Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Raspberry and Lime Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Today was an ideal opportunity to test scheduled posting in advance of my summer holidays.  When this was published, I was several miles away from my mac at the inaugural Bath Clandestine Cake Club (CCC) meeting.  Stuffing my face with cake.  Excellent!

A vision of pinkness
The subject for the first CCC was 'Your Favourite Fruity Bake'.  Of course, with a blog to write, much as I wanted to make a tried and tested recipe, it made sense to try something new.  So I started with my favourite fruit - raspberries, which I will hopefully have an abundance of in my garden come summer - and it grew from there if you'll pardon the pun.  

I did think about adapting Jules Blueberry and Lime cake which I tried a few weeks ago.  Filled with raspberry curd instead of lime, it might have been just the ticket.  But then I got into researching raspberry curd recipes and happened across this blog post by Laure of The Buttercream and Chantilly Factory and the die was cast.

Just looking at the pictures reminded me of the my very favourite raspberry thing from my childhood - my mother's raspberry fool, with raspberries being her favourite fruit too.  She didn't make it nearly often enough but when she did, it was the best thing ever.  All it is is pureed raspberries mixed with icing sugar and whipped cream and piped into glasses.  If she's being posh, she will pour some raspberry juice into the bottom of the glasses so that when you pipe the fool in, the juice swirls prettily up the side of the glass.

Adding the drizzle
This cake looks just like it's covered in raspberry fool.  Except it's not.  It's covered in Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  Something that has scared the pants off of me when I've researched making it.  Now seemed an apt time to bite the bullet.

So with my own sponge cake forming the base and spiked with lime syrup, I set about learning how to not fear this particular type of buttercream.

It's completely unlike our beloved, tooth-rotting English buttercream.  You whisk egg whites and sugar in a bain marie and then whip them to within an inch of their life in a stand mixer as the cool and gain volume.  Then you drop in little blobs of butter - the little blobs actually amount to 300g in total, so it's by no means healthy.  You panic a bit when it looks like it's all gone wrong and split.  It starts to come together and then you accidentally drop a splash of water in and it suddenly starts to coagulate and you panic.  I think it just so happens that passing my wet hands over the top of the mixing bowl co-incided with it correctly mixing (after ten fraught minutes) and all was well.

Until I decided to refrigerate it.  And then when I left it out to soften, it went all weird.  Cue further panic that it had all gone horribly wrong until some research reveals it needs to be re-whipped for five minutes.  Four minutes and 58 seconds of praying later, it finally started to resemble what it had earlier.

It pipes really well, but quite frankly it is a bugger to spread.  Now I know why the cake on the other blog is totally covered with piping and fruit!  I guess it takes lots of practice and know-how to get it to spread evenly.  But I am happy enough that I managed to make it properly on my first attempt.
That pesky buttercream

And when you've used five egg-yolks for the curd, it's a good way to use up the five left over whites.  All in all, it's not that scary, so long as you've been forewarned about the various stages of it looking like it's all gone horribly wrong!

I will have to update the blog with the pictures from CCC later.

In the meantime, here is the recipe:

For the raspberry and lime curd, click this link

For the meringue buttercream
  • 80g raspberry puree 
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 300g  butter
  • 200g sugar
  1. Place egg whites and sugar in a heatproof mixing bowl.
  2. Set bowl over 1 inch  (2.5 cm) of water in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk gently until the mixture reaches 140°F/60°C (or until sugar has dissolved and mixture is no longer grainy when you rub it between your (clean!) fingers)
  3. Remove from the heat and using an electric mixer, whisk on medium speed until the egg whites are cool to touch (they should be cooler than your hand).
  4.  Continue beating and gradually add the softened butter in tablespoon-sized pieces. It will first look watery or separated, but after 10-15 minutes, it will come together.
  5. Once the desired, pipe-able consistency has been reached, fold in the raspberry puree until well incorporated.
  6. The buttercream can be refrigerated for a  week or frozen for a month.  When ready to use, bring it back to room temperature, then whisk for five full minutes until it comes back together (it will look like it's split for the first four minutes and fifty eight seconds!)
For the cake
The finished cake
  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 225g golden caster
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 4 medium eggs
  • Zest of three limes
  • 50ml milk
  • 1.5tsp vanilla extract
For the syrup
  • juice of 3 limes
  • 100g granulated sugar
For assembly
  • 1 quantity of raspberry curd
  • 1 quantity of meringue buttercream
  • fresh raspberries
On show at Bath Clandestine Cake Club
  1. Grease and line a 20cm round tin and turn oven to 180c/160c fan/Gas 4.  Ensure your oven is configured with a shelf about two-thirds of the way down and another one at the top of the oven. Place a baking tray on top of the upper shelf.  This will help to stop the cake from peaking in the centre.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy then add the rest of the ingredients and mix to a soft consistency.
  3. Bake for approximately 1 hour (a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out dry with a few crumbs attached).  It may need slightly longer depending on your oven so if you need to return it to the oven, check every five minutes thereafter.
  4. Meanwhile combine the granulated sugar and lemon juice for the glaze.  Heat in a small saucepan until reduced by about a third.
  5. When the cake is ready take it from oven and skewer it. Pour over the syrup and allow it to cool in the tin.
  6. When the cake is completely cold, place in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up - this gives it a firmer texture for slicing which works really well in warm weather.  Remove from the fridge and slice into three layers.  Spread the bottom layer with curd.  Replace the middle layer and spread this with layer of curd.  
  7. Add the top layer and then use a quarter buttercream to ice the top and sides of the cake.  Refrigerate for thirty minutes and then another quarter the buttercream to coat a second time for a smooth finish.  Use the remaining buttercream to pipe decorations on the cake and finish off with whole fresh raspberries
Inside the cake

1 comment:

  1. I'm loving it. I was waiting for this post. No need to say it looks gorgeous and I now know what to do with my left over egg whites. No more macarons, thank you !


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