Thursday, May 12, 2005

Rose's Lightly Sweetened Raspberry Sauce

Amina's cake will be a 4-tiered (12"-10"-8"-6") white butter cake. Since this may not be enough for the crowd we are expecting, there will be one or two undecorated 13"x9" cakes in the kitchen for backup. Every tier will have 4 layers. I am planning to use 2 different flavors of Neoclassic buttercream to frost in between the layers: raspberry and lemon. The outside will be frosted by White Chocolate Cream Cheese buttercream. There are a number of reasons for using 2 different kinds of buttercream. First of all, I am afraid that my Neoclassic buttercream may turn more buttery than creamy. In case this does happen, the flavors of raspberry and lemon will mask the buttery taste. Also, if the weather is very hot that day, the Neoclassic (which is mostly butter and quite prone to melting) will probably perform better inside the cake than the outside. Therefore, it is a good choice for in between the layers. A second frosting is always welcome to the palate, and the white chocolate inside the White Chocolate Cream Cheese frosting will complement the raspberry and lemon flavors inside very nicely. This buttercream has a light taste since it is sweetened only with white chocolate, it is the right consistency for piping decorations, and most importantly, I believe that it will withstand the high temperatures better than the Neoclassic buttercream.

Let me come back to the real topic of this post. I did not bake yesterday but I made the Lightly Sweetened Raspberry Sauce from the Cake Bible, which I will use to flavor the raspberry buttercream. Rose Beranbaum, the author of the Cake Bible, says that this tart, intensely flavored puree is ideal to temper the sweetness of buttercreams. It is so concentrated that it scarcely effects the consistency of the buttercream base. She goes on to say that this is the purest raspberry flavor of any frosting she has ever experienced.

Emboldened by the fact that I made this sauce several times before, I relied on my memory as I made it this time, and I ended up with a more diluted version, which just won't do to flavor the buttercream. A second batch is in the works as I write these, and since I do not want to waste what I already made, I am wondering if I can use it as a dessert sauce next to the cake. Picture a tall slice of cake atop some raspberry sauce. What do you think, is it too much?

Here is the recipe without further ado:

2 12-oz bags of frozen unsweetened raspberries
2 tsp lemon juice
2/3 c sugar (optional)

In a strainer suspended over a deep bowl, thaw the raspberries completely. This will take several hours. (To speed thawing, place in an owen with a pilot light.) Press the berries to force out all the juice. There should be 1 cup.

In a saucepan boil the juice until reduced to 1/4 cup. (You can also do this in a microwave on high power. If you do so, make sure that you use a big enough heatproof glass measure or bowl to allow for bubbling.) Pour it into a lightly oiled heatproof cup.

Puree the raspberries and sieve them with a food mill with a fine disc. Or use a fine strainer to remove all the seeds. (This part is really time consuming.) You should have 1 liquid cup of puree. Stir in the raspberry syrup and lemon juice. Measure again, there should be 1 1/3 liquid cups. If you have less, add less sugar. The correct amount of sugar 1/2 the volume of the puree. Stir until sugar dissolves.

This can be refrigerated for 10 days, and frozen for a year. The puree can be thawed briefly and refrozen several times with no ill effect.