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LEMON RASPBERRY CAKE
Last week we had 3 straight days of crazy rain and I barely left the house. I happily accepted the less than stellar weather as an opportunity to nest. I treated myself to delivery (twice!), curled up on the couch for a serious Criminal Minds marathon, and baked until there was no sugar left in the pantry. It was during these shenanigans this Lemon Raspberry Cake came to be.
Isn’t she a beauty?! ↓↓↓
I’ve been taking advantage of Summer berries in a major way. Every weekend you can find me at our local farmer’s market, swiping up as many cartons as I can carry. Last weekend the raspberries looked especially plump and lovely so I splurged and bought 6 cartons!!!
3 to eat, 3 to bake with. Summer life is the best, I tell ya!
Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success:
This recipe calls for cake flour. Cake flour is extra finely ground and gives our cake it’s silky soft texture. In most grocery stores you can find cake flour in the baking aisle. If you can’t find it – don’t fret! Making your own cake flour is easy, and only requires two ingredients: cornstarch and all-purpose flour. Here’s what you do: For every 1 cup of flour called for in the recipe, remove 2 Tbsp of flour. Then add in 2 Tbsp of Cornstarch for every 1 cup of flour (you’re replacing the tablespoons of flour taken out with cornstarch). Sift this mixture a few times (you want it well combined) and that’s it – you just made ready-to-use cake flour.
You must toss the raspberries in all-purpose flour before adding them to the batter. This dusting of flour helps keep the berries afloat during the baking process, and ensure you won’t slice into a cake full of sunken berries.
You may use fresh or frozen raspberries for this cake. If you use frozen, don’t thaw them first.
I used store bought raspberry preserves in this recipe, but feel free to use homemade if you’d like!
Use fresh lemon juice and zest! You’ll want to zest the lemons first, then cut them in half and juice them. I suggest buying 6 or 7 large, heavy lemons so you have enough on hand.
I list lemon extract as an optional ingredient. If you prefer a cake with light lemon flavor, I do not think it’s an essential ingredient. If you prefer a very lemony cake, I highly suggest adding the extract to both the lemon raspberry cake batter as well as the frosting. I love Watkins pure lemon extract because it’s 100% natural, doesn’t contain any artificial flavors, colors, or additives, and just tastes like pure lemon. I promise I’m not getting paid a cent to say any of that; I just really love their lemon extract!
I don’t recommend adding more raspberries than called for to the batter. Adding too many berries will weigh down the cupcakes as they bake, causing them to sink the middle and bake unevenly. You can add plenty of extra raspberries on top of the frosting
For best results make sure your butter, eggs, sour cream, and milk have all come to room temperature before you begin baking.
When you measure your flour, be sure you’re not packing it into the measuring cup. Packed flour will yield a dense and dry cake.
For the frosting, you’ll want to make sure your butter and cream cheese are VERY soft before creaming it.
If you’d like your cake to look exactly like mine does in these photos, simply top it with fresh raspberries and twisted lemon slices.
Don’t let the Summer slip by without baking this lemon raspberry cake!
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #bakerbynature on instagram! Seeing your kitchen creations makes my day.
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) butter, at room temperature
1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 and 1/2 cups cake flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 and 1/2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries, if using frozen, do not thaw first
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 block (8 ounces) full-fat cream cheese, a little softer than room temperature
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, a little softer than room temperature
4 cups confectioners' sugar, more if needed
2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh raspberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Cut out two 9-inch round segments of parchment paper to line your cake pans with. Spray each pan generously - sides and bottom - with nonstick cooking spray, then place the parchment paper cut out in the bottom of the pans and spray again. It's important to make sure every bit of pan and paper are sprayed so your cakes don't get stuck. Set pans aside.
In a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), combine the butter, both sugars, lemon zest, lemon extract, and vanilla extract; beat on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes (don't skimp on time here!). Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, mixing well to evenly combine the ingredients. Add the dry mixture into the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until everything is just barely combined. You should still see some lumps and dry streaks. Turn mixer off. Add in the milk, sour cream, and lemon juice; use a rubber spatula to fold the ingredients into the mixture, stirring until everything is incorporated, but being sure not to overmix. Set aside.
In another bowl, gently toss the raspberries with 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour. Add the raspberries, and any remaining flour, to the batter and fold in by hand, using a rubber spatula, until just combined. Again, be sure not to over mix! Over mixing is very easy to do, and will result in a dry, dense cake.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the tops are firm and slightly golden, and a cake tester (or toothpick) inserted in the center comes out clean, or with a few moist (but not wet) crumbs clinging to it.
Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before gently running a knife around the edges to loosen any stuck bits, then turning them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
While the cakes cool, you can make the frosting.
For the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer (or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add in the confectioners' sugar. Add in lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon extract, and salt; beat until combined. Increase the speed back to medium and mix until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the sour cream and continue beating the frosting until very light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. If the frosting seems too thin, add a little more confectioners' sugar, starting with one tablespoon at a time; if the frosting seems to thick, add in a little more sour cream, starting one tablespoon at a time.
When the cakes have completely cooled, place one round on a cake stand or large plate; spread the top and sides evenly with frosting, then top with the raspberry preserves. Don't worry if they mix together a little. Gently place the other cake round on top of the frosted one and press down very lightly to seal them together. Place the semi-frosted cake in the fridge for 20 minutes, then continue frosting the cake, using a thin spatula, offset spatula, or whatever you have that works best, until the top and sides of the cake are evenly frosted. Place the cake back in the fridge for another 20 minutes before decorating. I love decorating this cake with fresh raspberries and thin lemon slices, but feel free to decorate according to your own tastes.
The frosted cake will stay fresh, covered and stored in the refrigerator, for 3 days. Simply take it out of the fridge an hour or two before serving so it can come to room temperature.
Be sure not to pack your cake flour when measuring. Be sure to bring all cold ingredients to room temperature.The frosted cake will stay fresh, when stored in the refrigerator, for 3 days.