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3 layer white vanilla cake slice on white plate with vanilla frosting and raspberry cake filling in the layers.

Raspberry Cake Filling

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 9 reviews
  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes (plus cooling)
  • Yield: 1 heaping cup
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American


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


  1. 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.
  2. Bring to a boil and let it boil for 5 full minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Does this work as a topping for cakes and cheesecakes? It’s quite thick. Instead, I recommend my raspberry sauce recipe.