Making the most delectable raspberry cake filling is easier than you think! Using frozen or fresh raspberries and just 5 other ingredients, it comes together in less than 15 minutes. Prepare it in advance so it has time to cool completely before spreading onto your frosted cake layers.
For years, readers have asked if I have a raspberry cake filling recipe. The answer has always been no, because I’ve never really made a successful batch that tastes great AND holds up between cake layers. But that changed the other week as I reduced down endless packages of frozen raspberries over the stove. (And enjoyed plenty of the leftovers stirred into oatmeal.) And so, by popular demand…
When developing this recipe, I started with my recipe for raspberry sauce. I knew I wanted to make it thicker, without straining the seeds, and that it needed to set up nicely so that it wouldn’t ooze out of a cake. It also needed to be a little sticky, so it wouldn’t cause the cake layers to slide around. Oozing, slippery cakes are NOT on the menu today.
The recipes are pretty similar, but this one thickens up into a jam-like consistency thanks to a little more cornstarch and longer cooking time. I first tested it with this epic chocolate raspberry cake!
Key Ingredients You Need for Raspberry Cake Filling & Why:
- Water & Cornstarch: Cornstarch is the magic thickener for this raspberry filling. You don’t need much, but you must dissolve it in a little water before using. This is called a “slurry”; see strawberry sauce as an example.
- Raspberries: You’ll love the convenience of using frozen berries (just like I do for raspberry sweet rolls!), which are typically frozen at their peak freshness and sweetness. You need 12 ounces (340g). Fresh raspberries work just as well.
- Sugar: You only need 1/3 cup (67g). The raspberry filling should be a little tart, because you’ll pair it with cake and frosting.
- Lemon Juice: The filling needs *something* to balance the berry and sugar, and lemon juice provides that hint of freshness. Do not leave it out or the filling will taste pretty flat.
- Vanilla Extract: Add a little splash of vanilla extract to the filling once it comes off the heat. It tastes and smells incredible!
Just a Few Minutes on the Stove
Stir together all the ingredients—except for the vanilla—in a saucepan set over medium heat. As the mixture heats up and the frozen raspberries thaw, use a silicone spatula to smash the berries. This gets easier as the raspberries soften. By the time it begins to boil, the raspberries should be mostly crushed, so the mixture has an even consistency with no big lumps.
Allow it to boil, still on medium heat, for 5 full minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Take a big whiff—it smells amazing!
Let it cool at room temperature for about 15 minutes and then transfer to a heatproof bowl and refrigerate. It will continue to thicken and set up as it chills.
How to Assemble a Cake With Raspberry Filling
I.e., how to prevent the ooze factor.
You’ll have the most success with this raspberry filling in your cake if you partner it with some frosting. My team and I tested a cake with just the raspberry filling in between the cake layers—frosting only on the outside of the cake—and determined it really needs a buttercream base layer to keep the cake stable.
Choose a sturdy frosting, like a vanilla buttercream or Swiss meringue buttercream (more suggestions below). Spread a thin layer on your cake layers, to work as the base for your raspberry filling to cling to.
You Also Need a Buttercream “Dam”
Spoon frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip, such as Wilton 2A. (Or just use a disposable piping bag and cut about 3/4 inch (2cm) off the tip and use that without a piping tip.) This is for piping a “dam” around the frosted cake layer before spreading the raspberry filling inside its border.
Why am I doing this? The buttercream dam keeps the jammy filling in place, so it doesn’t seep out the sides of your cake. You’ll have an oozy mess otherwise.
After you add the dam, spread the raspberry cake filling in the center:
Best Frostings to Pair With Raspberry Filling
Here are some sturdy frostings that you can use as the thin base layer under your raspberry cake filling and piped as a “dam” around it:
- Chocolate Buttercream
- Vanilla Buttercream
- White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Lemon Buttercream
- Nutella Frosting
- Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- Champagne Frosting
- Cream Cheese Frosting (chill it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before assembling your cake so it is extra sturdy)
- Peanut Butter Frosting (for a delicious PB&J cake flavor pairing!)
Uses for Raspberry Cake Filling (Even Beyond Cake!)
This recipe makes a little more than 1 cup of raspberry filling (about 340g). I find it to be just the right amount for a 3-layer 8-inch or 9-inch cake (with 2 layers of raspberry filling). Use a heaping 1/2 cup between each layer. Or you can use it on a 2-layer 8-inch or 9-inch cake or a 3-layer 6-inch cake, pictured in this post, and have a little left over to serve alongside the cake slices (or stir into yogurt, oatmeal, etc.). Try it in one of these recipes:
- Chocolate Raspberry Cake
- Vanilla Cake & Chocolate Cake
- Lemon Cake
- Pistachio Cake
- Zebra Cake
- Coconut Cake
- Banana Layer Cake
- Raspberry Chocolate Chip Layer Cake
- Replace the raspberry preserves in these Raspberry Streusel Bars
- Swap out the butter and cinnamon-sugar filling in Cinnamon Rolls to make cream cheese frosting-topped raspberry rolls
- Replace the jam in this Raspberry Twist Bread
- French Macarons filling
- Replace the raspberry jam in these Raspberry Pistachio Linzer Cookies
- Filling for Breakfast Danish Pastries & Homemade Berry Turnovers
- Serve alongside Scones
- Piped between rows of pastry cream in Mille-Feuille
FAQ: Can I Make Raspberry-Filled Cupcakes?
