Recipes

marbled raspberry pound cake

This small, fearless wildling we literally just brought home from the hospital turned three a couple weeks ago, but despite my certainty that we just got her, I won’t lie, this feels like a gazillion years ago because when did she not have hair. Strangers on the street often ask us about her hair, and I get it, I do. She’s small, it is big, and also red and with spiral curls going in every direction and there are three other members of our family and none of us have spiral curls or red hair. This isn’t the only way she’s already her own fierce little person. I was definitely not into dolls or dresses growing up, so I watch with awe as she plays for hours with her very pink baby doll, the doll’s stroller, the doll’s purse, the doll’s crib and high chair; when she comes home after being out all day, she likes to sit quietly with her baby on her lap on the sofa for a while to catch up and it is, objectively (I am known for my objectivity when talking about my kids), one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen.


what you'll needfork-crushed raspberriesblend to make smoothstrain out the seeds, if you wish

So when asked what kind of birthday cake she wanted, she said “PINK!” And I said, “But what flavor?” “Pink.” And also, “Not brown, Yacob likes brown.” (This is true.) And I thought about making the pink lady cake but we ended up not having a big party that required so much cake, just bringing cupcakes to camp* and then going out to dinner with family. Instead, I went in a simpler direction, loosely inspired by a marbled pink and white cake we saw in the pastry case at Starbucks (but didn’t try so no idea how the taste lines up), a few weeks before. Adding a spoonful of raspberry puree into the glaze turning it ferociously pink, much to her glee, and stretching it into this doughnut-shaped pan I bought earlier this summer on a whim made it look like a giant pink emoji of a doughnut, an unequivocal hit with three year-olds, eight year-olds, and everyone who saw the cake go by at the restaurant. [I resisted the urge to say “And the color is all natural! And that’s not plasticky fondant!” — for once — but it was hard.]

a little lemon zestmaking the cakewhite batterpink batterdollop the two battersrap on the counter to expel air bubblesmarbled raspberry cake, bakedmarbled raspberry pound cakeglazingmarbled raspberry doughnut cake

Of course, you do not need a cutesy cake pan to make this. You can make it as a single loaf or double it in a traditional tube or bundt. You also don’t need much time; I made this entire cake in under two hours and it goes even faster if you don’t have to cool it so the glaze stays in place. As a birthday cake after a big dinner, it was exactly right — not too heavy or sweet, but still cute as a button. It would be great for brunch or lunch this weekend or, you know, now. It’s Cake O’Clock somewhere, right?

marbled raspberry doughnut cake

* I used the berry buttercream and sheet cake from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook to make pink frosting on vanilla cupcakes.

Previously

One year ago: German Chocolate Cake + A Wedding Cake
Two years ago: Eggplant with Tomato and Yogurt Relish and Blueberry Bread and Butter Pudding
Three years ago: Takeout-Style Sesame Noodles with Cucumber
Four years ago: Summer Squash Gratin with Salsa Verde and Bourbon Slush Punch
Five years ago: Mama Canales-Garcia’s Avocado Shrimp Salsa and Banana Nutella and Salted Pistachio Popsicles
Six years ago: Zucchini Bread Pancakes and Zucchini Tomato and Rice Gratin
Seven years ago: Corn Buttermilk and Chive Popovers and Sugar Plum Crepes with Ricotta and Honey
Eight years ago: Scalloped Tomatoes with Croutons, Raspberry Brown Sugar Gratin and Summer Succotash with Bacon and Croutons
Nine years ago: Watermelon Lemonade, Light Brioche Burger Buns, Blueberry Boy Bait, and Lemony Zucchini Goat Cheese Pizza
Ten years ago: Nectarine Mascarpone and Gingersnap Tart and Herbed Summer Squash and Potato Torte
Eleven years ago: Pearl Couscous with Olives and Tomatoes and Zucchini Bread

