Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cake | The Geneva Convention: Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cake

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cake

In my last post, I promised to tell you more about that 80th birthday cake. When I asked my grandfather what he'd like to eat, he asked for a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. I'm a bit of a one-trick-pony when it comes to cake. I really don't see the point of eating a cake that isn't moist, delicious, and extremely chocolatey. To that end, I've found one cake recipe that gives me this every time. True to form, it's from the Barefoot Contessa, and you can find it here. For Grandpa's birthday party, I made a double recipe, filled it with plain, unsweetened whipped cream, and frosted it with a slightly modified version of this (it's cheaper and just as delicious with 14 oz of butter instead of 1 ½ pounds!).

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cake

The only issue with having only one cake recipe to swear by is in situations like the 80th birthday weekend, when I found myself in the position of making a birthday cake not just for my grandfather, but for my aunt, who flew in for the party on her birthday. She is similarly traditional in her cake tastes (chocolate, please!), but I didn't want to make her the exact same cake she'd be eating a few days later at grandpa's party. I eventually settled on adding a hint of raspberry to the chocolate cake, because when is that a bad idea, but after spending half an hour looking for a suitable recipe, I just decided to modify my favorite recipe.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cake
Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cake

As it turns out, the perfect chocolate cake is even more perfect with a few modifications. Ina calls for a cup of coffee, which I left out in favor of 1/2 a cup of Chambord/Frambois. The result was a similarly rich, moist cake, with a hint of raspberry. I accentuated the raspberry with a filling of whipped cream mixed with raspberry jam, frosted it with a simple ganache, and decorated it with concentric circles of raspberries. The result was probably the best cake I've ever tasted, and I can't wait to make it again!

Dark chocolate raspberry cake detail

Beatty's (Raspberry) Chocolate Cake
Slightly modified from Beatty's Chocolate Cake
1 ¾ cup flour
2 cups sugar
¾ cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup raspberry liqueur (frambois or chambord)
Raspberries, for garnish
For filling:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup raspberry jam (I prefer to use unseeded pure fruit jam)
For frosting:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup chocolate chips (I always use Ghirardelli 60% cacao)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Flour and grease two round cake pans (8 or 9 inches) and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.

With the mixer on low, slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and continue mixing to add the the raspberry liqueur. Turn the mixer off and give it another few stirs with a spatula to make sure the whole mixture is uniform. The batter will be very liquid.

Pour half the mixture into each of the prepared pans and bake them for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for about half an hour, then turn the cakes over on a wire rack to cool completely.

For filling: Whip the cup of cream until stiff peaks form, then stir in the jam until the mixture is roughly uniform. Dump the mixture out on top of the bottom layer, and spread it out a little bit until it is relatively even. Leave a gap around the edges of roughly half an inch -- the cream will move toward them when another cake is added on top, and you don't want it to end up mixing with the ganache when you frost it!

For ganache: Heat the cream over medium-low heat. Remove immediately when it begins to simmer and add the chocolate chips. Whisk furiously until the chips are combined, and allow to cool to room temperature (leave it in the refrigerator for a little while if necessary). Then, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, whip the ganache until it forms somewhere between soft and stiff peaks. It will increase in size and become easier to spread over your cake. Frost initially with a crumb coat, then use the rest to make it look pretty! Garnish with raspberries in any pattern you wish, and devour as soon as you've taken a few pictures of it's beauty.

In case you were wondering, these are updated photos, taken after I learned a little bit more about food styling! Much better than the originals. Enjoy.

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