Sunday, June 20, 2010

When Chocolate met Raspberry - A Match made in Heaven

There are always those standard flavors that pair together as though they were a meant to be - strawberry and banana, butter and pecan, peanut butter and jelly, etc. But when you pair raspberry and chocolate, it takes true love to a whole new level. Naturally, most fruits pair quite while with chocolate. Most of us have had chocolate-covered strawberries (to DIE for!) or dipped slices of banana in melted chocolate fondue. But raspberries "take the cake" on being paired with chocolate, and this cake definitely proved that.
Confession: I found a recipe and did not agree with it. It called for not 1, not 2, but THREE cups of sugar. Mind you, this was for two 9-inch cakes...that's a LOT of sugar, at least based on my experience. As such, I cut out an entire cup. I also used instant coffee (even though the recipe calls for "freshly brewed"). Honestly? When drinking coffee, you know when you've got the real deal versus the "short-cut". When baking with coffee, who cares? It's the flavor that counts, and coffee flavor within a recipe context doesn't necessarily need from the finest Costa Rican roast available on the market! In other words, NesCafe is just as good as any ground/full bean coffee you could use when baking. The addition of coffee makes the batter quite thin, so don't get nervous when you end up with batter the consistency of chocolate milk.
This recipe is from Taste of Home, but as aforementioned I chose to deviate from the original quite a bit. The frosting seemed too sweet and the filling seemed to dense. So I chose the following combination: a Taste of Home cake recipe, a Raspberry Whipped Cream Filling recipe, and a simple Chocolate Ganache recipe to top it all off. I hope you enjoy this recipe - my only word of caution: careful not to be carrying/wearing anything of great import. The danger of having chocolate ganache rub off on you sleeve/bag is huge! (but melted chocolate is still a beautiful thing)
You will notice in the post at the end of this article that there appear to be "three" layers of cake, rather than the two this recipe creates. That results from my having a cake pan that is a 9-in pan and one that is a 9 3/4-in pan. The latter, even though it's only 3/4 of an inch larger than the former, creates cake that are nearly twice the size of the other one! For this recipe, I simply added a little more to that pan, baked it longer, then cut it in half to create a third layer. Regardless, I plan to buy a pan that actually matches either of the ones I currently have so as to not have to end up with disproportionate cake layers.
Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Cream Filling and Chocolate Ganache
adapated via Taste of Home
Serves 10-12


Chocolate Cake
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup baking cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups strong brewed coffee, room temperature
Raspberry Cream Filling
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1- 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup raspberry preserves
Chocolate Ganache
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

For Cake: Line three greased 9-in. round baking pans with waxed paper and grease paper; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Combine the buttermilk, oil and vanilla; add to the dry ingredients. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition; beat for 2 minutes. Gradually add coffee (batter will be thin).

Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely; discard waxed paper.

For Raspberry Cream Filling: Whisk cream in a bowl until soft peaks begin to form, gradually adding in the vanilla and sugar. Gently fold in the preserves.

For Chocolate Ganache: Place semisweet chocolate chips in a glass bowl and set aside. Heat heavy cream and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat. Just as it begins to boil, remove from heat and pour over chocolate chips; let sit for 5 minutes. Then, gradually whisk starting from the center until all the chocolate is melted and incorporated. Chill for 5 minutes, so that it thickens but is still pourable.

For Assembly: If the cakes have domed too much during the baking process, level them a bit using a long knife. Place one layer, flat side down, on a cake plate. Spread cream filling to within a 1/2-inch margin of the layer, then place the second layer on top. Pour the ganache over the cakes and, using an offeset spatula, spread the ganache that pools at the bottom back up the sides of the cakes.

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