Lemon, Almond, and Raspberry Layer Cake

Happy 25th Birthday to me! I love making my own birthday cake, and especially trying new techniques. It’s become a tradition for me to make my own cake for my birthday; I find a cake on pinterest that I want to try, and work my little cake magic. This year I decided on a lemon, almond, and raspberry layer cake, with cream cheese buttercream frosting, and a pink chocolate ganache drip. Delicious!

I can’t take any credit for this cake, since I got the recipe from Claudia over at The Brick Kitchen. I did make a couple changes to her original recipe, like adding almond flour and almond extract instead of ground almonds. I’m not a huge nut fan, so I didn’t really want flaky almond pieces in my cake. I also added about 3 tablespoons of lemon juice to my buttercream for some extra lemony kick! I’ve also converted her recipe from grams to cups (for my friends out there who don’t have a food scale). It took me a little extra time to figure out the measurements, but it’s all worth it.

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 1/3 cups butter
  • 1 1/2 cups fine sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups ground almonds
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 1/3 cups fresh or frozen raspberries

Icing

  • 1 cup butter , softened
  • 3 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup cream cheese
  • zest of 1 lemon (optional)

Pink Chocolate Ganache

  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • a few drops pink gel food coloring (it needs to be gel as water-based coloring messes with the thickness and consistency of the ganache).

Instructions

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C or 335°F. Line 3 x 15 cm round cake tins with baking paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand beater or with an electric mixer, cream the butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.
  3. Fold in the ground almonds, sifted flour and baking powder.
  4. Fold in the lemon zest and juice.
  5. Divide the batter equally between the three tins, and dot the top of each with raspberries.
  6. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out just clean.
  7. Remove and leave to cool in the tins for 15 minutes, then remove to a cake rack to cool completely.

Cream cheese buttercream

  1. Beat the butter with an electric or stand mixer until very pale, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the icing sugar and beat again until combined and very pale, another 5 minutes.
  3. Add the vanilla extract.
  4. With the mixture on a medium speed, gradually add the cream cheese, teaspoon by teaspoon, until just combined.
  5. Add the lemon zest and mix to just combine (optional)

Ganache

  1. Put the finely chopped white chcolate in a bowl.
  2. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it just reaches boiling point.
  3. Pour the cream over the chocolate and leave for 3-4 minutes. Stir with a fork to combine to make a silky ganache (if the chocolate hasn’t quite melted, carefully microwave for 5-10 seconds and stir again).
  4. Add the pink gel food colouring, a little bit at a time, until the ganache reaches the colour you want.

Time to assemble

  1. Place one cake layer on the plate, cakeboard or cake stand you plan to serve it on.
  2. Top with a spoonful of cream cheese buttercream and use an offset spatula to spread evenly over the cake at about 1/2 cm – 1 cm thick. (I try to get on eye level to make sure the icing is level, as this is key to a straight cake!). See photos above as a guide to icing thickness.
  3. Gently place a second cake on top. Repeat with the icing, then another cake layer, then icing again. If it is warm in your kitchen, at this point you may want to place the cake in the fridge for 20 minutes to make it easier to ice the sides.
  4. Gently spread icing around the sides of the cake. I use an offset spatula as I find this makes it easier to get a smooth layer. It may take a little bit of patience to get it even and smooth.
  5. To drip the pink chocolate ganache down the cake, use a small teaspoon and do a trial drip to check the consistency of the ganache. Gently spoon ganache onto the edge of the cake and nudge over the side – the ganache should run down the side of the cake slowly, and stop before the bottom. If it is too thick, quickly microwave for 10 seconds and stir again. Continue adding drips around the side of the cake. Carefully fill in the top of the cake with the remaining pink ganache, smoothing the surface.
  6. If it is summer/warm, refrigerate for another 30 minutes to set the cake together.
  7. Decorate with edible flowers or fruit and serve.
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