Absolutely, and I hope you try it! Have you ever made my cream-filled chocolate cupcakes before? You’ll fill your cupcakes the exact same way with this raspberry cake filling, and I include those instructions in the filling recipe below. You can use any flavor cupcake, so browse my cupcake recipes to find some inspiration. Pictured here are my vanilla cupcakes.Print
Using fresh or frozen raspberries and just 5 other ingredients, this raspberry cake filling comes together in less than 15 minutes. Make it in advance so it has time to cool completely before assembling your cake. For best results, I recommend spreading a layer of frosting on your cake layer, piping a frosting dam around the edge, and then spreading the raspberry filling inside the frosting border. See above for a visual.
- 1.5 Tablespoons (22ml) water
- 1.5 Tablespoons (4.5 teaspoons or 12g) cornstarch
- 3 cups (12 ounces/about 340–375g) fresh or frozen raspberries (do not thaw)*
- 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Whisk the cornstarch and water together until all the cornstarch has dissolved. (I just use a fork to mix—very easy.) Combine cornstarch mixture, raspberries (no need to thaw if using frozen), granulated sugar, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Using a silicone spatula, stir the mixture, mashing the raspberries as they begin to thaw and soften.
- Bring to a boil and let it boil for 5 full minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
- Allow the raspberry filling to cool at room temperature for 10–15 minutes, then transfer it to a bowl or container and place it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 1 week (the longer, the better). No need to cover it; but if refrigerating for longer than 4 hours, cover tightly. It will continue to thicken up as it chills. Raspberry filling must be completely cooled before using in your cake. If freezing, see Note below for instructions.
- To fill cake: You can use the completely cooled and thickened raspberry filling to fill a 2-layer or 3-layer cake. You’ll have the most success with this raspberry filling if you partner it with some frosting filling; it really needs a buttercream base layer to keep the cake layers stable. Spread a thin layer of buttercream/frosting on your cake layers, to work as the sturdy base for your raspberry filling. Doesn’t need to be much; just a thin layer. You also need a buttercream “dam” around the cake layers to keep the jammy raspberry filling inside the cake layers. Spoon some buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip, such as Wilton 2A. Pipe a border around the cake. Then, spread the raspberry filling inside the buttercream border. An offset spatula is helpful for spreading. Assemble next cake layer on top, and repeat. For a 3-layer 8-inch or 9-inch cake, use a heaping 1/2 cup between each layer. For a 2-layer 8-inch or 9-inch cake, use about 3/4 cup filling; you’ll have some left over. See Note below for other cake sizes.
- To fill cupcakes: With a sharp knife, cut a circle in a cooled cupcake, and remove the center, which will be roughly the shape of a cone. Using a small spoon, fill the middle of the cupcake with as much raspberry filling as you can. (Usually between 1–2 teaspoons.) Slice/tear off the pointed tip of the cone-shaped piece of cupcake, and gently press the round piece back on top of the filling. Repeat with remaining cupcakes. Makes enough filling to fill 2 dozen cupcakes. Or fill 1 dozen, and have some filling left over.
- Cake or cupcakes filled with raspberry filling and topped with buttercream are typically fine covered at room temperature for 1 day. Cover and store in the refrigerator after that.
- Freezing Instructions: After the raspberry filling cools completely, freeze in a freezer-friendly container for up to 3–6 months. Thaw on the counter or in the refrigerator before using. It will be very thick.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Saucepan | Fork or Whisk | Silicone Spatula | Piping Bags (Disposable or Reusable) and Wilton 2A (for the frosting dam) | Offset Spatula (for the filling)
- What size cake should I make? This recipe makes a little more than 1 cup of raspberry filling (about 340g). I find it to be just the right amount for a 3-layer 8-inch or 9-inch cake (with 2 layers of raspberry filling). Use a heaping 1/2 cup between each layer. Or you can use it on a 2-layer 8-inch or 9-inch cake, and fit about 3/4 cup in the center; you’ll have some left over. Or try a 3-layer 6-inch cake, pictured today, with about 1/3 cup between each layer.
- Uses for Leftover Raspberry Cake Filling: Serve leftover raspberry filling alongside the cake slices or cupcakes. You can also add it to smoothies; stir into yogurt, cottage cheese, or oatmeal; and use as a jam on toast, biscuits, or scones.
- Should I use fresh or frozen raspberries? I prefer frozen. You can find them year round, they’re always flavorful, and they typically come in 12-ounce bags, which is the exact amount you need in this recipe. You can definitely use the same amount of fresh raspberries if you have them. The end result is pretty much the same.
- Can I strain out the seeds? You can, but the raspberry filling doesn’t stay as thick. You’ll need to add at least 1 more teaspoon cornstarch. And you’ll have a lot less filling. I strongly recommend keeping the seeds in the filling.
- Can I use other berries? I have only tested this with the same amount of fresh or frozen blackberries, and it works wonderfully. No changes to the recipe, just swap the berries. For a strawberry cake filling, I use and recommend the filling from these strawberry shortcake cupcakes. Still working on a blueberry version.
- Does this work as a topping for cakes and cheesecakes? It’s quite thick. Instead, I recommend my raspberry sauce recipe.
Keywords: raspberry cake filling