Friday, May 6, 2011

Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake

Are you still searching for that perfect cake to wow Mom this Sunday?  Look no further, I've got your solution right here.

I had made this cake for my mother-in-law's birthday.  Those of you that are fans of mine on facebook got a sneak peek at this cake.  There's something about the month of April when the weather starts turning a bit warmer and the first flowers bloom that make me crave light, citrus and fruit flavors.  This cake delivered in taste and is pretty to look at.  Just like Mom :).

I'll warn you it is a bit time consuming but not too bad if you take it in steps and do it over a couple days like any multi-step recipe.  For me, I made the raspberry curd one night, the cake the next, and then assembled it on the third day.  Fresh as a daisy.  The only issue I had was in cutting the cake halves.  I've never done that before and one layer ended up in many pieces when I went to transfer it for assembly.  Not wanting to waste all my hardwork, I carried on but it showed on the inside as the raspberry curd seeped through the layers in some spots.  At least it was structurally sound and tasted great!

The original recipe called for a lemon buttercream frosting but I wanted to keep in the spirit of lightness.  The thought of using 5 sticks of butter really grossed me out.  So, I halved the frosting recipe then made up a batch of fresh whipped cream and folded that into the lemon buttercream.  You can do the same if you want to cut the sweetness but I'll leave the original recipe intact for those with a sweet tooth (like my husband...who objected to my change).

Two Years Ago: Sloppy Joes...maybe make these for Dad so he doesn't feel left out.  This seems to be a masculine polar opposite to this dainty cake recipe!

Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake
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For the Cake
  • 1 1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon (preferably organic)
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting the pans
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature
  • 6 large egg whites (3/4 cup), at room temperature
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 12 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened but still cool
For the Raspberry Curd
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • Two 1/2-pints ripe raspberries or one 12-ounce package frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 to 3 tsp fresh lemon juice 
For the Lemon Buttercream Frosting
  • 2 1/2 cups (5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tablespoons table salt
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

To Prepare the Raspberry Curd
  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the raspberries, egg yolks, sugar, and salt and cook, mashing the berries and stirring frequently at first and them constantly at the end, until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  2. Pour the mixture through a coarse strainer set over a bowl, pressing hard on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Cool to room temperature; the curd will continue to thicken as it cools. Stir in lemon juice to taste. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve, or for up to 1 month
To Prepare the Cake
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray; line the bottoms with parchment or waxed paper rounds. Spray the paper rounds, dust the pans with flour, and invert pans and rap sharply to remove excess flour.
  2. Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into 2-cup glass measure, and mix with fork until blended.
  3. Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add cake flour, baking powder, and salt to mixer bowl and mix at slow speed. Add butter; continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.
  4. Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium speed and beat 20 seconds longer.
  5. Divide batter evenly between two prepared cake pans; using rubber spatula, spread batter to pan walls and smooth tops. Arrange pans at least 3 inches from the oven walls and 3 inches apart. Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes.
  6. Let cakes rest in pans for 3 minutes. Loosen from sides of pans with a knife, if necessary, and invert onto wire racks. Reinvert onto additional wire racks. Let cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours. 
To Prepare the Lemon Buttercream Frosting
  1. In standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds.
  2. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds. 
  3. Scrape bowl, add extracts and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.
To Assemble the Cake
  1. Once cake layers have completely cooled, use a large serated knife to slice each layer in half horizontally.
  2. Scoop about a cup of frosting into a piping bag with a large round tip (you can also use a ziplock bag and snip off the corner).  Place strips of waxes paper around the plate or cake disk that you will be using for the cake. Pipe a small amount of frosting onto the center of your cake disk. This will serve as glue to hold the cake in place.
  3. Place your first layer of cake, cut side up, on the disk. Pipe a thick ring around the edge of the cake. This will serve as a dam to keep the filling in the cake and prevent the layers from sliding around.  Spread ~1/3 to 1/2 cup of raspberry curd onto the cake. Add the top half of that cake and repeat. Add the bottom half of the other cake, cut side up again, and repeat. Place the top layer on the cake.
  4. Apply a very thin layer of frosting on the cake. This will serve as a crumb coat and will help the final frosting to be smooth. Chill the cake for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  5. Next, coat the cake with frosting and decorate with frosting and fresh raspberries as desired.
Source: Beantown Baker

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