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Happy Birthday Cake: Yellow Cake with Raspberry Filling and Whippy Cream Frosting

Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday dear loved one....

The song is nostalgic; the candles are festive; but the real joy of a birthday, as we all know, is the cake. Some cakes are layered and filled with raspberry jam, whipped cream, dark chocolate, or billowy marshmallow fluff and topped with mounds of frosting and candles and some cakes are baked in cupcake tins and decorated with a simple swirl of frosting and a single candle.

The origin of birthday cakes is debated. Some say we need to thank the Greeks for this fine tradition while other historians give credit to the Germans and their Kinderfest for both the cake and the candles.

Modern birthday cakes have evolved into complex works of art made from brightly colored fondant and modeling chocolate. These cakes require skill, practice, and a great deal of time to perfect. Vintage cakes, however, were made by ordinary moms and grandmas who wanted to bake something special to honor a loved child or dear friend. Most vintage cakes are rather simple in their appearance but their taste can be exquisite.

This simple cake was made by Mimi's Kitchen for a little girl's 6th birthday party . She requested a raspberry "circle cake with swirly frosting." As it turns out a circle cake is a layer cake and swirly frosting remains open to interpretation.

Her special day dessert is a yellow cake made with a touch of lemon flavor and filled with fresh made raspberry jam. The frosting is stabilized whipped cream that swirls and swirls just like the little girl's ballerina tutu. The design on the top of the cake was made by piping parallel lines of raspberry filling across the top and then lightly pulling the tip of a knife perpendicular through the lines first one way and then the other.

The beauty of this vintage design is that anyone can do it and it requires no special equipment. The birthday girl enjoys her cake and does not have to share her special day attention with a spectacularly designed fondant and modeling chocolate extravaganza. Besides that, it leaves the baker with more energy to enjoy the birthday girl (or boy).

Yellow Layer Cake (with a touch of lemon flavor)

1 ¼ cups granulated sugar

zest of 2 medium lemons

1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

½ cup packed light brown sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature1

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

Zest the two lemons and mix with the granulated sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour two or three 9x2 inch cake pans with nonstick spray. Set aside.

Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high until creamy - about 1 minute. Add granulated sugar and lemon mixture and brown sugar to the whipped butter and beat on medium-high speed until well creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla and beat medium speed until everything is completely combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

In a large sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Beat on low speed just until mixed then add the buttermilk and mix for 5 - 10 seconds longer. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir batter lightly from the bottom of the bowl to be certain everything is just combined. Be careful to not over-mix at this point. Over-mixing the batter will encourage gluten formation leading to a dense textured crumb.

Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans. Bake the three layers for about 21-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If only using 2 cake pans, your bake time will be a little longer. I baked my 3 layers for 22 minutes. I baked my two layers for 27 minutes. Ovens vary and bake time is critical to produce a moist crumbed cake. Watch your cake closely as you approach the minimum time suggested.

Set the baked layers on cooling racks for 10 minutes before turning layers out of the baking tins. Allow layers to cool completely before filling and frosting.

To assemble the cake place one layer on cake stand bottom side up. Pipe a circle of whippy cream frosting around the edges to hold the raspberry filling

in. Spread ⅓ of the raspberry filling across the cake layer inside the Whippy Cream Frosting border.

Place second cake layer over filling bottom side up. Nestle the layer in and make sure it is level.

Spread ⅓ of the raspberry filling across the cake layer inside the Whippy Cream Frosting border then place the third layer on top bottom side up for a flat top surface.

Spread a thin layer of Whippy Cream Frosting over the top and sides of the cake. This thin layer of frosting is called the crumb coat. It will protect your final swirled layer of frosting from picking up unsightly crumbs.Place the cake in the refrigerator and allow the crumb coat to chill for 45 to 60 minutes.

When the crumb coat has chilled frost the cake top and sides with the remaining Whippy Cream Frosting. Add swirls and peaks as you please or level the tops and side with a off-set spatula for a sleek look.

To add a decorative touch to the top of the cake, pour the remaining Raspberry Filling into a piping bag with a number 3 tip or into a small zip lock bag. Snip a corner off the bag and pipe parallel lines across the top of the cake. Lightly pull the tip of a knife perpendicular through the piped lines first one way and then the other.

Raspberry Filling

4 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen)

¾ cup white sugar

1 cup water, divided

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Combine raspberries, sugar, ¾ cup water, and lemon juice in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium low heat and simmer until reduced, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl.

Pour strained liquid back into the saucepan and discard pulp and seeds.

Mix remaining water and cornstarch together in a bowl until dissolved; add to raspberry mixture.

Bring mixture to a boil; cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and translucent about 5 minutes. Cool filling in refrigerator, at least 30 minutes.

Whippy Cream Frosting

8-ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature for an hour 2 cups whipping cream 6- 8 tablespoons powdered sugar (or to taste) 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whip the cream cheese in a small bowl until soft and aerated. In a larger bowl whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Add the cream cheese and sugar and continue whipping on high speed until it forms stiff peaks. Stir in the vanilla extract.

This frosting will stay stable for up to 4 hours at room temperature but it should not be exposed to direct sunlight or higher temperatures. Leftovers must be refrigerated.

If the cake is not served shortly after frosting then store in the refrigerator but allow cake to warm to room temperature for 1-2 hours before serving. Always be mindful that it is frosted with perishable dairy products and should not be stored long term at room temperature.

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