Thursday, August 15, 2013

Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake

     The third and final thing I baked for the fair was this lemon-raspberry cake. It's a good thing I took pictures because the frosting was messed up once I got to the fair.
        I only had to submit half of the cake, so my family and I got to eat the other half.  I also got to take a picture of the inside layers of the cake before I actually sliced it.  You can see the raspberries dotting the inside of the cake.

       The cake is a lemon sponge cake that has been moistened with a lemon syrup, and it is filled and frosted with lemon curd Swiss meringue buttercream.  There is also lemon curd and raspberries spread between the layers.  I used store-bought lemon curd since I was short on time (I had one day to bake 3 entries).  Plus, the lemon curds I have made in the past all had this sort of metallic taste, maybe because of the pan I used.  I had frozen raspberries in my freezer which I thawed to put on the cake, but fresh raspberries probably would have held their shape better.  

         The cake was fluffy and moist and the raspberries and lemon curd gave it a nice tartness to balance the sweet.  The swiss meringue buttercream was smooth and light, like most Swiss meringue buttercreams, and had a subtle lemon flavor which complemented the cake.  

          The fair results also turned out great.  All three of my entries were awarded a blue ribbon, and my macarons received best in show for teen baking! It was a pleasant surprise, especially since the appearances of the cake and cupcakes were messy.  I guess it's taste that really matters.


First, cream together 1 cup of the sugar, butter, and oil for the cake batter.
Sift together the dry ingredients and fold them into the butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk. 
Whip the egg whites to soft peaks, and then beat in 1/3 cup of sugar.
Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
Distribute the batter into 3 pans and bake until light golden brown and springy. Let cool.
Bring the syrup ingredients to a boil and then let cool.
Trim the top of the cakes off and brush the syrup on top.
Start the buttercream by gently stirring the egg whites, sugar and salt together in a large bowl over a pot of simmering water.  Stir until hot to the touch, or 160*F. 
Remove the bowl from the heat and whip until the mixture becomes a thick, glossy meringue, and the sides of the bowl are no longer warm.
Beat in the butter.
Add the lemon zest, vanilla, and food coloring, if desired. 
Spread some buttercream on top of the cake, and pipe a border around the edge to hold in the curd and raspberries.  
After stacking the layers, give the cake a crumb coat of buttercream and chill for half an hour to make decorating easier.
Frost the cake, pipe a decorative border, and spread some lemon curd on top of the cake.  Top with more raspberries and enjoy.  It tastes best served at room temperature.

Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake

adapted from Flour by Joanne Chang
makes one 9" 3-layer cake


For the cake:
6 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tbs canola oil
1-1/3 c. sugar, separated
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs grated lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
3 c. (360g) cake flour
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 c. whole milk, at room temperature
6 egg whites, at room temperature 
For the syrup:
1/2 c.  fresh lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
1/2 c. water
3/4 c. sugar
For the Swiss meringue buttercream:
7 egg whites 
1-1/2 cups sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
1/4 cup lemon curd
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Yellow food coloring (optional)
For assembly:
about 2 cups lemon curd


For the cake:
  1. Place a oven rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350*F.  Butter and flour 3 9" cake pans, line with wax paper, and butter and flour the wax paper.  
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, oil, and 1 c. of the sugar, until light and fluffy.  Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat in the vanilla and lemon zest.  
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add the flour to the butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk in 2 additions, and stirring until incorporated.
  4. In a large bowl, whip the egg whites to soft peaks (they will hold and then droop).  Add the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar and beat the egg whites for another couple of minutes, until the whites hold their peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the rest of the batter and divide the batter into the cake pans.  
  5. Bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes, until they are light golden brown and their centers spring back when lightly touched.  Let them cool in their pans for 20 minutes, then turn them out of the pan and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 1/2 an hour, or until completely cool.  
  6. In a small saucepan, combine the ingredients for the syrup.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and then let cool to room temperature.
  7. When the cakes are cool, trim off the tops to even the layers, and brush the tops evenly with the syrup.  
For the buttercream:
  1. Wipe a heatproof bowl with a paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites, sugar and salt, and simmer over a pot of water, whisking gently, until temperature reaches 160°F, or hot to the touch. 
  2. Whip the egg white mixture until it is thick and glossy, and the sides of the bowl feel neutral, not warm. 
  3. With a mixer on low speed, add the butter cubes a few at a time and mix until incorporated. Increase mixer speed to medium and whip the buttercream until it is thick and glossy.
  4. Add the lemon curd and vanilla and beat until well combined. Add food coloring, if desired, and beat to combine.
For assembly:
  1. Spread about 1 cup of buttercream onto a cake layer brushed with syrup.  Pipe a border of buttercream around the edge of the cake.  Spoon and spread about 1/2 a cup of lemon curd on top of the buttercream, and sprinkle a handful of raspberries on top. Place another cake layer on top and repeat.  Place the third cake layer on top.  Frost the cake with a light coat of buttercream, and then refrigerate for 1/2 an hour. 
  2. Frost the cake with more buttercream and pipe a decorative border around the rim.  Spread a thin layer of lemon curd on top of the cake, and garnish with raspberries.  



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