Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lemon Poppyseed Cake with Raspberry Curd and Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

I have been on a major cake making spree the past couple of days. You should the mess in my kitchen. Whoa! I think there may even be some frosting on the walls. If one thing is for certain, I can definitely say my kitchen aid got a workout this weekend. I had a carrot cake order to complete, cupcakes to make for a get together after Ryan's soccer game and then this cake - a three layer lemon poppyseed cake filled with raspberry curd and a lemon cream cheese frosting. Boy is that a mouthful to say, but trust me, you will want to fill our mouth with this cake. It's refreshing and kind of tastes like raspberry lemonade. Kinda sorta. But better. Way better.

This cake is a special cake and was made for the one and only, Barb! This weekend she celebrated her 65th birthday (she probably didn't want me telling you all that, but I had to say it. Sorry Barb!) and I wanted to make her something extra special. At first, I was going to make her malted chocolate chip cookies (because I know she loves malt), but good thing I didn't - she gave up cookies for lent! Close call. Although cookies are yummy, I am a strong believer that everyone deserves a special cake for their birthday. Since her and Dean were going to be in town this weekend, I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to make her something extra special, and surprise her of course. Now, I really wanted to do a chocolate cake with this peanut butter crunch filling (kind of like my crack brownies) , but then Ryan reminded me, well, more like told me, that I better make something I could eat. There goes that whole lent thing getting in the way again! Good thing I had a few other flavors in mind. The one that really stood out to me and a flavor I know Barb loves is lemon. How can you not like lemon? It's light, it's lemony and oh so refreshing. Plus, as soon as I saw this cake, I knew I had to make it. The lemon poppyseed reminded me of the huge muffins at costco. They are so good and totally worth the 700 calories for one. I'm pretty sure that's how many calories are in that thing. That's probably why I haven't had one in 10 years. Totally not joking, but now I kinda want a muffin. Darn it.

Okay, back to cake. This cake is not difficult to make, but it does take time (and patience) and you have to make the curd ahead of time. The original recipe I saw called for making this in a 9x13 pan and then cutting out the cake to make individual mini layer cakes. I thought about doing that, but then I also thought it would be a fun challenge to try to adapt this cake to a layer cake. Why not, right? There were a few comments on the post for this recipe that said to make this into a layer cake that you'd have to double or even triple the recipe to make it big enough for all the layers. Let's just say I am glad I did not triple it. I ended up doubling the batter and all that lemony batter barely fit into three 9 inch pans! Since I was doubling the batter, I figured I'd double the curd too. Ya, I didn't need to do that. I still have two small mason jars left of that stuff. I hope I can freeze it! That will be an experiment for later this week. The original recipe called for a simple lemon buttercream. Although that sounded good, I wanted to kick it up and make a lemon cream cheese frosting. It was tangy, lemony and had just the right amount of sweetness. Again, I made too much and could have just halved the recipe. Since none of it was going in between the layers (just on the outside), I really didn't need all that extra. Although, I will admit, I totally took a big spoonful of the excess frosting and dipped it in the curd.  So delicious!

This cake was the perfect way to say happy birthday to Barb and I am so glad she enjoyed it. Even more so, I was so happy that I was able to help her celebrate her special day. This recipe is perfect and will definitely be going on my list of favorite cakes - not only to eat, but to make. Ps. There are going to be a lot of pictures. Just warning you. I wanted to make sure to show you as many of the steps (plus a few bonus pictures!) as possible. Don't let all the steps scare you though. I promise, it's easier to make then you think.

First Step = The Curd. Don't let making curd scare you. This one is foolproof!

raspberries + sugar + egg yolks + lemon juice + butter (not pictured)

make sure to keep your egg whites for the cake!

adding the yolks to the warm berries, sugar and butter

make sure to keep stirring so you don't get scrambled raspberries. now that's just gross.

strain through a fine mesh strainer to get out all the liquids, but get rid of the seeds (and any yolks that may have curdled - it's okay if this happens!)

