Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chocolate Raspberry Cake

As I mentioned I fell in love with a Chocolate Raspberry Cake by Annie's Eats which I decided to make for my birthday. I had never actually made a real grown-up layer cake before, but decided to just go for it.

I started a week ahead with a trial bake for the chocolate cake which was in the recipe. Unfortunately it was a big disappointment. It was extremely heavy and much too moist for me. I wanted a nice fluffy and light chocolate cake. So I decided to make a sponge cake with some cocoa added for the chocolate flavour. And boy, was I glad I did! The frostings and fillings make this a quite heavy cake, but the light sponge cake makes it so much more balanced out! It is a great combination of textures and flavours.

This is not a cake you can just whip up. I planned an entire day for making this cake. This gave me plenty of time and kept the stress to a bare minimum. I had plenty of breaks so when the cake was finished I was not completely exhausted.

I wasn't sure about adding the chocolate glaze on top of the cake, but you should definitely add it. It completely transforms the cake. The recipe makes to much of the raspberry filling and the raspberry frosting, but you can easily use the left-overs for some wonderful other things. I also made a simple ganache for the top layer instead of chocolate glaze, but this was more because I didn't have any light corn syrup and that is something I can't easily come by.

Oh, one more thing... it was quite warm the day I made this, which made handling this cake quite tricky. I had to put the cake in the fridge a couple of times to make sure everything stayed were it was supposed to stay. And you should keep the cake in the fridge until serving time!

The end result is breathtaking. So if you have a special occasion coming up, make this cake! You won't regret it!


Chocolate Raspberry Cake


Chocolate cake:

1 7/8 cups flour
30 gram (1/4 cup) cocoa powder
9 eggs
1 1/8 cups caster sugar
90 gram (3 oz) butter, melted

Raspberry filling:

16 oz. frozen raspberries, thawed in a sieve over a bowl
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Ganache filling:

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

Raspberry frosting:

1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
21 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup strained raspberry puree
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the chocolate glaze:

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Start by making the cakes. Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F).

Sift the flour and cocoa powder three times and set aside.

Place the eggs and sugar in a big bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 8-10 minutes, until thick, pale and tripled in volume.

Sift the flour and cocoa powder over the egg-mixture and gently fold through.

Fold through the melted butter.

Grease three 22 cm (9 inch) round cake tins and line the bases with parchment paper.

Divide the batter over the three cake tins and bake for 25 minutes until the cakes are springy to the touch and come away from the sides of the tin.

Let the cakes cool completely on wire racks.

For the raspberry filling, drain the thawed berries, reserving the juice in a liquid measuring cup.

Add water to the juice so that the total liquid equals 1 1/4 cups.

Add the liquid to a medium saucepan with the sugar and cornstarch.

Heat over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken.  Keep whisking to make sure there will be no lumps.

Once thickened, remove from the heat and whisk in the lemon juice.

Fold in the drained berries with a spatula.

Cover and chill until ready to use  (the filling will continue to thicken as it chills).

For the ganache filling, place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.

Heat the cream in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.

Immediately remove from the heat and pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate.

Let stand 1-2 minutes, then whisk together until a smooth, thick ganache is formed.

Whisk in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time until completely incorporated.

Let the ganache sit to thicken a bit so that it is suitable for spreading and piping (this can take quite a while, to speed thickening, place the bowl in the fridge or freezer and whisk every 10 minutes to ensure even cooling until the desired consistency is reached).

Transfer about 1/2 cup of the thickened ganache to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip about 1/2-inch in diameter.  Reserve another ½ cup of ganache in a small bowl or container (this can be used later for decorative detailing, if you want to).

Now it's time to start assembling the cake! Place one of the cooled cake layers on a cake board or serving platter.

Spread 1/2 cup of the ganache in an even layer over the cake.  Using the reserved ganache in the pastry bag, pipe a border around the perimeter of the cake layer.  This border will keep the raspberry filling in place, so make sure it is completely closed. If the ganache is a bit soft when you pipe it on the cake, put the cake with the ganache border in the fridge, so it becomes more solid.

Spoon some of the raspberry filling inside the ganache border in an even layer.

Top with another layer of cake and repeat this process, layering with another 1/2 cup of ganache and additional raspberry filling.

Top with the remaining cake layer.

The cake is really coming together now! The next step is the raspberry frosting. Combine the sugar and egg whites in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.

Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches about 70°C (160°F) and the sugar has dissolved.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes (the bowl should be cool to the touch).

Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated and just keep going.  If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more (or longer).

Blend in the raspberry puree and vanilla until smooth and completely incorporated.

Frost the top and sides of the assembled cake with the raspberry frosting, smoothing the surface as much as possible.

Chill for at least 30 minutes!

To make the chocolate glaze, place the chocolate in a medium bowl.

Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering.

Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit 1-2 minutes.

Whisk until the mixture is smooth and homogenous.

Blend in the vanilla.

Pour the glaze into a pitcher or measuring cup and let cool for 10 minutes (do not let the glaze cool too long or too short or it may become difficult to pour over the cake).

Slowly pour the glaze over the cake, ensuring that the top is covered and the glaze slowly drips over the sides.

Let the glaze set about 5-10 minutes.

Transfer the reserved ganache to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip.  Pipe swirls of ganache around the edge of the top of the cake and top each swirl with a fresh raspberry.

Chill the cake until ready to serve.

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