Chocolate Raspberry Cake – moist chocolate cake layered with raspberry jam, topped with raspberry cheesecake frosting and fresh red raspberries. A new layer cake recipe by our contributor, Tessa Huff.
For the past decade or so, I’ve tried to make homemade treats for Valentine’s Day. I can recall the failed DIY candy bars, the blobby, hollow “heart-shaped” macarons, the wet, oozing chocolate-dipped strawberries, and even the year our kitchen was packed away in moving boxes and my husband and I scarfed down an entire bag of conversation hearts. I remember these epic kitchen disasters with fondness, but from now on, I am sticking to cake to celebrate romantic holidays. Who needs the extra stress of tempering chocolate or perfecting macarons anyways?
Instead, this fairly simple Chocolate Raspberry Cake is truly all you need to show somebody some love. With only raspberry jam for the filling, it is quite underrated and unassuming. But let me tell – this cake is so tasty! And this is coming from someone that is always trying to come up with next over-the-top creation or unique flavour pairing. Plus, the blushing raspberry frosting is the perfect pink. Also chocolate – because Valentine’s Day.
Utilizing a classic chocolate cake, each bite is sweet and moist. By cutting the cake layers in half horizontally (that’s 6 layers!), the jam is more evenly distributed throughout and almost “melts” into each of the thin layers of cake. Trust me, there is no need for extra flair or fancy flavors here. Simple, understated, and so good! The “cheesecake” buttercream is a lighter version of heavy, cloyingly sweet cream cheese frosting. Instead, softened cream cheese is whipped into my favorite silky, smooth Swiss meringue buttercream. The raspberry jam adds just enough tartness to balance out the sweet filling and classic fudge flavors of the cake.
CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY CAKE
a layer cake recipe by Tessa Huff
For the Chocolate Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder (optional)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup + 2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup hot water
- Preheat over to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8-inch cakes pans and set aside.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat together the oil and sugars on medium speed for 2 minutes. With the mixer on, add the eggs and vanilla. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
- Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl. With the mixer on low, stream in the hot water. Mix on medium-low for no more than 30 seconds, or until combined.
- Evenly divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Let them cool on a wire rack fro 10 to 15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.
- Once completely cool, carefully slice each cake in half horizontally with a long, serrated knife.
For the Raspberry Cheesecake Frosting:
3 large egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened
½ cup cream cheese, softened
¼ cup seedless raspberry jam, or to taste
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, lightly whisk together the egg whites and sugar. Fill a saucepan with a few inches of water and bring to a simmer. Place the mixer bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double-boiler.
- Whisking constantly, heat the egg mixture until it registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer. Carefully transfer the bowl back to the stand mixer.
- Using the whisk attachment, whip the egg mixture on high for 8 to 10 minutes until stiff, glossy peaks and the outside of the mixing bowl returns to room temperature. Stop the mixer and swap the whisk for the paddle attachment.
- With the mixer on medium-low, add in the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, and mix until incorporated. Add in the cream cheese, raspberry jam, and vanilla.
- Turn the mixer up to medium-high and mix until silky smooth. If at any point the buttercream appears curdled, just keep mixing. If the buttercream appears soupy, try placing it in the refrigerator for about 10 to 15 minutes then mixing again. For a richer color, use deep pink or red gel food coloring.
NOTE: Be sure to use softened cream cheese, or it may be clumpy. Even better, stir up the cream cheese a bit before adding it in.
For the Assembly:
seedless raspberry jam
white nonpareil sprinkles, optional
- Place a bottom layer of cake on a cake board or serving dish. Spread with about ¼ cup of raspberry jam. This layer does not need to be thick, but there should be jam across the whole layer. Use more if needed. Top the with the next layer of cake and repeat until all layers are stacked.
- Crumb coat and frost the cake with the Raspberry Cheesecake Frosting, reserving a small portion of the frosting for decoration. Use a decorating comb to create texture on the sides, if desired. Using a French star tip, pipe “kisses” around the top of the cake before adding sprinkles and fresh berries.