Cake Success

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Last week I told you I was hosting my book group on Monday night, and I shared two of the dip recipes I was going to make.  And they were a big hit.  But there’s no question about the star of the show that night – the dark chocolate cake with raspberry cream filling.

Cakes aren’t my specialty.  Anyone who watched my kids growing up would be surprised to hear that, because of course I made a decorated cake for every one of their birthday parties.  The 101 Dalmations Party, the Harry Potter party, the Peter Pan party – they each received their own signature cake.  But those were labours of love, with emphasis on both words in that equation.
We celebrated the Wild-West theme party with a horse cake.
(Also useful for a Godfather theme party.)
The problem is, I’m not great with intricate details.  The cake itself is a cinch to whip up.  But decorating it?  That’s where I have problems.  I’ve experienced more than one icing landslide, and I’ve perfected the craft of hiding flaws with candles or oversized accessories.  While miniature disasters are easy to overlook for a seven-year-old’s birthday party, my standards are a little higher when it comes to the ladies of my book group.  And that’s why, when I find a cake that both tastes wonderful and doesn’t resist my attempts to tame it with icing, I want to tell everyone in the world about it.


One of the blogs I never miss reading is Une Petite Gamine.  Valerie and I are like sisters who have never met.  We both love Pablo Neruda.  We both live on the wild side by completing crossword puzzles in pen.  And if we lived in some horrible dystopia, where everyone had to choose between chocolate or lemon desserts, we would both choose Team Lemon.

But this recipe, which she printed on her blog a few months ago, might give me pause.  This Dark Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Cream Filling won rave reviews from everyone who tried it.  In fact, my attempts to photograph the cake were foiled at almost every turn by all those people who raved about it, and who crowded around for a second helping.

And best of all, the icing was incredibly resistant to landslides, as it spread easily and stay put where I spread it.  I’ve already got plans to make one again.

Dark Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Cream Filling
(from Une Petite Gamine, adapted from Country Living)

For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp white vinegar
1 cup hot water or hot coffee

For the filling
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ (icing) sugar

For the frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted over double boiler and slightly cooled
2 cups marshmallow cream
1/4 tsp almond extract
6 Tbsp confectioners’ (icing) sugar

To prepare the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter two 9” round cake pans, greasing sides and bottom.  Line the bottoms with parchment paper, then grease the paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In a separate bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, sour cream, oil, vinegar and hot water (or hot coffee).  Using a wooden spoon, mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients until the batter is smooth.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until a thin knife inserted into the centre of a cake comes out clean.  Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool in the pans for about 20 minutes before releasing them onto cooling racks.  Cool completely before adding the filling and frosting.  (Note: cake can be made a day in advance.)

Prepare the filling:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy, about 3 – 5 minutes.  Add the raspberry jam and beat to combine.  Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the confectioners’ sugar.  Beat until smooth.  Cover and set aside until ready to use.

Prepare the frosting:
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy, about 3 – 5 minutes.  Add the melted, cooled chocolate and beat until well-combined and fluffy.  On medium speed, add the marshmallow cream, almond extract, and confectioners’ sugar.  Once everything is combined, increase speed to medium-high and beat until smooth and flutffy.  Cover bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Assemble the cake:
Place the first cake top side down on serving plate.  (This will give you a flat surface on which to spread the raspberry cream.)  If the cream has been in the fridge, give it a good stir to soften it up a bit.  Spread the raspberry cream over the first layer.  Place the second cake on top of the filling (bottom side down, so the flat surfaces of the cake meet.)  Frost the rest of the cake, top and sides, with chocolate buttercream.

Serve cake at room temperature.

52 comments:

LDH said...

I don't think there could be two cuter little girls ~ LOVE the expressions on their faces... adorable!

And your cake sounds heavenly. It is now on my make list :)

Thanks a bunch for sharing!

Becki's Whole Life said...

Your cake sounds wonderful. I am right there with you. I like the baking part, but the decorating part is always a bit hit or miss. I do a lot of polka-dots and squiggly lines on my cakes. The girls always seem to appreciate them though. I am sure your girls appreciated their birthday cakes and the horse cake is adorable. Ella had a horse themed birthday once and that would have been so cute. I am a lemon fan, too and I think that raspberry buttercream would taste great in a lemon cake. I like the chocolate combo, too.

From the Kitchen said...

Lovely! I'm not much of a decorator myself. May I join you on the"wild side" of working crosswords in pen?

Best,
Bonnie

Belinda said...

That horse cake is awesome!!! This cake sounds perfect!

Valerie said...

Lol Beth! I kinda love the horse head cake. :D
I'm so glad this cake was such a huge success! (Amazing how fast it disappears.)I'm kind of really tempted to make it again after seeing your photos.

Go Team Lemon!

Barbara Jean said...

Gorgeous looking photo! I will keep this recipe in mind for sure. And while I too complete crosswords (and Sudoku) in pen, I am Team Chocolate. :)

Claudia said...

