January 24, 2011

Hot Pink Raspberry Cake

One of my colleagues was having a milestone birthday last week and the occasion called for cake! I didn't have to think long before deciding what kind to make. It's been almost two years since I first attempted baking the hot pink raspberry cake, and after last time's incredible disaster of molten magenta filled cake shell, the wounds have healed and I was ready to try again.

Straining raspberry pulp.

The secret ingredients in this cake are thawed frozen raspberries and raspberry jello. Last time I followed the recipe exactly, and I suspect that using just "slightly thawed" raspberries was the reason my cake didn't bake correctly, so this time I let them defrost for a few hours until they were a nice pile of room temperature red mush.

My pretty pink cakes cooling.

Taking the Martingale strategy, I doubled the original recipe and went for four layers. When the baker's test poke revealed a thoroughly cooked cake and they each popped out of their pans with ease, I did a small victory dance and gave praise to the baking gods for making sure they didn't stick to the sides or crack upon flip.

Cake carving

After the cakes cooled, I was at a loss. I hadn't gotten this far last time and I've never actually frosted a multi-layer cake before. Geometry hinted that the convex tops might not make for very stackable layers, so I sawed off the tops and was left with 4 sorta-flat-topped cakes and yummy cake shavings.

Certified cake mason.

Then, I went to apply some raspberry cream cheese mortar between the layers and around the outside; thanks to Leo for frosting coaching.

One more layer after the crumb layer, some fresh flowers for decoration, a lot of cleanup, a birthday song, and it was time to eat.

How did it taste? The cake is wonderfully moist. Despite cutting the sugar from the cake recipe, I still found it a bit too sweet, and while I don't mind raspberry seeds, some might find it startling to run into those inside a cake. The frosting was also sweet (despite again cutting the sugar), so if I made this again, I'd try to cut the sugar further in one or both. Other than that, I ate my whole slice and liked it, as did the birthday boy and the rest of my team, so people either enjoyed it or were too intimidated by my presence and proximity to a large cutting knife to risk offending me. (Michal tells me his cat liked the leftovers too, if that's any consolation.)

Hot Pink Raspberry Cake 
(Revised version of this.)

Makes 4 9" round layers.

Cake Ingredients
  • 1 cup shortening (non-hydrogenated)
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 7 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 red raspberry jello packet (6oz)
  • 1 10-oz. pkg. frozen red raspberries, thawed
Cake Directions
  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease 4 9" round cake pans with butter or baking spray.
  • Mix the ingredients together in the order they're listed. Cream the softened shortening and sugar first, then add the eggs, flour, salt, baking powder, and finally, the milk, gelatin, and raspberries. Using an electric beater, beat everything together on low for 30 seconds, then high for 3 minutes.
  • Immediately pour into the prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the tops spring back slightly when pressed.
  • Let cool on wire racks for at least 15 minutes, then flip out the cakes from the pans.
  • Cool completely before frosting, otherwise the frosting will melt everywhere.
Icing Ingredients
  • 1.5 pound powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (4oz) cream cheese
  • Strained raspberry pulp from 1 10-ounce package raspberries
Icing Directions
  • Strain the raspberry pulp from the seeds. You can stip this step if you're a seed fan.
  • Combine the softened butter, confectioner’s sugar, and raspberry pulp.
  • Mix together with electric mixer.
  • Spread in between and around cooled cake layers.

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