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Banana Oat Weekday Pancakes and Stromboli, Scaccia-Style
1.5 Years Ago: An Easier Way To Make Cookies and Guacamole
2.5 Years Ago: Cabbage and Sausage Casserole and Leek, Ham, Cheese and Egg Bake
3.5 Years Ago: Make Your Own Vanilla Extract and Fried Egg Salad
4.5 Years Ago: Homemade Dulce de Leche and Cheese Blintz

Marbled Raspberry Pound Cake

  • Servings: 8
  • Print

The cake, as written below, makes 1 standard loaf. To make it in the doughnut-looking pan I show, you’ll want to use 150% of the recipe (it bakes in 38 to 40 minutes). To make a bundt or tube cake, you’ll want to double the recipe (it will take anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes, as shapes range a lot). For the doughnut or bundt cake, I double the glaze. For the raspberries, fork-mashing is easier, but if you’re bothered by seeds or want the smooth appearance you see in the top photo, you’ll want to blend the berries and sieve out the seeds. For the glaze, you could make it with a spoonful of raspberry puree (for this, you’ll definitely want a seedless puree), you could make it with lemon juice, or a mix of both. Or you can skip it for a less sweet cake; it’s perfectly lovely with just a dusting of powdered sugar to finish. For a little more lemon flavor, you can squeeze that half lemon you use for zest and measure the juice (it should be 1 to 2 tablespoons), then use that much less sour cream in the white portion of the cake, adding them at the same time. Finally, a little shopping note: Around here, raspberries come from the grocery store in 6-ounce clamshells, which neatly provides the 1 cup (5 ounces) you’ll need for the pink portion of the cake and the last few you’ll need for a pink glaze.

  • Butter or cooking spray to coat pan
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
  • Finely grated zest from half a lemon
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour plus 1/2 cup (65 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup (125 grams) sour cream, creme fraiche, or full-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 gently heaped cup (140 grams or 5 ounces) fresh raspberries
  • 3/4 cup (90 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon raspberry puree (for a pink glaze, from a few tablespoons or 1 ounce fresh raspberries), or lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a standard loaf pan (either 8″x4″ or 9″x5″, or any size between, will work here) with nonstick baking spray or butter, making sure to get into the corners.

Place sugar and salt in a large bowl. Zest lemon into sugar and rub it together with your fingertips; this helps the lemon release the most flavor from it. Add butter and use an electric mixer to beat it with the sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with each addition. Scrape down bowl. Sprinkle cake surface with baking powder and mix it until very well combined. Scrape down sides of bowl again. Add 1 cup (only) of the flour and beat just until it’s no longer visible.

Place raspberries in the bottom of a second medium-large bowl and mash with a fork until mostly broken down but still a little lumpy; you’ll have about 1/2 cup mashed. [If you really dislike raspberry seeds and/or want a smoother look, you can blend the berries until smooth and press them through a fine-mesh strainer — into this second bowl — to remove seeds.] Pour half of the cake batter on top of raspberries (if you have a scale, you can zero out the weight of the bowl and raspberries; half the batter weights 277 grams) but wait, don’t mix it yet.

Instead, go back to the first bowl of batter, the one without raspberries, and add sour cream. Beat to combine. Add 1/4 cup flour, and beat just until smooth. (By beating the “white” batter first, you can reuse you beaters without washing them for the pink batter without muddying the look.)

Beat the raspberries and second half of the cake batter together until smooth. Add final 1/4 cup flour, and beat just until smooth.

Dollop batters in alternating spoonfuls into bottom of prepared loaf pan. Roughly “checkerboard” the rest in, meaning that you’ll drop a pink batter dollop and then a white one and vice-versa until both batters are used up. Drop your pan onto the counter a couple times from a few inches high, to help tap out air bubbles. Use a butter knife or small offset spatula to make a few figure-8s through the batters, marbling them together — but just a little, say, 4 to 5 figure-8s. Any more and the swirls may not look distinct when you cut the cake.

Bake loaf cake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out batter-free. Let cool for 15 minutes in pan, then run a knife around cake and gently remove. Let cake cool completely on rack (I hasten this along in the freezer) before glazing, if using a glaze.

