Have you ever had grape cake? Well this is a Grape Cake with a Balsamic Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting. One of my best!
This was one of my most delicious cakes! I love grape so much, and the grape jam filling is absolutely delicious!!
I also use that same grape jam filling in my super awesome Grape Cupcakes, which are some of my favorites from the blog!
When I made this Grape Cake, it all started because I initially made a recipe using the Balsamic Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream, my Balsamic Caramel Strawberry Macarons. And I fell in love with the frosting so much I had the idea of making a cake with it. Then, as I was strolling through the store, I found these beautiful gorgeous concord grapes, my absolutely favorite! And that’s how this cake was born.
So, about the jam! Very easy to make! It only takes 4 ingredients (3 if you don’t use cornstarch). I am giving you below the option of making this jam with and without the cornstarch. It is possible to make the grape jam without cornstarch, simply simmer the jam for about 30 minutes until a thermometer registers 220 F.
The cornstarch will make the jam thicker, which is the consistency I prefer for cake filling. So if I was making this jam to enjoy with some scones, I wouldn’t add the cornstarch, but to fill a cake, yes I’d add it. It’s up to you.
The ingredients are simple:
- Grapes (seedless, with the skin on is fine)
- Lemon juice
- Sugar (or maple syrup)
If adding the cornstarch, bring the sugar, grapes, and lemon juice to a boil, and simmer for about 10 minutes, at medium low heat, until grapes are falling apart. Add cornstarch mixed with water, mix until cornstarch is all incorporated into the jam, and the jam is thick. Process in the food processor at this point to obtain a smooth jam, if desired.
Let the jam cool down, and then chill it in the fridge. And move on to making the vanilla cake.
This new recipe of vanilla cake is substituting my regular vanilla cake recipe, because it made for such a moist and amazing cake!
Here are our ingredients!
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Vanilla extract
Very simple and basic!
- Cream butter until fluffy (1 min.)
- Add sugar and cream for another 2 minutes.
- Add oil. Cream for 1 more minute. (You can also add the oil with the butter, and then add the sugar after)
- Add eggs, one at a time, waiting until one egg is incorporated before adding the next one.
- Now add vanilla extract.
- Add half of the milk.
- Then add half of the flour mixture (flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, sifted) then add the remaining of the milk, and finally the last of the flour.
- Pour batter onto cake pans.
This sounds like a very fancy cake, and you will feel fancy eating it. But trust me, it’s very easy to make following my instructions. The most complicated part would be the Balsamic Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream, but I even made a video showing you how to make it. Check out the video on the page of the post here.
It’s not that it’s complicated to make, but there are a couple of steps. I have very detailed instructions both down below, and on the blog post exclusively dedicated to the frosting, so make sure to check it out.
In case you don’t go check out my post, I will include some brief instructions here.
To make the Balsamic Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream, start by making the balsamic caramel sauce.
- Mix brown sugar and balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan
- Bring to a boil over medium heat, keep simmering for 3-4 minutes until mixture thickens and reduces.
- Add heavy cream and keep simmering for another 2-4 minutes, until mixture is thick, and coating the back of a spoon.
- Add butter.
- Add salt, and mix until salt and butter are incorporated.
- Remove sauce from the pan and let it cool down all the way before using.
Then, once the balsamic caramel sauce has cooled down all the way, it’s time to make the Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
- Whisk the sugar and whites over a double boiler.
- When mixture reaches 140 F, which is a safe temperature for the eggs to be consumed, remove it and transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer.
- Start whipping on low speed, and increase speed to high.
- Whip for about 5 minutes until it reaches stiff peaks.
- Once the syrup reaches stiff peaks, start adding butter a little at a time, while whipping non-stop.
- Frosting will become very creamy, fluffy, and buttery, and that’s when you know you’ve made your Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
After that, simply add 1/2 cup of the balsamic caramel sauce to the Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and voila!
You’ll be ready to frost your cake!
Pipe a ring of frosting around the edges of the cake before spreading the jam in the center.
Make sure to spread a thick layer of jam in that cake! You’ll thank me later!
If you like this Grape Cake with Balsamic Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream, you may also like these other recipes:
- Marble Layer Cake
- Grape Cupcakes
- Kinder Bueno Cake
- Mousse Cake
- Salted Caramel Stout Cake
- Pineapple and Strawberry Layer Cake
- Key Lime Pie Cake
- Chocolate Raspberry Cake
- Lemon Coconut Layer Cake
- Chocolate Strawberry Cake
- Almond Strawberry Cake
I used Secolari Balsamic Vinegar to make this recipe, which is my favorite Balsamic Vinegar, it’s so thick and amazing!
Here is a link to the Secolari website if you want to check it out. If you use my code “Pies and Tacos” you get 15% off your order! I used the Finest Traditional 18 Years Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.
Thank you so much for reading my blog, checking out my recipes, and supporting me on this amazing journey of sharing my passion for making fabulous desserts!
