I recently celebrated my birthday and this almond raspberry layer cake was my birthday cake. The last several years, I’ve insisted on making my own cake. My sweet husband offers to bake me a cake every year, and I’m sure he’d do a great job (with a little micromanaging from you know who. Ahem). But honestly, I really love to bake and I only have the excuse to whip up a “fancy” layer cake a handful of times per year, so I am happy to do it myself. Here’s this year’s cake and possibly my new favorite. It’s a moist and dense almond cake that is layered with raspberry jam, topped with a whipped cream frosting and decorated with fresh raspberries. The cake offers bold almond flavor, the whipped cream frosting is sweet and rich and the fresh raspberries and raspberry jam offer the perfect fresh/tart compliment to the cake. I made this cake in two 6-inch pans, which I think are the perfect size when making a cake for a small gathering. If you don’t have 6-inch pans, you can make it in two 7-inch pans or double the recipe and bake it in three 9-inch pans.
Almond Raspberry Layer Cake
For the cake:
- 7 ounces almond paste*
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sticks butter softened
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the filling and frosting:
- 1/4 cup raspberry jam microwaved for a few seconds to make it spreadable
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- Raspberries to garnish
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter or spray two 6 or 7 inch cake pans and line the bottoms with a circle of parchment.
Break the almond paste into large pieces and place it in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the sugar to the almond paste. Beat the mixture for several minutes on low speed, until the almond paste is broken up into fine pieces, smaller than a pea. Add the butter and beat on medium speed for 3 or 4 minutes, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add the eggs and beat until thoroughly combined. Add flour, baking powder and salt and beat on low speed until just blended.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans, smoothing out the tops.
Bake the cakes for 25-35 minutes. The cakes are done when they are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cover the tops loosely with foil near the end of the baking time if the cakes are looking too brown.
Cool cakes in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a rack to cool completely.
For the frosting:
Whip the cream until soft peaks form. In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and extracts until thoroughly combined. Add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture and beat on high speed for a minute or two until the frosting is thoroughly combined and slightly thickened.
Spread the raspberry jam on top of one of the cake layers. Top jam with a layer of frosting, place the other cake on top of that. Frost the entire cake with an offset spatula or butter knife. Garnish the cake with fresh raspberries.
Store the cake in the fridge and remove to bring to room temperature before serving.
*Where to find almond paste: I buy mine in the regular grocery store, I've even found it at Target. Look for it on the baking aisle.
For a larger cake, you can double the cake recipe and split the batter between three 9-inch cake pans. Begin checking to see if the cakes are done after 25 minutes in the oven. You will also need to double the frosting recipe.
Cake recipe loosely adapted from Good Housekeeping