To make your glaze, place powdered sugar in a medium bowl and add raspberry puree (for this, it’s best if you press the berries through a fine-mesh sieve to remove seeds, or it won’t have a smooth pink look) or lemon juice. Whisk to combine, but it will almost definitely be too thick. From here, add milk, a teaspoon at a time, until you can whisk the sugar into a thick but loose glaze. Spoon on top of cooled cake and nudge it to the edges with your spoon or an offset spatual so that it drips where you’d like it to. Cover with sprinkles, if using.

Cake keeps for 4 to 5 days in the fridge. If there’s no milk in your glaze, you can store it at room temperature.

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83 comments on marbled raspberry pound cake

  1. Eliza

    When you 150%-ed this cake, did you use 2 eggs or 3? I’m going to try this today with wild blackberries for a purple cake, can’t wait to see how it looks!

    1. Deanna

      It would be 3 eggs…math isn’t my strong suit though so I asked my engineer of an other half, and he told me 3. Then told me to stop asking him everything else and just multiply by 1.5.

  2. Diane

    Can this cake be easily made into a layer cake? I was thinking of using it as a birthday cake but in layers instead. Thanks!!

  3. Marcia

    So sweet.. when one of my grown up sons was 3, he refused to a pink crayon given to him in nursery school , and told the teacher that “pink is disgusting “.
    Who knew that 3 year olds needed title 9 training. Raspberries are never disgusting. We still have a long way to go.
    I hope EVERYONE enjoyed that super looking cake.

  4. John

    We have…. roughly twenty-six pounds of raspberries in our freezer from our bushes. Any thoughts on how this might need to be changed to use frozen berries?

    1. Melissa

      I have made raspberry purée or could from frozen berries in the winter (though from a bag, not my own … jealous). I usually just thaw the berries some so my food processor doesn’t have to work so hard. Otherwise, my guess is that it would be roughly the same…you would just need to weigh out 6 oz or approximate that amount.

  5. Cordelia

    If I had a dollar for every time I was asked if my toddler’s blond curls were “natural.” No, I didn’t send her out for a perm and she definitely wouldn’t sit through that sort of torture.

    Happy Birthday to your Anna from a mom of another Anna. Good name choice.

  6. sow

    I don’t know where my previous comment went but please let me know where you got Anna’s dress in the photo with her dad. Thank you!

    I asked my 5 yr old if we should make this for her sister’s 1 birthday and she goes, that’s not a cake, that’s a donut.. hahaha! I can’t convince her otherwise.. might just have to bake it to prove it to her ;)

  7. Deb, you are truly incredible! How is it that every single one of your recipes looks so incredibly gorgeous that I want to make it immediately, and that every one I make is perfect! This one is no exception!! Perfection!

  8. Happy birthday, darling Anna.
    Deb, I am a redhead, too and my family is not – I am still puzzled at the strange & sometimes very personal questions that we got asked when I was small and these days get asked again when we are out with our two year old twins (none has red hair, sigh, though the fiery temper is there). N xx

  9. Stephanie

    This made me laugh since I was a red-haired little girl who until the age of 7 refused to wear anything except PINK ! My mum bought me pink jeans and boots.. Then all of sudden I refused everything pink and switched to blue. Kids are funny!

  10. Abigail

    Ooh this looks lovely! One note: I think you mean “creme fraiche” and not “reme fraiche” in the ingredients list :-) I always get excited to try your cakes because they are just up my alley of taste and texture!

  11. Eliza

    I made this yesterday as a donut blackberry “purple” cake using wild blackberries and it turned out perfectly. My pan is not non stick so I made sure to butter and flour it thoroughly and had no issues with sticking. I upped the amounts 150% as suggested but I forgot to increase the amount of berry puree accordingly. However, I didn’t notice any serious ill effect, though the berry flavor could have been stronger. I also only had to bake mine for 30 minutes. This was a huge hit at a barbecue today and I will definitely make this again!

