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A Baking Enthusiast's Blog
Winter Wonderland Cake

Winter Wonderland Cake

This light vanilla cake sponge is contrasted with a crisp almond cookie base and a tart raspberry jam filling. It is simply the perfect medley in your mouth!

Key Tips: In order to get a light sponge, it’s valuable to spend time incorporating enough air into the batter.

When making the raspberry jam, it’s always best to use fresh raspberries and then sift the seeds so you get a smooth texture.

Decorate with fresh raspberries, cinnamon, and rosemary for a sophisticated look. To top off the winter wonderland look, dust the top with confectioners sugar!

Almond Cookie Base Layer: 

Ingredients: 
1 tablespoon of cold water
1/4 cup of butter (chilled and cut into small chunks)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of ground almonds
1/2 cup of all-purpose flour 
1 tablespoon of sugar

 Directions: 
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the almonds, flour, sugar, and salt with a whisk. Make sure all are fully combined. 
2. With a fork (or even your fingers), combine the butter with the dry ingredients until crumbs form. 
3. Add the water and form the mixture into a dough ball. Place the dough in cling wrap (or any container) and refrigerate it for 30 minutes. 
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
5. After the dough has chilled, remove it roll it out on a flat surface. Take your cake pan and make a cut out of the dough so that your almond biscuit dough is the size of your cake base. 
6. Place the cut-out dough on a baking sheet with parchment paper and prick the dough with a fork. This will prevent the dough from expanding. 
7. Bake for 15 minutes. 
8. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. 

 Vanilla Cake Recipe:

Ingredients: 
3 cups of cake flour (it’s essential you use cake flour or else it won’t be light and fluffy!)
1 cup of milk (any milk will do)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of baking powder 
2 cups of granulated sugar
1 cup of salted butter at room temperature 
4 eggs
1/4 cup of vegetable oil

 Directions: 
1. Coat your 9-inch round pan with butter and cover the base with parchment paper.
2. Using a hand mixer, fully combine butter and sugar until you can no longer feel the sugar granules when you touch the butter.
3. Add the oil gradually to the mix.
4. Once the oil is combined, add the eggs (one at a time) until fully incorporated.Add the vanilla extract and baking powder.
5. Continue to whip up the mixture incorporating air to make the sponge light and fluffy. 
6. In small portions, add a little bit of flour to the mix, then a little bit of milk. Alternate between the two until both are fully combined with the wet ingredients.
7. Mix the batter for another minute or to incorporate more air into the mixture. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius) for 40-50 minutes. 
8. To check if your cake is done, a few crumbs should stick to your toothpick after inserting it in the middle of your cake. If it comes out clean, you have over baked the cake. If it comes out with raw batter – let it bake for longer. 
9. Once done, place cakes aside to cool. 

 Raspberry Jam Filling: 

Ingredients: 
5 oz (300g) of fresh/frozen raspberries
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon juice

 Directions: 
1. In pot over low heat, combine the sugar, lemon juice, and raspberries until the raspberries have dissolved and the mixture is boiling.
2. Remove the jam from the heat and sift out the seeds. 
3. Place in refrigerator to chill for at least 10 minutes. 

 Butter Cream Frosting: 

Ingredients:
1/2 cup of unsalted butter (at room temperature)
2 tablespoons of milk
2 cups of sifted, confectioner’s sugar 
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

 Directions: 
1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk butter until the butter turns into a pale yellowish/white color, and the butter is creamy and has increased in volume significantly. 
2. With a spoon or spatula slowly mix in the confectioner’s sugar.
3. Then use a whisk to incorporate more air into the mixture. Whisk in the milk and beat the mixture for another 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is smooth. 

 Decoration/Assembly:
1. Take cake stand and put a tiny bit of frosting in the center. Then place your almond biscuit on top of the frosting so it’s held in place.
2. Frost the almond biscuit with a thin layer of the butter cream frosting.
3. Remove cake from pan, and cut it into two layers. Place one layer on top of the biscuit.
4. Pipe a thick ring of buttercream frosting around the edge of the layer. 
5. Place all the raspberry jam in the center of the buttercream frosting ring and smooth it out so it is evenly covering the 1st layer. 
6. Place the second cake layer on top of the first. Cover the entire cake with the remaining buttercream frosting (leaving a little for piping decorations if you please). 
7. With the small bit of buttercream left, pipe small dots around the base rim of the cake. 

 To create the winter wonderland look:
1. Form a double ring of fresh raspberries around the rim of the cake. 
2. Intersperse bits of rosemary along the rim, saving one piece for the “tree” in the center. 
3. Take two piece of cinnamon and form a cross in the center of the cake (to look like wooden logs). 
4. Place the last piece of rosemary in the center of the cinnamon (so the “tree” has a “log base”). 
5. Lastly, dust the raspberries with confectioner’s sugar to create a “snowy” effect.  

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