Cake Because I Can.

Generally baking is something people do on occasion. A cake for a birthday party. Hour d'ouvres for a get together. Shortbread for the holidays. Chocolates for Valentine's Day. Rarely do people bake for the fun of it. Instead baking is this stressful thing built around high expectations and consequential disappointments when it crumbles.

Well last weekend I spent hours in the kitchen making a cake. Yes a cake. And here's the best part: there was no occasion. I just woke up that day and said to myself, today's a good day to make a Lemon Raspberry Cake. So I did. And no one complained. Why would anyone complain about cake? It's cake.

I propose we all bake more often. And maybe exercise a little bit more to compensate come think of it. Making delicious food is one of the simplest, most gratifying, tasks that a person can do and it makes everyone around you happy.

So here you are. Lemon Raspberry Cake complete with raspberry jam filling and lemon cream cheese icing.

This recipe was transformed from my Oma's Lemon Loaf recipe into the cake you see before you. My Oma is an amazing cook and baker. She always has the kitchen stocked with chocolate chip cookies among other sweet things. My Opa has at least one of her cookies each day and complains innocently if the supply runs out.

Lemon Loaf is one of my absolute favourites of her many recipes. I love anything with citrus in it as you might have already guessed. I remember when I was a kid she would bake Lemon Loaf and wrap it up in wax paper then keep it in a re-purposed dairy milk bag as she still does today. See in Ontario, milk comes in bags more often than jugs or cartons. Might seem strange but it's worth clearing up in order to understand the whole milk bag thing. A very Grandmotherly thing to do I suppose, save bags and containers to make use of them elsewhere. Anyways that bag of delicious Lemon Loaf would not remain in it's place on the kitchen counter for long. It would disappear slice after yummy slice until we made short work of the dessert. Lemon Cake I multiplied this recipe by three to make a three layer cake. Multiply at your leisure.

Source: My family recipe.

1 1/2 cup flour 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt 1 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 2 eggs 1/2 cup milk Zest of 1 full lemon Juice of 1 full lemon 1/4 cup granulated sugar for glaze Printer-Friendly Version

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the center. Butter and flour a round 9 inch cake pan and set it aside.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. In a larger bowl blend together the sugar, butter and eggs with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add the milk and zest then mix further. Add the flour mixture to the bowl and blend it until it's smooth. Make sure to scrape off any little bits of zest that stick to the beaters and reintroduce them to the mixture.

Pour it into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top to with a rubber spatula. Bake it for 30 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean and the top is a light golden brown. Let them cool off on a rack at least 10 – 15 minutes before you start layering.

Repeat this twice for a three layer cake and set aside the lemon juice and reserved sugar for now.

Lemon Cream Cheese Icing

Source: Joy the Baker's Lemon Whoopie Pies.

1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened 3/4 cup cream cheese, softened 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 tsp lemon zest 2 tbsp lemon juice 2 3/4 cup powdered sugar

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice until thoroughly blended and smooth, about 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. She says to refrigerate the icing before using it to stiffen it but with this recipe it's nice to have it soft and runny to have a nice dripping effect down the cake layers.

Assembling the Cake:

Mix the lemon juice and sugar then heat it until the sugar dissolves (juice from 1 lemon and 1/4 cup sugar for one cake layer, multiplied by 2 for each layer). Level off each cake layer with a long serrated knife. Flip the first layer upside down and place it on the serving plate. Poke holes into the top of the cake using a fork or toothpick.

Spoon the juice mixture evenly over the top letting it soak into the holes. Make sure to leave enough of the juice for each layer. Then spread a thick layer of raspberry jam over top for the filling. Gently place the next levelled layer upside down on top of this and repeat the previous steps. For the top layer omit the jam step and after the juice soaks in spread the cream cheese icing as desired. Sprinkle with fresh raspberries and enjoy!

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