A beautiful cake that is a bit of a showstopper, it takes a while to make but it is well worth it for a special occasion, why not bake it this mothers day?
For the Sponge
- 200g salted butter (at room temperature)
- 200g caster sugar
- Zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
- 4 medium eggs (at room temperature)
- 200g sifted self-raising flour
For the Lemon syrup
- 150ml lemon juice (roughly 3 lemons)
- 150g caster sugar
For the Raspberry meringue butter cream
- 270g caster sugar
- 67ml water
- 135g egg whites (roughly 3-4 large eggs)
- 330g unsalted butter
- 160g raspberries, pureed.
- Raspberry extract (to taste)
- Icing sugar
- Fresh raspberries
You will need 3x 15cm sandwich tins, a palette knife, a cake stencil and a large icing nozzle
Make your sponges the day before,
Preheat your oven to 175°C/ gas mark 4
- Line your 3 sandwich tins with greaseproof paper on the bottom and grease and flour the sides
- Place the butter, caster sugar and lemon zest in a mixing bowl (or stand mixer if you have one) and beat until pale and fluffy.
- In a separate jug lightly beat the eggs and pour slowly into your other mixing bowl (with the butter and eggs) whilst still beating.
- Once combined add the flour and beat until incorporated.
- Transfer the batter to the lined tins, try and make the mixture around the edge of the tins higher than the centre; this will make the height of the cake more level when its baked.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
- Whilst the sponges are baking make your sugar syrup (this will help to keep the cakes moist) place the lemon juice and sugar into a saucepan, stir whilst heating until it comes to the boil and leave to cool.
- When your sponges are cooked remove from the oven and brush with some of the lemon syrup (keep some for the assembly part the next day) leave in the tins until just warm then place on a cooling rack to cool completely. When cool, wrap well in Clingfilm and store overnight at room temperature.
- The next day make your buttercream: place your raspberry puree in a saucepan and heat until it has reduced a little, chill until cool.
- Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan over a medium to high heat and bring to a rapid boil, you want this syrup to reach 121°C – be very careful not to burn yourself.
- Place the egg whites in a very clean bowl, I prefer to use stainless steel, and whip them at a low speed until frothy, (a stand mixer will be easier at this point but a hand mixer will do, you may need to rope someone in to help a bit though)
- When the sugar syrup has reached 121°C take off the heat and pour into your frothy egg whites in a steady stream (all the while keeping the whisk running a low speed)
- Whip the meringue until cool to the touch (it will take a few minutes) then add the butter a tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. When all the butter has been added turn the speed up until it’s a thick, smooth and spreadable mixture. At this point whisk in the raspberry puree & extract.
- Trim your cakes until they are flat and all roughly the same height & brush each layer with some of the sugar syrup.
- Place the cake you’ll be using for the bottom layer on a cake turntable if you have one, however I used a thick, flat chopping board.
- Put some of the buttercream on the bottom layer and using a palette knife spread evenly to the edge of the cake, I also like to place a few fresh raspberries on top of the filling.
- Add the next sponge cake and follow the same step as before.
- Then place the next cake on top, making sure the flatter side of the cake is facing up and gently push down to release any air.
- To decorate the cake in buttercream you need to apply two layers of buttercream, it takes lots of practice to make the outside of your cake really smooth so don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect the first time you do it.
- Place a generous amount of buttercream in the centre of the cake, work from the centre down the edges and use your palette knife to make a forwards and backwards motion, twist your board as you go. Make sure there are no gaps then, using a side scraper if you have one, (or wipe your palette knife and use the edge) angle it at a 45° angle on the cake and rotate your board as you scrape to make the edge smooth. You can keep doing this until you’re happy, just place in the fridge for half an hour when you’re finished.
- Apply the second coat now, using the same principle as before until you’re happy (make sure you don’t have any crumbs on your tools or in the buttercream from the first layer)
- Leave your cake to cool in the fridge for half an hour or so until the buttercream has set and then decorate. To do this I place a cake stencil on top of the cake and just sieve icing sugar over it, carefully remove the stencil and pipe small rosettes of the buttercream around the edges and pop a fresh raspberry on top of each piping.
If you have any sugar syrup left over you can keep this in the fridge for a month and use on any other sponges you might make.
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