Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake

Remember that raspberry curd I posted about last week? First of all, did anyone try a fruity breakfast sandwich? You really should! And now on to the cake I kept mentioning in that post about the raspberry curd.


I made this cake a couple weeks ago for a springtime dinner that our good friends N&L hosted. I offered to bring a dessert and got very excited because I rarely have the chance to make layer cakes. Layer cakes are only doable when there are enough people to put a dent in it, and they’re people who don’t mind me taking some pictures after the first slice has been cut.


In fact, this January was the first time I had ever made a layer cake (the Chocolate Overdose Cake turned out pretty awesome!). So this was my second. I was nervous about frosting it since last time I just poured ganache over the cake and topped it with chocolate covered strawberries for a no-fuss decorating job.


This time, I wanted to test out my piping skills. I can pipe a mean rosette on a cupcake or a nice fat swirl, but I’ve never piped a border or even coated a layer cake. I think I impressed even myself on this one. Not to brag, but I think the cake turned out very pretty.


Obviously, a cake looking pretty is only half the battle. The taste is the other half. This is a great spring cake because it combines the flavors of lemon and raspberry. Nothing screams spring like lemon and raspberry is such a great complimenting flavor.

I used my newly-discovered go-to white cake recipe as a base. As Bridget mentioned in the comments, while domes are great on cupcakes, they’re not so great on cakes. I was glad this recipe didn’t dome up in this instance because then I didn’t have to worry about leveling off the cake layers.


I used a technique from Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake to make this recipe into a lemon cake. Rubbing fresh lemon zest into sugar releases such a fragrant aroma, it makes you want to just eat the lemony sugar right then an there. The lemon zest is really all you need to make the white cake into a lemon cake.

I also used my newly-found go-to buttercream recipe. I added lemon juice to the frosting but it didn’t really carry through. I didn’t want to put zest in because I wanted a really smooth frosting. I think next time I might use some lemon extract to give it more of a lemony boost.


I sliced the cakes in half to make a 4-layer cake. The filling is the previously mentioned raspberry curd. I used about a 1/3 of a cup between each layer. I brought along some of the extra raspberry curd and some people poured more onto their slice of cake.

Overall this cake turned out amazing. It was perfectly lemony without being overpowering. It made a great springtime cake and would be perfect for a Mother’s day dinner or even for Easter next year.


I made the cake and filling ahead of time. The raspberry curd was refrigerated and the cake layers were wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated. The frosting can also be made in advance. Just be sure to let it come to room temperature prior to using.

Two Years Ago: Perfect Summer Salsa

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Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake

Yield: Serves 12

Ingredients:

Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
zest of 1 lemon
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

Double batch vanilla buttercream

Batch of raspberry curd, cooled completely

Directions:

Set oven rack in middle position. 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.

Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into 2-cup glass measure, and mix with fork until blended.

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.

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.

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 thin skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes.

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.

Assembling the cake
Once cake layers have completely cooled, use a large serated knife to slice each layer in half horizontally.

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. I wouldn't recommend doing that if you are piping swirls on top of cupcakes, but in this situation, it's ok. No one will see what you're piping).

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.

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.

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.

Next, coat the cake with frosting and smooth it out. I watched this youtube video to get a better idea of how to do it. Then decorate as you prefer. I went back to youtube to get ideas for the border. This video was helpful for me. You can see that the piping on the bottom of the cake wasn't as pretty as on the top where I had more room to make my swirls. I think my tip might have been too big for the bottom (I used a 1M tip).

Cake recipe adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles

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32 Responses to “Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake”

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    oneordinaryday — April 26, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Raspberries are my very favorite food on the planet and this looks absolutely divine. Thanks for sharing this!

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    Carrie — April 26, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Its my husband birthday on Fri I might try to talk him into having this cake for it.

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    Cara — April 26, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    awesome work, Jen! It sounds delicious and looks gorgeous. I’m totally jealous of your border-piping skills too.

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    Ammie — April 26, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Beautiful cake! This is very similar to our wedding cake, I may just have to try it!

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    annies-eats.com — April 26, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    It looks beautiful and sounds delicious. I’ll have to try this one!

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    KB — April 26, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    This looks absolutely terrific! Great job on the assembly and decoration!

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    hannah! — April 26, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    really beautiful cake! and raspberries are one of my favorite fruits ever! i love the little sacs together with the crunchy seeds. hee.

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    Sherry G — April 26, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Holy beautiful! this cake is quite elegant and delicious looking! I love raspberries with cake.

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    roxan @ kitchen meditation — April 26, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Jen this cake is so so beautiful! It reminds me of the triple berry cake from Sweet Lady Jane here in LA. If an opportunity every arises for me to make a layer cake (I have the same problem – it’s hard to find people to help finish it!) I will definitely try this one.

    You did a beautiful job with the piping. Gorgeous.

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    Memória — April 26, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    We should be best friends hahaha. We have the same go-to white cake recipe, and we both made layered cakes this weekend! Your cake is BEAUTIFUL! You have every right to brag. You did an excellent job on the piping and decorating. It looks professional!

