So it was my Dad's birthday last week and, of course, I couldn't let it go by without baking him a cake. I mean, it would have been quite rude, right?! Anyway, whether he wanted it or not, I always prefer to bake with a specific purpose in mind and I think a birthday screams cake more than any other occasion! It was also the perfect excuse to try out another recipe from my Hummingbird Bakery cookbook and, as usual, it did not disappoint! After baking (and eating) their cake recipes, I don't think I could ever try an alternative now. The sponge is just so moist and light with the addition of buttermilk, that I would feel as if I was betraying the cake gods if I made a cake any other way now! The basic marg, sugar, flour, eggs recipe that I used to stick to when I was growing up does not live up to my cake expectations these days. Basically, I've been spoilt by Hummingbird and now there's no turning back...!
The only difficult part of baking this cake was deciding which recipe to choose! To be honest, I don't think there'd be any cake I wouldn't like from the Hummingbird cookbook, but I thought lemon and raspberries seemed most suitable for summer. I rarely say no to chocolate, but last week's surprisingly warm and sunny weather didn't make me feel like it for once. The tartness of the lemons and raspberries was just what I fancied (regardless of what the birthday boy wanted!), so this recipe jumped out at me. And with raspberries being possibly one of my favourite fruits, this cake was the perfect choice. I have to say though, I think it's the icing that makes this cake! Don't be put off when you start making it and it just looks like breadcrumbs that look as if they'll never come together to make a fluffy icing, because I promise you, it does work and it does taste wonderful. When you add the cream cheese, be careful not to over-stir, as I have had bad experience on this front where the icing has just ended up as one big sloppy mess (remember this recipe?), which does not work too well when trying to cover a cake with it! Anyway, other than that, it's very easy to make and tastes especially beautiful sat outside in glorious sunshine with a large cup of tea. Let's just hope that some more sunny days are heading our way...!
Lemon and Raspberry Cake
For the sponge:
55g unsalted butter, softened
190g caster sugar
160g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
Zest of a lemon
2 medium eggs
40g raspberry jam
For the frosting:
450g icing sugar
Zest of 3/4 lemon
75g unsalted butter, softened
190g full-fat cream cheese
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
A few raspberries
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and line the cake tins with greaseproof paper.
- With a hand-held electric whisk, mix the butter, sugar, flour and baking powder together until it forms a sand-like consistency.
- In a large jug, mix together the buttermilk, lemon zest and eggs.
- With the whisk on medium speed, gradually pour half the liquid into the crumb mixture.
- Mix thoroughly until the batter is thick and smooth. Once the lumps have gone, add the rest of the liquid.
- Mix until combined.
- Divide the batter between the two tins and bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
- Meanwhile, make the frosting by gradually mixing the icing sugar, lemon zest and butter together on a low speed with the electric whisk until combined and there are no large lumps of butter.
- Add a little cream cheese to loosen up the mixture and beat until smooth.
- Add the rest of the cream cheese and beat the frosting until it is light and fluffy.
- Once the sponges are cool, assemble the cake by placing one layer on a large plate.
- Spread with a layer of raspberry jam and top with 3-4tbsp of frosting, smoothing out with a palette knife.
- Sandwich the second layer on top and frost the sides and top of the cake so no sponge is showing.
- Decorate with a few raspberries, some lemon zest and a sprinkling of icing sugar.
- Cut a large slice and enjoy!