Creating a show-stopping layer cake doesn’t have to be complicated, especially when summer produce is at its very peak. This fresh raspberry cake makes the most of the season with perfectly ripe raspberries, while a host of summery berries, herb sprigs, and flowers create the perfect cake topper.
This naturally pink layer cake has a springy crumb that’s infused with fresh raspberry flavor and a tangy raspberry buttercream frosting. The cake layers are made with a fresh raspberry puree plus a bit of shredded beet root for a deeper pink hue. If you’re after a brighter shade of pink, add 1 – 2 drops red or pink food coloring.
The cake comes together in a few steps. The raspberry puree, cake layers, and frosting can be made ahead, just be sure to give the frosting time to come to room temperature before working with it. Wrap completely cooled cake layers in parchment and plastic wrap, and keep in the fridge for up to two days.
Fresh Raspberry Layer Cake
Recipe can easily be doubled to make a 2-layer (9-inch) round cake
For the Raspberry Puree
- 10 ounces fresh raspberries (about 3 cups
To make the raspberry puree, rinse and pat berries dry. Mash with a fork. Set a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and push berries through with a silicone spatula.
Keep swiping and pushing mixture through until just seeds are left in the sieve. Pour puree into a small measuring cup (you should have just under 1 cup puree). Set aside.
For the cake
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
- 1/2 cup fresh raspberry puree
- 1/4 cup finely grated beets
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 egg whites
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 – 2 drops red or pink food coloring (optional)
Set butter on counter to come to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (6-inch) cake pans with parchment circles and liberally butter and flour parchment and pan sides. Set aside.
In a blender or food processor, combine 1/2 cup raspberry puree, grated beets, and milk, and blend until smooth.
In a small bowl, stir to combine flour, baking powder, and sea salt.
In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Gently spoon into another bowl and set aside. If using a stand mixer, switch to paddle attachment, and in the same bowl used to whip egg whites, beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and beat 3 minutes more, scraping down sides as needed. Add vanilla extract. With mixer on low, fold half the in raspberry-milk mixture (butter may appear curdled at this point, but it’s fine), followed by all of the flour mixture, and remaining raspberry-milk mixture. Switch mixer off, and gently fold in egg whites by hand. If using, fold in 1 – 2 drops food coloring.
Spoon batter into prepared cake pans. Tap on counter several times to dislodge bubbles.
Bake 30 – 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs and cakes are pulling away the side of the pan.
Cool cakes 10 minutes, then flip onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Raspberry Buttercream and Garnishes
- 1/3 cup raspberry puree
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch sea salt
- 4 mint sprigs (optional)
- Edible flowers such as nasturtiums, chamomile, borage, or bachelor’s buttons (optional)
- Fresh raspberries and other summer fruits (optional)
In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, frequently stopping to scrape down the sides. Add vanilla extract and sea salt, and beat for 1 minute more. With mixer on low, add 1/4 cup raspberry puree and mix until combined. Continue adding puree in small drizzles until your desired color is achieved.
To frost, set bottom layer on a cake plate with parchment strips tucked under the edges. Spoon 1 cup frosting into a small bowl and frost bottom layer and then the top layer with a thin layer of frosting, also known as the crumb coat.
Set cake in fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
Next, add a second layer of frosting, smoothing the sides and then the top. Garnish with fresh raspberries, mint sprigs, nasturtiums, and chamomile flours. Frosted cake can be kept in the fridge before serving. Before cutting the cake, remove garnishes or place off to one side. Slice, serve, and enjoy!