Monday, July 2, 2012

Adventures in Self-Rising Flour; or, Lemon Raspberry Birthday Cake

When I was a kid, I always wished I had a summer birthday so I could have the day off, play outside, be able to have all my friends over... Don't get me wrong, winter is my favorite season, but the freedom of a summer birthday was so alluring (and sounded so much better than sharing my birthday weekend each year with the Superbowl-- blech!)

Speaking of summer birthdays-- happy birthday, Mom! If I were home, this cake would totally be for you.

Chocolate is great, but summer birthdays call for lighter fare, in my book. There's so much great fruit action going on to take advantage of!

So when one of by BFF's birthdays rolled around in mid-June, I knew I had to work some Meyer lemons into the picture!

A light lemon cake, lemon buttercream, and raspberry filling-- that's the stuff!

This recipe called for self-rising flour, which I had never used before. I guess I don't see how it could be that much more difficult to just add leavening and salt to flour, but I gave it a shot, and it turned out great.

I put crumbled graham cracker crumbs on the outside. Summer is about ease, and who wants to spend a ton of time cooped up in the kitchen when there's sun to soak up?

Slivered almonds... just for pretty.

Happy birthday, Nicole! That's a whole pack of 24 candles on that cake, yo!

Of course... demolished.

Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake

Adapted from The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

For the cake:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1.5 cups self-rising flour
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup almond milk
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350F; grease and flour three 9' round cake pans.

In a mixer, cream butter and sugar together; add eggs one at a time, combining well. Combine flours and add in to butter mixture, alternating with the milk and lemon juice/zest. Divide batter among the three pans, and bake 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely before removing from pans.

For the frosting and filling (I made two batches):

1 jar (16 oz) spreadable fruit (I used raspberry)
2 sticks butter, softened
8 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Almond milk, to achieve desired consistency

Combine the butter and sugar in a mixer until thick. Add lemon juice, zest, and vanilla extract; mix well. If frosting is too thick, thin with some almond milk.

To assemble cake, frost each side of each layer with frosting before spreading raspberry filling (this keeps the fruit from making the cake stained and soggy); layer and repeat. Frost outside of cake with remaining frosting; decorate as desired (I pressed graham cracker crumbs into the side and put almond slivers on top).

Give to your bestie for her birthday. Summer birthday success.

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