My uncle John celebrated his 70th birthday this past week, meaning I was in charge of making him is favourite kind of cake: lemon.
Now I don’t know about most people, but typically vanilla or chocolate is the go-to cake flavour, and not so much lemon. My family doesn’t typically enjoy the taste of lemon cake – I mean they’ll eat it because its cake (hehe), especially when its covered in buttercream to help cancel out that lemon taste in your mouth, but it’s definitely not their favourite.
But it doesn’t matter what the majority of people like in my family, it was John’s birthday and he wanted lemon! So there!
I knew I wanted to spice it up (not actually add spice… because ew) but I wanted to add a little extra flavour in the cake to make it more delicious. I decided to make a raspberry filling, that I would layer in-between the layers along with my vanilla buttercream.
- 1 cup (250 mL) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups (500 mL) granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) grated lemon zest
- 2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla
- 3 cups (750 mL) all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) baking powder
- 1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
- 1-2/3 cups (400 mL) milk
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice
- In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time; beat in lemon zest and vanilla.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir into butter mixture alternately with milk, making 3 additions of flour mixture and 2 of milk.
- Gently fold in lemon juice to make curdled-looking batter.
- Divide between 2 greased and parchment paper–lined 9-inch (1.5 L) round cake pans.
- Bake in 350ºF (180ºC) oven until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.
- Let cool in pans on rack for 10 minutes; transfer to rack and let cool completely.
- 1 package (16oz) of frozen raspberries
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Drain raspberries, reserving liquid.
- Add enough water to liquid to equal 1 1/4 cups.
- In large saucepan, combine liquid, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice; mix well.
- Heat and stir until mixture boils and thickens. Cool completely.
- Stir thawed raspberries into cooled mixture.
- 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
- 4 cups sifted icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons of milk
- In large bowl, beat shortening and butter with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla.
- Gradually add icing sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry.
- Gradually add milk; beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
If you want to follow exactly the way I made this cake, here are the steps listed below:
- I sliced my two cakes in half, leaving me with 4 layers.
- I placed my first cake layer on the cake board, and added a layer of my vanilla buttercream, followed with a thin layer of the raspberry filling (you don’t want to add a thick layer of the raspberry filling, because remember by the end you will have 3 layers of the raspberry filling, so you don’t want it to be over-powering because it is quite sweet tasting).
- Next, I added another cake layer and repeated the same steps, until I used up all my cake layers.
- Once all my cake layers were stacked, with the two fillings in-between, I added a crumb coat** of buttercream around the outside.
- I placed it in the freezer for 20 minutes to allow it to harden really well. Typically, I will set it in the freezer for 10 minutes (doesn’t need to be too long) but because there was raspberry filling coming out the sides when I did the crumb coat, I wanted to make sure the raspberry filling was locked in tight. You want to avoid any raspberry poking through your final layer of buttercream (unless you want to achieve that look! It would be very pretty, but considering this cake was for a man… I decided pink was not his colour, hehe).
** A crumb coat is a thin layer of buttercream around the outside of the cake, to lock in any crumbs so they don’t get into your final layer of buttercream.
Lastly, I cut out a 7 and a 0 and placed them on top of the cake, to allow me to sprinkle around the numbers leaving the numbers clean and white when I removed the stencil. Buttercream can start to stiff up relatively quickly, so you want to move fast after you buttercream the top of the cake.