Saturday, February 20, 2016

Lemon Poppy Seed with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting and Raspberry Puree


Hi! I'm back home for a couple days before I have to head out for another work trip (this month has been crazy, you guys! Can't wait for things to settle down a little in March). The night I got back, I was able to join some of our family and closest friends to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of my baby sister. Kenzie is ten years younger than me, so the fact that she's getting married is a little surreal and is making me feel far older than I feel comfortable with. We're so excited for Kenzie and Stephen, and I'm particularly eager about their wedding cakes... because I'll be making them! Stayed tuned for all of that!

For Kenzie's wedding shower cake, I went with the Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting (slightly adapted from Technicolor Kitchen). This is my go-to wedding shower or baby shower cake. The ladies love it and there's never a single crumb leftover. You can make it with the raspberry puree or without. (You could also use raspberry jam or preserves if you want to save a little time.) The original recipe doesn't have raspberry in it, but I love raspberry and lemon together and think it works so well in this cake.





Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting and Raspberry Puree

Yield: one, 8" three-layer cake

Ingredients:

For the Lemon Poppy Seed Cake (recipe adapted from: Technicolor Kitchen)
3 cups cake flour
2 cups granulated sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, coarsely chopped
Grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
5 egg whites

For the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe adapted from: Technicolor Kitchen)
6 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract

Raspberry Puree (recipe source: BS Recipes)
12 oz frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
2 heaping tablespoons cornstarch


Instructions:

For the Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray three 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter or spray the paper.
2. Combine the flour, 1 3/4 of the sugar, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds in the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on low speed to blend the ingredients and break up any lumps, about 30 seconds.
3. Add the butter, lemon zest and 1 cup of the buttermilk to the flour mixture. Beat on low until completely mixed, then raise the speed to medium and beat for two minutes to lighten and aerate the batter.
4. In a medium bowl, combine the egg whites with the remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk and whisk to blend thoroughly. Add this mixture to the batter in 2-3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating only enough to incorporate. Divide the batter among the prepared pans.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes (mine were done at 24 minutes, so keep an eye on them around 20 minutes). Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes.
6. While the cakes are cooling, make the lemon syrup: in a small saucepan, combine the remaining sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
7. Turn the cake layers onto wire racks and gently poke holes on the top of each cake layer with a toothpick. Generously brush each cake layer with the lemon syrup. Let cool completely.

For the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
1. In a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add in the sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Continue to beat until very fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the vanilla and lemon extract extract and beat well.

For the Raspberry Puree
1. After raspberries are thawed, grab a fine wire strainer and use a spoon to press the raspberries so that the seedless pulp falls into a bowl below. Strain enough pulp to get between 1/2-3/4 cup of pulp. Add enough water to equal 3/4 cup if you don't get to that amount with the pulp alone.
2. In a small saucepan, combine raspberry juice/water, sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch. Cooke over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture bubbles and thickens (it will continue to thicken as it cools). Remove from heat and set aside. 
3. Cool and place in the refrigerator for up to a week.


Assembly:

1. Divide each cake layer into two. Place one cake layer, bottom side down, on a cake plate and pipe a thin layer of frosting around the edge of the cake to create a barrier for the raspberry puree. Spread about two tablespoons raspberry puree evenly across the top.
2. Place the next cake layer on top of the raspberry puree. Gently spread about 1/3 cup of the lemon cream cheese frosting over it.
3. Repeat steps one and two for the remaining four layers. 
4. Place the final cake layer, top side down, on top. Give the cake a quick crumb coat and chill for 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator or 10-15 minutes in the freezer before frosting the entire cake.

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