Saturday, April 4, 2009

Raspberry Laced Vanilla Cake


You Asked For It...

2 nine inch Yellow Cake layers*
1 cup Raspberry Jam
Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting**
Raspberries
  1. Create a guide with toothpicks and slice each layer of cake in half horizontally to create 4 layers.
  2. Place your first layer on your serving plate and spread half of the Raspberry Jam.
  3. Place your second layer and spread Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting.
  4. 4. Place your third layer and spread the remaining jam and place fourth layer on top.
  5. Frost the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting.
  6. Use raspberries to garnish and decorate the cake. Just go crazy...***
*Here's the deal with Yellow Cake: You can use a boxed cake and be done with this project in no time at all. I opted to make a cake from scratch because boxed cakes are usually hard to work with because they are so light and fluffy (they'll crumble when taking them out of the pan, or they may not slice very well). Also, I like using the natural ingredients instead of the chemicals and preservatives inevitably found in a boxed cake. The downside to a cake from scratch is that they are usually more dense than we are used to and less sweet, but I thought that would be good because of the sweetness in the Jam. Anywho, If you're up for the challenge and you want to give it a try, here is the recipe I used from America's Test Kitchen.

Fluffy Yellow Layer Cake
from the Episode: Everyone's Favorite Cake


Nonstick cooking spray can be used for greasing the pans (proceed with flouring as directed). Bring all ingredients to room temperature before beginning.

Makes two 9-inch cake layers
2 1/2 cups cake flour , plus extra for dusting pans
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1 3/4 cups sugar (12 1/4 ounces)
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
1 cup buttermilk , room temperature
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks , room temperature
3 large egg whites , room temperature

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch-wide by 2-inch-high round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Grease paper rounds, dust pans with flour, and knock out excess. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 1/2 cups sugar together in large bowl. In 4-cup liquid measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and yolks.

2. In clean bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium-high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. With machine running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; continue to beat until stiff peaks just form, 30 to 60 seconds (whites should hold peak but mixture should appear moist). Transfer to bowl and set aside.

3. Add flour mixture to now-empty mixing bowl fitted with whisk attachment. With mixer running at low speed, gradually pour in butter mixture and mix until almost incorporated (a few streaks of dry flour will remain), about 15 seconds. Stop mixer and scrape whisk and sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium-low speed and beat until smooth and fully incorporated, 10 to 15 seconds.

4. Using rubber spatula, stir 1/3 of whites into batter to lighten, then add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans. Lightly tap pans against counter 2 or 3 times to dislodge any large air bubbles.

5. Bake until cake layers begin to pull away from sides of pans and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen cakes from sides of pans with small knife, then invert onto greased wire rack and peel off parchment. Invert cakes again and cool completely on rack, about 1 1/2 hours.

** Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
4 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
2 Tablespoons-1/2 cup Raspberry syrup***
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Combine butter and cream cheese and beat until smooth.
  2. Add raspberry syrup and vanilla and beat until combined.
  3. Add powdered sugar until desired consistency is acheived.
***So, you can use the Raspberry Syrup to give as little or as much pinkness and depth of flavor to the frosting. I only used 2 tablespoons, but it would have been great with more. I used so little because I used the syrup from my homemade jam and simply couldn't get anymore at one time.

Just another thought: Using the homemade jam in this recipe made a huge difference. Again, it comes back to using fewer preservatives and chemicals for me. It made the raspberry flavor fresh and fantastic. If you don't have freezer jam, use the juice from thawed raspberries to make a syrup instead of buying a whole bottle for one recipe.

And just to complicate things, I'm sure you could play around with this method and use any fruit. Think of it: Orange marmalade, peach jam, strawberry, triple berry... Ooh...huckleberry!

I hope yours is fabulous!