LUCY BURDETTE: Imagine my surprise and pleasure when I learned that July 31 is Raspberry Cake Day! (At least it isn't Moldy Cheese Day--I kid you not, that's on the calendar for October 9. Who thinks these things up?)
Of course you know what came next...I had to make a raspberry cake to share with you. As it turns out we were getting together with friends and I was able to wrestle the dessert assignment away from the other cooks. This recipe turned out so well that I will certainly be using it in the next food critic mystery--I'm thinking Hayley Snow will make it for the man she hopes will become her Valentine. (She's putting a lot of pressure on the cake, but more about that to come later.)
I borrowed this unusual order for putting the cake together from the BACK IN THE DAY BAKERY COOKBOOK, one of my newest acquisitions. The same method is recommended in one of my old favorites, JOY OF COOKING, one of my first cookbooks. If I say so myself, it turned out to be amazing!
Ingredients for the cake
1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 and 3/4 cup cake flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 cups sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 cup milk
4 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
3-4 Tbsp good quality raspberry jam
Ingredients for the icing
1 8 oz block cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 boxes of fresh raspberries--about 30 for the icing, and 40ish for decoration
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by buttering them well, lining with parchment, and then buttering the parchment too.
Mix all the dry cake ingredients in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add cool cubes of butter, a few at a time, and continue beating on low for about 1-2 minutes. Beat the eggs in one at a time, mixing well but minimally after each.
Mix the milk with the extracts.
Add 1/2 cup of milk mixture to flour mixture and beat until combined. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat for about 1 minute.
Pour batter evenly into the two prepared cake pans.
Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and cake springs back when touched, in the neighborhood of 25 minutes. (Watch this because you don't want to overcook...)
Cool the pans for ten minutes, then remove the cakes, one to a plate and the other to waxed paper, and allow them to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, prepare the frosting by beating together the cream cheese and butter, then add vanilla and confectioner's sugar to your taste. (I used about a cup.) Now gradually beat in the raspberries until your desired pink color is achieved.
Spread one of the cooled cakes with a layer of frosting, and then a layer of jam.
Layer on the other cake. Frost top and sides and decorate with remaining berries.
Prepare for your guests to swoon! (SHOULD there be any left over, refrigerate until you are ready to eat it.)
MURDER WITH GANACHE, the fourth Key West mystery, is in stores now. DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS will be out in December.
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