Second Step = Cake Baking
see, I told you to save those egg whites

whip whites until they are stiff peaks. See the peak?

put the whites aside, clean the bowl and then combine whip the butter and add the sugar

after everything is combined, gently fold in the egg whites. Make sure not to deflate them!

this recipe makes three VERY full 9 inch pans

cakes are golden brown and cooling!

Step Three = Cake Assembly & Frosting!
since the curd is loose (almost like yogurt) make sure to not put too too much and make sure to leave a little room at the edge of the cake. This will prevent the next layer from squishing it all out. I used about 1/2 cup of curd per layer, but add more if you want.

Frosting shot. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the ingredients - butter, cream cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest and powdered sugar.

cake assembled and decorated!

Step Four = Celebrate & Eat Cake!

Cake with candles waiting for Barb to blow them out. She's really 32. I don't know why the cake says 65. Who did that?!

Inside shot of the cake. Don't you want to lick the screen? I do.

 Lemon Poppyseed Cake with Raspberry Curd and Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting (adapted from

For the cake:
4 2/3 cups cake flour
5 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
10 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 cups sugar (I used bakers ultra fine sugar, but regular sugar will be just fine here)
4 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups whole milk

For the raspberry curd (I originally doubled this, but one recipe is more than enough! Double the below if you want):
1 stick unsalted butter
1 12-oz. package frozen raspberries, thawed
5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2-3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

For the lemon cream cheese frosting (this could easily be halved - there was lots of extra!):
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
4-5 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
2 8oz packages of cream cheese, softened

To make the raspberry curd, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the raspberries, egg yolks, sugar and salt, and cook, mashing the berries.  Stir frequently at first and then constantly at the end, until thickened, about 10 minutes.  Pour the mixture through a coarse strainer set over a bowl, pressing hard on the seeds and pulp to extract as much liquid as possible.   Stir in lemon juice to taste and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. The curd will thicken as it cools. This can be done 1-3 days in advance.

To make the cake, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray with non-stick spray (or butter) and line with parchment, three 9 inch cake pans.  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds in a bowl and set aside.   In the clean, dry bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy.  Add the cream of tartar and increase the speed to medium-high.  Beat just until stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted.  Transfer the egg whites to a separate bowl, clean the mixer bowl and reattach it with the paddle attachment.

Add the butter to the mixer bowl and beat on medium speed until smooth.  Gradually add the sugar and beat until incorporated.  Mix in the lemon zest.  Beat the mixture on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  Add 1/2 cup of the milk and beat until just blended.  Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the remaining milk in three batches, beginning and ending with the flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Beat until just blended.  Using a rubber spatula, fold one quarter of the egg whites into the batter, being careful not to deflate the mixture.  Once incorporated, add in the rest of the whites and gently fold in until well combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 22-30 minutes (your cakes might take longer depending on your oven).  Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Run a thin knife around the outside of pan and gently turn the cake out.  Allow to cool completely.

To assemble the cake, lay one layer on the bottom of your cake plate. Top each later with the cooled raspberry curd leaving the top layer plain (very top layer of the cake).  Be careful not too put too much curd or the layers of cake will slide around. Once layered, place the cake in the fridge for 20-30 minutes for the curd to set.  While the cake is in the fridge, make the frosting.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and zest on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Gradually add the sugar and beat until smooth.  Add the lemon juice and beat for one minute longer until light and fluffy. Frost all the entire cake with the lemon frosting and decorate as desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

There is not much more to say other than you have to make this. The decorations I did reminded me of 4th of July (totally not intentional), so perhaps you can make this then? I think this would be a fabulous refreshing summer cake. The flavors are just perfect together and, if you have extra curd left over, you can use it as a sauce when serving (or to dunk the cake in if you are a raspberry lover!).

1 comment:

  1. This was way past GOOD! It was sampled all over California. Cousin Sue loved it, Ernie and the family finished it last night.