Super light and fluffy chantilly cake made with angel food cake layers and frosted with silky chantilly cream and fresh berries.
Why you’ll love this chantilly cake
- Angel food cake is the lightest and most airy type of sponge and pairs perfectly with a light chantilly cream and fresh berries.
- The cake and the cream both serve well chilled.
- The chantilly cream is quite literally the easiest cream on the planet to make (and to troubleshoot).
- You can use whatever kind of fresh fruit you like!
What is chantilly cake
I’ve seen chantilly cake made in SO MANY different ways so let’s distinguish what it is. The basic requirements for a chantilly cake is that it has a vanilla cake layered with chantilly cream and fresh berries.
I’m not finding much on the origin of chantilly cake. In fact, there’s an “origin” in New Orleans where they use traditional vanilla butter cake and add mascarpone or cream cheese to the cream. There’s an “origin” in Hawaii where they frost a chocolate cake with a sort of mousseline cream. I don’t know why they all have the same name but the most popular type of chantilly cake is a vanilla cake with French chantilly cream (sweetened vanilla whipped cream) and berries.
The sponge originally used in this type of chantilly cake isn’t specified. However I would assume it was some type of sponge cake (a cake that gets most of its volume and leavening from whipped eggs) and not a creamed/butter cake, if it was developed anywhere in Europe (France?). This is just my assumption.
Also chantilly cream is SO LIGHT and airy and it requires refrigeration so I think it would pair better with a cake that also does well refrigerated.
Sorry for the long intro but MY chantilly cake is made up of light and airy angel food cake layers. It’s frosted with chantilly cream (not mascarpone cream) and layered with fresh berries. She’s basically a sweetened cloud wrapped around berries.
How to ensure a good rise without chemical leaveners
Sponge cakes are known for getting their volume and rise from whipping air into eggs. It’s easy to deflate the whipped egg whites once fats, like egg yolks and butter/oil are added. If the batter deflates, it can result with a flat and dense cake.
Angel food cake is known for not having any added fats to the batter, which means it uses just egg whites. I’ve never had any issues with the angel food cake rising but there are a few tips you can follow to prevent the eggs from deflating.
- Fresh egg whites are better than carton egg white – you CAN use either but the carton egg whites do take longer to whip up and are slightly less stable so if you’re having trouble with rising, I recommend fresh egg whites.
- Use room temperature eggs so they whip up easier.
- Make sure there is no fat residue in the egg whites – so clean the bowl and whisk well (I like to lightly wipe them down with vinegar), don’t drop any egg yolk in the bowl of egg whites.
- Measure ingredients with a digital scale.
- Do NOT grease you baking pan and don’t use a non-stick pan. Use a traditional metal baking pan. You need the cake to be able to cling to the sides of the pan to rise.
- Sift the cake flour before mixing it into the meringue.
If you are still having trouble with rising, you can add in 1 tsp of baking powder with the flour.
- Flour: This sponge is super delicate and requires cake flour. It can technically be subbed for all-purpose flour but you’ll risk a more “rubbery” texture because there’s a higher protein content and we’re already working with a cake made of only egg whites and no fat.
- I HIGHLY recommend using a digital scale, as flour is so often over measured.
- If you do sub the cake flour for all-purpose flour, sub 1 Tbsp of the flour for cornstarch.
- My favorite cake flour is King Arthur; I find that some other ones taste kind of funny…
- Sugar: I use superfine sugar in both the cake and the cream. Granulated sugar also works but to get it finer, you can pulse it down in the food processor just until the sugar looks like a cross between granulated sugar and powdered sugar. It’s not super necessary but lends to that very fine and airy texture.
- Eggs: Angel food cake uses all egg whites. It’s generally recommended to use fresh eggs to get the best rise but you can use pasteurized egg whites from the carton too – it just might not be as consistent results. Fresh egg whites do whip up significantly quicker and they’re more stable but it’s definitely possible with carton egg whites.
- If you’re skeptical you can also do half fresh and half carton egg whites.
- Heavy Cream: You’ll need heavy whipping cream (or double cream) to make the chantilly cream.
- Use a cream that’s between 35%-45% fat.
- I haven’t tried a dairy free cream but if you have a dairy free heavy cream or whipped topping you like, feel free to use that instead.
- Vanilla: The main flavor here is vanilla so I like to use vanilla bean paste. Vanilla extract and vanilla beans also work, the higher the quality the better the flavor.