    I added lemon extract to my strawberry frosting on my strawberry cake (which came from Bridget’s recipe), and I could taste hints of lemon. I think the extract and some lemon zest would work well.

    I must make this cake!! I am 100% certain that I would like it because we have similar tastes.

    Now I need to look at your overdose cake to compare it to my overload cake.

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    living_insanity — April 26, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Lemon and raspberries sounds like a perfect flavor combo. Your cake looks beautiful!

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    KRISTINA CIPOLLA PHOTOGRAPHY — April 26, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    OH wow, I started drooling as soon as I saw the pic. SO pretty and looks delish! Will def. have to try this one… :) Thanks for sharing!

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    We Are Not Martha — April 26, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    This is so, so pretty! And obviously looks delicious too. Raspberries are one of my favorite parts of spring!

    Sues

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    Brisbane Baker — April 27, 2010 at 12:56 am

    I don’t think you’re bragging! I would be proud of a beautiful cake like this one.

    Looks delicous!

    http://www.brisbanebaker.blogspot.com

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    Josie — April 27, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    beautiful!! Great decorating job!

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    bcallegra — April 28, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    This cake looks awesome and my mouth is watering looking at the picture right now.

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    ashley — April 28, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    beautiful cake!

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    Katie — April 29, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    This cake is SO, SOOO beautiful! I love it!!!

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    Allie — May 3, 2010 at 2:27 am

    Looks beautiful, I love layer cakes!

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    vertigoxcured — May 3, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    you say something about videos from youtube? can you share the the links?

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    Jen — May 6, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    vertigoxcured – I updated the post with links to the youtube videos. Sorry about that.

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    Smithie7482 — May 9, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    I made this for Mother’s Day and it was a huge hit! Thanks for sharing. I added the juice of the zested lemon and an extra cup of confectioners’ sugar to the buttercream and managed to get a nice lemony tang.

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    Karin — June 16, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    I cant believe this is your first frosting coated cake. So beautifully done. And also note…that 4 layers with fruit filling without cake sliding all over the place is not a normal for first timers in that department. Kudos… you got the cake decorating skills Ma’am.

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    nod — March 22, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    am making this cake right now, and i must ask about the proportions of flour to liquid. it seems off. i made the recipe exactly as written and it was a pool of liquid. i had a similar recipe for a white cake which called for 2-3/4 flour and only 4 egg whites + 1 whole egg ( similar), so i added another 1/2 cup flour and it was still liquidy. it took 30 mins. to bake, not 23-25. will see how it turns out. the only good part is rubbing the grated lemon zest with the sugar, although i could not taste much lemon in the batter. by the looks of the layers, i would recommend 8″ pans as the layers are quite thin. all in all a big disappointment. glad i planned ahead and will make a different recipe.

    • beantownbaker — March 25th, 2013 @ 1:27 pm

      Sorry to hear this recipe didn’t work out for you. This batter was very thin going in to the oven.

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    rach — April 22, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Does this cake keep well? i just made three 6″ cakes, which I’ll freeze in preparation for making a little layer cake on Sunday (a top-tier wedding cake replacement for our one year anniversary, after Hurricane Sandy ruined the real one.) But I also made two dozen cupcakes with the batter. I’m planning to bring one dozen to a dinner party tomorrow and the next dozen to a party on Wednesday. Any tips for the cupcakes? Should I freeze them, or just leave them out til I’m ready to frost? Would appreciate any suggestions! Thanks.

    • beantownbaker — April 23rd, 2013 @ 7:48 am

      I haven’t made this cake into cupcakes before. But in general, cupcakes are fine for a couple days. If it’s more than 2-3 days, I’d go ahead and freeze them, then frost them the day before you want to serve them.

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    Zea — June 8, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Would it be advantageous to whip the egg whites first, and fold them into the batter at the end? It might help with the thin batter issue, and I have some recipes for white cake that call for whites whipped into soft peaks. I am making this cake for a baby shower this weekend, so I will let you know how this technique works, unless the author has an opinion against.

    • beantownbaker — June 10th, 2013 @ 12:27 pm

      I have made this cake, or a variation of the cake, multiple times as it is written without any issues. I know some cake recipes do have the cake whites whipped and folded in at the end. If you try it, please let me know how it goes.

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    どづでむ — July 10, 2013 at 7:28 am

    If you could email me with a few pointers on how you made your blog site look this cool, I would be thankful!

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    Darlene — September 27, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Going to endeavor to make this for my husband’s birthday next weekend. I haven’t made a cake in ages, but I like challenges!!! Hopefully it will go well as his parents are coming into town for his birthday (yikes!) I hope it has a nice lemon flavor because he loves lemon. Wish me luck!!!

    • beantownbaker — September 27th, 2013 @ 3:54 pm

      I hope he enjoys it. The cake definitely has a lemon flavor. If you wanted to go super lemony, you could use lemon curd instead of raspberry curd for the filling!

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