Honorable Mention – Lemon Raspberry Vodka Layer Cake With Lemon Buttercream Icing

Submitted by Tracy McBurney from The Villages, FL


Dessert:  Lemon and raspberries are a delightful pair for a cake.


  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ѕ cup fine granulated sugar (350g)
  • 1 cup whole milk (237ml)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (130g)
  • 1 cup cake flour (120g)
  • 2 tsp baking powder (10g)
  • 3 tsp lemon zest
  • Ѕ tsp salt
  • Unsweetened flake coconut
Raspberry filling:
  • 12 oz. frozen raspberries, thawed, smashed and strained
  • Ѕ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 heaping tsp cornstarch
  • 2 TBSP raspberry liquor
  • 2 TBSP raspberry vodka
Simple syrup:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Stir and cook on medium heat 10 minutes, remove from heat and add 2 TBSP raspberry vodka. Set aside.
Lemon buttercream:
  • 1 cup fine sugar (201g)
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 TBSP lemon vodka
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. The milk and butter should be room temp.
  2. Grease 2 – 8 inch cake pans and line bottom with parchment, set aside.
For the raspberry filling:
  • Thaw berries and strain juice. In pan, combine juice, sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch. Cook on medium heat whisking constantly until bubbly and thick. Remove from heat and add raspberry liquor and raspberry vodka, stir and chill.
  • In bowl of stand mixer, combine eggs and sugar over a double boiler and whisk with a hand whisk until the sugar has dissolved slightly and the mixture reaches approximately 115f.
  • On high speed whip to ribbon stage, thick and pale colored and is almost 5x volume. Eggs will take 5-7 minutes to reach ribbon stage.
  • In the meantime, combine the milk and butter in a microwave safe bowl or stove top and melt to just under a boil. Add the vanilla extract.
  • By this time the eggs should be ready, fold in the sifted dry ingredients.
  • Take out 2 cups of the cake batter into a separate mixing bowl, and hand whisk in the hot milk/butter . Whisk vigorously.
  • Add back into the remaining batter in the mixing bowl. Add in the lemon zest and give a quick mix to incorporate the zest.
  • Bake in preheated oven 350 degrees for about 35 minutes or until done. (Note that all ovens are different and it may take more or less time). Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes then remove from pan and pull off parchment. You can frost after cooled or wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • When cakes are cooled, run a knife around the outside of the pan to separate the cakes into 4 rounds.
To make the buttercream:
  • Combine the sugar and egg whites in a bowl over simmering water. Whisking constantly, beat until the mixture is warm to the touch and the sugar is no longer gritty. Remove from heat and continue to beat until you have a thick, glossy meringue.
  • Transfer the meringue to the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment and beat for several minutes on medium speed. Once the bowl of the mixer feels cool to the touch you can add your butter, one stick at a time beating on medium high. Once the butter is all in, continue to beat for 6-10 minutes longer.
  • The mixture may seem to curdle at some point but don’t worry, continue to beat and it will come together into a velvety buttercream. You may need to make extra buttercream if you like a little more frosting.
  • Once well beaten, you can add the lemon juice a little at a time, beat until absorbed. Add the vanilla and set aside.
To assemble the cake:
  • With a pastry brush, brush the simple syrup on top of each layer of cake.
  • Place the bottom layer onto a cake round. (tuck strips of waxed paper under the cake to protect the plate while frosting).
  • Spread a third of the raspberry preserves onto the bottom layer of the cake and then a layer of buttercream.
  • **The trick to layering buttercream on top of preserves is to put our buttercream into a disposable piping bag or ziplock bag and cut off a 1/3 in diameter opening. Starting in the center of the layer, pipe a coil of buttercream. Continue to coil tightly, round and round until you have an even layer of icing on top. No need to spread the frosting on the top. Top with a second layer of cake and repeat two more times. Place the last layer on top and then crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of icing.
  • Chill the cake until the icing is firm and then frost the cake with the remaining butter cream.
  • Smooth the remaining buttercream over the cake with an offset spatula until it is level smooth.
  • Sprinkle the coconut over the top of the cake and coat the sides by gently pouring the coconut between your hand and the cake.

The cake is best when eaten the same day, or you can store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Copyright Cooking with Vodka
Proceeds go to Leesburg Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation Education Fund, 501 ( C )( 6 ) Corporation.