Fancy Torta Maria Luisa: Summer Layer Cake

Layer Cake
Dave King / Getty Images
  • 85 mins
  • Prep: 45 mins,
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Yield: 1 Layer Cake (28 Servings)

Traditional torta maria luisa is a simple citrus cake, layered with jam and sprinkled with powdered sugar. This is an intensified, Americanized version of that cake, with creamy pineapple and strawberry frosting between some of the layers and topping everything off. The cake itself is a rich, tender ​pound cake lightly flavored with citrus. Fresh strawberries and blueberries make a simple but elegant decoration.

North Americans often serve ice cream with cake, and vanilla ice cream is always a good choice, but the intense flavors of this cake would also go well with raspberry passionfruit sorbet or coconut ice cream.

What You'll Need

  • For the Cake:
  • 2 sticks butter (softened)
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese (softened)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups sifted flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice with mango
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • For the Frosting:
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 1/2 cup pineapple cubes
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 stick butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (softened)
  • 4-5 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries (sliced)

How to Make It

  1. Prepare the cake layers: Lightly grease 2 9=inch cake pans, and line the bottom of the pans with a circle of wax paper
  2. Place the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a standing mixer. Use the paddle attachment to beat the butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, continuing to beat until sugar is completely incorporated and the mixture is very light about 5 to 8 minutes.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until well blended. Mix in the juices, lemon zest, and vanilla and orange flavorings.
  1. Sift flour then measure three cups of the sifted flour and set aside. Gradually stir the flour into the batter until just mixed.
  2. Divide batter between the pans. Place pans in a cold oven then set the oven to 200 degrees and bake for 15 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 250 degrees for 10 minutes, then to 300 degrees until cake is done (about 30-35 minutes total). The cake should spring back very lightly to the touch in the center of the pan. Remove cakes from oven and let cool.
  3. Prepare the frosting: Place the pineapple in a blender or food processor and pulse until pineapple is puréed and smooth. Place pineapple in a small saucepan with 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon lime juice. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring often, until mixture is reduced to about 1/3 cup. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl to cool. Repeat the same procedure with strawberries - process the strawberries until smooth, add to saucepan with 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon lime juice and cook until reduced to 1/4 cup. Let cool thoroughly.
  4. Place the butter and shortening in the bowl of the standing mixer. Beat until fluffy and light. Add 3 cups of the powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla and beat well. Remove half of the mixture and set aside. Add half of the cooked pineapple to the remaining half. Beat well, adding 1/2 to 1 cup more powdered sugar as needed until mixture has a stiff but spreadable consistency, like cake icing. Transfer pineapple frosting to a bowl. Return the other half of sugar/butter mixture to the mixing bowl. Add cooked strawberries plus 1/2 to 1 cup confectioners sugar and beat until mixture has a thick but spreadable consistency. Set aside.
  1. When cake layers have cooled, remove them from pans and split each one in half horizontally. Spread the raspberry jam between the 2 halves of one of the cake layers, then place the two halves back together. Spread the remaining cooked pineapple between the 2 halves of the other layer and place them back together.
  2. Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Spread generously with some of the pineapple frostings. Stir the remaining pineapple frosting into the strawberry frosting and mix well. Top first cake layer with the second cake layer. Cover top and sides of cake with the strawberry/pineapple frosting. Decorate the cake with blueberries and fresh strawberries.