As regular readers would well be aware, I have a huge sweet tooth and absolutely love baking. Family birthdays are an excellent excuse to spend some time in the kitchen making a sweet treat. On the weekend, it was my dad’s birthday and I offered to bake him a birthday cake of his choice. He had a specific request – something with chocolate, raspberries and cream – fair enough!
My first thought was to make a sponge cake, although personally I am not a huge fan of sponges myself – I think they can tend towards dryness at times. The other consideration when choosing a cake was to find a cake that would serve a crowd (15 adults) – hence the idea for a layer cake was born.
The recipe for the cake itself is based on a plain chocolate cake from Nigella’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess (I love that book) with a few tweaks. Nigella’s cake is actually a chocolate orange cake, which uses marmalade in the cake mixture. I substituted the marmalade for raspberry jam and converted it to spelt flour. I then turned it into a layer cake by making a double quantity of cake, cutting the two cakes to make four layers, then inter-spacing the layers with chantilly cream and fresh raspberries, and finally dousing the cake in a very wicked chocolate ganache.
The cake was very popular – the chocolate cake layers were quite dense, with a chewiness and berry flavour throughout thanks to the inclusion of the jam. The fresh raspberries in the centre of the cake were a real treat, adding a fresh, moist flavour burst when biting through the cake. While this cake was a little involved to make (and stressful when cutting through the layers) I will absolutely make it again. Due to its richness, we served tiny pieces and the cake fed all 15 adults with quite a bit leftover, some of which I sneakily ate for breakfast the next morning – yum!
Chocolate and raspberry layer cake
For the chocolate cake
Note: you will need two 8 inch springform round cake tins for this recipe. I made the cake mixture only to realise my second cake tin was missing, I ended up going next door and borrowing the neighbour’s cake tin!!
240g unsalted butter
250g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
880g raspberry jam (I didn’t realise I would need so much, and substituted half for strawberry jam (excess from the taste test) this tasted fine)
440g caster sugar
pinch of salt
4 eggs, beaten
300g plain flour (or if using spelt, 360g)
4 tsp baking powder (or if using spelt, 3 tsp)
For the chantilly creme
2 tbs caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
For the ganache
180g dark chocolate, chopped
125 ml cream
250g fresh raspberries
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F.
- Flour and butter your springform pans and put baking paper on the bottom to prevent sticking.
- Melt the butter in a heavy based saucepan over low heat until almost completely melted. Add the chocolate.
- Leave chocolate and butter on the heat for a moment to get the chocolate melting, then take off the heat and stir until melted and smooth:
- Add the raspberry jam and stir in:
- Add the sugar, salt and eggs and stir until mixed.
- Sift in the flour and baking powder in batches and stir until incorporated. The mixture will be a little lumpy from the jam.
- Divide between your two cake tins:
- Bake for about 50 minutes – or until a skewer comes out clean. Keep an eye on the cakes and make sure you cook them long enough.
- Cool in tins, then turn the cakes out and let cool completely.
- Once completely cooled, cut each cake in half, to make four layers:
Note: you may notice the cake looks a little ‘wonky’ on the top edge – the neighbour’s cake tin turned out to be an inch smaller than mine, so I had to trim the larger cake. It ended up looking a bit messy. Definitely make this with 2 tins the same size to save yourself this hassle!
- Put the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in an electric mixer and beat until fairly stiff.
- Place the first layer of the cake on the serving plate and spread a third of the cream on top:
- Place the next layer of the cake on top, spread a third of the cream on top and scatter with fresh raspberries:
- Place the next layer on top and spread the last third of the cream on top:
- Place the last layer of cake on the top:
- Put chocolate and cream into a saucepan and heat gently. Stir until mixture is smooth:
- Beat in an electric mixture until cool and thick.
- Arrange some strips of baking paper around the edges of the cake to keep it clean.
- Pour the chocolate ganache over the cake, dripping down the edges
- Use a palette knife to smooth the top and cover the sides of the cake (this is messy work!)
- Decorate with a ring of fresh raspberries on the top.
Here’s my breakfast the next day – yum!