I’m not feeling too hot today.
It’s been a day of naps, Netflix, and cuddles with Edgar. Sips of water, cold sweats, and weird aches.
I’ve heard before that when you’re sick it’s best to avoid sugar, which, truth be told, is no easy feat for me. It should be obvious by now that I love sugar. Very much so. I find it comforting (which I’m sure horrifies plenty of people, my dentist included).
When I’m sick, however, I find grilled cheese (made with American slices and good ol’ white bread) and mac ‘n’ cheese (the kind from a blue box) the most comforting. My dad used to make me both when I was sick. They’re calling my name today. But only if someone else makes them. That’s the worst part about being sick as an adult – you have to make your own sick food. Where’s the comfort in that?
If you’re feeling better than I am, give this cake a try. Tangy and sweet lemon cake, creamy and tart raspberry filling. It’s just what the doctor ordered.
Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake
(makes 1 8-inch layer cake)
3 Lemons, zested and juiced
1 ½ cups sugar, plus ½ cup
12 TBSP (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup canola oil
3 eggs, yolks and whites separated
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
1 ½ cups whole milk, at room temperature
1 recipe Melba’s Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows
1 can Solo raspberry cake filling
Fresh raspberry for garnish, if desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3 8-inch round cake pans with baking spray, line bottoms with parchment rounds and spray again, set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, rub the lemon zest into 1 ½ cups of the sugar until fragrant and blended.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Set aside.
Cream together the lemon sugar, butter, and oil until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mixture should be pale white. Scrape down sides of bowl and necessary.
While the butter and sugar are mixing, in a separate bowl whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes with a hand mixer. Set aside.
Add egg yolks to sugar mixture one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated. Stir in vanilla, scraping down sides of bowl again.
Working in three batches, add the flour to the butter mixture, alternating with milk, ending with flour. Scrape down sides of bowl, being sure batter is thoroughly mixed.
Working with a rubber spatula, gently fold whipped egg whites into batter until fully mixed.
Evenly distribute batter among prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until cakes have risen, begin to pull away from sides, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow cakes to cool in pans, on wire racks, for ten minutes. Turn cakes out of pans and cool to room temperature.
While the cake bakes, combine the other ½ cup sugar with the lemon juice in a small saucepan. Heat until sugar has melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Melba’s Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 8-oz. block cream cheese, at room temperature
1 2-pound bag of powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
¼ cup milk
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down bowl and add almost all of the powdered sugar (reserve about 1 cup), vanilla, and salt, and slowly begin to combine. Add lemon zest, juice, and milk, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. (I like my frosting to be thick enough that if I swipe a spoon or spatula through it, it stays put.) If necessary, add reserved powdered sugar or more milk until you’re happy!
Decorating the cake:
Take 1 cup of prepared frosting and mix with 1 cup of raspberry filling, set aside.
Once cake is cooled, slice off any uneven tops to leave you with three level layers. Using a pastry brush, soak cakes with lemon simple syrup before frosting and layering the cake.
Place one layer on a cake board and pipe a large ring of plain cream cheese icing around the edge. Cover inside of ring with a thin layer of frosting and the fill with the raspberry cream. Top with another layer of cake and repeat process.
To crumb coat the cake: Place the third cake on top and cover in a generous portion of frosting, pushing over the sides to thinly cover the entire cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes so frosting sets.
Cover the cake in whatever frosting remains. Garnish with fresh raspberries, if desired. Place back in fridge, removing at least 30 minutes before serving. Can be stored for up to three days.
Alternately, you can bake and freeze the layers – simply wrap tightly in plastic wrap before cool and defrost and frost (ha!) when ready.