  12. Katherine

    I also have a redhead daughter with no other red heads in the family. Her hair is only normal curly, though, and it’s her older brother “Ze-bob” (Jacob) who has the super curls. We get asked about both their hair all. the. time. And their blue eyes. 🙂

  13. Katherine

    Also, is there a good way to make this without the lemon? I have weird acid reflux that can handle the raspberries just fine, but not even that amount of lemon.

  14. Melanie

    Your posts usually bring a smile to my face, but this one especially so. Happy Birthday to Anna, and what a lucky girl she has to have such a wonderful mom.

  15. Happy birthday, dear Anna. Beatrix was just wearing that Hanna Anderson dress with the pink top and striped skirt this weekend. A hand-me-down from her cousin, I think. Poor kid only gets hand-me-downs. And she didn’t even get a birthday cake from us this year because our June was too busy. Cupcakes from the grocery store with her Toddler Class.

    1. deb

      Aw. It’s, in fact, her 2nd birthday dress (which I’d just bought as a dress and once I realized it had shiny ribbons and a lining, it became her party dress) but it finally fits right. And so in 10 seconds it will be too small.

  16. K Peterson

    THREE YEARS OLD ALREADY?? 😳How ever did that happen? I think I’ll go sit down. (& eat some cake!) Congratulations!! 🎉💕🎉

  17. sharaun

    I too am a redhead with natural curl. Strangers would comment on it so often that my straight haired brunette sister (who is much cleverer than I!) suggested that when people asked where I got my hair, I should reply that “it was a K-mart blue light special.” We thought it was hysterical as kids. Now that I’m pushing 50, people would believe me. Being a curly redhead has it’s perks, but ginger bullying is real, so buckle up. She is such a cutie!

  18. Bostongal

    I made this for my daughter’s 7th birthday party, and it was both beautiful and delicious. Doubled the recipe (for the cake only — single batch of glaze was sufficient) and made it in a bundt pan. It took 1 hour and 10 minutes to bake.

  19. Ashlie Rice

    I made this tonight and it was a perfect. It made 12 cupcakes. ( I needed a shorter baking time)
    I didn’t have lemon so I used vanilla bean paste in the batter.

  20. Mel

    First, I plan to make this when the weather cools off (because…no oven in my home in the summer is a rule). Second, this sentence is everything. (and reminds me of the Elephant and Piggy book series – hopefully you know what I’m talking about). :)
    “She’s small, it is big, and also red and with spiral curls going in every direction and there are three other members of our family and none of us have spiral curls or red hair.”

    1. Mel

      I mean to add that I did not show this to my SO because if I had he would’ve said, “I think it’s a great time to break the no oven rule on this 90 degree day and make that cake…you know, to try it out and all…” ;)

  21. Emily

    Am I reading correctly that all of the sour cream gets added to the “white” part of the cake batter? Also, this part of the instructions is confusing, “Beat the raspberries and second half of the cake batter together until smooth. the raspberry sauce into the other half of the batter until combined.” Thanks for clarifying!

    1. Barbara Barnes

      You are reading correctly. I used more bowls than usual, worked slowly, read and re-read before each step. It’s worth slowing down for. I did it with a four year old at my side, asking questions, so I REALLY had to read carefully and repeatedly.

    2. deb

      Oops, it is confusing, just a stray half-sentence, now deleted. It’s basically this: Divide the batter. Mix sour cream into one half. Raspberry sauce into second half. Both halves get a final 1/4 cup of flour at the end. The instructions are a little exacting because I made this cake so. many. times. that I kept picking up more shortcuts, like if you beat the “white” part first, you can reuse the beaters; and if you mash the raspberries right into the bottom of the bowl, you only need one bowl. Etc. I mostly just hate washing dishes.

      1. Emily

        Thanks for the clarification! Made the cake as a loaf. Flavor was delicious, but as others have commented the texture was a bit dense and it deflated a lot after cooling. Maybe needed another 5 min of baking? Also, I found the marbeling difficult to achieve – had more of a half and half effect than the beautiful marbling in the pictures.

