before assembly.
Wrapping them well with plastic wrap overnight will actually help set the crumb too and make frosting even easier.
It’s best to assemble the cake the day of serving. This will minimize the amount the berries may potentially bleed into the cake layers.
General Cake Baking Tips – One of the best pro tips for creating bakery-quality cakes is accurately measuring your flour. It’s natural to scoop your measuring cup directly into your canister, but you’ll end up with more flour than you need for the recipe and ultimately a heavier, dryer product.
Here are some tips for measuring flour for cakes.
Ever baked a batch of cookies according to the directions only to find yours were nowhere near done (or, worse, burned to a crisp)? That’s because all ovens vary a little, or even a lot, in temperature, so it’s important to check your cake a few minutes before the range given in the recipe.
Hopefully, you know if your own oven runs cool or hot, but you may want to start checking the cake for doneness at around 25 minutes.
The toothpick method is perfect for this. You’re looking for a clean toothpick, with no wet batter left behind. A few moist crumbs are a-okay.
Although the vanilla simple syrup will help ensure the cake is moist, we don’t want to start with an overcooked one
Berry Chantilly Cake Recipe
- 12 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter at Room Temperature
- 2 Cups Sugar Divided
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 8 Large Egg Yolks at Room Temperature
- 3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 3/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 Cup Sour Cream at Room Temperature
- 8 Large Egg Whites at Room Temperature
- 6 Tablespoons Vanilla Simple Syrup
- 1/3 Cup Seedless Raspberry Jam
Fruit for Filling:
- 1 Cup Strawberries Hulled, Cut into Chunks The Size of The Raspberries
- 1 Cup Raspberries
- 1/2 Cup Blueberries
- 1/4 Cup Grand Marnier
- 1/4 Cup Orange Juice
- 1/2 Cup Apricot Jam
- 1 Tablespoon Water
- 2 Cups Heavy Cream
- 1 Teaspoon Almond Extract
- 8 Ounces Cream Cheese at Room Temperature
- 8 Ounces Mascarpone at Room Temperature
- 2 Cups Powdered Sugar
Prepare the Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of 3 8-inch cake pans then spray it with baking non-stick spray.
- In the bowl of a stand-up mixer, combine the butter, 1 3/4 cup of sugar, and the vanilla, using medium speed for 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Mix in the egg yolks, one at a time, mixing just until the yellow disappears, before adding the next.
- In another mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Turn the stand-up mixer on low, and alternate adding the flour mixture then the sour cream, to the butter mixture, one-third of each at a time, allowing them to just incorporate before adding the next. When finished with adding both, turn the mixer on medium speed and mix for 2 minutes.
- Pour the batter into a clean mixing bowl. Wash and dry the bowl of the stand-up mixer and fit with the whisk attachment. Add the egg whites and beat on medium speed for 5 minutes until opaque white and foamy. Add the remaining 1/4 sugar and continue to beat on medium until soft peaks form. Gently fold into batter in 3 additions.
- Scrape the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans. Bake in preheat ovens, rotating pans halfway through, until they are lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes.
- Allow cakes to cool, in pans, set on a wire baking rack for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and cool completely on wire rack, about 3 hours.
- When Cooled, brush tops and sides of each cake layer with about 2 tablespoons simple syrup per layer.
Prepare Fruit Filling:
- Combine Grand Marnier and orange juice in a mixing bowl. Very gently, fold 1 cup strawberries, 1 cup raspberries, and 1/2 cup blueberries until berries are coated with liquid mixture. Allow to marinade for 20 minutes. Drain VERY well before adding to cake.
Prepare the Jam Layer:
- Meanwhile, in a small microwaveable bowl, add raspberry jam. Heat in microwave 20-30 seconds, or until jam softens. Whisk with a fork to soften to a spreadable texture. When cakes have absorbed the simple syrup, spread 1/2 of the jam over 2 of the layers, leaving a 1/4 inch margin around the edge.
Prepare Apricot Glaze:
- Meanwhile, in a small microwaveable bowl, mix apricot jam and water. Heat in microwave 20 seconds and whisk with a fork, until mixture is a brushable texture. Strain jam through a sieve to remove any lumps of fruit.
Prepare Chantilly Frosting:
- Whisk together heavy cream with almond extract until soft peaks form.
- In another mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese, mascarpone, and powdered sugar until smooth and evenly combined. Gently fold whipped cream into cheese mixture until evenly incorporated.
- Place one of the layers that have been topped with jam on the platter. Pipe a thick line of frosting around the edge of the cake. Fill the center with frosting and smooth. Arrange 1/3 of the drained berries on top of the frosting. Top with the second jam topped cake and repeat the frosting and fruit process. Top with the third layer and cover with remaining frosting. Top decoratively with remaining fruit. Lightly brush the fruit with the apricot glaze. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
More Berry Desserts…
Blueberry Cobbler– Old-fashioned Blueberry Cobbler is summertime perfection! Fresh juicy blueberries baked and thickened, just right then topped with buttery cake
Strawberry Cream Cake – is made up of super moist strawberry cake with layers of luscious vanilla cream and of course loads of fresh strawberries!
Fresh Strawberry Cake – is a lovely delicious old fashioned cake. No frosting, no filling, just summer fruit with a little sweet crunch on the top.
Source for Yellow Cake: The Craft of Baking