One of my besties had her birthday on Friday. It's one of our family traditions to make the "birthday person" whatever they want for dinner, so I offered that to her, and she chose "breakfast." So we had Cracker Barrel Hashbrowns, bacon, sausage, and blueberry muffins made with our own blueberries. A feast fit for a king. Or, for a birthday friend. Also I made this cake for her birthday, to bring to home fellowship. Kind of like a party. We share a love of lemon desserts, so even though this recipe sounds hard, I wanted to give it a try. I knew that if it didn't work, we could just smear frosting on the broken pieces and still be happy. This is the last recipe I have marked from the Southern Living Christmas cookbook that my mother-in-law sent to me for my birthday.
1 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
3 cups sifted cake flour (because I wanted it to be perfect, I did actually buy this...I'm not sure what the difference is between this and regular flour though)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 10 oz jar seedless raspberry preserves
Lemon Buttercream Frosting:
1 1/4 cups butter, softened
2 tsp grated lemon rind
3 tbsp lemon juice (I grated a fresh lemon for the rind and then squeezed it for it's juice...I have bottled versions of both but I wanted to use fresh because I knew it would taste better)
3 cups sifted powdered sugar (I did not sift any of the above ingredients)
Grease 3 9-inch round cake pans; line with waxed paper. Grease and flour wax paper. Set aside (that sounded immensely, and unnecessarily, complicated...I used shortening and reeeeally greased the cake pans, and left it at that...they slid right out).
Beat shortening at medium speed of an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to shortening mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix after each addition. Stir in extracts.
Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes; remove from pans and let cool completely on wire racks.
Slice cake layers in half horizontally to make 6 layers (all 3 cake layers puffed up when they baked, so I had to level them first before cutting them in half). Place one layer, cut side up, on a cake plate; spread with 3 tbsp preserves (I didn't measure). Repeat procedure with remaining layers and preserves, omitting preserves on top of last layer.
For frosting, beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed of an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until frosting is spreading consistency.
Spread frosting on top and sides of cake. If desired, hold some frosting back to pipe flowers and whatnot on top of the cake after it's frosted (I didn't do this, and I barely had enough to frost the whole cake as it was). Store in airtight container in refrigerator.
After all that work, the verdict: It was great! It was a bit crooked, and it certainly did not look like something a professional would turn out, but when we cut into it, it looked sufficiently like the picture (sorry no camera to document...). I worried that it would be too sweet, but really it wasn't. And the fresh lemon in the frosting was so so good. Most of the kids didn't like this, which I don't think is a bad thing. It's more of a grown up taste, lemon is. Overall it was very good! And Barbie and I already knew it was, since right after the cake assembly we ate some leftover cake pieces with some frosting scraped from the sides of the bowl...don't muzzle the ox while it treads out the grain, right?