Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Welcome spring with a half moon cake

It was on Day 1 of my visit to Stockholm that I was promised a birthday cake, so when the time came, he delivered. It was in the shape of a half moon and frosted with whipped cream and our very own hand-picked ligonberries and blueberries. The cake was airy and spongy and as it sat, the blueberry juices seeped into the sponge and tainted the cream purple. It is the best birthday cake I have ever had.

So for his birthday last week I kept up the tradition of our half moon cake and made him a raspberry cake with cream cheese frosting. It is too early in the season for berries, so I made it with jam and cloudberry liquior. I have to admit that I love the natural pink tinge that the jam imparts to the cream cheese.

Raspberry Jam Cake

4 tbs (50g) salted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk (2 % or whole)
1 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
1/2 tbs baking powder

250g cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 jar of seedless raspberry jam

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup raspberry liquor

For the cake: 
Butter and flour a round cake pan (7 or 8 inch) and then line with parchment paper. 
Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C.
Sift the cake flour, then measure and sift again with baking powder.
Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add a third of the milk, mix, then add half of the dry ingredients, mix, then add another third of the milk, and end with the last of the dry ingredients and milk. Mix until just incorporated.
Pour into the pan and bake 20-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then loosen the cake around the edges and carefully cool completely on a wire rack.
When the cake has cooled for at least 2 hours and is completely cool, using a serrated knife, cut the cake in half vertically, then cut each half once horizontally. You will have 4 cakes. 

Make the syrup:
Simmer sugar and water until the sugar dissolves. After it has cooled, add the liquior. 

In a large bowl, add cream cheese and sugar and beat until nicely mixed. Then add 1/4 - 1/2 cup raspberry jam. You can add more, it depends on how good your jam is and if you are satisfied with the frosting color. 

Arrange one cake, flat brown crust side down (and reserve the other brown crusted cake for the last layer), and with a pastry brush, dampen the whole cake with the syrup. Then spread 1/4 cup of raspberry jam evenly. Next, line another cake, dampen with syrup, then spread 1/3 cup of frosting. Arrange the next cake, dampen with syrup and spread with 1/4 cup jam. The last layer should have the brown smooth crust on top because it's easier to frost. Brush the last bit of syrup onto the cake, then frost the whole cake with the raspberry cream cheese frosting. 

You can use more raspberry jam to ice "happy birthday" but it can be a pain. I simmered the jam to thicken it enough to ice the cake but I'm not sure it's the best method. 

Either way, it was a delicious cake, nicely moist and deemed "American" by everyone because it was tall and decadent. It would be best served with fresh raspberries but my raspberries were plagued with fungus and were only good for the trash. 

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