Raspberry Celebration Cake

IMG_2344A 3 tiered celebration cake; layers of delicate lemon sponge sandwiched together with raspberry buttercream and fresh raspberries, and covered in marshmallow-like American Frosting. Ideal for a special occasion celebration.

I’ve just started reducing my hours at work to concentrate more on blogging and turning this into a full time venture, and so it only seemed appropriate for the first bake on my day off to be something fit for a celebration. This cake is just that; delightfully tall, it just shouts ‘big occasion’ and is a wonderful mix of two of my favourite flavours – lemon and raspberries.

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Raspberries are best at this time of year when in season; whether they come from the supermarket, a pick your own farm, or even just picked from a bush at the side of the road, they are delicious. The sweet and sharp flavour works really well with cakes, as the sharp contrast can break through the sweetness – it works perfectly here with the American Frosting. This recipe also uses my Raspberry Curd to flavour the buttercream, giving it a strong raspberry flavour throughout.

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American Frosting is very different to a traditional buttercream; First off, there is no butter in sight. It is essentially a very soft type of meringue. It starts off as Swiss or Italian meringue (depending on if you have a sugar thermometer; I have a recipe for both methods below) but the sugar is not heated as high, resulting in a much softer and more marshmallow-like texture.

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I was inspired by a recent episode of The Great British Bake Off to give the American Frosting a try, and just like the contestants, I found it was not the easiest thing to make. The main place I went wrong was letting it cool too much before slathering it on the cake. Unlike meringue, which you would keep whipping until cool, you need to work with this whilst it is still warm. Follow that tip and you’ll find the recipe faultless.

Makes one large 3 layer cake, 12 – 16 slices. Takes 1 hour 30 minutes, plus baking and cooling time.

Ingredients:

  • Sponges:
  • 350g dairy free butter
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 350g self raising flour
  • Zest of 1 and 1/2 lemons
  • 3 tbsp of raspberry curd or jam
  • Buttercream:
  • 75g fresh raspberries, washed and dried
  • 30g dairy free butter
  • 10g trex
  • 80g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp raspberry curd or jam
  • American Frosting (From Mary Berry’s Baking Bible):
  • 450g caster sugar
  • 135g water
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 100g fresh raspberries, washed and dried
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, and line 3 20cm cake tins with grease proof paper.
  2. When the oven has come to temperature, make the sponges using the all in one method. Add all the cake ingredients except the raspberry curd or jam into a large bowl, and using an electric mixer, whisk until evenly combined.
  3. Split the cake batter evenly across the 3 tins. Dollop a tablespoon of raspberry curd or jam into the middle of the batter, and using a skewer swirl it through the batter.
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  5. Bake all 3 sponges in the preheated oven for 25 – 28 minutes until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean when poked into the centre of each sponge.
  6.  After a few minutes out of the oven, remove from the tins and peel off the baking paper. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
  7. Make the buttercream. Add the butter, trex and half the icing sugar to a bowl, and using an electric mixer whisk until combined. Once mixed, add the remaining icing sugar and the raspberry curd or jam. Whisk until smooth and airy. If it is a little bit runny, put in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
  8. Assemble the cake; On a serving plate, place one of the sponges in the centre  and then add half the buttercream. Spread around to cover the top of the sponge only, leaving 1 cm around the edge uncovered (so that with the weight of the two cakes on top the icing will not come out at the sides).
  9. Place the second sponge on top. Add the remaining buttercream and again spread it over the top of the sponge, leaving 1cm at the edge.
  10. Push the raspberries into the buttercream all over the top of the sponge.
  11. Place the final sponge on top.
  12. Make the American Frosting. Method 1 – this requires a sugar thermometer. Place the sugar and water into a heavy based saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has melted. Bring to the boil and continue boiling until it reaches 115 degrees c. Whilst the sugar is boiling, whisk the egg whites in a large, clean bowl until stiff. When the sugar has reached temperature, slowly pour the syrup into the egg whites, whisking constantly. When all the sugar syrup has been added, continue whisking until the mixture stands in peaks and has just begun to go matt at the edges. (tip: The bowl and frosting will still seem very warm – if you were making Italian Meringue, you would continue to whisk until cold. Don’t do that!!! I did, and I can promise it makes it a nightmare to spread over a cake!!)
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  14. Method 2 – this does not require a sugar thermometer. Add the egg whites, only 350g of caster sugar and 4 tablespoons of water into a bowl and set over a pan of just simmering water. Whisk constantly for 10 – 12 minutes until thick and the sugar has melted – rub some of the meringue between your fingers to check.
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  16. Working quickly, spread the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. It sets very quickly as it gets cool. Place the remaining raspberries over the top of the cake, pushing them into the frosting slightly.
  17. Leave in a cool place to set – do not put in the fridge.

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