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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

350ml cream
2 tbs caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the ganache

180g dark chocolate, chopped
125 ml cream

To decorate

250g fresh raspberries

Chocolate-raspberry cake

  • 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!

Creme chantilly

  • 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:

Chocolate ganache

  • Put chocolate and cream into a saucepan and heat gently. Stir until mixture is smooth:

  • Beat in an electric mixture until cool and thick.

Assembly (continued)

  • 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.

  • Enjoy!

Here’s my breakfast the next day – yum!

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8 Responses to “Chocolate and raspberry layer cake – Happy Birthday dad!”

  1. Saskia says:

    Seriously good cake, Em. Looks beautiful.

  2. Aren’t you a great daughter! The cake looks fantastic-gorgeous and glossy and I love how raspberries offset the sweetness of chocolate so nicely πŸ™‚

  3. Reemski says:

    Wow, making my mouth water…I want chocolate cake with raspberries! Can you courier up from Melbourne? Swap ya some fig jam?

  4. Holy moly, look at all that chocolate! I am dying for that cake now!

  5. Annabelle says:

    Hey Emily,
    This is Annabelle and Nona here we just saw your blog on this amazingly delicious looking cake. We too have been cooking today, we made a Lumberjack Cake however yours looks VERY VERY YUMMY! Well done!
    Love Annabelle and Nona xxoo

  6. Emily says:

    Yep it was a great cake – though as I said, tiny tiny pieces people! Quite rich.

    Reemski – not sure the cake would travel up to Sydney very well, but I would kill for some fig jam. I have quite the jam obsession!

    Annabelle – lumberjack cake sounds great!

  7. Lucky Dad. Wowsers that side shot of the cake is unbelievable – I’m sitting at my desk salivating. Gorgeous.

    Jetsetting Joyce

  8. Spencer says:

    Your Dad is a very lucky guy! What a great looking cake.

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