- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk see Notes for DIY
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup boiling water
HOMEMADE RASPBERRY JAM OPTIONAL – MAY SUB SEEDLESS RASPBERRY JAM (SEE NOTES)
- 12 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao)
- 1 2/3 cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
CHOCOLATE MASCARPONE FILLING
- 6 oz. (¾ cup) mascarpone
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 heaping cup ganache in directions
- 2-3 6 oz. containers fresh raspberries (more the better!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of two 8-inch cake pans at least 2 1/2” deep with parchment paper or two 9” pans. Spray pans with nonstick cooking spray WITH flour or butter and flour pans.
Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl. Whisk in sugar and salt (“dry ingredients”). Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla together until combined. Whisk dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until combined. Whisk in boiling water just until combined, do not overmix (the batter will be thin).
Evenly divide the batter between the cake pans and drop a few times on the counter to get rid of air bubbles. For 8” pans, bake at 350 degrees F 32-38 minutes, for 9” pans bake for 22-28 minutes OR until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out with just a few moist crumbs (don’t open oven while baking or cakes could fall in center.)
Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. Once cool, level cakes if needed.
RASPBERRY JAM OPTIONAL (MAY SUB STORE BOUGHT – SEE NOTES)
Add raspberries (and any juices from thawing) to food processor and puree. Add puree to a fine mesh sieve over a bowl to discard seeds. Press down on the puree with the back of a spoon or spatula, until only seeds remain. This will take several minutes. Take care to wipe the back of your sieve to get all of the puree. You should end up with about 1 ¼ cups of puree.
Add raspberry puree, cornstarch, sugar and lemon juice to a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring constantly then reduce heat to medium (medium-low if your stove runs hot) and continue to cook and stir continuously until puree is thickened. Refrigerate until completely chilled.
Do NOT start Ganache until your cakes are cooled because we will use part of it within 20 minutes to frost our cooled cakes.
Add heavy cream to a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave until just boiling, about 2 – 3 minutes. Remove from microwave and add chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, then whisk vigorously until Ganache is melted and smooth. Whisk in 1 tablespoon corn syrup.
Remove a heaping ½ cup Ganache to use in Chocolate Mascarpone. Let remaining Ganache stand at room temperature to cool until barely lukewarm, about 20 minutes OR until thickened but spreadable.
Immediately after making Ganache, make Chocolate Mascarpone (so you can start assembling your cake before the Ganache cools completely).
Using a handheld mixer, beat the mascarpone, cream, sugar and vanilla on low until no lumps remain. Add reserved heaping ½ cup ganache and increase speed to medium high and beat until thick, and stiff peaks form – should look like thick whipped cream. You don’t want to overbeat or the mixture will break and curdle but you want it quite thick.
Cut cooled cakes in half horizontally using a long serrated knife to create 4 even layers. Place 1 layer, cut side up, on a serving plate or cake pedestal then evenly top with one third of your Raspberry Jam (about ⅓ cup). Top Jam with one third of your Chocolate Mascarpone (about 1 cup). Top with 2nd cake layer, cut side down, and repeat Jam and Mascarpone layers. Top with 3rd cake layer and repeat Jam and Mascarpone layers. Add final cake layer, cut side down.
Separate out 1 cup lukewarm Ganache and frost top and sides of cake in a thin crumb layer. Freeze cake for 30 minutes to set Ganache. After 30 minutes, frost cake with desired amount of remaining Ganache. If Ganache is beginning to harden then add 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and microwave for 10 seconds then whisk. If it is too runny, then whip it with a hand held mixer to stiffen.
Arrange raspberries in concentric circles on top of cake and dust lightly with powdered sugar. Serve with any remaining raspberries.
If not serving immediately, assembled and frosted cake should be covered with an inverted bowl or cake cover and refrigerated. Bring cake to room temperature before serving (about 30 minutes on the counter).
CHOCOLATE CAKE NOTES
- For a regular chocolate cake, substitute the dark unsweetened cocoa with regular unsweetened cocoa powder. Note, this is baking cocoa powder found in the baking aisle and not a chocolate drink mix.
- DIY Buttermilk: Measure 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar into a measuring glass or one cup measuring cup. Add enough milk to equal one cup. Give it a stir and let sit 5-10 minutes. The milk will curdle so you know it’s ready.
- You must use room temperature eggs or your cake will not set up properly. To quickly bring eggs to room temperature, fill a bowl with warm water (not hot) and add eggs and let sit 10-20 minutes.
- Don’t overmix your cake batter! Overmixing will result in a dense, tough, dry cake.
- The cake layers should both be baked on the middle rack of your oven. If there isn’t enough room, then bake your cakes in two batches.
- Don’t overbake your cakes or they won’t be as moist. There should be a few moist crumbs clinging to the toothpick.
- 9×13 pan: You can use a 9×13” pan and bake approximately 35 – 40 minutes at 350 degrees F. Cut cake in half vertically and then cut in half horizontally for a 4 layer square cake.
RASPBERRY JAM NOTES
- The homemade Raspberry Jam is strictly optional. You are welcome to use your favorite seedless Raspberry Jam. You will need approximately 1 cup but are welcome to use more for even more raspberry pop.
- If making homemade Raspberry Jam, use frozen raspberries for best results because frozen raspberries are picked at peak ripeness which means they often have more flavor than store bought which can be beautiful but flavorless.
- Take care your frozen raspberries do NOT have any sugar added.
- If you do use fresh raspberries, you will need 2 6 oz. containers.
CHOCOLATE GANACHE NOTES
- Do NOT start making your Ganache until your cakes are cooled because we will use it within 20 minutes to frost our cooled cakes.
- If your Ganache does cool and start to harden for whatever reason – don’t worry! Simply add 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and microwave on low for 10 seconds then whisk and microwave another 10 seconds if required.
CHOCOLATE MASCARPONE NOTES
- Mascarpone can be found with the specialty cheeses in your grocery store.
- Immediately after making your ganache, make chocolate mascarpone so you can start to assembling your cake before your ganache cools completely.
- Make sure Chocolate Cakes are completley cool before cutting and frosting. To cut Chocolate Cakes horizontally in half, I place the cakes on a cutting board so they are nice and sturdy. Next, I get way down so I am eye level with the cake and turn my head sideways so I can see on both sides of the knife (be sure to use a serrated knife!). Next, I score the cake evenly in half all around the cake. Finally, I use the score line as my guide and work my way around slicing the cake a little through on each side. This way, you are not slicing straight through the cake and coming up uneven on the other side.
- I like to place four strips of parchment paper around the edges of cake stand/cake platter to create a square frame then add my cake in the center of the square so the edges are overlapping the parchment. This keeps the frosting on the parchment paper which you remove once you’re done frosting and keeps the cake stand clean.
- Garnish with lots of raspberries! The fresh raspberries make this Chocolate Raspberry Cake exponentially better even when you didn’t think it was possible. In fact, I recommend buying raspberries not only to garnish your cake extra raspberries to serve alongside your cake – because they are that good and cut through the richness of the dark chocolate.
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