Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lemon Raspberry Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

It's been about 8 weeks since I sprained my ankle, and I'm walking pretty normally!  Yesterday I walked in an outdoor strip mall, and for you Austinites, it's in the Great Hills area, with a Starbucks and Saks Fifth Avenue.  My first stop was Sephora, and I bought a pretty new daytime lip color, with a little bit of a reddish tint.  I walked all the way across the strip mall, stopped at Starbucks of course, and walked back to my car!  I know, doesn't sound like a lot to most people, but I walked around for at least an hour!  Yeah, near the end I was feeling the pain a bit, but it wasn't terrible!  And I found some cute clothes, too :P

Today, my brother's friends are coming over to help take out this dresser I've had in my room that's pretty much falling apart, and my gift to them is baking this scrumptious cake :)  The first time I made it was 2 years ago, when the 6th and final season of LOST was airing on ABC.  I baked this cake for a viewing party with my friends, as we were watching arguably one of the greatest episodes of the series, "Ab Aeterno."  If you're a fan of the show, it tells the story of how Richard Alpert came to be the way he is on the island.  Anyway, I attempted to decorate it with one of those crappy cake decorating frostings at the grocery store, as the "Swan" Dharma Initiative station on the show.

Yeah, I know, pretty awful.  Hah.  Despite the terrible frosting job, it was DAMN tasty; Ricardos would have been proud.  Since then, it's been a highly requested cake from my friends, and I'm happy to help out with the tasting process :)  One day, I will recreate the "Swan" station frosting job, once I have the correct decorating tools.

This time, I decorated the cake with raspberries, and I think it looks pretty darn cute!  Hope you guys enjoy my adventure, and I hope you try this cake---trust me, you will not be disappointed!!


3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 1/2 lemons)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
5 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/4 cups sugar
5 large egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar 
Pinch fine salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup (or more) seedless red raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 350ºF, and butter/flour two cake pans.  Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Stir the sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla together in a liquid measuring cup, and set aside.  Cream the butter until light and creamy, about 2 minutes, and gradually add in sugar.  Cream until light and fluffy, for 3 to 4 minutes more. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the lemon zest. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Alternately add the flour mixture and the sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix until just combined.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and smooth the tops.  Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes; then turn cakes out onto the rack to cool completely.

Whisk the sugar, the egg whites, lemon juice, cream of tartar, and salt by hand in a heatproof bowl.  Double boil mixture, and continue whisking until the mixture is hot to the touch and the sugar dissolves, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the bowl to a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat the whites at medium-high speed until they almost holds a stiff peak and are cool, about 10 minutes. Beat in the butter, a little at a time, until the icing is smooth and spreadable. (If the icing separates, just keep beating and it will come together).

To assemble the cake, spread raspberry jam over the top of one cake, and place the other cake on top.  Spread cooled frosting over the cakes, and decorate with fresh raspberries, sprinkles, and/or piped frostings.

If you guys prefer a more buttercream-type of frosting instead of a whipped frosting such as above, here is one of my favorite vanilla buttercream recipes:


2 sticks butter, softened
3-4 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons heavy cream

Beat butter for a few minutes, and add 3 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. 

Hope y'all enjoy!

xoxo, Sara 

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