White Chocolate Raspberry Lady Cake


We don’t make birthday cakes very often here. It’s not that I myself don’t enjoy and appreciate cake. My kids don’t. I know, what kid wouldn’t want to shove their face in a piece of frosting-covered sweetness? Mine. Now, don’t get me wrong. They like the idea of cake. They may even take their piece happily. Then a bite or two into it, abandonment. They’ve traded up to a side of celery or a pile of strawberries. I made a cake once for Kiwi. She didn’t eat a single bite. Never again. Cupcakes with tootsie roll trains on top for a train-themed party for Kola Nut. He ate the trains and left the rest. We do ice cream. They do eat ice cream.

That’s why I was so excited when Niki agreed to let me bake her daughter, Cocoa Bean, her first birthday cake. I started my search by looking for something natural, per Niki’s request. I had already decided I could use fruit for the coloring, and the grocery stores being void of any decent pomegranates this time of year, I’d settled on raspberries as my food coloring of choice. Then there was the chocolate matter. I was leaning in the white chocolate frosting direction. Deb at Smitten Kitchen had just what I was looking for, a fruit-based cake with no questionable ingredients like Jell-o, which would definitely break the no food dye restriction I was working with.

Start by preparing your pans. As I demonstrated before, this is easily achieved by tracing the bottom of the pan to the parchment, cutting it out and sticking it in there. Your cakes come out in one perfect piece. It’s worth it.

The friends that will be joining the party.

I was kind of sad to squish my berries, until I saw what they looked like puréed. Then I started dreaming of eating them with a bowl of vanilla ice cream or spreading them on french toast. Surely the cake didn’t need all of them.

Yes, the purée and the butter were creamed into the dry ingredients. Be sure to give your dry ingredients a mix to make sure they’re evenly distributed, and as long as your butter is sufficiently softened, I don’t believe you should have any problem in this process.

Kola Nut had been waiting to make this cake all week. He demanded to be involved at every step of the way, and the adding of the milk was a great opportunity to have him be a part of it.

Of course, I couldn’t just let him help. Kumquat was soon clamoring to get her hands dirty.

I like the purplish shade of pink it turned out as. Could it have been more pink? Yes. I could have even sprung for a natural food dye or two from Whole Foods. I chose to leave it as is.

This frosting is what I consider a fake buttercream. No eggs. You can call it simple buttercream or American buttercream if you want. Perhaps the lazy man’s buttercream.

I did add a tablespoon of heavy cream at the end. It really depends on what consistency you were going for. I’m not sure it needs it. You can decide on your own.

I had a platter for the large cake, but I did not have an appropriately-sized small one. This is a piece of cardboard that would normally have gone to the recycling. Wrap it in a piece of foil and tape on the bottom to create a suitable serving surface. I’ve seen people use high gloss wrapping paper for this as well, but it has to be the expensive stuff that barely wants to fold around the box you’re wrapping because it’s so thick and stiff. You don’t want to end up eating it after you cut into the cake.

After cutting my larger square in half, I spread on a layer of raspberry preserves of the homemade variety. I then added a thin layer of frosting and stuck the second half on top. You’ll have to excuse the lack of pictures of actually frosting the cake. I was working under a time constraint and Ole was wrangling the kids to get them ready to leave; therefore, he was unable to help me with the pointing and shooting.

I had originally planned on layering another large layer on this, but Niki was having cake guilt and told me to only make enough for some of the 50 or so people attending the party. I complied, but I do think extra layers would have been more stunning. The recipe does originate from Sky High, after all.

Cocoa Bean was hesitant at first to believe that her mom would put an entire cake in front of her and let her eat it, but she soon gave in and got her hands dirty.

I don’t think she was very happy when it came time to clean those hands, though.

And while all this was going on? Kidney Bean was capitalizing on her toys, unaware that there was cake to be had. Maybe he’ll be my cake lover.


White Chocolate Raspberry Lady Cake adapted from Smitten Kitchen, originally from Sky High
For the cake:
4 1/2 cups cake flour
3 cups sugar
5 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
18 ounces fresh raspberries (can substitute frozen – 1 1/2 cups purée)
8 egg whites
2/3 cup milk

For the lazy man’s buttercream:
2 cups softened butter
12 ounces white chocolate, melted
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 Tablespoon heavy whipping cream
Raspberry preserves

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 9″ or 8″ round cake pans or two 9″ square cake pans and line with parchment paper. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Cream in butter and raspberry purée, start slow and then blend for 2 to 3 minutes. The batter will be very thick at this point, and also very tasty. (Deb was right; it’s like ice cream only better.)

Beat together egg whites and milk. Slowly add the egg and milk mixture to the batter, blending after every 1/3 cup or so. Be sure to scrape the ice cream mixture down off the sides, as it tends to want to hang there instead of joining the party. When all the milk has been added, pour batter into the pans, dividing evenly.

