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Vertical Layer Cake
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Recipe courtesy of Dan Langan

Lemon Sponge Vertical Layer Cake with Raspberry Buttercream

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 45 min (includes cooling times)
  • Active: 1 hr 25 min
  • Yield: 10 to 12 servings (One 7-inch round layer cake)


Sponge Cake:




Special equipment:
a piping bag fitted with a small fluted tip
  1. For the sponge cake: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease the bottom of a rimmed half-sheet pan (18 by 13 inches) and line the bottom only with parchment. Grease the parchment.
  2. Heat the cream in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave until steaming, about 1 minute. Add to a large mixing bowl and whisk in the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk until smooth. add in the 10 egg yolks, vanilla extract, lemon extract and lemon zest, whisking until completely smooth. Set aside. 
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the vinegar and begin to slowly add the granulated sugar over a 30 second period and then raise the mixer speed to medium high and whip until medium stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. 
  4. Fold the egg whites into the yolk-flour mixture in 3 additions. Do this carefully to retain an airy mixture. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. 
  5. Bake until golden in color and springy to the touch, 14 to 16 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Run an offset spatula around the edges of the cake, place a piece of parchment over the surface, place a cooling rack on top and flip the cake out of the pan. Use another cooling rack to flip the cake back over so that it can cool upright. 
  6. For the buttercream: Combine the raspberries, granulated sugar, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons water in a large heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Use a spoon to crush the raspberries as they cook. Continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until the raspberry pulp has reduced by about half, 10 to 15 minutes. Strain through a sieve and allow to cool (but do not chill).
  7. Combine the confectioners' sugar, egg whites and vanilla in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Combine on low until the sugar is incorporated and then raise the speed to high and whip for 10 minutes. Add half the softened butter, whipping on low to combine. Add the remaining butter, scrape down the bowl and whip attachment and then return the mixer to medium speed and beat until the mixture is fully combined, light and smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cooled raspberry sauce with the mixer on low and allow to combine. Add the orange liqueur. Raise the mixer speed to medium high and beat until smooth. 
  8. For the cake and decorations: Cut the cooled cake lengthwise into three strips that are each 4 inches wide and 16 inches long. Spread about 1 cup of the raspberry buttercream over each strip. Roll up the first strip, then line up the end of the first roll with the start of the second strip. Continue rolling until all 3 strips have been rolled. Turn the cake upright and place on a cake stand.
  9. Cover the cake with the raspberry buttercream. Transfer the remaining buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a small fluted piping tip. Finish the top of the cake with piped dollops of buttercream and a sprinkling of crushed freeze-dried raspberries.