High Country Baking: Frozen Raspberry Cream Cake
August 16, 2017
Editor's note: High altitude makes cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column presents recipes and tips that make baking in the mountains successful.
Lush, pretty and easy to make — a dessert with those attributes always gets my attention. If you agree, listen up, because that describes this raspberry cream cake perfectly. And, its good qualities don't stop there. Because it's light and melts in the mouth, it's a fine finale for almost any heavy or spicy meal and elegant enough to end a company dinner. Yup, this is a go-to dessert.
The cake comes together in about 30 minutes of active time and can be made up to two days before serving. The only thing it asks of you is at least 10 hours in the freezer. Though quite good plain, you can dress up the dessert with a decoration or two. The one in the photo is embellished with a drizzle of chocolate and fresh raspberries. Both chocolate and raspberry sauces are nice accompaniments.
A food processor is the easiest way to crush the cookies for the crust. Make the cookie crumbs before measuring out the required amount.
Frozen Raspberry Cream Cake
Make in an 8- inch springform pan
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1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs (about 20 Famous Chocolate Wafers, measure after crushing them)
2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
10 ounces quick-frozen, unsweetened raspberries
2-4 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar, preferably Baker's
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk (one can)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons crème de cassis or raspberry liqueur
1 tablespoon orange liqueur (Cointreau or Grand Marnier, for example)
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with a rack in the center position. Unlock the springform pan, flip over the bottom (so the lip is down) and relock it. (This will make it easier to cut and/or remove the cake.) Lightly grease the springform pan (don't use butter, doing so will add too much butter to the crust and make it hard). Chill a mixing bowl for whipping the cream (the cream whips more quickly in a chilled bowl).
2. Make the crust: Add 2 tablespoons of the melted butter to the cookie crumbs and stir/toss very well. Pinch some between your fingers; it should stick together. If it doesn't, add a little more melted butter until it does. Don't use more butter than you need or the crust will be tough. Press the crust onto the bottom of the greased springform pan, making sure it is evenly distributed and level. Bake until set, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a rack.
3. Defrost the raspberries (I do this in a microwave oven at a medium setting) until they're room temperature and juicy. You'll use the juice, without the seeds, in the filling. So, place a mesh strainer over a bowl, and dump the berries and their juice into the strainer. Use a spoon or rubber spatula to mash the berries until seeds are the only thing left in the strainer and all the juice has drained into the bowl. Remove the strainer and stir 2 tablespoons of sugar into the juice. Taste it and, if necessary, add more sugar until it's mildly sweet. Cover and refrigerate.
4. Make the filling: Combine the sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and the two liqueurs in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer, at low speed (you don't want to make air bubbles in the mixture), until smooth. Add the raspberry juice and beat at low speed until well combined. Clean the beaters of your mixer in cold water. In the chilled bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream until firm, but not dry, peaks form. Gently and quickly fold it into the filling until it's evenly distributed.
5. Pour the filling into the cooled crust, leveling and smoothing it. Freeze the cake, covered, until firm (at least 10 hours and up to 2 days). Add any decorations after the cake is frozen. When ready to serve, warm the outside of the pan with a kitchen towel dipped in hot water and run a thin knife around the inside of the pan, pressing against the pan, not the cake. Release and remove the pan sides and, if necessary, smooth the edges of the cake. Slice into pieces with a thin, sharp, straight knife dipped in hot water and dried between cuts.
Vera Dawson teaches high-altitude baking classes and is the author of two high-altitude cookbooks, Cookies in the Clouds and Baking Above It All (available at The Bookworm in Edwards and Next Page Bookstore in Frisco). Her recipes have been tested in her Summit County kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.