One of the perils of growing up in Australia with vegemite for breakfast and Full House on TV is that there is a clash of cultures, and more accurately language. As a child, there was nothing that confused me more than lemonade. When my mum, on rare occasions, bought lemonade home from the store, it was white, it was fizzy and tasted vaguely lemony and sweet. When the Full House kids drank lemonade it was yellow, had floating slices of lemon, was served in a jug and they often charged people 50c a glass for it. It took me a really long time to reconcile the fact that two very different drinks could have the same name, in two English-speaking countries.
That wasn’t the end of it either, having lived in the US now for nearly two years and with a baby, I need to use diaper, crib and whine instead nappy, cot and whinge. It’s always stroller, never pram and when I tried to explain to my new mommy friends about the concept of Baby Led Weaning they thought Mr C’s first food was going to be some fancy Aussie dish called baby linguine.
In my two years stateside, I’ve come to really appreciate good, American style lemonade. Fresh lemon juice, ice cold water, just enough sweetness to balance the sour.
It’s spring in Seattle, and even if you’ve seen Sleepless in Seattle and heard that it rains all the time here, the last week has been heavenly weather. The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming and the farmers markets are opening early on the weekends with tables upon tables of peaches, nectarines and my favourite – berries! This cake is all about berries and amazing fresh spring lemons. Even if you don’t have access to fresh raspberries, make this with frozen, it will help you relive the magic of spring. Wherever you are in the world!
This is a lovely moist, tangy lemon pound cake, with a rich and creamy raspberry Swiss meringue butter cream. I love the crunch of the seeds throughout the buttercream and you can even choose to add some whole berries.
Because it has fresh fruit, I’d eat this cake within a few days and store it in an airtight container in the fridge, but bring it to room temperature before serving.
All measurements use a standard Australian cup/spoon measure.
- 2 ¼ cups (330g) all-purpose flour/plain flour
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 5 tbsp. cornflour (60g)
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 ¼ cups superfine/caster sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tsp. lemon zest, 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 1 cup (250ml) buttermilk*
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
* To make a home-made substitute for buttermilk, place 1 tbsp. of vinegar or lemon juice into a measuring cup. Add enough full-cream/whole milk to make 1 cup of liquid. Let stand for 10-15 minutes.
Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup caster/superfine sugar
- 1 ½ cups (340g) butter cut into cubes (sat at room temperature for about 30 minutes)
- pinch of salt
- 200g raspberries (if you’re using frozen, thaw the berries in a colander so any excess water can drain)
Instructions for cake
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Grease and line two 8-inch baking tins. Sift together flour, cornflour, salt and baking powder well (about 3-4 times at least). Set aside.
- Cream together butter and sugar until pale and the sugar is dissolved. Make sure to stop the mixer every few minutes to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the eggs one at a time, being sure that the previous egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. Once all the eggs are added pour in the juice and lemon zest and mix.
- Add the vanilla to the cup of buttermilk. Turn the mixture on low (mine has a stir speed, or the lowest yours will go) and add 1/3 of the buttermilk mixture to the mixer and stir. Add a 1/3 of the flour. Repeat, alternating between the buttermilk and flour until both are incorporated. Stop the mixture as soon as the last flour is added and use a spatula to scrape the bottom and give the cake one last mix.
- Divide the mixture between the two 8-inch baking tins and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool and turn onto a wire rack.
Instructions for icing
- For the icing you’ll need a double boiler (a bowl of simmering water with a heatproof bowl on top, I use the metal bowl from my mixer). In the bowl, place the sugar, egg whites and salt and place over the bowl of simmering water, ensuring the base of the bowl isn’t touching the water. Whisk over the heat for 4-5 minutes until the mixture is hot to touch and the sugar is completely dissolved (160F/70C on a candy thermometer)
- Using a hand mixer or by pouring the hot egg mixture into your mixer bowl begin whipping on high speed until the mixture foams, thickens and finally becomes a lovely glossy meringue. This usually takes 10-15 minutes. At this point, your mixer bowl will also be cool to the touch.
- Now add your slightly softened butter, one piece at a time. The meringue will change texture a lot at this point, it may look curdled or like soup. Don’t fear, keep whipping on high speed.
- When the mixture becomes nice and smooth, add the raspberries until they are lovely and spread out through the butter cream.
- Assemble the cake by placing one cake on your cake plate and spreading a generous layer of buttercream on top. Now add the second cake and cover the top and sides with more buttercream. Decorate the top with extra raspberries and enjoy!