Recipe: Miniature Summer Fruit and Vanilla Cake

Summer in South Carolina means fresh fruit – the state actually produces more peaches than Georgia – and warm weather. Enjoy a nice picnic on the Saluda River or Horseshoe with this miniature cake with vanilla whipped cream and a fresh, juicy fruit of your choice.

This recipe uses vanilla bean paste, adding lovely flecks of vanilla bean into the whipped cream. It’s also highly customizable, so do what you like. You can even add additional toppings, like Nutella, flaked almonds, caramel sauce or chocolate shavings.

Take time: 3 hours


Cake layers:

-1 cup all-purpose flour

-¾ cup cake flour (see substitution notes)

-¾ teaspoon of baking powder

-¼ teaspoon of baking soda

-Pinch of salt

-½ cup butter at room temperature

-1 cup granulated sugar

-3 egg whites

-1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

-½ cup sour cream at room temperature (full fat)

-½ cup half and half (see substitution notes)


-1 cup cold, thick whipped cream

-Vanilla bean paste (to taste)

-Fruit jam (optional)

-2 cups fresh fruit, washed and chopped (strawberries, raspberries, pitted cherries, and peaches are great options. A combination could also be delicious.)

Substitution notes:

  1. Vanilla bean paste: If you don’t have paste, vanilla extract can be used. Simply sweeten the whipped cream with a few teaspoons of powdered sugar to taste.
  2. Flour: Feel free to use all-cake flour or all-purpose flour rather than a mixture of the two. Cake flour is finer and creates a more delicate crumb.
  3. Dairy: If you don’t have half and half on hand, use a mixture of milk and heavy whipping cream. Using only milk is also a good solution, but avoid using only skim milk.
  4. Fruit: If using fruits larger than cherries and raspberries, cut them into bite-sized pieces.


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease three six-inch cake pans with unsalted butter or baking spray.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Sift if there are any lumps.
  3. Separate the egg yolks and egg whites. If you don’t separate eggs regularly, separate each egg white into a separate bowl. This way, if the egg yolk gets into the whites, you won’t need to throw out the whole bowl. Egg yolks will not be used in this recipe.
  4. Beat the butter and sugar together for 2-3 minutes with a hand mixer or stand mixer until creamy and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure the batter is evenly mixed. Add the egg whites and vanilla and almond extracts, then beat until combined. Then add the sour cream. Stir in dry ingredients until combined. Do not overmix the dry ingredients. Finally, mix half and half.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the three cake pans. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. The edges should be golden brown.
  6. Cool the cakes on wire racks, then remove them from the pans. Trim the domed tops of the cakes to create level layers.
  7. If you don’t plan to serve the cake within a few hours, wait to prepare the whipped cream and build the cake, because the texture of the whipped cream may change in the refrigerator or freezer, and the fruit could make the cake soggy if it is left too long. .
  8. Prepare the whipped cream by beating the cold heavy cream and whisking it together. See substitution notes if using the excerpt. The cream is ready when it forms medium peaks.
  9. Before placing cream and jam on the cake, make sure the layers are completely cool. The whipped cream will melt and if the cake is hot, the layers may slide. Spread an even layer of jam on the first layer, then add a third of the whipped cream. Spread half a cup of fruit on top. Repeat this process with the second cake layer. Place the last layer on top and spread the rest of the whipped cream. Arrange the remaining fruit cup on top in a spiral.

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