16 Jul Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake

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. 

great wall2

Same recycled joke. Always funny.

Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake

For real though, she still does it all the time.

Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake

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.

Chocolate Raspberry Layer 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.

Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake

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!

Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake


    For the cake:
  • 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
  • For the chocolate raspberry ganache:
  • 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
  • For the raspberry swiss meringue buttercream:
  • 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
  • For raspberry jam filling:
  • 1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • For garnish:
  • Mini-chocolate chips
  • Fresh raspberries


    For the cake:
  • 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.
  • For the chocolate-raspberry ganache:
  • 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.
  • For the raspberry swiss meringue buttercream:
  • 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.
  • To assemble:
  • 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.

Recipe Sources:
Cake: Ina Garten’s Beatty’s Chocolate Cake
Ganache: P.F. Chang’s at Home

  • Miss Messy
    Posted at 10:06h, 16 July Reply

    This looks freaking awesome even without the slice pictures! 🙂
    Miss Messy recently posted…Coconut ToffeeMy Profile

    • KWahlman
      Posted at 11:16h, 16 July Reply

      Thank you 🙂

  • Sheila
    Posted at 11:09h, 16 July Reply

    I probably ate about 88% of this cake by the way…IT WAS SO GOOD! Everyone should have a best friend like Katie to bake them the most amazing cakes in the world. PF Changs – suck on that!


    • KWahlman
      Posted at 11:16h, 16 July Reply

      Love you Sheila!

  • Natalie
    Posted at 20:08h, 16 July Reply

    You know a certain baby meow meow is going to want a special going-away treat, especially once I show him this cake…

    • KWahlman
      Posted at 20:10h, 16 July Reply

      baby kitten gets what baby kitten wants!

  • Maegan @ The BakerMama`
    Posted at 20:32h, 16 July Reply

    You should definitely be patting yourself on the back! This cake is gorgeous! I’m dying to see what the inside looks and tastes like so I’m already thinking of a special occasion I can make it for! Sheila is one lucky birthday girl!

  • Five Things Friday 07/11/14. |
    Posted at 03:01h, 11 July Reply

    […] 5. Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake via Butter Lust. […]

  • Sara
    Posted at 03:48h, 02 October Reply

    I just made this cake today for my boyfriend’a mother and it is absolutely amazing!!! I have cooked from your blog and your recipes are fantastic and easy. I can’t wait to try some more 🙂 thank you!!!

    • KWahlman
      Posted at 09:40h, 02 October Reply

      Thank you, Sara!! LOVE hearing that!!!!

  • Kristi
    Posted at 11:53h, 09 November Reply

    I made this for my daughters 18th birthday and it was a hit! The instructions were easy to follow and it is really a beautiful cake. Thank you!!!

    • KWahlman
      Posted at 10:44h, 10 November Reply

      WONDERFUL! So happy to hear that, Kristi — thanks for sharing!

  • Yesi
    Posted at 23:59h, 09 December Reply

    I accidentally bought Unsweetened cocoa. Will it still work out? Thank you

    • KWahlman
      Posted at 10:28h, 10 December Reply

      Yes! You should use natural, unsweetened cocoa powder!

  • Caitlin
    Posted at 13:53h, 31 December Reply

    This looks delicious! I’m making it right now and was wondering if I should measure 3/4 cup fresh raspberries before or after i purée them.

  • Rebecca Canna
    Posted at 15:45h, 12 April Reply

    I was a little nervous about making this cake since I’ve never made ganache before… but everything came out great and the cake was a big hit! Someone in a comment above asked about whether to measure the raspberries (3/4 cup) before or after pureeing them. I would say before. That’s what I did and it came out great. If you measured afterwards that would be so much puree and I think it would ruin the frosting. Anyway…. loved the cake!

    • KWahlman
      Posted at 17:39h, 23 April Reply

      Thanks, Rebecca! So glad to hear it turned out well! And ganache is sounds much scarier than it actually is, right?!

    • Jess
      Posted at 13:44h, 08 February Reply

      Wish I had read this before. Checked comments because my frosting is soupy. I did exactly this. 3/4 cup of puréed raspberries, rather than closely reading and it clearly says 3/4 cup raspberries, puréed. Back to the store I go for more raspberries. . .

  • Lia
    Posted at 17:31h, 21 January Reply


    Question for you…do you think this taste similar to the PF Changs great wall of chocolate? My boyfriend LOVES the the PF Changs cake and I wanted to create it at home. Please let me know!


  • Lia
    Posted at 18:25h, 21 January Reply

    Can you taste the raspberry in the frosting? I can’t recall if you cant at PF changs

  • plasterers bristol
    Posted at 12:44h, 08 September Reply

    I haven’t had this in years. such a delicious cake. thanks for sharing.


  • W Bridge
    Posted at 20:49h, 07 October Reply

    Hi — my cake layers didn’t rise very much. How high are they supposed to be after baking? (Does it mean I over beat the batter?). I can’t imagine that they will make a very high finished cake. So now I’m wondering if I should make another batch…

    • W Bridge
      Posted at 22:04h, 07 October Reply

      Oops, ignore that! I looked over the steps again and I accidentally left out the baking soda! So I’m making another batch and they are baking and I can already tell they are rising properly.

  • Beth
    Posted at 11:17h, 05 December Reply

    I had someone request the PF Chang’s cake, but I don’t think that has buttercream, does it? Could this cake be made without?

    It looks like your ganache recipe is ACTUALLY PF Chang’s–is that correct? Do you make a raspberry sauce with this cake?

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