Raspberry Cream Cake

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes one 9 inch 23 cm ) round cake, about

    12

    servings

Appears in

The delicate raspberry flavor of this cake is hard to beat, except perhaps by the incredible hot-pink color of the buttercream. It’s a classic cake, based on a génoise, and requires a little time to prepare, but it’s worth it for a special occasion, especially for a real raspberry lover. Normally framboise (French for raspberry) refers to clear brandy or eau-de-vie distilled from fermented raspberries. It’s clear because it isn’t aged like “brown” brandies such as Cognac, which derive their color from the wooden-1 casks used foraging. Unfortunately, some manufacturers of raspberry liqueurs (alcohol, sugar, and raspberry juice) are now also calling their products framboise. All you need to know is that if it’s clear it’s the very strong brandy, and you use the lesser amount. If it’s red or purple colored, it’s the liqueur, and you use the larger amount in the recipe.

Ingredients

Moistening Syrup

  • ½ cup water
  • cup sugar
  • ¼ cup sweet raspberry liqueur, such as Chambord, or tablespoons clear framboise, raspberry eau-de-vie

Raspberry Buttercream

  • 1 (10-ounce/275-gram) package frozen raspberries in syrup, thawed
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 12 ounces/350 grams (3 sticks) unsalted butter, very soft
  • 2 tablespoons sweet raspberry liqueur, such as Chambord, or 1 tablespoon clear framboise, raspberry eau-de-vie

Filling and Finishing

  • cup seedless raspberry preserves
  • 1 cup sliced blanched almonds, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries, optional
  • 1 Classic Génoise baked and cooled

Method

  1. For the syrup, combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and place over low heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Pour the syrup into a bowl (or a container with a cover, if you are preparing it in advance) and let it cool. Stir in the liqueur or caude-vie. You may prepare the syrup up to 1 week in advance and keep it refrigerated.
  2. For the buttercream, first cook the raspberry purée. Force the thawed raspberries through a strainer into a saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let the raspberries simmer gently until reduced to about ½ cup, about 20 minutes. Cool the purée to room temperature. You may also prepare it in advance and refrigerate it, covered, for several days. Return the purée to room temperature before using it.
  3. Half-fill a saucepan with water and place it over medium heat. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat so the water just bubbles gently. Combine the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and stir them together with a whisk. Rest the bowl over the pan of water without touching the water and whisk gently until the egg whites are hot, about 140°F (60°C), and the sugar is dissolved. Place the bowl on the mixer with the whisk attachment and whip on medium speed until the meringue has cooled to room temperature, about 5 minutes. This is a critical point—if the meringue is still warm when you add the butter, the butter will melt and you’ll have a mess on your hands.
  4. Once the meringue has cooled, switch to the paddle attachment. On low to medium speed, beat in the butter in 6 to 8 additions. The butter has to be very soft or else it will separate into lumps and make the buttercream grainy and not smooth. After you have beaten in the last of the butter, increase the speed to medium and beat the buttercream for 5 minutes. During this time it might separate—this is a normal stage in making buttercream. Just ignore it and continue beating until it is perfectly smooth. Beat in the raspberry purée and liqueur.
  5. To assemble the cake, use a long serrated knife to split the cake horizontally into 3 equal layers. Put a dab of buttercream on a cake cardboard or a tart pan bottom the same size or slightly smaller than the cake and invert the top layer of the cake onto it. (The cake will be assembled so that the top of the cake layer is the very bottom, and what was the smooth flat bottom of the layer will be the top.)
  6. Use a brush to moisten the layer with about ⅓ of the syrup. Spread half the preserves on the layer. They won’t cover the entire layer evenly—just spread it around so that there is some in each wedge of cake. Spread a little less than ⅓ of the buttercream on the layer.
  7. Place the second layer on top of the first and repeat with half of the syrup, the remaining preserves, and half of the buttercream.
  8. Place the last layer on the cake so that what was the bottom of the cake is now on top. Moisten with the last of the syrup. Spread the remaining buttercream over the entire outside of the cake. Use the palm of one hand to press the sliced almonds against the side of the cake. Decorate the top with the optional raspberries.

Serving

Place the cake on a platter. Cut wedges of the cake at the table, using a long, thin-bladed knife. The icing is sticky, so wipe the knife with a wet cloth every time you cut through the cake to avoid tracking crumbs into it.

Storage

Keep the cake at a cool room temperature, uncovered or under a cake dome. Cover and refrigerate leftovers, but bring them to room temperature before serving again.

Variations

Use a cocoa génoise layer instead of a plain one. You could also pour the glaze from the Triple Chocolate Cake,, over the buttercream surface of the cake if you chill it first as in the chocolate cake recipe—cutting into the cake to reveal the brightly colored buttercream would make quite an impression.

Lemon Cream Cake

Omit the raspberry purée and raspberry liqueur and flavor the buttercream with ½ cup strained fresh lemon juice and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Add the lemon juice slowly in 4 to 6 additions to the buttercream, or it might separate. Keep the raspberry preserves on the layers with the lemon buttercream, or not, as you wish. Flavor the syrup with 2 tablespoons white rum or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.

Chocolate Cream Cake

Substitute 6 ounces (175 grams) bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate melted with 4 tablespoons milk or water and cooled. Add to the buttercream slowly, as described immediately above for the lemon juice.

Chocolate and Vanilla Cake

Omit the raspberry purée and raspberry liqueur and flavor the buttercream with 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Use a chocolate génoise layer and flavor the syrup with 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Streak the top of the cake with chocolate and press toasted sliced almonds against the sides of the cake.