For the cake:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- lemon zest, from 1 whole lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract, if desired for more lemon flavor
- 3/4 cup raspberry preserves, divided
For the frosting:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 6-7 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
- 3 tablespoons whole milk or half and half
- yellow and pink food coloring, if desired
- For the cake: Line four Anolon 9" Round Cake Pans with parchment paper (cut out circles) and set aside. Preheat oven to 350° F.
- In another mixing bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, oil, lemon zest and lemon extract.
- Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. Beat together for 2 minutes.
- Divide the batter in half (pour half into the dry ingredients bowl). Add pink food coloring to one batter half, and yellow food coloring for the other half (one drop at a time until desired shade is reached). The color will intensify during baking, so keep that in mind.
- Divide each batter half into a set of 6” and 8” round cake pans. Divide accordingly. Tap the pans against counter to release any air bubbles.
- Bake cakes for 20 to 22 minutes OR until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool cakes in pan completely. Remove from pans, peel off the parchment paper from bottoms of cake layers. Wrap cake layers with saran wrap and chill for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
- Cut 2 cakes into 7-inch rounds.
- For the frosting: Place butter in a large mixing bowl of stand mixer. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. With mixer speed on low, gradually add sugar and vanilla. Beat frosting on medium high speed for 5 to 7 minutes. Add milk one tablespoon at a time while mixing until desired consistency is achieved. The frosting should be fluffy and light.
- When to ready assemble: Spread a small amount of frosting on the bottom of your cake stand or decorating table. Place 9-inch cake layer on stand. Pipe out ¾-inch border of frosting around the edge of cake layer.
- Spread 3/4 of raspberry preserves in the frosting circle. Place second 9-inch cake layer on top. Cover top cake layer with thin layer of frosting. Smooth out.
- Cover sides and top of whole cake with thin layer of frosting. Smooth out with large spatula. Place cake in refrigerator to set, at least 1 hour.
- When ready to decorate: Divide remaining frosting into two parts, then each part into two again. Add pink and yellow food coloring accordingly, making one part of frosting slightly darker than the other. Pipe out darker pink frosting on bottom part of cake sides (the first tier). Apply the lighter pink frosting above the darker frosting. Smooth out with spatula to create ombre effect. Repeat with yellow frosting for top tier.
- Decorate top of cake with artificial flowers or fresh berries. Chill cake in fridge for 2 hours to set before serving.