You really don’t need a birthday celebration to make this cake, but I was inspired by my own birthday boy to create this fluffy vanilla cake coated with tart raspberry frosting. At least on his birthday, I coddled him. It’s a sweet addition to birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, or any old day.
What Are Freeze-Dried Raspberries?
The frosting makes this cake shine! It's a bright, tart, and undeniably-raspberry-flavored frosting made with ground freeze-dried raspberries. Freeze-drying is a method of preserving the raspberries by freezing them and removing water with a low-pressure vacuum. They become light as a feather while preserving their tartness and sweetness. Pulverize whole freeze-fried raspberries in a food processor or spice grinder into a flavorful berry dust.
Freeze-dried raspberries can be found at most grocery stores these days, usually in 1- to 2-ounce packages. They are also available in powder form online—you’ll need about 5 tablespoons.
How to Frost the Cake
The two layers of this cake bake pretty flat, so you do not need to level them. Got a mounded top? Use a large serrated knife to shave it off using a sawing motion. Then, frost the cake:
- Place one cake upside-down on a serving plate. Spread the top with raspberry jam and some frosting.
- Place the next cake on top, right side up. Spread a thin layer of frosting all over the cake and freeze it for at least 15 minutes. This is called a crumb coat. Although this cake is not very crumby, the purpose of a crumb coat is to contain the crumbs so the final frosting is smooth and crumb-free.
- Now the fun begins. Spread some frosting to cover the side of the cake with an offset spatula. Pull the excess frosting that piles on the top edge toward the center of the cake.
- Add the remaining frosting on top and spread it evenly. There are a lot of fancy things you can do with swirls or pastry tips, but this cake has a homemade feel, so don’t stress over making it look perfect.
Can I Make the Cake Ahead?
The short answer is, yes!
You can make the cake layers ahead of time, and make the frosting and assemble the cake the day you want to serve it. The baked and cooled cakes can be stored at room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days. A warm cake will encourage condensation, so be sure it’s completely cool before wrapping.
For longer storage, freeze the cakes wrapped in plastic wrap and tucked in a zip top bag. They will keep for at least 3 months. Handy, right?
The frosting will keep refrigerated in a well-covered container for about 3 days. After that it loses its freshness. To use it, transfer the frosting into a large bowl and whisk it until it is fluffy and light again.
More Celebration Cakes
Vanilla Cake with Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting
For the cake
1 2/3 cups cake flour (220g), plus more for cake pans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups (300g) sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cool but not cold, plus more for cake pans
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
For the frosting and filling
1 (1.2- to 1.3-ounce) package freeze-dried raspberries
1/2 cup powdered sugar
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
1/4 cup raspberry jam
Fresh raspberries, for decorating (optional)
Bake the Cake Layers
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Place a rack in the center of the oven. Use your hands to butter two 8-inch round cake pans, sprinkle them with flour, and tap out the excess. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper.
Combine the dry ingredients:
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda until combined.
Beat the sugar, butter, and eggs:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar and butter on medium-high speed until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Lower the speed to medium speed and add the eggs and egg yolk one at a time until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula from time to time. Beat in the oil and vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients and buttermilk:
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions and the buttermilk in two, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and mixing until each addition is fully incorporated.
Bake the cake:
Evenly divide the batter between the prepared pans and smooth the tops with the back of a spoon. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Cool the cake:
Place the pans on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Slide a thin knife around the edge of the pans and invert them onto the rack. Peel off the parchment paper, turn the cakes right side up, and let them cool completely before frosting.
Make the Frosting
Pulverize the raspberries:
In a food processor or spice grinder, grind the dried raspberries to a fine powder.
Prepare the frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, sift the powdered sugar. Add the raspberry powder, cream cheese, vanilla, and salt.
Start on low speed, then increase to medium and beat until creamy and smooth. Add 1/4 cup cream and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Switch to a whisk attachment:
On medium-low speed, slowly stream in the remaining 1 3/4 cups cream. Mix until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Increase the speed to medium-high speed and beat until the frosting is fluffy and thick.
Frost the Cake and Serve
Frost the crumb coat:
Place one cake layer upside down on a serving plate. Spread the top with about 1 cup frosting letting some push over the sides if necessary. Spread raspberry jam over the frosting within 1/2 inch of the edges. Place the second cake layer, right side up, on top.
With an offset spatula, spread a thin layer of frosting on the top and sides of the cake and pop it into the freezer for 15 minutes or up to 1 hour in the fridge if you have to run an errand. This is the crumb coat.
Finish frosting the cake:
Remove the cake from the freezer or refrigerator. Use the remaining frosting to cover the sides and top of the cake, smoothing it with an offset spatula.
Decorate with fresh raspberries if you want to and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Store the frosted cake in the refrigerator covered with a cake cover or a large bowl turned over it to keep it from absorbing refrigerator odors.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 12 to 14|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 28g||36%|
|Saturated Fat 15g||77%|
|Total Carbohydrate 46g||17%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||3%|
|Total Sugars 32g|
|Vitamin C 47mg||235%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|