Bake at 350°F for 35 to 40 minutes until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.

While the cake is baking, melt white chocolate in double boiler or in the microwave in small intervals, stirring after every 20-25 seconds. Cream together chocolate and butter. Add confectioners sugar and mix thoroughly. Mix in heavy whipping cream if desired (for desired consistency).

Trim top of cake so it creates a flat base. Between the layers spread raspberry preserves, followed by 1/4 or so of the frosting. Frost sides and top of cake with remaining frosting. For the birthday girl’s cake, I reserved a small amount of frosting and mixed in the raspberry preserves to create a pink color.

Garnish cake with fresh raspberries or white chocolate curls. Serve to a special birthday girl or boy or man or woman. Enjoy.

For more fresh raspberry recipes, visit Tammy’s Recipe’s In-Season Recipe Swap.


  1. Yum! Will you be making Baby Doodle’s first birthday cake as well?

    Mandi’s last blog post..7 Quick Tips for Organizing Socks

  2. Tiffany says:

    Will there be any bean names left for my future kids?

  3. You’re simply the best, Shaina! Your cake was not short of fabulous, and Cocoa Bean (very cute) is the luckiest one year old ever. Thanks so much again!! I’m telling you, a nice side biz opportunity here…

    Niki’s last blog post..Fake Baking: It’s not just happening in tanning booths

  4. Mandi, I would love to make Baby Doodle’s cake. I’ll just have to fly out there every year.

    Tiffany, you kids will all have turtle names. I already named the first one Tortoise Shell.

    Niki, any time. Really.

  5. Beautiful!!!!!! 🙂

    Tammy L’s last blog post..In-Season Recipe Swap: Raspberries

  6. delicious! I just used my raspberries last night to make dark chocolate raspberry cake — now I wish I had more!! yum.

  7. Hi. We’re supposed to cool the cake before slicing in half vertically, adding the layer of preserves & frosting, and then frosting it, right? I know….so obvious, but I’m going to make this right now for the first time and don’t want to ruin it. I need it to be good for a dinner tonight. 🙂 Thanks.

  8. Yep, cool it first, and good luck! I’m sure you’ll love it!

  9. Shaina,
    For your cake (pictured), did you used two 9″ cake pans, or one larger, and one smaller? Did you only use the batter made from the above recipe? Thanks!

  10. Jena,
    I used one 9″ square and two 5″ squares, but you can also use three 8″ or 9″ round cake pans. I used one 5″ square for the top and the second 5″ square for a “smash cake” for the birthday girl. Hope this helps!

  11. Hi,
    THis looks wonderful! I’m needing a recipe for my neice’s baby shower and she love raspberry. I am wondering if you have ever tried freezing it? I really need to find a raspberry cake/filling recipe that I can freeze and decorate ahead of time as I have to also arrive a day before the shower and travel with the cake. Thanks for sharing.

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  13. looking fantastic!. I can’t wait to try.

  14. I am DYING to try this out! It looks amazing!

  15. Hi, Shaina,
    I made this two years ago (and previously posted). The cake was beautiful but VERY dense. Is it supposed to turn out like that? I was sure that I had unintentionally used baking powder that was too old, resulting in the density. I would like to make this again, but only if I erred. I didn’t receive any compliments on its taste, and hope it was due to the baking powder. We didn’t eat the leftovers, resulting in throwing out about 3/4 of a cake…can’t afford to be throwing this away with the price of raspberries and white chocolate. Please advise. I guess we’re used to a more fluffy cake around here.

    • This cake is more dense than fluffy because of the fruit that is used to flavor it. It is not, however, what I would call “VERY” dense, just had more of a wet crumb to it for me. I did receive compliments on the flavor, and the only change from my recipe to the one in the book is that I used raspberries rather than strawberries (and different frosting). You can see Deb’s original post on her Pink Lady Cake and read the comments to see more suggestions from others who have made the cake. Some people did have a similar situation as you did, so here are my thoughts on why it potentially could have been more dense than it should have been:

      First, be sure to mix in a full 1 1/2 cups of raspberry puree. It’s not 1 1/2 cups of raspberries that are then pureed, but 1 1/2 cups of puree itself. Second, do make sure you’re using fresh cake flour and not substituting all-purpose, as they have different amounts of gluten and would result in different cakes. Old baking powder could also be a culprit, but I can’t see it making that much of a difference on its own where the cake would be rendered inedible.

      One commenter on Deb’s blog suggested whipping the egg whites before incorporating the milk, so they are frothy and foamy. This would help add air into the batter and make the cake fluffier. I think this would make a huge difference in the density of the cake, and I see on Deb’s blog that others mention they assumed they were to be whipped and ended up with fluffy cakes. I’d say this is probably the best piece of advice for getting a different cake texture.

      I hope this helps, and I’m sorry you didn’t have a good experience the first time!

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