This is the infamous cake that has become known over the years as the “Shower Cake” amongst my family and extended family. Over the past couple of years we’ve had many occasions for showers. The first time this cake made its debut was at my Cousin Jodi’s wedding shower, and then soon after that..my oldest sister’s wedding shower, and then her sister-in-law’s wedding shower, and then my wedding shower, and then another sister-in-law’s wedding shower, and then a wedding anniversary party! Obviously, we’ve had many marriages in our family to celebrate (and some broke parents now, too)!
One of the stars of all of these get-togethers was this cake. How do I know you might ask? Well, it’s simple- if you didn’t grab the first piece…you wouldn’t get any at all! (Wise advice passed down from my sister, Grace. Go visit her sweet blog about food, music, and cultural pursuits down on the eastern shore- here!) So many people have raved about this cake after its many appearances, so I thought sharing with the world would be fair to the rest of you. It’s seriously one of the best cakes I’ve ever eaten. What I love most about this cake is that it has incredibly fresh flavor from the lemon and raspberries while the cake is light and moist. Since summer is rapidly approaching, its a perfect treat with a ton of summer flair. Who could resist?! .
Be forewarned: this cake has several steps. I make most of it beforehand to avoid being overwhelmed with all of the steps, and I have found that to severely reduce my stress level! 🙂
- 2 boxes Betty Crocker French Vanilla (Yep… it comes from a boxed cake!)
- 1 box instant vanilla pudding
- water (according to directions on box cake mix)
- vegetable oil (according to directions on box cake mix)
- eggs (according to directions on box cake mix)
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
Lemon Simple Syrup:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tsp lemon juice
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:
- 2 sticks softened butter
- 2 lbs powdered sugar
- dash of salt
- vanilla extract to taste
- milk to taste
- Perfect Lemon Curd (make it a day ahead): Stir together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small saucepan. Then add butter and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, whisking, then continue to simmer whisking constantly for 1 minute. Lightly beat egg yolks in a separate small bowl and slowly whisk in ¼ cup of warm lemon mixture into the egg yolks to temper them. (This is crucial so that you don’t get scrambled eggs!!) Then add the egg mixture into the remaining lemon mixture in the saucepan. Reduce heat to LOW and heat, whisking constantly, until curd has thickened, about 2-3 minutes. (Do not let it boil!) Transfer to a bowl and stir in zest. Chill, covered, until cool, at least 1½ hours.
- Vanilla Cake: Follow instructions on cake box for adding eggs, water, and oil, but add the pudding to the batter as well. Bake according to box instructions in (3) 9-inch cake pans lightly greased and floured.
- Lemon Simple Syrup: (Make as the cakes are baking) Simmer sugar and water until syrup drains from a spoon in a steady stream. Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Once syrup has cooled and cakes are slightly cooled, brush the cakes lightly with simple syrup. This will keep the cakes moist! Then wrap tightly with plastic wrap and freeze. (I froze my cake overnight and took it out 4 hours before the event and the cake was perfect! That’s my suggestion to lock in the moisture in the cake by freezing!)
- Vanilla Buttercream Frosting: (Make and ice on the day of the event) Cream the butter and a pinch of salt in a mixer and add powdered sugar in slow increments. Add vanilla extract and milk in between increments of powdered sugar. If icing is too stiff, add more milk. If icing is too runny, add more powdered sugar.
- Ice Cake: On a cake pan spread a small amount of icing in the middle and then put one of the cake rounds on top. Using a piping bag (or plastic bag with tip snipped off) pipe a circle on the edge of the cake layer. This is to keep the curd from oozing out of the sides. Then fill with half of the lemon curd and fresh raspberries. Repeat this step again with another layer of cake.
- Crumb Coat: Once the cake has been stacked with all three layers, take ½ cup of icing and add a little water to it. Spread this thinned icing over the entire surface of the cake. If crumbs pull up- that’s okay! This layer is to help with crumb control! Then I suggest letting the icing harden in the fridge until it’s totally dry to touch
- Finish icing the rest of the cake with the remainder of leftover icing. I reserved a little in my piping bag for the details on the bottom of the cake. I also use a spatula to give it the spiral look and then add fresh raspberries and lemon zest for garnish!
Trust me, this cake is TOTALLY worth the work. You won’t be disappointed!