A freezer full of raspberries and summer is nowhere in sight. It was high time to use up those sweet plump berries and enjoy a taste of sunshine while the snow has yet to thaw. As the saying goes “there’s no time like the present” I grabbed a bag of frozen raspberries and baked up this fresh flavorful gluten-free raspberry cake. It was summer in every single scrumptious bite.
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Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Raspberry Cake
Soft layers of fluffy raspberry cake, tart raspberry filling, and covered in glorious whipped raspberry cream cheese buttercream frosting. The perfect combination of sweet and zesty, this fresh gluten-free and dairy-free raspberry layer cake is pure summer sunshine.
An easy recipe, these simple straightforward steps will have you coming back for raspberry cake time and time again.
What Makes Up A Raspberry Cake
With a sweet, tart, and tangy combination of raspberry and cream cheese, each element brings a scrumptious addition to this cake:
- Raspberry Cake Layers – super soft, fluffy, and packed full of real raspberry flavor. No fake extracts or emulsions here!
- Raspberry Filling – slightly tart and so totally smooth, this raspberry filling adds a bite of zest.
- Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting – fluffy as can be, this dairy-free raspberry cream cheese frosting is slightly tangy which compliments the raspberry cake layers perfectly.
Raspberry Cake Ingredients & Substitutions
As always this recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free. That said, I do test each recipe with “regular” ingredients and make notes of alternatives or swaps to ensure everyone can enjoy it.
Here are a few key ingredients for this cake but make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom recipe card for the complete ingredient list.
- Gluten-Free Flour: Check to see if your blend contains xanthan gum. This can also be swapped for regular cake flour if you are not gluten-free. Note that gluten-free flour blends can vary in weight so I recommend measuring by the cup. I made this cake with XO Baking Co. all-purpose baking mix. If you are not gluten-free, swap the flour with regular cake flour and omit the xanthan gum.
- Dairy-Free Butter: I enjoy baking with Becel plant-based bricks but any dairy-free butter substitute will work. You can also use regular butter if you are not dairy-free.
- Dairy-Free Milk: I love to bake with unsweetened almond milk but this recipe will work with any type of dairy-free or regular dairy milk.
- Oil: Use canola or vegetable oil for best results.
- Dairy-Free Sour Cream: The market has a handful of fabulous dairy-free sour cream options now. You could also use dairy-free plain or vanilla yogurt. And of course, if you are not dairy-free swap in regular sour cream, full fat is best.
- Dairy-Free Cream Cheese: I swear by Violife vegan cream cheese for frosting. It holds its shape beautifully and creates a delicious and airy frosting. Substitute regular full-fat cream cheese bricks if you are not dairy-free.
- Raspberries: Fresh or frozen will work. If you use frozen, thawing the raspberries for the reduction and filling will make it easier and quicker.
- Food Color: While totally not necessary for this cake, a few drops of pink gel color in the cake batter will really make this fun raspberry cake pop. I adore using ChefMaster.
The Best *REAL* Gluten-Free Raspberry Cake Layers
These sweet raspberry cake layers are as flavorful as they come and require no artificial extract. Yep, you read that right. Nothing fake here, just real genuine raspberry in each and every bite.
Bursting full of fresh raspberry taste, they are created by using a raspberry reduction. This raspberry reduction packs a punch of summer berry yum and colors the cake batter gorgeously pink as an added bonus.
How To Make Raspberry Reduction
Let’s start this raspberry reduction by placing the raspberries in a blender or food processor and pureeing them until smooth. Depending on how you feel about raspberry seeds, sieve the puree now into a medium heavy-bottomed pot or skip this step and pour it right in.
Begin to heat the raspberry puree, stirring occasionally, and allow it to come to a gentle simmer. The raspberry reduction needs to continue to simmer until it reduces by half. It should be approximately ½ cup once reduced. This process should take anywhere from 15-25 minutes depending on how juicy the raspberries were.
Remove the reduction from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature. Bakers tip: you can make the raspberry reduction the day before baking the cake.
