Raspberry Cake With Swirled Meringue

May 19, 2020
Author Notes

Sun-sweetened raspberries at the height of summer don’t need much to shine. Should you, for any reason, get tired of snacking on them out of hand or need a slightly more elegant presentation, this raspberry-studded vanilla cake crowned with meringue might fit the bill.

Half of the raspberries get folded into the tender (but sturdy!) vanilla cake batter. When the cake is mostly set and starting to bronze, carefully remove the cake from the oven and stud its surface with the remaining gemlike raspberries. This ensures a juicy berry burst with each bite. A summer cake would not be so without a frosting that could hang in the heat, too. A traditional loose whip is replaced by a brilliant, perky meringue that, especially when swirled through with raspberry sauce, is an opportunity to let your inner artiste shine. —Coral Lee

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is shared in partnership with Driscoll's Berries. —The Editors

  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Makes one 9-inch cake
  • For the cake:
  • 1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (192 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) whole milk, room temperature
  • 3 ounces Driscoll's fresh raspberries (about half of a 6-ounce package)
  • For the meringue:
  • 3 ounces Driscoll's fresh raspberries (about half of a 6-ounce package)
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) superfine sugar, divided
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • Flaky salt, for finishing
In This Recipe
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Butter and line a 9-inch round pan with a circle of parchment.
  2. For the cake: Add the butter, sugar, and vanilla to a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream on medium-high speed until lightened, about 5 minutes. Stop and and scrape down the sides of the bowl, then let whip another 3 to 4 minutes, or until ultra-fluffy and no sugar crystals remain visible. Meanwhile, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, and stir with a fork.
  3. Reduce the speed to low, and add in the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl down between eggs. Increase the speed to medium, and whip until batter is homogenous and webby, another 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and alternate adding the milk and dry ingredients until there are no traces left of either.
  4. Add slightly more than half of the batter to the cake pan, spreading the batter to the edges with an offset spatula or spoon. Reserving a small handful, fold the raspberries gently into the remaining batter—just one or two turns is enough—then plop onto the batter already in the pan. (Clean and reserve stand mixer bowl for meringue.)
  5. Smooth the surface with a spatula, and bake for 20 minutes, or until the top of the cake is just set. Stud the surface with the remaining berries, poking to submerge each halfway, and return the cake to the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cake is golden and springs back to the touch. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. While the cake cools, make the meringue: Combine the raspberries and 2 tablespoons sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, breaking up the berries with a wooden spoon to help things along. When the sugar is dissolved, and things start to look juicy, transfer to a blender and blitz until smooth, about 30 seconds. Fine-strain out the seeds, if desired, and set jam aside.
  7. Rinse out the saucepan. Fill with an inch of water, and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.
  8. Add the egg whites and remaining 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar to the stand mixer bowl, then set atop the simmering water. When the egg whites are no longer cold to the touch, about 5 to 7 minutes, lock the bowl into the stand mixer, add the cream of tartar and vanilla, and whisk on medium-high speed until meringue is stiff and glossy, about 7 minutes.
  9. Dollop the meringue atop the cooled cake, spreading it evenly across the surface. Using a teaspoon, add the raspberry juice in random dots around the surface, then use the back of a spoon to swirl as desired. For peaks, swirl and pull the meringue straight up. Finish cake with some flaky salt and serve.

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Coral Lee is an Associate Editor at Food52. Before this, she cooked food solely for photos. Before that, she cooked food solely for customers. And before that, she shot lasers at frescoes in Herculaneum and taught yoga. When she's not writing about or making food, she's thinking about it. Her Heritage Radio Network show, "Meant to be Eaten," explores cross-cultural exchange as afforded by food. You can follow her on Instagram @meanttobeeaten.