A pretty little Lemon and Raspberry Layer Cake to celebrate my birthday. Four layers of lemon sponge filled with lemon curd and fresh raspberries, and covered with cream cheese icing.
I don’t know what it is this year, but I’m so attracted to pretty, delicate colours and designs.
Perhaps its due to the fact I’m getting married this year, and thinking in our dusty pink and sage green wedding colours, but I’m drawn to things far more girly than I usually would be.
Last Wednesday was my birthday. In a flurry of champagne and cupcakes, I turned 29. The last year of my 20s, and my last birthday as a single gal. To celebrate these (slightly terrifying) milestones, I baked myself this cake.
It’s a cake thats rather out of character for me. Most of my recipes are packed full of chocolate. Usually when having the opportunity or the excuse to bake a cake for myself I will always pick something rich, sweet and chocolatey. My birthday cake last year was this Chocolate and Peanut Butter Layer Cake; a decadent chocolate cake, filled with a peanut butter icing, and topped with a generous pour of chocolate ganache.
This year’s cake, however, couldn’t be more different. It’s something rather lighter, rather more delicate. I’ve gone for a lemon and raspberry layer cake; three layers of subtly lemon sponge, filled with lemon curd and fresh raspberries, and covered in cream cheese icing. Instead of being sweet, its sharp and tart from the lemon curd and raspberries. The lemon cake is a sticky, slightly dense sponge. The way I think the best lemon cakes should be.
It’s quite a small cake. Not quite small enough to be a mini cake, but considerably smaller than the hefty cakes I usually make. Perhaps a petite cake would be a better name for it. It’s the perfect size to be devoured by a small group of friends at the end of a dinner, or by two cake-loving people over the course of a few days.
– If you think that the cake might be too tart for you, you could increase the quantity of icing by a third, and fill the cake with it, too.
– Wash your raspberries before you start baking, and give them plenty of time to dry out. You don’t want any extra moisture in the cake.
- 225g butter
- 225g caster sugar
- zest 1 lemon
- 4 large eggs
- 225g self raising flour, sifted
- 80ml milk
- ----- for the icing
- 225g cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 160g butter, softened to room temperature
- 400g icing sugar
- juice of half a lemon
- ----- to fill and decorate
- 6 tablespoons lemon curd (approximately half a jar)
- 250 fresh raspberries
- Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/ 350F.
- Grease and line 2x 15cm/ 6inch tins.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter, caster sugar and the zest of one lemon.
- Add in 2 of the eggs and half the flour and mix until combined. Repeat with the remaining 2 eggs, the flour, and the milk. Beat until the mixture is smooth and pale.
- Divide evenly between the two prepared cake tins, and bake in the centre of the oven for 35-40 minutes. When the cakes are golden and risen, and an inserted skewer comes out clean, remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
- Once the cakes are completely cooled, level the tops off if they have domed. Next, spilt the cakes into two, so you are left with four layers.
- To make the icing, beat the cream cheese and butter together until they are light, fluffy and completely combined. You shouldn't be able to see any lumps of cream cheese or butter left in the mixture. Sift in the icing sugar and beat together with the juice of half a lemon. When the icing is ready it should be very smooth and creamy. If you feel the icing is a little runny to use, pop it in the fridge to chill for a few minutes.
- Put approximately a third of the icing into a piping bag fitted with a small round nozzle.
- Place your first layer of cake onto a plate or cake stand. Pipe a circle of icing around the outside of the layer. Carefully fill with about 2 tablespoons of lemon curd, and around 6 raspberries arranged around the outside. Carefully add the next layer of cake, and press down with an even pressure until the cake is level. Don't worry about the icing coming out the sides, this is normal. Repeat with the remaining layers.
- Add another third of the icing to the top of the finished cake, and spread all around the cake in a thin, even layer.
- Place the remaining third in a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and pipe rosettes around the outside of the cake. Finish with your remaining fresh raspberries.