One thing that both amazes and saddens me is what I perceive as the average person’s inability to think outside the box, at least where cake is concerned. I realize this is a matter of incredible unimportance, but as someone who bakes a lot of cakes, this is something I think about a fair amount. When I am taking a cake request or order, I let people know that if they can imagine it as a cake flavor, chances are very good that I can make it happen. However, people tend to stick to what they know – the classics. Vanilla, chocolate, maybe they get a little wild with lemon or red velvet but it’s rare to get a unique flavor request. My kids, however, are a definite exception to this rule. They come up with some very interesting requests for sure! This is in large part thanks to the excellent example set by unique and innovative chefs and food makers such as Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, who always provide great inspiration! Our collective love for Jeni’s was bolstered by a trip to a scoop shop a few months ago, where Caroline discovered her current reigning favorite flavor – wild berry lavender. When I asked her what flavor of birthday cake she wanted, she didn’t hesitate. Wild berry lavender it would be.
Luckily, I had some black raspberries that I picked last summer stored in the freezer, so I used half of those and half blueberries. If you can’t find black raspberries (which you likely cannot, unless you pick them yourself), just use a mix of regular raspberries and blueberries here. Just like the ice cream that inspired it, I wanted this cake to have a nice balance between the berry and lavender flavors. The layers include a berry lavender vanilla cake, a mixed berry lavender sauce, and a raspberry curd. The whole thing is topped off with fresh whipped cream and I garnished mine with some freeze dried raspberry dust and a few extra black raspberries.
Now listen, you guys may start getting sick of me always using the Milk Bar method for my layer cakes these days but I am convinced this is the best method ever. I love the convenience of baking a single cake in a quarter sheet pan and using a cutter to make the rounds. I love the exposed layers and the flat sides that the acetate strips provide. But most of all, I love that the cake is just the right size. Unless I’m feeding a huge crowd, an 8-inch triple layer cake or a 9-inch double layer cake is simply way more cake than we need. If you haven’t tried the Milk Bar cake method yet, give it a try! I was a little skeptical initially but clearly, I have been converted. You might just end up loving it too.