This vanilla cake with Kahlua raspberry buttercream is the perfect quarantine dessert. The cake is moist and light while the buttercream is rich and tasty.
I admit, I do not bake that often and when I do, I usually opt for cupcakes because they’re easy and no-fuss. I have always been intimidated by cakes and particularly layer cakes. But after make this vanilla cake with Kahlua raspberry buttercream, I am hooked. So hooked in fact, I had to give half this cake to my neighbor so I didn’t sit and eat it all in one sitting.
The basis of this recipe is a simple vanilla cake. The frosting is a very standard buttercream which I add Kahlua, vanilla extract, and a bit of powdered freeze-dried raspberries to.
After the cakes have baked and cooled, I frost it and then dust a lot more powdered raspberries on top. I find the raspberries have just a little bit of tartness to them to help offset the richness of the buttercream.
You can use other freeze-dried fruits in place of the raspberries, if you like. I think freeze-dried strawberries would be amazing in this recipe! If you have fresh strawberries or raspberries, you can decorate the top of the cake with halves or slices of fresh fruit.
I think you will absolutely love this vanilla cake with Kahlua raspberry buttercream. It’s so delicious and would be an all-season cake that will be a hit with anyone who tries it.
If you made this recipe, please rate the recipe below and leave a comment to tell me how you liked it! If you take a picture of it, please tag me on Instagram so I can feature you in my feed!
Vanilla Cake with Kahlua Raspberry Buttercream
- 2 Bowls
- Electric hand mixer (or standing mixer)
- Two round 9'' cake pans
- 2¼ cups cake flour plus more for coating pans
- 1⅓ cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- Baking spray or butter for coating the pans
- Flour to dust the pans
Kahlua Raspberry Buttercream:
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup Kahlua
- 16 ounces powdered sugar plus more, if needed
- 1/2 cup freeze-dried raspberries
- Whole milk or heavy cream a splash or two, if needed
Before Starting the Cake:
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Spray two 9'' cake pans with baking spray or coat with butter. Sprinkle flour over each pan.
Start the Cake Batter:
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix with a spoon to combine.
Add the butter and use a hand mixer on the lowest setting to blend for 1 minute or until a grainy consistency has been reached.
Add the vanilla and the milk and use the hand mixer for 1-2 minutes until combined and smooth. Do not over-mix.
Add the first egg and mix for thirty seconds. Add the next egg and mix for 30 seconds. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and incorporate.
Bake the Cakes:
Divide the batter between the two prepared pans and transfer to the oven for 30 minutes. Check the doneness with a toothpick and if it doesn't come out clean, bake for an additional 3-4 minutes.
Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to set for 10-15 minutes.
Carefully turn the cakes on to a wire rack and cool for at least 1 hour.
Prepare the Kahlua Raspberry Buttercream:
Place the freeze-dried raspberries in a food processor and pulse until they reach a fine powder.
Add the room temperature butter to a bowl and mix with a hand mixer for 1 minute. Add the vanilla and mix for 2 minutes more. Add the powdered sugar and mix for 3-5 minutes until well-combined and smooth.
If the buttercream seems too stiff, add a splash of milk or heavy cream and mix until well-combined and smooth.
Frost the Cake:
Place a cake on a stand and frost the top of it with 1/3 of the buttercream frosting and use a stainless steel icing spatula to create an even layer. Using a fine mesh sieve, add half the the raspberry powder to the top of the buttercream. (Adding through a fine mesh sieve allows you to avoid adding the seeds to the buttercream.)
Place the second cake on top and add another 1/3 of the buttercream and smooth it out with an icing spatula. Using the icing spatula, frost the outside of the cake with the remaining 1/3 buttercream frosting. Note: Some people prefer to do a crumb coat but I skipped that because I wasn't too concerned about little pieces of cake in my frosting.
Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the top of the cake with the rest of the powdered freeze-dried raspberries.