Let Them Eat: Lemon Cake with Fresh Raspberry Buttercream
Confession: I used to scrape the frosting off cake. And throw it away. I was put off by all the nasty frosting I encountered in my youth. I remember going to certain piñatas (birthday parties) and having cake with chocolate icing that was rough as an emery board, and the classic birthday yellow cake shellacked with a white crust and decked out with sugar roses. Frosting was dead to me (though those roses did make lovely decorations for Barbie's Dream House).
I'm older and more mature now, and, grown-ups give things second chances. I've come to love a rich slather of cream cheese icing, a silky blanket of ganache, a spoonful of fluffy buttercream...
Which leads me to this week's recipe. It is all about the frosting: princess-pink, red-red raspberry flecked, melt-in-your mouth clouds of buttercream generously spread on lemon cake (the cake is adapted from Cook's Illustrated, flavored with bright lemon juice and zest). I start with an Italian buttercream (boiling simple syrup is slowly drizzled into beaten egg whites while the mixer whips away to make shiny billows of meringue; then, lots and lots of butter is added, one pat a time) and add a raspberry puree and loads of fresh raspberries. This is the first time I've eaten the frosting before the cake.