Moist vanilla cake layers are sandwiched together with rich mascarpone-cream cheese frosting and fresh berries in this elegant Chantilly cake recipe. Perfect for spring and summer gatherings!
This post is sponsored by Danish Creamery. As always, all opinions are mine.
What Is Chantilly Cake?
This simple yet decadent layer cake is a favorite in the South! Vanilla cake is layered with a rich Chantilly frosting and fresh berries to create the perfect warm-weather cake.
In French, “Chantilly” refers to sweetened whipped cream. In this cake recipe, the Chantilly frosting is made with a mixture of homemade whipped cream, mascarpone, and cream cheese for a rich yet fluffy frosting.
This is a truly show-stopping cake recipe that everyone loves. I particularly love making this Chantilly cream cake when berries are in season. The juicy berries complement the rich frosting perfectly!
Ingredients Needed for This Recipe
This Chantilly berry cake recipe has three components: the vanilla cake layers, the Chantilly frosting, and the fresh fruit filling. I’ve given the full ingredients list in the recipe card below, but let’s quickly go over some of the star ingredients.
- Almond Extract: This ingredient is optional, but it adds a light almond flavor to the cake and frosting. It also pairs really well with the fresh berries, so I highly recommend using it.
- Danish Creamery European Style Unsalted Butter: Danish Creamery’s butter is my top choice for baking cakes. Their European-style butter boasts 85% butterfat, whereas most other European-style butters contain just 82 to 83%!
- Cake flour: Contains less protein than all-purpose flour, resulting in lighter and fluffier cakes.
- Buttermilk: Provides moisture and makes for an ultra tender crumb.
- Mascarpone and cream cheese: The combination of these two spreadable cheeses makes for an incredibly rich frosting. Don’t use one or the other to make the frosting, the combination of the two is what makes the frosting so special!
How to Make a Chantilly Cake
This recipe for Chantilly cake has a few extra steps, but it’s very easy to make. Here’s an overview of the baking process.
- Prep the pans: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray, then line with parchment paper.
- Combine the dry ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Combine the wet ingredients: In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, vanilla and almond extracts.
- Cream together the butter and sugars: It will take about 5 minutes for the mixture to become light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs to the butter mixture: Add the eggs one at a time and wait until each is fully incorporated before adding another.
- Finish the batter: To the butter mixture, add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk mixture in three additions. You’ll need to alternate between the two, starting and finishing with the dry ingredients.
- Bake the cake layers: Divide the batter between the three prepared cake pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool the cake layers: Wait 20 minutes before inverting them onto a wire cooling rack.
While the cake layers are cooling, you can prepare the Chantilly frosting.
- Whip the heavy cream: First, you’ll need to whip the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Set it in the fridge while you continue with the recipe.
- Mix together the other ingredients: In another bowl, mix together the softened cream cheese until smooth. Then, mix in the mascarpone, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract.
- Fold in the whipped cream: Take the whipped cream out of the fridge and fold it gently into the cream cheese and mascarpone mixture.
How to Assemble a Chantilly Cake
To assemble this Chantilly cake, you’ll need to sandwich the cake layers with both frosting and fresh berries. The berries must be topped with frosting in order to properly hold the cake layers together. Here’s how I like to frost this cake:
- Level the tops of each cake layer with a knife or cake leveler. Dollop a little frosting into the middle of your cake stand to prevent the cake from sliding around.
- Place the first cake layer onto the cake stand, then spread about 1/2 cup of frosting over the top.
- Place half of the quartered strawberries on top, plus half of the blueberries. If needed, you can gently press them down into the frosting so they stay in place.
- Spread about 1/2 cup more frosting over the top, covering the berries.
- Place the second cake layer upside-down over the first layer and repeat the same process.
- Place the third cake layer upside-down over the second layer. Frost the entire cake with a thin layer of frosting to catch any crumbs, then spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides of the cake.
- Garnish with fresh berries, if desired. I like to use a mix of fresh strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries for this cake.
Can This Recipe Be Made in Advance?
You can make the vanilla cake layers one to two days prior to assembling the cake. Wrap the cake layers tightly and store in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble it.
I don’t recommend assembling the entire cake more than one day before you plan on serving it, as the berries will soften over time.
Does Chantilly Cake Need To Be Refrigerated?
Yes, since the frosting contains cream cheese, mascarpone, and heavy whipping cream the cake does need to be refrigerated. It will keep for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
There’s not a lot of wiggle room in this recipe for Chantilly cream cake, but there are a few substitutions you can make as needed:
- Cake flour: You may use a cake flour substitute if you don’t have any on hand.
- Buttermilk: Likewise, you may make a buttermilk substitute if needed.
