There is a sense of accomplishment when a completed cake makes it to the table. I prepare the batter while the fiancee usually greases and flours the pans. I keep a watchful eye on it in the oven and prepare the frostings and fillings while leveling the layers and applying the frosting is done by the boy (or else there is generally some screaming and crying going on from my end). So cakes are a task we complete together. After it is all done, the garnish is put on top and it is ready to be served, we’re both pretty proud to show off the finished product to the family. The process is sometimes frustrating, usually messy and always fun. So while cakes take a bit more time and effort than say, cookies or brownies, making a big fancy cake from start to finish every once and a while is a welcome request.
Last weekend we made this one and it received great reviews from everyone who tasted it. It was a birthday cake for a friend who likes chocolate and raspberry. I made a two layer moist chocolate cake, put a generous amount of red raspberry preserves and some rich chocolate ganache in the middle, and frosted the whole thing with vanilla buttercream. I’d say it was a success. If you have a chocolate raspberry lover in your life, you might want to make this cake for them.
Chocolate cake with Raspberry & Ganache filling
Chocolate cake, adapted from Cookie Madness
1 cup boiling water3/4 cup (75g) natural unsweetened cocoa2 cups (260g) all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons buttermilk powder (in place of actual buttermilk)1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt1 cup (200g) granulated sugar1 cup (240g) golden brown sugar1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp4 large eggs, room temp3/4 cup (6 ¼ oz) water, room temp (also in place of actual buttermilk)**2 teaspoons vanilla extract
directions:Preheat to 350 F or 325 F if using black cake pans. Grease and flour (2) 9 inch round pans and line with parchmentCombine boiling water and cocoa in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Set aside.In a medium bowl, sift together dry ingredients (flour, buttermilk powder**, baking soda, and salt). Set aside. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla and set aside.In large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars together. Beat in eggs/vanilla mixture.
Stir room temperature water** into cocoa mixture. Add this cocoa mixture alternately with dry ingredients in 3 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.Divide evenly between the two prepared pans. Lightly spin the pans on a hard surface to distribute the batter.Bake 28-38 minutes (see note) or until a toothpick comes out barely clean. Cool and frost.
**If you happen to have buttermilk, which I never do, you can omit the buttermilk powder with the dry ingredients, and then use 3/4 (6 1/4 oz) of buttermilk instead of water called for at the end of the ingredients list.
Raspberry and Chocolate Ganache Fillings:
for raspberry layer:
10 ounce jar raspberry “spreadable fruit” (I used Smucker’s Simply 100% Fruit Seedless Red Raspberry Spreadable Fruit, but you could you could just use preserves also)
for ganache layer:
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/8 cup heavy whipping cream
Place your leveled bottom cake layer on a cake plate. Spread the red raspberry preserves onto this bottom layer to taste. I used about 3/4 of the jar.
Place chopped chocolate in medium bowl. Bring heavy cream just to a boil in heavy medium saucepan. Pour hot cream over the chocolate and let stand 1 minute, then stir until ganache is melted and smooth. Transfer ganache to medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ganache is thick enough to spread, stirring occasionally, for about 1 1/2 hours. It should thicken to about the consistency of a heavy pudding and should not be runny.
Using an offset spatula, spread the ganache over the preserves, careful not to mix the two together too much – you want two separate layers. Use as much ganache as you want – we probably used about 2/3 of the ganache recipe in this middle layer. We froze the rest for later, but you could find other places to use it on this cake if you wanted. For example, for some added chocolate, you could spread the remaining ganache on the top of the top layer and place the whole cake in the freezer for about 30 minutes until the ganache is set enough to be able to put buttercream frosting over it.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
4 c sifted confectioner’s sugar
2 tsp clear vanilla
pinch of sea salt
1/4 c milk, optional
Fresh raspberries and Raspberry preserves for garnish
Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and turn on the mixer.
Add all confectioners sugar and keep speed on low.
When all sugar is incorporated in, add vanilla and salt. Let mix for 5 min. If frosting is too stuff, add the milk by the tablespoon until the desired consistency is achieved.
After frosting, pipe a thin line around the edge of the top of the cake. This will act as your glue to put the fresh raspberries on. For extra raspberriness, spread a thin layer of preserves across the top of the cake, inside the ring of raspberries. This will be easier to do after the cake has been refrigerated for a bit and the frosting is set.
Keep the cake in a cake dome in the refrigerator. Remove from the fridge about 2 hours before serving.
Raspberry Preserves and Chocolate Ganache
Adding the garnish