They say the darkest hour is just before dawn.
With all due respect, that’s a pile of $#!*. Just not true at all, I’m afraid. The darkest hour is 9:30 PM when your kids have gone to bed and you wanted to watch episodes of Cake Boss but you can’t because you’re in piping hell. The cake isn’t looking right, melted frosting is leaking out of the wrong side of the piping bag into your hair, and you feel nothing but deep despair.
Or does that just happen to me?
But I’m happy to report that the incident to which I’m referring has no bearing on the way this cake tastes. This amazing, holy you-know-what-this-is-so-good cake.
Everything else is awesome. I love using pound cake when I’m doing layers because the stuff is solid. I sliced this cake, flipped it around, stacked it, and did all sorts of acrobatics with it. She held firm!
And I’ve been on a raspberry kick lately. Can’t exactly figure out why, but it started with the raspberry crumb bars I made a few weeks ago and now it’s out of control!
It’s a pound cake (very easy, no mixer!) with raspberry and almond filling and a basic vanilla buttercream frosting. Sigh. I love a happy ending. Just ignore the piping issues, people. Pretend it didn’t happen!
Besides, have I mentioned the very best thing about this cake? Dairy-free! That’s right. Turns out that while I used to think a pound cake needed butter like I need a good 7 hours of sleep a night, margarine and soy milk will work fine. I had to make this one without dairy for various reasons, and it worked out great! But feel free to use butter and milk. It ain’t gonna hurt.
This cake turned out to be a winner. Nice, even-ish layers with the perfect, delicate amount of raspberry-almond filling. I used a product called “Schmear” for the almond, which comes in different flavors. It’s kind of like a marzipan spread. First I put a thin layer of that on the cake layers, followed by a thin layer of raspberry jam. I didn’t want the cake to look like it was bleeding.
By the way, I learned in cake decorating class that bakers brush a coat of simple syrup on their cakes after they level them and before they put in the filling. I tried it, and the result was an even moister cake! I can’t recommend it enough. Just bring equal parts sugar and water to a boil. The second it starts boiling, remove from the heat. Easy peasy!
And the frosting is also very simple, as you’ll see below. I used most of it for the cake, and then I dyed the rest pink for the aforementioned piping debacle.
If you want to make a great cake for a birthday or engagement party that’s light and elegant but not so hard, this is it! Get piping!
- 1 cup margarine, melted
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup vanilla soy milk
- 1 pound margarine, softened to room temperature
- 1 pound (4 cups) powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- raspberry jam
- almond “Schmear” or a spreadable marzipan
Preheat the oven to 350. Coat the sides of two eight or nine-inch cake pans with cooking spray and put a parchment paper circle on the bottom of each pan.
Combine the melted margarine and sugar, stirring until smooth. Add the eggs, lemon juice, and extracts, and mix again. Add the dry ingredients and stir until incorporated. Finally, add the soy milk and mix until the batter is without lumps.
Pour the batter into each cake pan evenly and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Immediately invert each cake into heavy duty plastic wrap and seal the cake in, leaving the parchment paper on the bottom.
Allow cakes to cool, and then if you have time, put them in the refrigerator overnight.
When you’re ready to decorate, make the frosting. Cream the margarine in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar. When everything is mixed in, add the vanilla and mix again.
Remove the cakes from the plastic wrap and peel off the parchment paper. Level the tops of the cakes and then, using a serrated knife, carefully slice each cake layer in half. If desired, brush the top of each cake with simple syrup.
Layer raspberry jam and (if you have it) almond filling onto the cake in a thin layers. Then, add the frosting and stack the layers, doing a crumb coat. Refrigerate the cake for at least one hour. Cover your bowl of frosting.
When the cake is chilled, ice it with the remaining frosting, being sure to mix the frosting vigorously before covering to get air bubbles out. Decorate as desired.