- Butter: I recommend using Danish Creamery’s European-Style Unsalted Butter for best results. Danish Creamery’s slow-churned butter is made in small batches, and its richness is perfectly suited for baking cakes and making frostings. If you only have salted butter, that’s okay! Simply omit the extra salt called for in the cake batter.
- Almond extract: May be omitted entirely if you don’t have any or don’t like the flavor of almond extract.
- Berries: I used fresh blueberries and strawberries in between the cake layers. However, pretty much any fresh berry will work.
- Avoid using room temperature mascarpone because it has a tendency to separate. I typically remove my mascarpone from the fridge about 20 minutes before I need to use it. It should still be cool to the touch.
- Don’t over mix your mascarpone as this can cause it to become grainy or even watery. It’s best to mix the mascarpone in towards the end and on low speed.
- If you plan on decorating the cake with additional frosting, I recommend setting aside 1 and 1/2 cups prior to frosting the cake.
More Berry Desserts You’ll Love:
- Lemon Blueberry Bread
- Strawberry Cake
- Blackberry Cobbler
- Strawberry Shortcakes
- Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake
- 3 cups cake flour spooned & leveled (345 grams)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk at room temperature (240 ml)
- ¼ cup canola or vegetable oil (60 ml)
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon pure almond extract optional
- 1 cup Danish Creamery unsalted butter softened (2 sticks; 230 grams)
- 2 cups granulated sugar (400 grams)
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 cups cold heavy whipping cream (480 ml)
- 8 ounces brick-style cream cheese softened (226 grams)
- 8 ounces mascarpone cool but not cold, remove it from the refrigerator about 20 minutes beforehand (226 grams)
- 2 cups powdered sugar (240 grams)
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract optional
- 1 cup fresh quartered strawberries stems removed
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- Optional topping: Fresh strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries
- To make the vanilla cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray, line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper (this will prevent your cakes from sticking), and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together until well combined. Set aside.
- In a large bowl or measuring cup, whisk the buttermilk, oil, vanilla extract, and almond extract together. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the butter on low speed until smooth, then slowly mix in the granulated sugar.
- Once all of the sugar is added, increase to medium speed and continue mixing for another 4 to 5 minutes or until the butter and sugar is light in color and fluffy.
- Mix in the eggs, one at a time, making sure to stop and scrape around the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed. I typically stop and scrape my bowl after the first two eggs, then again after the last two eggs.
- Add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the buttermilk mixture (begin and end with the dry ingredients) on low speed. Mix in each addition until just combined, making sure not to over mix the batter.
- Use a rubber spatula to scrape around the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure the batter is well combined.
- Evenly divide the cake batter between the three prepared cake pans and spread it around into one even layer.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Slide a knife around the outside of the cakes, then carefully remove the cakes from the pans, and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the chantilly frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, add the heavy whipping cream. Start mixing on low speed. Once the mixture starts to increase in volume, increase the speed to medium-high and mix until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over mix the heavy cream or it can become grainy!
- Transfer the whipped cream to the refrigerator and let it chill while you mix together the rest of the frosting.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk or paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, add the cream cheese and mix on medium speed until smooth. Then, mix in the mascarpone, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract on low speed until just combined. If needed, stop and scrape down the sides of your bowl. Avoid over mixing at this step, otherwise the mascarpone can start to separate.
- Remove the whipped cream from the fridge. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold ⅓ of the whipped cream into the cream cheese/mascarpone mixture until just combined. Then, fold in the remaining whipped cream. If needed, you can use your mixer and mix on the lowest speed to help “fold” in the whipped cream.
- To assemble the cake: Level the tops of each cake layer with a knife or cake leveler.
- Add a tablespoon of frosting to the center of a cardboard cake round or a cake stand to help the cake stick to the surface.
- Place the first layer of cake onto your work surface. Scoop ½ cup of frosting onto the first layer of cake and spread it around into one even layer with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Add half of the quartered strawberries and half of the blueberries on top of the frosting and gently press them into it. Top the fresh fruit with another scoop of frosting (a little over ½ cup) and spread it around into one even layer.
- Place the second cake layer upside down on top of the frosted cake layer. Spread ½ cup of frosting onto the second layer of cake and spread it around into one even layer. Add the remaining half of the quartered strawberries and blueberries on top of the frosting and gently press them into it. Top the fresh fruit with another scoop of frosting (a little over ½ cup) and spread it around evenly.
- Place the third cake layer upside down on top of the frosted cake layer. Use a small amount of the frosting to apply a crumb coat to the entire outside of the cake. If needed, you can chill the cake at this point for 15 minutes. Use the remaining frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake. If you want to pipe some decorations on top, I suggest setting aside about 1 ½ cups.
- If desired, place a mixture of fresh fruit on top of the cake. I like to use a mixture of whole strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.