This White Chocolate Cake is a party cake. It’s labor intensive, but the work can be divided over three days so that it’s less of a chore. The results are worth the effort.
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup unsalted butter cut into 8 pieces
- 16 ounce chopped white chocolate (divided)
- 2 cup all-purpose flour (scooped and leveled)
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 eggs (at room temperature)
- 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar (plus 2 teaspoons)
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract (divided)
- 2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 2 cup cleaned, stemmed, and chopped strawberries
- 4 cup cold heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 2 cup white chocolate curls (optional)
- 12 large whole strawberries (cleaned and trimmed)
Make the white chocolate cake: Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of two 9‑inch pans. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper and butter the paper.
In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, butter, and 8 ounces chopped white chocolate over low heat. Use a large spoon to stir constantly until the butter and white chocolate are melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside in a warm place.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat eggs and 1 3/4 cup sugar until light and thick, about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. Mix in the vanilla and orange zest. On low speed, mix in the flour mixture in three or four divisions until incorporated. Slowly add the hot milk and white chocolate mixture and continue mixing until the batter is smooth, about 30 seconds. Pour the batter into the prepared pans, dividing it evenly.
Bake the cakes until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool the cakes for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack.
Use a small sharp knife to loosen the cake from the sides of each pan. Place a wire rack on the top of each cake and invert it onto it. Carefully remove and discard the parchment paper. Allow to cool completely. You can make the cake 2 days ahead to this point. In which case carefully return the cooled cakes to the pans and cover with plastic wrap. Store at room temperature.
Make the frosting. In a large bowl, stir the chopped strawberries and remaining 2 teaspoons granulated sugar together. Let sit for 15 minutes.
Put remaining 8 ounces chopped white chocolate in a heatproof bowl or the top of a double boiler and place it over, but not touching, a saucepan of barely simmering water (or the bottom of the double boiler); the water should not touch the bowl. Stir constantly until the white chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl use an electric mixer on medium-high speed to beat the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla until firm peaks form.
Put the melted white chocolate into a large bowl. Whisk about 1 cup of the whipped cream into the melted white chocolate. Use a rubber spatula to fold the remaining whip cream into the white chocolate mixture.
Use a long serrated knife to cut both of the cooled cakes horizontally into four even layers. Use the removable bottom of a tart pan to lift up the top halves of the cakes and move them to the side
Place one of the layers on a serving platter. Tuck several parchment paper strips just an inch or so under the bottom of the cake all the way around to keep the plate clean.
Drain any juice from the reserved chopped strawberries.
Leaving a ½‑inch plain edge, spread about 1‑cup of the frosting over the bottom layer of the cake. Spread ⅓ of the drained, diced strawberries over the frosting as evenly as possible. Slide a second layer carefully over the strawberry covered frosting, centering it over the bottom layer. Spread this second layer with another 1‑cup of frosting and half the remaining strawberries.
Repeat the process with a third layer using 1‑cup of frosting and all the remaining diced strawberries, then place the final cake layer on top.
Chill the cake at least 1 hour before continuing. You can make the cake one day ahead to this point. Cover carefully and refrigerate overnight.
To finish the cake: Use a thin metal spatula to spread all but about 1‑cup of the frosting over the top and sides of the cake in an attractive manner. Use the remaining 1‑cup frosting to make a decorative mound on top (optional). Arrange the whole strawberries around the top of the cake in a decorative manner. Spoon the white chocolate curls into the center of the cake (if using). Carefully remove the paper strips and discard them. The cake can be covered and refrigerated overnight.