Pixelated Crumb

Chocolate Raspberry Cake

Let me get straight to the point and tell you that this is one of my very favorite cake recipes. It’s chocolate (which scores it several points right off the bat) accented by a delightfully tart raspberry filling. The layers are moist and rich and the three of them piled up together give it some impressive height.

The cake is a little more complex and the ingredients are a little pricier than the average cake (especially because I always seem to accidentally buy twice as much chocolate as necessary because the original recipe calls for a ganache filling instead of raspberry), but it’s definitely worth it. Still, I currently only make it once a year for the annual February get-together for the birthday celebration of my mother-in-law and sister-in-law.

Chocolate Raspberry Cake

This year’s family get-together was especially fun with the addition of Jill, an old college friend of my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, and because my niece, Amelia, is now nearly 2 1/2 years old. We don’t get to see Amelia nearly often enough and each time we see her it’s like I’m looking at a whole new person! She grows and develops new skills so quickly and it’s so cool to see how much she has changed.

I had the great honor of being her guest of honor at many, many tea parties over the course of the weekend. I don’t hang out with many 2-year olds and was amazed at how happy she was to do the same thing over, and over, and over again. And over again, and again. Amelia has such a sparkle in her eye and a laugh that can only make me smile inside and out, so there’s nothing I would have rather done this weekend than sit and sip tea with Amelia, Coco, Baby Duck, Mama Duck, and Owl. It was a really fun weekend that kept my mind off my upcoming knee surgery and left me feeling renewed and very, very well fed.

Chocolate Raspberry Cake

chocolate raspberry cake slice

Double Chocolate Layer Cake

Adapted from Gourmet, March 1999 via Smitten Kitchen

This isn’t a difficult cake, but there are still a few steps to it. To make it a little more manageable, I like to make the layers one night, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and freeze them. The next day, I make the raspberry filling and ganache and assemble the cake. As an added bonus, the layers are much easier to work with when they’re frozen.

For cake layers
3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

For ganache frosting
This makes enough for a very thin layer of frosting. If you want more frosting, you might want to make an additional half recipe. It’s a rich cake and I don’t think it needs the extra frosting, but wanted to give you a heads up that it is a thin layer.

8 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Raspberry Filling
You could probably get away with only making a half recipe, but it’s nice to have extra raspberry puree on hand (and hey, you can slather it right on your cake slice if you want more raspberry goodness.

2 10-ounce bag frozen raspberries, thawed
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Make cake layers:

Preheat oven to 300F and butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with rounds of parchment and butter the paper.

Finely chop the chocolate and place in a medium-sized nonreactive bowl. Pour the hot coffee over the chocolate and let the mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

In a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add the oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add the sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well.

Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 35-45 minutes.

Cool the layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove parchment paper and cool the layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature, or can be frozen for several days.

Make Raspberry Filling

2 10-ounce bag frozen raspberries, thawed
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Puree the raspberries in a food processor, blender or immersion blender. Press the puree through a fine-mesh strainer with the back of a spoon, removing the seeds. Heat the puree in a small pot with the sugar and cornstarch until mixture boils, stirring constantly. As it boils, it should thicken quickly. Let it thicken to about the consistency of cold maple syrup.

Let it cool complete before spreading it over two layers.

Make frosting:

Finely chop the chocolate. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.

Transfer the frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistency). If necessary, you can stir the ganache over a bowl of ice water to cool it off quickly and evenly.

Spread frosting over the top and sides of the cake. The cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring cake to room temperature before serving.