For the frosting, we made an Italian meringue. We had thought about making an Italian buttercream but, after a practice run, decided we liked the frosting better before we added the butter. An Italian meringue is really simple to make, though, on such a large-scale and with a hand mixer, it did take a while. I started by making a simple syrup that we heated until the soft ball stage. While the syrup was heating, I separated and beat the egg whites. When the whites were nice and frothy, I added some cream of tartar (to help stabilize the eggs.)
I continued beating the egg whites until they were pillowy.
At this point, I slowly added the hot simple syrup to the fluffy whites and continued beating them until they had cooled completely and they were nice and glossy.
Time to assemble the layers!
We placed the bottom half of the layers on their boards with bits of paper lining the edges for easy clean-up. We started with a layer of raspberry jam and a sprinkling of cocoa nibs (we didn’t put any nibs on the vanilla layer.)
Then a layer of the sour cream pastry cream…
Each layer was topped with rows of fresh raspberries.
The layers were then covered with their respective tops…
…and frosted with the chilled meringue.
After frosting all three layers, we measured dowels and placed several of them in the bottom and middle layers for support. Then we carefully stacked the cakes onto their posts and measured and sharpened one final dowel to act as the support for all three layers.
We put the cake in the fridge and made a little bit of colored frosting for decoration. There was a small gap between the layers so we hid it with meringue and raspberries. (We would have put the meringue and raspberries on for decoration anyways.)
We topped it off with a couple of daylilies.
Rebekah and David, cutting the cake…