layer.by.layer.

Chocolate-Raspberry Layer Cake

I recently celebrated my brother’s 24th birthday and my parents 28th wedding anniversary.

This Chocolate-Raspberry Layer Cake, featured in Bon Appétit‘s June Issue, seemed the perfect compliment to such a sweet occasion.

Of course I had to change the recipe a little bit, since my brother is allergic to wheat products and he prefers blackberries. I will share my revised recipe here, but the link above is for the original.

Chocolate-Raspberry Layer Cake

Yields 10 to 12 servings (but I think you can get more mileage out of it because it’s so rich)

Ingredients:

CAKE

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour*
  • 1.75 cups sugar
  • 0.75 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 0.25 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 0.75 cup buttermilk
  • 0.75 cup vegetable oil*
  • 3 large eggs

CHOCOLATE GANACHE AND RASPBERRY TOPPING

  • 18 ounces bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cocoa), chopped*
  • 2.25 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 6 table spoons seedless raspberry jam, stirred to loosen, divided*
  • 2 6-ounce containers fresh raspberries*
  • Powdered sugar (optional)

* Because of my brother’s wheat allergy I used 1.75 cups of Spelt flour and 0.25 cup of Rice flour (the spelt is really dense and the rice flour helps lighten the consistency); we were fresh out of vegetable oil, so I melted down some margarine instead. I couldn’t find bittersweet chocolate without almonds or whatever else in it, so I used dark chocolate and instead of the fresh raspberries and jam, I used fresh-picked blackberries and marionberry jam.

Directions:

CAKE

  1. Position racks in top and bottom third of oven; preheat to 350°F.
  2. Coat two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high-sides with nonstick spray. Line bottoms with parchment paper rounds; spray rounds. (You don’t have to do this step, my cakes didn’t stick too bad and came out pretty flat and lovely from the oven.)
  3. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl; mix together.
  4. Whisk water, buttermilk, oil and eggs into dry ingredients.
  5. Divide cake batter between prepared pans (about 3 cups each–it really did help to measure this out to insure cakes were even.)
  6. Bake cakes for 30 minutes. You will know cakes are done when the edges have started to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  7. If the cakes do form domes place a kitchen towel atop the cake and gently press with palm of hand to level. These can be made up to a day ahead of time.
  8. Cool completely in pans on cooling racks.

CHOCOLATE GANACHE AND RASPBERRY TOPPING

  1. Place chopped chocolate in medium bowl.
  2. Bring cream just to boil in heavy medium saucepan.
  3. Pour over chocolate. Let stand 1 minute then stir until ganache is melted and smooth.
  4. Transfer 1.25 cups ganache to small bowl; cover and refrigerate until ganache is thick enough to spread, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. (TIP: I put the ganache in the fridge for an hour and it still hadn’t set, so I put it in the freezer and it set up faster. I would also put more of the ganache in the freezer than the recipe calls for because I found it a bit easier to work with in it’s frosting-like consistency than the messy-liquid ganache.)
  5. Let remaining ganache stand at room temperature to cool until barely lukewarm.

ASSEMBLY

  1. Release cakes from pans by carefully running knife around edges.
  2. Place 1 cake layer onto desired serving dish.
  3. Spread 3 tablespoons jam over top–make sure you loosen beforehand!
  4. Spoon dollops of chilled ganache over, the spread evenly.
  5. Invert second cake layer and carefully place onto frosted cake layer.
  6. Spread remaining 3 tablespoons raspberry jam over top of second cake layer.
  7. Pour half of barely lukewarm ganache over cake, spreading over sides to cover. Freeze until ganache sets, about 30 minutes. (TIP: it’s okay if the ganache doesn’t cover the sides at this point. When it freezes, the pools of ganache at the bottom can be scrapped up and spread over the sides of the cake, because of the frosting-like consistency.)
  8. Pour remaining ganache over cake, allowing to drip down sides and spreading over side if needed for even coverage and to smooth edges. Freeze to set ganache, about 30 minutes.
  9. Arrange berries in concentric circles atop cake; sift powdered sugar lightly over top and serve. (TIP: Berries will NOT stay in place, so if you’re planning on bringing this somewhere, assemble right before serving.)

The cake received great reviews, many said that it was rich, but the fresh fruit helped cut some of the richness. I personally found the actual cake part to be a bit underwhelming, it wasn’t particularly moist but that could have been because I was using spelt/rice flour.

Unfortunately I did not have an opportunity to photograph the cake, I was lucky to even get a piece before it disappeared, but it was quite beautiful. It was a lot of work, but for a big occasion, it was worth it.

Bon appétit!

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