When I was growing up, it seemed that the last thing I wanted was a homemade cake for my birthday. Somehow, storebought cakes seemed ten times better. Granted, our idea of "homemade" was something out of a box. But, the funny thing is that the storebought cakes weren't much better in reality. They were always dry, so-so in taste, and they all came with some sort of awful custardy filling. But, when you're a kid, all you care about is that the storebought cake has those pretty, super sugary roses on top.
Now that I'm older, I desire the finer things in life, and that means a homemade cake that is truly homemade. So, when a family member of mine had a birthday coming up, I started Pinterest-ing like crazy to find a cake that just screamed, "Make me!" And, what I found was a lovely Lemon Strawberry Layer Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting on Baked Been's blog.
I did make a couple changes though. I didn't have any strawberry jam to fill the cake with, but I did have a jar of raspberry jam in my fridge, which you know goes perfectly with lemony flavors. Of course, I didn't have any lemons either, but I had a bunch of limes, which is close enough for me. So, my cake became a Lime Raspberry Layer Cake with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting.
The cake itself is a basic 1-2-3-4 cake, which, believe it or not, I've never had before. You can bet I'll be having it a lot more from now on because it was the best cake ever. So simple to put together and, because it's a denser cake, it was super easy to slice into layers. Not to mention that beautiful tight crumb, the moistness of it all, and a subtle flavor that makes it perfect for pairing with the stronger flavored fillings like lime curd and raspberry jam. One bite and I was in cakey heaven. From now on, when I need a vanilla birthday cake, this is going to be my go-to recipe. Buh-bye boxed mixes and buh-bye storebought cake!
Lime Raspberry Layer Cake (adapted from The Baked Been)
1 c. salted butter, softened (I melted my butter)
2 c. sugar
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. whole milk (I used 2%)
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. vanilla
Lime Curd (adapted from David Lebovitz)
1/4 c. freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 c. sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 large egg
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
Lime Buttercream Frosting (Sweet as Sugar Cookies)
12 oz. cream cheese, softened (you can use 1/3 less fat)
6 Tbsp. butter, softened
6 tsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. lime zest
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. raspberry jam
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans. Cut out a circle of parchment paper to fit inside each pan and grease and flour the parchment paper.
Melt the butter in the microwave or in a saucepan. Combine the melted butter and sugar in a bowl. Add in the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time, and beat until fully incorporated. Combine the flour and baking powder. Add half the milk, then half the flour mixture, then the rest of the milk, and the rest of the flour mixture, beating after each addition.
Divide the batter into the cake pans. Bake 25-30 min. until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. Let cake cool for 10-15 min. before removing from the pans. Set out onto wire racks to cool completely for another 30 min. before slicing in half, horizontally.
For the lime curd:
1. Place a mesh strainer over a bowl, and set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the lemon juice, sugar, egg yolks, eggs, and salt.
3. Add the butter cubes and set the pan over low heat, whisking constantly until the butter is melted.
4. Increase the heat and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and just begins to become jelly-like. It’s done when you lift the whisk and the mixture holds its shape when it falls back into the saucepan from the whisk.
5. Immediately press the curd through the strainer. Put into a bowl and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour before using to fill the cake.
For the frosting:
Beat the cream cheese with the butter until smooth. Add the zest and juice. Beat in the powdered sugar until fluffy.
For the assembly:
Put one layer of cake onto a plate. Spread evenly with the raspberry jam. Top with a second layer of cake and spread with some of your cream cheese frosting. Top with the third layer of cake and spread evenly with the lemon curd. Top with the final layer of cake and frost the top and sides with the rest of your cream cheese frosting. Decorate as desired.