Raspberry Vanilla Valentine's Cake / by Chelsea Zwieg

If you follow me on Instagram, you may recall a cheesecake photo I posted last week. Three perfect layers, raspberry, chocolate and vanilla, a little oreo crust and a thick layer of ganache with the promise that I would post the recipe on the blog closer to Valentine's Day. Well. Here's the thing. After I made that cheesecake, a miraculously successful outcome to a no-recipe kitchen experiment, I forgot to write down the recipe. I do this a lot but thankfully I can usually remember it a few days down the line. Except for this time. After I made it I went on vacation and somewhere in there, between all of the puppy kisses and 12 hour drives, it fell out of my head. Eventually I'll make it again, figure out what I did and write that shtuff down. But for today: here's a cake! And a whole lot of heart sprinkles. 

While I was in Memphis last week I gave my mom some cake decorating lessons (and also convinced her that she needed everything in the Michael's cake decorating aisle. oops.) and we made the happiest little Valentine's cake. It was so adorable that I had to come home and make another one to share with you! We did chocolate the first round, so I decided to go with yellow cake for this one. Obviously chocolate is the most delicious in all situations in life but for this one, I am all about the yellow cake. It lets you see the layers of raspberry filling, it's much easier to cover a yellow cake with white frosting than a chocolate one and the yellow cake is super delicious but also mellow enough so that what you can really taste is raspberry, vanilla and lots and lots of butter. And if you're going to love anything this Valentine's Day, let it be butter! (ok, maybe a few other things/people too. But mostly butter.) 

Raspberry Vanilla Layer Cake

Yellow cake adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes a 3 layer 6" cake

| Ingredients | 

For the cake: 

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk 

For the frosting: 

  • 1/2 cup egg whites (3-4 large eggs)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature 
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam

| Instructions

Preheat oven to 350. Butter or spray 3 6" cake pans and line the bottom of each with a circle of parchment paper.

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Scrape the bowl and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add half of the dry ingredients and mix on low to combine. Add the buttermilk and mix. The batter will look slightly curdled at this point. Scrape the bowl and add the remaining dry ingredients. Mix until smooth.

Divide the batter evenly among the cake pans. Bake 20-25 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack to finish cooling. 

For the frosting, whisk the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and cook, whisking often, until the mixture reaches 155 degrees on a candy thermometer. Carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high for 8-10 minutes until the egg whites are medium-stiff peaks and have cooled to room temperature. Swap out the whisk for the paddle attachment. With the mixer running on low, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, letting it incorporate after each addition. The butter needs to be room temperature to work in properly. Once the butter has been added add the vanilla and salt. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the frosting is fluffy and smooth, at least 3 minutes. 

To assemble the cake, trim the layers so that they are level. Spread half of the raspberry jam on the first layer, followed by a layer of frosting. To keep the the jam from seeping out of the layers, it is easiest to pipe a ring around the edge of the layer forming a little frosting dam and then fill that space with jam. Repeat with the second layer and top with the third. Frost the cake as desired (heart sprinkles mandatory. obviously.)