How to Make Chantilly Cake
You've never tasted a cake like this (unless you're from New Orleans).
If we were asked to name our favorite show-stopping cake, Chantilly cake would rank high on the list. It features fresh summer berries and an airy vanilla cake, which are delicious in themselves. But the frosting is what makes this cake really stand out. It’s a cloud-like combo of sweetened mascarpone, cream cheese and whipped cream—not like any frosting you’ve had before.
Where Did Chantilly Cake Come From?
Berry Chantilly Cake was made famous by baker Chaya Conrad, who was working at a Whole Foods in New Orleans. The recipe, based on her grandmother’s, quickly become a staple of the city, and is often served at weddings, graduations, showers and birthdays.
In an interview with Ann Maloney of the Times-Picayune, Conrad said she is happy that her cake recipe is being shared and adapted by others: “I feel like I’ve had a real impact.” And with that, we would have to agree!
Although it may look complex, Chantilly cake is surprisingly easy and fun to put together. Here’s how to make this southern signature at home.
Our Test Kitchen-Approved Chantilly Cake Recipe
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2-1/3 cups cake flour
- 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup 2% milk
- 16 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup seedless strawberry jam
- 2 cups each fresh blueberries, raspberries and sliced strawberries, plus more for decorating, if desired
Step 1: Make the cake
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line bottoms of two greased 9-inch round baking pans with parchment; grease the parchment. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy for 5-7 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Pour into prepared pans, dividing the batter evenly.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks; remove parchment. Cool completely.
Step 2: Make the frosting
In a small bowl, beat mascarpone and cream cheese until blended. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. In another bowl, beat cream and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Add whipped cream to mascarpone mixture and beat on low speed until combined.
Step 3: Assemble the layers
Cut the cakes in half, horizontally, and spread one-third of the berry jam mixture onto the cut sides. Top with about 1 cup of frosting. Sprinkle one-third of the fresh berries over the cream. Top with another cake layer, and gently press down. Repeat the layers.
Step 4: Frost and decorate
Spread the remaining frosting onto the sides and top of cake, decorating however you’d like with remaining frosting and berries. This is your chance to get creative!
Does Chantilly Cake Need to Be Refrigerated?
Given the amount of dairy in the frosting, it is best to keep any Chantilly cake leftovers in the refrigerator. This will not only keep the frosting from spoiling, but will prolong the life of your berries as well. Use an airtight container so the cake doesn’t get stale or take on any other fridge flavors.
Tips for Making Chantilly Cake
- Add a teaspoon of almond extract to your cake batter for a more authentic New Orleans flavor.
- To make your freshly baked cake layers easier to cut in half, freeze them for at least an hour after they’ve cooled.
- Give the berries on your cake a jewel-like shine like you’d see in a bakery window. Just make a glaze by mixing a little strawberry jam with a splash of warm water to thin it out, then brush it on the berries.