16ouncesunsalted butter454g, room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces
1tsppure vanilla extract
1/4tspcream of tartar
For the Cake:
Preheat oven to 340 degrees F. Butter and flour three 6-inch pans. I use cake strips on my pans for more even baking as well.
Sift the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder into a large bowl then whisk together and set aside.
Beat the wet ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add lemon zest.Don't worry if your still have small chunks of butter, it will all work out!
Add the wet to the dry and mix until just combined. Fold in dried raspberries at the very end and mix until just combined.
Divide the mixture evenly into the cake pans.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until the centers are springy to the touch.
For the White Chocolate Buttercream:
In a small saucepan over medium low heat combine raspberries, lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar. Mash and heat for a minute. Bring to a simmer. Simmer until reduced by half, or about three minutes. Strain and transfer to a small bowl and chill.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter.
Add confectioners sugar and salt. Beat until creamy.
Add in melted and cooled white chocolate. Mix until incorporated and smooth.
Divide batter in half.
Add vanilla to one batch.
Add 2 1/2 tbsp of the reduction to the other batch of buttercream. If the consistency become runny, mix in confectioners sugar 2 tbsp at a time until thickened.
Transfer both batches to separate piping bags with the tips snipped off. Add the 2 piping bags to another piping bag fitted with a large round tip or with the tip snipped off.
For the Italian Buttercream:
Beat the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar, slowly add in 1/3 cup of sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form.
As the eggs are beating add the remaining sugar and 1/3 cup water to a medium saucepan then place on medium-high heat.
Stir until sugar melts and becomes clear.
Maintain at medium-high heat until temperature reads 235-240F.
Drizzle the sugar into the mixer immediately.
Run mixer until meringue is cool/tepid.
Add room temperature butter into running mixer one tablespoon piece at a time.
Add the salt and vanilla if using
Beat until butter is combined and mixture has reached a silky consistency.
Divide into 5 bowls. Keep one bowl white. Add food coloring to each batch to achieve a gradient look.
Whip the frosting and transfer to separate piping bags JUST before using.
For the Hearts:
Line up 3 printable heart sheets to use as a guideline or stencil. Add a layer of parchment paper over the sheets.
Microwave candy melts. Transfer to a piping bag and snip off the tip.
Pipe hearts according to the stencil.
Let the hearts cool and harden.
For the Assembly:
Pipe the pink/white chocolate buttercream combo between each cake layer.
Cover the cake with a thin crumb coat and chill for about 10-15 minutes.
Once the cake has chilled, start the Italian buttercream gradient with the white, then work your way up from bottom to top.
Carefully smooth with an offset spatula.
Add hearts to the cake.
You can TOTALLY use fresh raspberries in this recipe, just cut them into quarters and toss with two tablespoons of flour so you don't end up with liquid raspberry puddles in the your cake.
If you’re not using 6-inch pans, double the recipe for 8-inch pans or triple the recipe for 9-inch pans.
If you see little clumps of butter after you mix the wet ingredients don’t panic, it all works out by the time you mix in the dry ingredients. You can even use melted butter and warm the milk and sour cream up a bit if you like.
You can substitute whole milk yogurt for the sour cream if desired, I do it all the time and can’t really tell the difference.
To get FLAT layers that are moist inside and out try using cake strips! You can buy a set online or make your own from foil and paper towels at home. I made a wholeblog post on it so check it out if you’re interested!
If you don't want to make Italian buttercream you can use the American variety. I just prefer the smoothness and taste of the Italian variety. I know it's a pain to make two different types of frosting though!