- Berries: I used strawberries and blueberries but any fruit works! Strawberries tend to leak so whenever I use them in cake I slice them and spread them out onto a paper towel. Then cover the top with another paper towel and let them dry for an hour or so.
Step 1: Start making the cake by beating the egg whites, lemon juice and sugar until it’s a thick fluffy meringue that forms SOFT peaks (you can see how my peak flopped over in the photo).
Step 2: Add the vanilla and sift the flour and salt top of the meringue, mix the flour just until the last streak is combined (you can fold it with a spatula or mix with the beater on medium-low speed – don’t over mix).
Step 3: Distribute the batter between the two UN-GREASED pans (17-18 ounces each) and bake for about 30 minutes. The top will have a crust and be a pale golden color.
Step 4: Remove the pans from the oven and flip upside onto a cooling rack/tray. Let the cakes cool upside down in the pan (they won’t fall out if the pan wasn’t greased) until they’ve COMPLETELY cooled. If they’re even still slightly warm, angel food cake will sink in the middle if you take it out.
Step 5: Meanwhile, slice the strawberries and place them onto a paper towel to dry. Place another paper towel on top.
Step 6: Use a knife to release the cooled cake from the pan once it’s cooled, and remove the cakes. Slice them in half with a large serrated knife. This can be a little difficult since the cake is so squishy. I put it on a turntable, use a large serrated knife and gently hold the knife against the cake while slowly spinning. As it spins, push the knife closer into the center of the cake until it’s sliced through.
Step 7: Make the chantilly cream – sift the sugar and salt and add the heavy whipping cream and vanilla bean paste. Whip the cream until it’s thick and fluffy and just when it reaches a stiff peak. Don’t over-beat or it won’t be smooth anymore (and can turn to butter lol). If you over-beat slightly, add a touch more cream and fold just until it’s combined.
Step 8: Spread a THIN layer of chantilly cream on top of the first layer of cake. Top with an even layer of berries and then another thin layer of chantilly cream (make sure it’s thin layers of cream or it will all squish out and you won’t have enough for the top).
Step 9: Place the second layer of cake on top and repeat with the rest of the layers. Swirl the rest of the chantilly cream on the top layer and top with more berries. Refrigerate the cake for at least 30-60 minutes to set.
How to frost/decorate this chantilly cake
If you want to cover the outside with the chantilly cream too, it may be a little difficult since the cake is so light and the cream is so soft. You can lightly frost it after refrigerating (or freezing) it for a little, until it’s more sturdy.
If you want to actually frost it nice and decorate the outside of this cake you’ll have to pipe a border of buttercream around the edge of the first layer of cake and then use the chantilly cream and berries as the filling. You can see how I did that for my cranberry orange cake.
Make sure to check out my cookbook Frosted for a million frosting options and how to use them! I also have an ebook, Frosted 2.0, that shows step-by-step photos of all the types of frostings in the cookbook. You can download that below.
What can I make ahead of time?
The chantilly cream must be made fresh when using it.
The strawberries can be sliced a few hours before assembling.
The cakes can be made in advance. If it’s 1 day, wrap them in plastic wrap as soon as they’ve cooled and leave them at room temperature. If it’s longer, freeze the cakes for up to a few weeks. Remove them from the freezer 1-2 hours before assembling. Slice them before assembling.
Expert tips on getting the perfect cake
- Don’t swap ingredients unless I mentioned them in the ingredient section above.
- Don’t over-mix the cake or the cream at any stage.
- Don’t reduce the sugar in the cake or the cream (I promise it’s not overly sweet).
- Weigh the ingredients with a digital scale.
- Don’t skip sifting the sugar and flour.
- Weigh the batter for each cake to make them even (17-18 ounces each).
- Use a light colored stainless steel cake pan for a more even bake and browning.
- Don’t rush the cooling process for cake.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! You can use any type of fruit on top of the chantilly cream. Kiwis, raspberries, bananas, etc. If it’s juicy like strawberries, you may want to slice them and let them dry a little before putting them on the cake too.
The cake should no longer look wet on top and it should be a light golden brown color. Press on the tallest part and it should bounce back.
My White Forest Cake is very similar but made with my basic vanilla cake and my lemon curd cake is very similar but uses a genoise. The genoise will be more similar to this since it’s spongy but the vanilla cake will be much thicker and more dense.
