16 Jul Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake
Remember my bestie, Miss Sheila Longbottom? We celebrated her 25th birthday last week, (25!!! Weren’t we JUST in college?) so naturally it was my responsibility to craft her birthday cake.
Speaking of, back in the good-ole college days we always went to P.F. Chang’s for Sheila’s celebratory birthday dinner. And of course, our Chang’s Spicy Chicken was always followed by a complimentary, monstrous slice of The Great Wall of Chocolate cake.
In case you’re not familiar, the The Great Wall of Chocolate is a SIX LAYER chocolate cake with rich chocolate ganache, topped with mini-chocolate chips and served in a pool of tart raspberry sauce. It’s kind of a big deal.
Every year, without fail, Sheila would smear the chocolate cake across her front teeth then flash a fudgy, blacked-out smile while posing the question, “Do I have something in my teef?” Classic Sheila.
Same recycled joke. Always funny.
For real though, she still does it all the time.
While perhaps we haven’t grown out of our
childish youthful jokes, we have branched out from P.F. Chang’s.
And even though we venture outside of the over-priced, fake-Chinese-food, mega-chain realm, we refuse to let that stop us from indulging in rich, chocolate raspberry cake.
Oh, no. Nobody comes between Sheila and her chocolate cake.
Being the fantastic, equally-as-chocolate-addicted friend that I am, I did my best to replicate The Great Wall for Miss Longbottom’s big 2-5, though on a smaller, more figure friendly (not really), 3-layer scale. Because seriously, who needs an entire SIX LAYER wall of chocolate? Ain’t nobody got the metabolism for that!
The result was this Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake. (Taking a moment to pat myself on the back.)
I wish I had been able to take a picture of this cake once sliced. Picture a rich, dense chocolate cake, brushed with raspberry jam and slathered with a generous helping of fluffy, pink raspberry swiss meringue buttercream between the layers. Unfortunately, I was at the mercy of the birthday girl when it came to cake cutting, and as birthday celebrations go, the cutting didn’t happen until we got home at 2am from a night on the town.
Thus, no slice photos. Whoops.
I guess that means you’re just going to have to make it so you can see for yourself. Fair warning: this is a fairly labor intensive cake. It’s also a crowd pleaser. I recommend saving it for special occasion. One that warrants a party. That way you can impress all your friends with your mad baking skills.
Bon Appetit and Happy Birthday Sheila!
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cups natural cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
- 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 3/4 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 pinch salt
- 3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup fresh raspberries, purreed and strained
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
- Mini-chocolate chips
- Fresh raspberries
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low speed until combined.
- In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.
- With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. The batter will be very thin.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
- Place the chocolate into a large bowl.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the cream, raspberry jam, butter and salt just to a boil.
- Pour over the chocolate and let it stand for 1 minute.
- Whisk until smooth, then add the vanilla extract.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let the frosting thicken overnight at room temperature or refrigerate for no longer then 1 1/2 hours.
- Combine the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Heat, whisking frequently, until the 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 and the bowl is cool to the touch, about 8 minutes.
- Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated. NoteL If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more.
- Blend in the raspberry puree until smooth and completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Invert 1 cake layer onto cardboard round and peel off the parchment paper.
- Use a spatula to spread 1/2 of the raspberry jam over the top.
- Place dollops of the swiss meringue buttercream over the jam and spread evenly. Add the next layer of the cake and repeat.
- Add the final later of the cake, cover with plastic wrap and place cake in the freezer for 30 minutes. (I do this so that the cake is more steady and to prevent crumbs when I spread on the thick chocolate ganache.)
- Once cake is chilled, remove from freezer and use a spatula to spread ganache over the top and sides.
- While ganache is still wet, press mini chocolate chips into the sides of the cake for garnish.
- Use a pastry bag fitted with a star tip to decorate the top of the cake with the remaining buttercream.
- Garnish with raspberries and chocolate chips as desired.