To be fair, this is a recipe redo. I first made it ten years ago as cupcakes, which I adorned with mini roses for the finale of The Bachelor. Thankfully, much has changed since then–baking skills, my decorating skills, my photography skills, and Melissa Rycroft’s relationship status. You dodged a bullet there, girl. A man who will do that to you on live national television is no prize.
What hasn’t changed is just how phenomenal this recipe is. As I set out to choose my birthday cake for this year, I knew I wanted to go into previous posts and find a recipe I’d loved but hadn’t made again in a while. My initial thought was my much-loved red velvet cake recipe. It’s still my hands-down favorite cake and, good grief, would I love to have a better picture for it. Then I remembered I’d be celebrating my birthday at a friend’s new house with new furniture and lots of kids. Not exactly the place to bring red velvet anything. I toyed with my very vanilla mini cheesecakes, which got a majority vote on instagram, but it just wasn’t hitting me quite right. Then I remembered this recipe and I was done looking. Decision made.
I opted to make the recipe as a full cake this time. It just seems more birthdayish and, since I’ll also get to update the photo here, I wanted the fun challenge and opportunity to work with a whole big cake…even if it means showing up to the party with a cake that’s already been partially sliced. #sorrynotsorry
The cake was everything I remembered. Light, fluffy, beautiful. The almond and raspberry flavors go perfectly together and leave your sweet tooth satisfied without making your belly feel heavy. Cream cheese frosting is a perfectly tangy compliment. With pops of pink and subtly sweet almond flavors, this really would make a great Valentine’s (or Galentine’s!) treat, as well, especially paired with some champagne.
Cheers to changes, birthdays, love, celebrations, and cake!
Light, fluffy white cake goes from blah to beautiful with the help of aromatic almond extract, sweet raspberry preserves, and a garnish of bright, fresh raspberries.
Almond-Scented White Cake with Raspberry Filling
For the cake:
12 TBSP (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
5 egg whites, at room temperature
3/4 raspberry preserves, melted (I prefer seedless here)
1 1/4 c. sliced almonds, lightly toasted and cooled, for decoration
raspberries, for decoration
For the frosting:
1 lb. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 TBSP (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 c. confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 /2 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Position a rack in the middle of an oven and preheat to 350ºF. Butter and flour two nine-inch round cake pans, placing parchment paper rounds in the bottoms.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using an electric mixer and a large bowl, beat the butter, on medium-high speed, until light. Gradually add the sugar, beating until well blended. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
4. Reduce mixer speed to low and, dividing the flour mixture into 3 batches, beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture alternately with the milk just until combined.
5. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with clean, dry beaters and set on high speed, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the beaten whites into the batter just until incorporated. Divide the batter between the prepared pans; smooth with the spatula.
6. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer to racks and let cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the pan sides to loosen the cakes. Invert onto racks and let cool completely.
7. Meanwhile, make the frosting by combining the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or in another large bowl. On medium-high speed, beat until smooth. Reduce the speed to low, add the confectioners’ sugar and again beat until smooth. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts until well blended.
8. Once the cakes are completely cooled (I like to bake the cakes the night before and assemble the cake the day of), use a long serrated knife to cut each cake in half horizontally. Place one layer on a plate. Spread 1/2 cup of the frosting over the top, then drizzle on 1/4 cup of the melted preserves, taking care not to go all the way to the edges with the preserves. Top with another cake layer and repeat with the same amounts of frosting and preserves. Top with a third cake layer and again repeat with the same amounts of frosting and preserves. Top with the fourth cake layer, cut side down.
9. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides, using the crumb coat method if desired. Decorate with fresh raspberries and toasted almond slices, according to preference. Serve immediately, or cover with a cake dome and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving.
yield: 12 servings