Easy Raspberry Filling
Fresh and tart, this raspberry filling is ridiculously easy to make. Let’s get started: combine all of the filling ingredients in a medium heavy-bottomed pot and begin to cook over medium heat.
While stirring occasionally, allow this mixture to come to a boil. Depending on whether you used fresh or frozen raspberries, this should take approximately 5-10 minutes.
Once the raspberry filling begins to boil and thicken, reduce the heat to low and, while continually stirring, allow it to simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Seeds Or No Seeds: It’s Up To You
The filling should be smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Now’s the time to remove it from the heat and pour it into a shallow dish to cool. Side note: if you’re not a fan of raspberry seeds, you can strain the filling with a fine-mesh sieve. I personally like the texture of raspberry seeds but hey, to each their own!
Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the raspberry filling and allow it to fully cool to room temperature before using it in the cake. As the filling cools, it will thicken even more. To hasten the cooling process, go on ahead and put it in the fridge to chill faster if desired.
Pro tip: this filling, like the reduction, can be made the day before.
How To Make Dairy-Free Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting
Cream cheese frosting, while so darn tasty, is notorious for being quite soft. It’s a fine balance between making a tangy cream cheese frosting that has pipeable/stackable consistency but isn’t too sweet. Dairy-free cream cheese alternatives are even softer in nature.
Here are a few tricks to ensure dairy-free raspberry cream cheese frosting success:
- Make sure the cream cheese and butter are cold – not room temperature.
- Don’t add any additional liquid – that means we aren’t even adding vanilla extract, just the raspberry filling.
- Refrigerate before using – pop the whipped frosting into the fridge after you make it and let it chill until you are ready to use it. Give it a quick whipping in the mixer and start to work.
These tips will help you create not just a delicious dairy-free raspberry cream cheese frosting, but one that will stack and pipe gorgeously.
How To Make A White Chocolate Ganache Cake Drip
I love a good cake drip. Not just gorgeous, but it’s also a delicious added decor touch and really takes the final presentation up a notch. As with any skill, cake drips take practice so don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t drip perfectly the first time.
Place the heavy cream and white chocolate bar or chips in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30-second intervals, stirring gently between each interval until fully melted and smooth. Allow the white chocolate ganache to cool slightly.
Pro tip: I check the ganache consistency on the edge of my kitchen sink. If it runs down too far, add more chocolate. Likewise, add a bit more cream if it doesn’t run down far enough.
Always applying the drip to a well-chilled cake will help set the drip and make sure the frosting doesn’t melt off. There are a few different drip techniques; I suggest trying them all and seeing which one you prefer. You can apply the drip with a squeeze bottle, a spoon, a piping bag, or a free-pour and offset spatula.
I have a few different videos of each technique on my Instagram @cakedbykatie if you are wanting to watch how it’s done.
Raspberry Cake: Step By Step Instructions
Step 1: Beat the butter, sugar, and oil together on high speed until smooth and fully creamed.
Step 2: Add in the eggs and mix together until combined
Step 3: Mix in the sour cream and vanilla extract.
Step 4: Add in all the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Be careful to not overmix the cake batter.
Step 5: With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the milk and raspberry reduction and mix until just combined. If using pink food color, add it in at this point as well.
Step 6: Divide the cake batter into three 6-inch cake pans that have been prepared with baking spray and parchment paper and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes. Cool cakes on a cooling rack.
Step 7: Combine all of the filling ingredients and cook until thickened. Allow to fully cool to room temperature before using.
Step 8: With the paddle attachment cream the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and fluffy.
Step 9: Add in the icing sugar, salt, and raspberry filling and mix until combined. Turn up to high and allow to cream until fluffy and smooth. Let chill until ready to use.
Step 10: Heat the white chocolate ganache drip in a microwave-safe bowl until fully melted and smooth.
Cake Assembly Tips
Stacking a layer cake can feel a bit scary. But, as they say, slow and steady wins the race. Let’s set you up for cake success with a few tips and tricks.
