Monday, October 21, 2013

The Best Chocolate Raspberry Cake you'll ever need

Elise Ruby just turned two and she had a small lunch party with her friends and cousin, and then a dinner party with grandparents and such.
This little girl loves chocolate and raspberries (yup, definitely my kid) so this cake only made sense. In the past I had many brides request this cake because it's a wedding hit. Once when I made this for a wedding a restaurant manager, from a popular local chain, approached me and wanted me to give him this recipe. Although I was very flattered I promptly tossed his business card. He had no intention of paying me for it. Little did he (or I) know that 9 years later I'd be posting it on a blog for anyone and everyone to see and make at home!
party decor
What really makes this cake special is the Swiss Meringue Buttercream. If you've never experienced this type of frosting, then you've never really lived. No, this is not your typical lard and powdered sugar fake-y, overly sweet, dense buttercream. Instead, the texture is pillowy, like a cloud (as if you could put your head on a cloud) it's so airy. This is the frosting that will change the mind of any "buttercream haters". 
sifted dry ingredients
completely cooled, double wrapped and ready for the freezer
Once cooled, the raspberry filling takes on a jam consistency
double boiler with egg whites and sugar
egg whites and sugar whipped up as the meringue
butter is added to the meringue and now it's buttercream
lining up all the ingredients
the schmeer of frosting
slicing the frozen cake means less crumbs to clean up
here's the "fence" of buttercream to keep in the raspberry filling
I think someone likes it
(recipe after the jump)

Chocolate Raspberry Cake
This recipe is a hybrid from different recipes. I've been making this cake for years, so I don't remember exactly where the cake or raspberry filling originated, but the Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream is from hereThis cake sounds indulgent and rich, but is surprisingly light and fluffy. It makes a great statement topped with fresh raspberries and is always a crowd-pleaser.

-Large, offset spatula
-8" or 9" cardboard round cake base 
-large plastic resealable bag or pastry bag (if doing more piping decorations then you'll need a coupler and your desired pastry tip)
- Turntable or cake plate

1. Cut cooled cakes in half, horizontally. Spread a thin amount of frosting on the round cake base to give the bottom layer something to adhere to, and keep it in place. Put the bottom layer down and spread a thin amount of chocolate icing on top. 
2. Place 1-2 cups of frosting in a plastic re-sealable bag, and cut the corner to be about 3/4” across. Pipe the frosting around the edge of the chocolate cake to create a “fence” for the filling. Once the fence is in place, add a thin layer of the raspberry filling. Place another cake on top of the fence, and repeat the previous directions.
3. The finished cake should have 4 layers, with 3 of the layers filled with the raspberry mixture. Apply the remaining chocolate frosting over the whole cake, and decorate with fresh raspberries, if desired.

Chocolate Cake Recipe
Makes two 8" or 9" round cakes

Recipe notes:
- I try to make my cakes at least a couple days in advance, if not a week, and then freeze them. This makes it so much easier to slice each layer in half  because when they're hard they don't fall apart! There are also a lot less crumbs when your frosting a frozen cake. Plus it keeps the frosting in place while the cake is out and defrosting. Don't worry about it drying out the cake- the sour cream adds extra hydration to keep this cake moist- just don't keep them in the freezer for more than a couple of weeks, tops. 
- You'll notice I don't have you pre-heat the oven. When you put the cakes in a cold oven it lets them heat slowly and thoroughly, preventing it from rising too much in the middle. You shouldn't have a huge dome that you're slicing off to make the cakes level. 
- When greasing and flouring the cake pans for a chocolate cake use cocoa powder instead of flour- it prevents the outside of the cake from being white. Parchment paper is extra insurance that your cake won't rip when your trying to pry it out of the pan. This is always a good thing. 

14 Tbs. (or 1 ¾ Sticks) Unsalted butter, melted but cooled
4 large egg whites at room temperature
2 Cups sugar
1 ¾ Cup Cake flour
2 Tbs. Cornstarch
1 tsp. Baking Soda
¾ tsp. Salt
2/3 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (plus a little extra for dusting)
¾ Cup boiling water
½ Cup Sour Cream
2 tsp. Vanilla

1. Butter/grease two 8” or 9" cake pans with enough cocoa powder to coat the pan evenly. Place parchment round on bottom of pan. 
2. With a mixer, combine butter, egg whites and sugar together. In a separate bowl, sift all the dry ingredients (cake flour, cornstarch, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder) and gradually incorporate into the butter mixture. Add sour cream and vanilla, and then slowly mix in the boiling water. Once the batter is free of any lumps, divide evenly into the cake pans and bake in a 350° Fahrenheit oven for 35-45 minutes. DO NOT PRE-HEAT THE OVEN! 
3. To test the cakes doneness, insert a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean, then place cakes on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, invert the cakes out of the pan to cool completely.

Raspberry Filling:
1 ½ Cups fresh or frozen Raspberries
½ Cup Sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
½ Cup water
2 Tbs. Cornstarch

In a small saucepan, boil raspberries, sugar and lemon. Let simmer for 3 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix water and cornstarch with a whisk. Once cornstarch is dissolved, add it to the saucepan—stir for 4 minutes constantly, until thick. Remove and cool completely, refrigerating if necessary.

Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
(slightly adapted from here)
makes 5 cups

Recipe Notes:
- This is really more of a milk chocolate buttercream and I added 6 oz of chocolate vs. the 4 1/2 oz. called for in the recipe. If you want more semi-sweet flavor, you may need to do 10-14 oz. of chocolate, but I haven't personally experimented with that.
- This recipe is also fantastic as a plain vanilla. You could probably even do Almond extract or white chocolate.
- Since I'm crazy about vanilla, I added a little more than what the original 1 1/2 tsp called for.
- This is one element of the cake-making process that I don't make in advance. It's best to frost the cake once you make it. I've made it a day ahead and tried to frost it the next day and it was too hard. I had to let it come to room temperature (and that took some time) before I could finally smooth it onto the cake. 

5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 oz. semisweet chocolate

1. Melt the chocolate and put aside to cool.
2. Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).
3. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.
4. With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanillaSwitch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and add the melted, cooled chocolate. Continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day.


  1. What a fun party! Your cake looks delicious. I think I need to make this TODAY!

  2. beautiful decorations, love all the pink. Elise Ruby is beautiful love her dress cake is amazing

    1. Thank you! Yes, there always has to be pink!

  3. I am anonymous can't figure out how to do this Alis Snoopy

    1. I know Janet, it's been tricky for other people too. Thanks for commenting though!

  4. I like how you put what tools you need, sometimes when I read blogs I get all the ingredients and get home and realize I don't have some crazy tool that I need

    1. Thanks Ali for the feedback- I agree and I'll make sure I keep doing it!