I used two 8 inch cake pans, you could also use:
– two 9 inch cake pans but they will be just slightly thinner (reduce bake time by 5ish minutes)
– two 7 inch cake pans but they will be just slightly thicker (increase bake time by 5ish minutes)
– three or four 6 inch cake pans but it will be difficult to assemble (reduce bake time by 5-10 minutes).
– Tube pan/angel food cake pan – bake for about 40-45 minutes, top with chantilly cream and berries or slice in half and frost like a two layer cake.
How to store a chantilly cake
Cover the cake with foil, a cake dome or a cake carrier and refrigerate for up to a week.
If it’s any longer, feel free to cover the cake in plastic wrap and then foil and freeze the cake. You can also slice it and place the slices in an airtight container and freeze for up to a couple of months, however it’s pretty soft so slicing can be annoying.
Thanks so much for reading today’s post, if you have any questions just comment down below. Make sure to leave it in the comment section because I can’t answer in the rating section.
If you make this chantilly cake, I’d love it if you left a star rating for me. If it’s less than five stars, please leave a comment with the rating so I know why! 🙂
As always, have a blessed day and happy baking!
Chantilly Cake Recipe
Angel Food Cake
- 12 large egg whites room temperature
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice OR 1 tsp cream of tarter
- 1 3/4 cups (350g) granulated or superfine sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1 1/4 cup (144g) cake flour spooned and leveled
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup (60g) powdered sugar spooned and leveled (OR 1/4 cup/50g granulated sugar)
- tiny pinch fine sea salt
- 2 cups (18oz) heavy whipping cream cold (18 ounces in weight, not fluid ounces)
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste OR vanilla extract
- 1/2 lb fresh strawberries sliced
- 6 oz fresh blueberries
Angel Food Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350F/176C convection (325F/163C conventional) and line two ungreased 8 inch baking pans with parchment paper.
- Make sure to clean your metal bowl and whisk for the stand mixer well. I wipe it with a little vinegar after cleaning to make sure there is no greasy residue.
- Place the egg whites in the bowl of the stand mixer with the lemon juice (or cream of tarter) and turn the mixer up to medium-high speed.12 large egg whites, 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- Beat for a minute or so and when the egg whites look frothy, stream the sugar into the bowl with the mixer going. It should take about a minute to get all the sugar in slowly.1 3/4 cups (350g) granulated or superfine sugar
- Continue beating for a few minutes, just until the meringue reaches a soft peak (see image in blog post). Add the vanilla and mix again just until it's combined.2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- Sift in the cake flour and salt, turn the mixer up to medium-low speed, just until the flour is mostly combined, about 30-60 seconds. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the edge of the bowl and fold the batter a couple more times until it's well combined.1 1/4 cup (144g) cake flour, 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- Spread the cake into two UN-GREASED 8 inch cake pans. Make sure to spread the batter evenly with an offset spatula or spoon because the lack of fat will prevent it from spreading and if left uneven, it will bake uneven.
- Bake for about 25 minutes. Press gently on the top center and there should be a slight bounce/resistance and no wet batter.
- Remove from the oven and flip over onto a cooling rack (not a flat surface or it will sweat) and allow it to cool completely to room temperature, 1-2 hours.
- Meanwhile slice the strawberries and place them on a paper towel to soak any excess liquid. Make the chantilly cream right before slicing the cake and assembling.1/2 lb fresh strawberries
- Sift the powdered sugar and salt into the bowl of the stand mixer (or a large bowl with a hand mixer).1/2 cup (60g) powdered sugar, tiny pinch fine sea salt
- Add the heavy whipping cream and vanilla bean paste on top and beat at medium-low speed for about 1-2 minutes, until it starts to thicken.2 cups (18oz) heavy whipping cream, 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- Increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating for another 1-2 minutes, until the cream forms stiff peaks. Don't over-beat passed this.
- Use the rubber spatula to scrape the edge of the bowl and fold it a couple of times to make it smooth and silky.
- Once the cakes have cooled completely, use a large serrated knife and a turn table to slice the cakes in half. The cakes are SUPER spongy so it's kind of difficult but just move slowly and try not to squish the cake.
- Spread a very thin layer of chantilly cream on the cake, top with an even layer of strawberries and blueberries (or other fruit) and then spread another very thin layer of whipped cream on top of the fruits. Repeat with the rest of the layers and then spread the rest of the chantilly cream on top of the cake with more fresh berries.6 oz fresh blueberries, 1/2 lb fresh strawberries
- Refrigerate the cake for at least an hour to set and serve fresh!