  22. Jane Doe

    Dear Deb, on top of all the different varieties you have given us here, I would like to know whether you think this could work in cupcake format? Thinking about making these for my daughter’s kindergarten class when she celebrates her 5th birthday (no way!!) next week. Thank you so much!

  23. Charlotte in Toronto

    Anna is beautiful. I can’t stop looking at her eyelashes in the photo with Alex. The cake is so cute and sounds delicious.

  24. Ann

    I’ll just be over here lightly modifying the classic Prince song to “Raspberry purée – the kind that you find in a smitten kitchen…”

  25. 500for365

    Hello Deb! This is a crazy question on a food blog, but my daughter loves baby dolls too and I have no idea how to find a good one. What kind does your daughter love? She wants a plasticky one, but I dont want it to be junky.

    Also this cake looks deliciously amazing!

    1. deb

      She doesn’t have a preference (we didn’t shop for one or anything) but her aunt bought her this when she was a year old and she hasn’t put it down since. I swapped it with a new one when it was looking pretty dirty; she didn’t notice (phew).

  26. Frances Gonzalez

    I made this! But my loaf deflated to about half the height while it was cooling in the pan, on a rack. Any guesses as to why?
    Still tastes delicious! Just a little dense.

  27. Nisha

    This was delicious, pretty and easy to make. I cut the sugar by 30 grams but could cut it more still, it was sweeter than we prefer. I served it for my 5 year old’s birthday with whipped cream, raspberry whipped cream and the leftover puree. I use a bag of frozen raspberries instead of fresh. I did small dollops so didn’t need to do figure 8s to get the marbled effect.

  28. My four year old and I made this together for his birthday today. It turned out great! We used strawberries instead of raspberries and made a cooked purée with lemon and sugar. We also doubled the lemon zest and used whole wheat pastry flour. The cake is delicious and tastes like strawberry lemonade.

  29. Barbara Barnes

    My grandson and I just made it, in the Bundt pan, with Gluten Free Girl’s flour mix (that I make myself). It took just over 60 minutes to bake, and turned out beautifully. I have found that using her flour ratios in your cake recipes, with no other modifications, turns out cakes that are perfect. No one guesses that they are gluten free. The most important tip is to measure the flour by weight, which you thoughtfully provide. Josiah is thrilled with his pink donut cake! Thanks for another fun recipe.

  30. Hey, This cake looks so moist and delicious! Your recipes looks so incredibly gorgeous that I want to make it immediately. Hope so my kids love it. Thanks for the sharing this.

  31. Abe H

    Great tasting and fun cake. The technique of reserving some flour to finish/adjust the two batters is smart. I did not need any milk to thin the icing. Made this for a Monday morning financial meeting. It got lots of compliments and set a lighter tone for the conversations. No sprinkle haters here.

  32. Imperfect Mummy

    I love this cake! When I ask my little boy what he would like for his birthday he always says “red cake” What flavour? “red flavour”! Kids are funny :)

  33. Casey

    Perfect timing! I have an overabundance of ripe raspberries from the garden and this looks like a great way to use some. If I wanted to make this as an all raspberry-lemon loaf (rather than a half-n-half marbled loaf), with extra lemon flavor, am I correct in thinking that I would double the amount of raspberries (reduced just a bit to the extent any squeezed lemon juice gets added) and skip the sour cream entirely? Will I miss not having that tangy sour cream richness though?? And lastly I should beat in a 1/2 cup flour at the end (rather than the 1/4 cup added to each half of the batter in the marbled version), correct? Am I missing anything? Looks like it’d be delicious no matter what!

  34. Darcie

    I made this yesterday to take to work today and heard this from a colleague: “It really tastes like cake—not like something from a box!”

    Doubling the recipe worked perfectly in my Nordic Ware Heritage Bundt pan with a baking time of one hour.

    I’ll be making this one again!