Monday, June 13, 2011

Unbelievable Chocolate Cake With Raspberry Filling

My husband's birthday was this last weekend and I spent the few weeks before trying to figure out the perfect combination of flavors for his cake. My husband loves a slight almond flavor in his frosting, he also loves chocolate, and I decided that I wanted to also have a raspberry filling (mostly cause I love raspberry filling). I didn't know exactly how all of this would taste together but I decided to go for it. The cake was really fun to make and it turned out really yummy too. The most important part was that he loved it!

Unbelievable Chocolate Cake

1 ¼ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 ½ cups sugar
2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
1 ¼ cups warm water
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, making sure the baking rack is in the middle of the oven. Prepare your cake pans by cutting out a piece of parchment or wax paper to line the bottom of the pan. Grease the pans, place the parchment or wax paper in the bottom of the pan and lightly grease again. Dust the pans with flour (or cocoa powder if you don’t want the white dusting on the finished cakes). Set the pans aside.

Using a fine mesh strainer, sift together the cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add the eggs, yolk, warm water, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Mix on low speed (with a handheld mixer or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer) until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Do not over fill the pans it will overflow in the oven.  Bake the cakes for about 32-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Do not over bake! Remove the pans from the oven and set the pans on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Gently run a thin knife around the edges of the pans and  unmold the cakes, removing the parchment paper liners from the bottom of the cakes. Let them cool completely, top sides ups, on a wire rack. Trim the tops of the cake layers with a long serrated knife to make them level. Spread raspberry filling in center (recipe to follow or for a shortcut you could use a raspberry jam) and frost as desired. I used a delicious frosting that worked well with the flavors, but is not as sturdy as your typical butter cream frosting.

Raspberry Filling

16 oz. frozen raspberries, thawed
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. lemon juice

To make the raspberry filling, drain the thawed berries, reserving the juice in a liquid measuring cup. Add enough water so that the total liquid equals 1¼ 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. Continue whisking so no lumps form. 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.)

Magic Frosting

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk (I used 1% with stellar results)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
24 tablespoons (3 sticks) butter, cut into 24 pieces and softened at room temperature

In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Slowly whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium saucepan and pour the milk mixture through the strainer into the saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture boils and is thick enough that it starts to become difficult to easily whisk. This could take anywhere between 5-10 minutes, depending on your stove, heat, etc. It should bubble quite a bit at the end (be careful of the splatters) and thicken considerably.

Transfer the mixture to a clean bowl and cool to room temperature – this is extremely important! If it is even slightly warm, the frosting won’t beat up properly. I refrigerated my initial mixture overnight. If you do this, make sure to pull it out in time to let it warm back up to room temperature. If you try to proceed with the rest of the recipe and the mixture is too cold, the butter won’t absorb into the frosting like it should.

Once the frosting is completely cooled to room temperature (it should have no hint of warmth at all!), beat the mixture with the vanilla on low speed until it is well combined, about 30 seconds (a stand mixer will work best for this). Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat the frosting until all the butter has been incorporated fully, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high and let the mixer work it’s magic. Beat the frosting for five minutes, until it is light and fluffy. Let the frosting sit at room temperature until it is a bit more stiff, about 1 hour.


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

To make the ganache, 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 ganacheganache sit to thicken a bit so that it is suitable for spreading and piping. You can use some of this ganache in a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip. You can pipe a small amount around the top edge on your bottom layer to help keep filling in.

Chocolate Glaze

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup light corn syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract

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 homogeneous. Blend in the corn syrup and vanilla. Pour the glaze into a pitcher or measuring cup and let cool for 10 minutes. (Do not let the glaze cool longer 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 drips over the sides. Let the glaze set about 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring the remaining reserved ganache to a consistency for piping. (You can microwave in 5 second intervals on low power – it won’t take long to rewarm. If you overshoot and the ganache becomes too thin, simply chill again in the fridge or freezer until it is thick enough to pipe.) Transfer the 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. 

Recipe Sources: Cake - Mel's Unbelievable Chocolate Cake, Frosting - Mel's Magical Frosting, Raspberry Filling, Ganache, and Chocolate glaze - Annies Eats


  1. This cake looks so pretty!
    that chocolate glaze is calling my name! haha :)

  2. beautiful! I wish I could have a slice ... sweet dreams :-)

  3. This is such a pretty cake! And it all sounds just delicious! Happy Birthday to your hubby!

  4. You forgot to mention gorgeous. You said it was fun and yummy and that he loved it, but it's gorgeous. I like the idea of the raspberry filling as well. Very big yum.

  5. I'm so curious to see how it looks cut.. :)

  6. I like all the components of this, great choice for your husbands birthday! Outside of the flavors-the presentation is a plus also. Great pics-bet there is no cake left now-yum.

  7. I had to follower someone that makes such a fabulous chocolate cake.

  8. Your husband needs to know how lucky he is,I know he enjoyed that!

  9. Wow! This looks amazing! What a lucky hubby you have!! :) I love raspberries and chocolate. Great pic too. I've buzzed ya.

  10. Happy Birthday to your husband! This cake sounds all sorts of wonderful =)

  11. The cake looks wonderful. I love the recipe.

  12. I bet he did love that cake is is amazing and must have been soooo delicious! as soon as I saw all that cocoa I new it was going to be a keeper!

  13. WOW! the photo is beautiful and the cake has to be delicious. This sounds like the best chocolate cake ever. Happy Birthday to your lucky hubby!


  14. Wow...just wow.....this looks fabulous. Amazing job.

  15. I love everything about this cake, double YUM!!

  16. It's stunning cake and I believe I won't get just one piece... Love it! ^,^

  17. I am a firm believer that oil makes for the best chocolate cake. Well done!

  18. Um, I completely belive you that this is UNBELIEVABLE. It looks heavenly!

  19. Good idea to combine both your favorite flavors and the decoration look lovely.

  20. Question: How many layers and what size pans? I am getting ready to make the cake, and I cannot find where this was mentioned. Lovely cake!