So, Nina has made her first cake! A pink Valentine’s lemon, almond and raspberry cake. It’s an “adapted from an adapted” recipe from The Caker. Adapted because we didn’t have 300g almond meal and we used yoghurt instead of cream cheese for the buttercream icing [yes I forgot to buy the cream cheese]. Nina made everything, even the white chocolate ganache, coloured pink to her liking. She cracked the eggs, all 6, without getting any of the shell in the mixture – That’s it, her future is decided- she will bake. Half of the raspberries were enjoyed during the cake making process, as all good bakers know- you must taste and adjust. I just love the lemon and raspberry combo! I’m fascinated how her hair changed from an ‘Amy Winehouse do’ to a single ponytail, evidence of her frantic enthusiasm and flair for the dramatic. It took 3 hours to create her first layer cake and half was enjoyed the next day after Sunday lunch with friends. Another piece later disappeared around midnight, because midnight cake eaten in low light and silence is every mother’s right. Here is our recipe – read on if you like butter, cream, and sugar.

Nina’s Valentine’s Cake

[adapted from The Caker]

Serves 10-12


300g butter /300g caster sugar /2 teaspoons vanilla extract /6 eggs /225g ground almonds /155g flour sifted / 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder /zest and juice of 2 lemons /1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries and extra for decorating the finished cake.


225g soft butter /375g icing sugar, sifted /2 teaspoons vanilla extract /150g strained Greek yoghurt /zest of 1 lemon

Pink chocolate ganache:

1/3 cup cream /120g white chocolate chopped /pink gel food colouring


Cake – Preheat oven to 170ºC. Line 2 x 20 cm cake tins with baking paper. Cream the butter and caster sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer, until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one to combine. Fold in the almonds, flour and baking powder. Add the lemon zest and juice and combine. Divide the mixture between the cake tins. Add raspberries to the top of each. Bake for 25-35 minutes. Cool in tins for 20 minutes, then on a cake rack till completely cool.

Buttercream – Beat the butter with an electric mixer till very pale, 5 minutes. Add the icing sugar and beat for another 5 minutes. Add the vanilla extract. Add the yoghurt teaspoon by teaspoon until just combined. Add the lemon zest and combine.

Ganache – Place the chocolate in a bowl, heat the cream until it reaches boiling point and pour it over the chocolate, leave it for a few minutes, stir it with a fork to create a smooth texture. Carefully add the pink food colouring to create the colour you want, stir it well before adding more.

To assemble -Place one cake layer on your cake stand. Spread the buttercream evenly on top about 2 cm thick. Place the second layer on top and ice the top and sides. You can try the fancy ganache drips [as we intended] by using a spoon to create drips running down the sides or just create a marbled effect by spreading it into the buttercream icing. Refrigerate to set it. Add raspberries and little heart decorations to the top and serve.



mix mix mix:

making the ganache:

just a few drops of gel food colouring to get that Valentine’s pink ganache :

icing the cake – the best part :