I’m not sure what this lemon, almond & raspberry layer cake is celebrating. Maybe it is a half way mark cake – marking the start of the second half of my university degree (2.5 years to go!), or just a much-too-fancy afternoon tea cake. Though I have been making it on and off all year as a 21st birthday cake, there was no such event or excuse this weekend. Just a desire for cake, the time to spend on icing and layers, and the willingness to sit and create silky drips of ganache, sliding gently down the sides. It’s not as sleek and precise as many these days, with the drips imperfect, the buttercream with edges and nicks, and the whole entity threatening to tilt on a slight angle – but it is one of the best tasting cakes I have discovered. It’s the sort of cake that improves over a day or two and having it dry out is never a concern – ground almonds and berries add moisture, lemon zest and juice infuses it, and the tangy cream cheese buttercream is the sort you could eat straight from the bowl.
- 300g butter, softened
- 300g caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 eggs
- 300g ground almonds
- 75g flour (or buckwheat flour to make gluten free), sifted
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- zest and juice of 2 lemons
- 1⅓ cups fresh or frozen raspberries
- 225g butter, softened
- 375g icing sugar, sifted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 150g cream cheese
- zest of 1 lemon (optional)
Pink Chocolate Ganache
- ⅓ cup cream
- 120g white chocolate, chopped finely
- a few drops pink gel food colouring (it needs to be gel as water-based colouring messes with the thickness and
- consistency of the ganache).
To Decorate: flowers of choice
- Preheat oven to 170°C. Line 3 x 15cm round cake tins with baking paper.
- 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.
- Fold in the ground almonds, sifted flour and baking powder.
- Fold in the lemon zest and juice.
- Divide the batter equally between the three tins, and dot the top of each with raspberries.
- Bake for 25-35minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out just clean.
- Remove and leave to cool in the tins for 15 minutes, then remove to a cake rack to cool completely.
To make the cream cheese buttercream:
- Beat the butter with an electric or stand mixer until very pale, about 5 minutes.
- Add the icing sugar and beat again until combined and very pale, another 5 minutes.
- Add the vanilla extract.
- With the mixture on a medium speed, gradually add the cream cheese, teaspoon by teaspoon, until just combined.
- Add the lemon zest and mix to just combine (optional)
To make the ganache
- Put the finely chopped white chcolate in a bowl.
- Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it just reaches boiling point.
- 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).
- Add the pink gel food colouring, a little bit at a time, until the ganache reaches the colour you want.
You can find complete recipes of this LEMON, ALMOND & RASPBERRY LAYER CAKE in thebrickkitchen.com