Wednesday, May 6, 2009
British Butter Cake with Rasberry Filling
This is a great cake. Actually, the words I used to describe this cake were "stupid good", and I stand by them now. The cake itself is a really basic vanilla cake with a soft crumb and a great texture. It is sliced in half (easier done if you throw it in the fridge for an hour or two, but possible to do if you just let it cool on the counter for 45 minutes and work carefully), then you smear raspberry jam on the bottom half, then put the top half back on and finish it with a powdered sugar glaze.
Plus, not only is this cake stupid good, it's also ridiculously easy to make, especially if you have a large food processor, and uses ingredients that almost everyone has available. The only slightly exotic ingredient is raspberry extract to use in the glaze, but the notes indicate you can substitute almond extract if you don't have that. I happened to have the extract -- easily picked up at most grocery stores -- because I have wanted to make this cake for a very long time now, and for whatever reason kept putting it off.
The recipe came from my Passion For Baking book and my only quibble is that she did not specify cold or room temperature butter. Most cakes are made with room temperature butter that is creamed with the sugar in the mixer. This recipe did not specify, but the cake is actually made in the food processor and cold butter made a whole lot more sense so that's what I went with, and if the results are any indication that's what I was supposed to use. Also, the glaze in her book did not include the butter, but for anyone familiar with my blog I always use 2 tbsps of melted butter per 1 cup of powdered sugar for all of my powdered sugar glazes because they just taste better that way.
Quick and easy, great flavor and texture, and versatile to boot -- this cake is the little black dress of cakes. It can be dressed up with fresh fruit, or dressed down with a sprinkle of powdered sugar instead of glaze. It would be equally great at served with coffee in the morning, at a backyard bbq, or a fancy dinner and nobody has to know just how easy it is to throw together.
2/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 cup warm milk
2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup raspberry jam
2 tbsps melted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
scant 1/4 tsp raspberry extract (almond if you don't have raspberry)
cream or milk as required to thin it out
Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9 inch round cake pan with baking spray.
In a food processor pulse the butter and sugar until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla and blend well. Stir in milk, flour, baking powder and salt and blend 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl as necessary to make a soft batter. Spoon the batter into the pan.
Bake until just beginning to brown and firm to the touch 40-45 minutes. Cool well before removing from the pan and assembling.
Split cake in half horizontally. (I did this by slicing the cake in half and then lifting the edge of the top half and gently sliding a dinner plate under it.) Spread raspberry jam on bottom of the cake then top with the remaining cake. (I lined the plate up with edge of the bottom layer and gently pushed the top layer back on. I think if I had tried to lift it I would have broken it and that would have sucked.)
For glaze: melt butter in a bowl. add powdered sugar and extract and stir. slowly add milk or cream a few drops at a time to get a smearable glaze, then smear it on top of the cake and let it set.
If you really wanted to dress it up, drizzle the glaze attractively (something I'm not very good at) and garnish with fresh raspberries.