Grape Cake with Balsamic Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Vanilla cake, filled with grape jam, with Balsamic Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour 9 oz, 255 grams
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature (4 oz, 113 grams)
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 10.5 oz, 300 grams
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 44 ml
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk 236 ml
- 453 grams grapes I used seedless dark purple grapes
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar or maple syrup or sweetener of choice
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 teaspoons cornstarch *see notes
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar 100 grams 3.5 oz
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream 118 ml
- 1 tablespoon butter 14 grams 0.5 oz
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Balsamic Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 4 large egg whites 224 grams, 7.9 oz
- 1 cup sugar 200 grams, 7 oz
- 20 tablespoons butter 283 grams, 10 oz
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup balsamic caramel recipe above
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
- Grease 2 8-inch round pans. Line with parchment paper. Or butter and flour the pans.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt together. Set aside.
- Cream butter and oil together in the bowl of an electric mixer for about 1 minute.
- Add sugar. Cream for another 2 minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time, waiting for one egg to be incorporated before adding the next one.
- Add vanilla extract.
- Pour half of the milk in. Mix until combined.
- Add half of the flour mixture in the bowl. Stir until combined.
- Add the rest of the milk in.
- Finally, add the other half of the flour mixture.
- Stir just until combined. You don’t want to over mix cake batter, because that might make your cake dry and tough, since the more you mix, the batter starts to develop gluten.
- Divide cake batter between the two cake pans.
- Bake in pre-heated oven for about 15-20 minutes, rotating in between.
- Cakes are ready when they are golden on the outside and cooked on the inside. Insert a toothpick in the cake and if it comes out clean, that means the cake is baked. Or gently touch the top of the cake, if it springs right back, it means the cake is ready.
- Remove from the oven. Let cakes cool down for 10 minutes, remove them from the pans. Let them cool down completely before frosting.
- Mixe grapes, sugar, and lemon juice in a small saucepan.
Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
Mix cornstarch and water, add it to the jam mixture. Let it come back to a boil and keep stirring and cooking for a few more minutes until it thickens. Don't stop stirring at this point, or the cornstarch will clump up.
- Let it cool down for about 5 minutes. Transfer it to the bowl of a small food processor or blender. Puree jam until smooth.
- Let it cool completely in the fridge before using it.
- If, for some reason, your jam is too liquidy, and not becoming thick and reduced enough, it might be because of the type of grape you are using. In this case, after you’ve processed the jam in the blender, return it to the sauce pan, then mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with one tablespoon of water, add it to the jam, and bring to a boil. Let jam boil for a couple of minutes until thickened. Remove from the heat and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Place brown sugar and balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil.
- Let mixture simmer over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until thickened and reduced.
- Add heavy cream.
- Be aware that the mixture will probably splash once you do this.
- Bring it back to a boil, and simmer again over medium heat for another 2-4 minutes, until thick.
- Add butter and salt. Mix to combine, until butter is melted.
- Remove and transfer to a bowl. Let it cool down completely before adding to the Swiss meringue buttercream.
Balsamic Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- Remove butter from the fridge about 30 minutes before you start to make this. We are looking for the perfect butter temperature and consistency. It shouldn’t be hard cold, and it shouldn’t be so soft that is almost melting.
- Put whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl.
- Place bowl on top of a small pot with simmering water.
Whisk whites and sugar until they temp 140F. Basically you are looking to melt the sugar granules, and also make it so the egg white is in a safe temperature to be consumed.
- Once you achieve that temperature, transfer the syrup to your mixer bowl.
Whip with the whisk attachment for about 2 minutes at medium speed, until the mixture looks white, and thicker. At this point, raise speed to high and continue to whip until fluffy and doubled in size. Meringue should have stiff peaks. It can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes to obtain stiff peaks.
- Test every so often, so you don’t over whip it.
- Start adding the butter that should be slightly softened.
- Cut butter into very thin pats. Starts doing one by one with mixer running on medium-high.
- Wait for one butter pat to be incorporated before adding the next one.
- This whole process could take about 15 minutes. Add vanilla extract.
- Once butter is all incorporated add 1/2 cup of the Balsamic Caramel Sauce to the Swiss Meringue Buttercream. The caramel sauce should be at room temperature.
You probably won't have leftover buttercream, but if you do, you can simply store them in the fridge for up to 4 days, or in the freezer, for up to 2 months. Remember to package it really well in sealed air tight containers, or zip loc bags, before freezing.
- To use it again, simply let it thaw until it comes to room temperature and beat it briefly to make it creamy again before using.
- Place one cake layer on a cake plate.
- Pipe a ring of frosting around the edges of the cake.
- Spread jam in the middle of the cake.
- Top with the other cake layer.
- Cover with frosting.
- Let cake sit in the fridge for a few hours or overnight before serving.
- This cake will last for up to 5 days, covered in the fridge.
*You can make this jam without the cornstarch, but it might be slightly thinner. I like the jam to be really thick for cake filling. If you don’t want to use cornstarch, simply cook the jam for about 30 minutes with just the grapes, sweetener, and lemon juice, until thick, and until a thermometer registers 220 F.
**This recipe will make more caramel than what you need for the Swiss Meringue Buttercream. You can store any leftovers for up to 1 month in the fridge, and up to 3 months in the freezer. Or use it to decorate the top of the cake like I did!