Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake

I have come to the conclusion that I love pretty food. I really enjoy making desserts--not eating them necessarily, but making them. I get excited to frost a cake, to add layers to a trifle, to top off a pie with chocolate curls. My dream is to go to culinary school and become a pastry chef. Eventually I want to open up a bakeshop where I can share my love of baking with the world. At my job at Station 22 Cafe, I am in charge of making all the desserts. Every day I get to go into work and let my creative mind go free. Lately, I have been making White Chocolate Coconut Brownies, Peanut Butter Cups, Bananas Foster Mini Cream Pies, and Snickerdoodle Blondies. And let me tell you, they have really been a hit with the customers. Not that I am bragging or anything :) But seriously, I absolutely LOVE to bake. For Memorial Day, I wanted to make a dessert that reminded people of a beautiful summer day. So I came up with this cake: Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake with Whipped Cream. And boy oh boy was it good.

My brother and his beautiful wife.
Mom and little brother.
Gorgeous sister.
My dad. Isn't he so cute?
Visiting my aunt Yvonne's grave.

Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake

For the Cake
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk [I prefer buttermilk with the lemon]
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon pure lemon extract
For Finishing
2/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves stirred vigorously or warmed gently until spreadable 
[I made a raspberry spread with sugar, lemon, and water]
Getting Ready
Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.
To Make the Cake
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
Add the butter and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.
Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.
Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.
Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.
Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.
Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean
Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners.
Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months).
To Assemble the Cake
Using a sharp serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half.
Put one layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper.
Spread it with one third of the preserves.
Top with another layer, spread with preserves and then do the same with a third layer
Place the last layer cut side down on top of the cake and frost with whipped cream.
The cake is ready to serve as soon as it is assembled.
The cake is best the day it is made, but you can refrigerate it, well covered, for up to two days.


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