Here are a few assembly tips:
- Fully Cooled Cake Layers: even if a tiny bit warm, layers will slip when warm. Ensure that each cake layer is fully cooled if not even a bit chilled. I will even work with semi-frozen cake layers if I had to bake them a few days before stacking.
- Leveled Cake Layers: flat and level cake layers will sit far easier than crooked ones. I use this super easy cake tool to ensure each cake layer is perfectly level.
- Create a Frosting Border: pipe a frosting border between each cake layer. It acts as a dam to keep that delicious raspberry filling in.
- Keep the Cake Chilled: if at any point you begin to feel the cake slip or the frosting is too soft to work with, pop the cake and the frosting back into the fridge to chill. Remember, don’t rush it. Take your time.
How To Decorate A Raspberry Cake
“As you desire” is often how I refer to cake decoration. It’s not that I don’t want you to make the exact same cake as I did, it’s simply that I don’t want you to feel like you *have* to make the exact same cake.
We all have an inner cake artist and I always want to encourage you to let it shine. That said, I quickly break down this gluten-free and dairy-free raspberry cake decor for you.
Step 1: Crumb-coat the cake and allow it to chill for 20 minutes. See the above section for stacking tips and tricks.
Step 2: Put a final “beauty” coat of frosting on the cake and smooth the sides and top with a cake smoother and offset spatula. Allow the cake to chill for another 20 minutes.
Step 3: While the cake is chilling, prepare the ganache and allow it to cool slightly before applying. With a spoon, piping bag, squeeze bottle, or free-pour, drip the white chocolate ganache over the chilled cake and immediately return it to the fridge.
Step 4: Top with fresh raspberries.
Step 5: Chill the cake until ready to serve.
Storing and Freezing Instructions
This cake can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days. It can also be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.
If you want to bake these layers a few days in advance, you most certainly can. Allow the cake layers to cool, cover them tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze until you a ready to stack and decorate the cake. Remove the cake layers from the freezer approximately 1 hour before you plan to stack and decorate and allow them to thaw slightly at room temperature.
Better yet, this cake can also be frozen fully stacked and decorated. However, I do recommend placing fresh raspberries on top the day of serving. Special occasions are often busy and I will sometimes freeze an entire finished cake a few days in advance to save time and stress.
For instance, the night before you plan to serve the cake, remove it from the freezer and place it in the fridge to slowly thaw overnight. Do not take it straight from the freezer to room temperature. Doing so will cause condensation and you will risk the cake toppling.
Can this be made into cupcakes?
Yes, it absolutely can. The full recipe will make approximately 24 cupcakes or you could half it for 12 cupcakes.
What other pans can I use?
This can be baked in a 9×13 cake pan (it won’t need as much frosting though) or two 8-inch or 9-inch rounds. Note that the baking time will change. Always look for light golden edges that are pulling away from the pan, the top should bounce bake to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out with a few moist crumbs.
The Yummiest Gluten-Free Raspberry Cake
A piece of raspberry heaven, this fresh gluten-free and dairy-free raspberry cake is a delicious combo of sweet, tart, and tangy in every single bite. Soft fluffy raspberry cake layers with zesty raspberry filling and silky whipped raspberry cream cheese frosting. This ravishing raspberry cake is a summer delight in every scrumptious bite.
Make sure you tag me on social media @cakedbykatie and leave me a star rating and review below if you make it. Can’t wait to see it!
Fresh Fruity Baking Inspiration
Here are a few other fresh fruity treats that I know you’ll enjoy:
- Peach Cake (GF & DF)
- Raspberry Blondies (DF)
- Raspberry Chocolate Chip Cookies (DF)
- Orange Creamsicle Cake (GF & DF)
- Berries & Cream Cake (GF & DF)
- Lemon Raspberry Cake (DF)
- Lemon Blueberry Cake (GF & DF)
- Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes
- Raspberry Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Blondies – Ai Made It For You
- Rhubarb Crisp – Ai Made It For You