Oh - I am saving this! Love chocolate and raspberry flavors combined. And I have no fine motor skills - but bake and cake and frost it - yes!

Bonnie said...

Beth, I, too have experienced the cake landslide. I love to bake, but frosting is a challenge for me. In fact, I've become the cupcake queen. Okay, I can't imagine doing my daily crossword with anything other than a pen, and yep, I much prefer a lemon square to a brownie...anyday. So add me to team lemon. Bonnie

Brenda said...

Beth, this cake looks and sounds wonderful. Love the raspberry filling and I have to try that frosting. Marshmallow cream? Wow!

Beth said...

I'm glad to hear that I have so many friends on Team Lemon, although Team Chocolate rocks too!

And yes, Bonnie (and everyone else who does puzzles in pen). The wild side always has room for one more.

Carol said...

Your girls are adorable! The cake looks fantastic, love the flavors. I'm team lemon but chocolate comes so close.

yummychunklet said...

A slide resistant frosting? Yes, please!

Vicki Bensinger said...

Mmm what a great combination and with sour cream in it so it stays ultra moist. I just printed this entire recipe. Now I'm going to head over to check out Valerie's site.

Sissi said...

Beth, I am also not good in details such as cake decorations and I hate frosting and similar things. Your cake looks perfect though and the combination of raspberry and dark chocolate sounds fabulous.

grace said...

pablo neruda! i keep seeing references, and i love it! nice job on the cake, beth--you should be proud!

Neesie said...

Lemon or chocolate...lemon or chocolate? Oh my see what you've done Beth. Such a dilemma.

Definitely need to bake this cake! Need an occasion thought but maybe Monday is a good enough reason? ;D

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I'd say you hit it just right with this cake. Who needs any other decorations? This looks fantastic.

Cindy said...

Beautiful cake. I have book club next week, maybe I'll try this cake. It looks delicious.

Miriam said...

Such a delicious cake! Sweet photos too :), Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen said...

I know the feeling all too well! I've failed my share! It's helped me grown. But seriously, your cakes look amazing!

Elaine said...

It's wonderful to make a decorated cake once in awhile for special occasions, but my favorites are cakes like these that are just frosted. It looks perfect! The chocolate raspberry combination sounds delicious.

Joanne said...

I've gotten better at frosting with practice but I still can't do much more than just smear it on and try to get it as smooth as possible. :P You did an amazing job with this! It sounds like a dream.

Raina said...

The decorating part of baking has always been my downfall until I took a cake decorating class which was one of the best things I have done in a while. It is amazing what you can accomplish with a little know-how. Your horse cake came out beautiful and I love your idea for a Godfather cake..lol The cake sounds wonderful:)

Kitchen Riffs said...

I'm on Team Lemon too! Although I do like chocolate. Cake looks wonderful. And I agree on the decorating part - too tedious. Mainly because I never really learned how to do it (I prefer cooking savories to sweets, although I certainly enjoy eating sweets). Looks like a great recipe, though - I'll have to give this a try. Thanks.

cookingmisadventures.com said...

Yummy, Beth! I love dark chocolate and with raspberries...yes, please!

profiterolesandponytails said...

I was just thinking about how I've never made a cake for one of my girls' birthdays. Strange isn't it, even though I'm an avid baker and cook. I'm trying to imagine how complex the 101 Dalmations cake was...or Harry Potter for that matter. What wonderful memories for your girls. This cake looks divine!

Beth said...

Barb, I didn't mention this, but I posted a photo of the Dalmation cake shortly after I started blogging. It's on the August 19, 2010 post (although I made if years earlier). It was so simple to make!

Joanne, your technique is more or less like mine. It worked this time!

bizzybakesb said...

I can understand why the cake was the star. It looks soooooo good.

Rita said...

I have not made a good chocolate cake in long time; getting lazy.. I by them...
But the weekend of the 12th, we are celebrating 2 special grandchildren birthdays and hopefully your cake will be on the table. I used to always put my first cake upside down.
Merci Beth you made my day.
Rita

Barbara said...

Love Valerie's blog....you couldn't have gone to a better source. Your cake turned out beautifully. No wonder it was the hit of the book group!

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm drooling... definitely bookmarking this page!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm the worst cake decorator in the world. Trust me on that. I got an F for mine in grade 12. It looked like the results of a natural disaster. :D

Beth said...

It's a good thing I wasn't in your grade 12 class, Stina. I would have been failing right beside you.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

OMGOODNESS! That cake looks divine! I don't bake a lot because it leads to eating a lot, but I do enjoy baking in the summer at our cabin. I'll have to copy this recipe and try it. :)

Lynne said...

Wow! Awesome looking cake! I'm not very good at decorating cakes, but with this one, who needs fancy decoration!

Cucina49 said...

Beth, what a beautiful cake! That raspberry buttercream is to die for.

Julie said...

Beautiful cake! Delicious flavors.

Katerina said...

You did an excellent job with this cake Beth. And if it tasted as great as it looks then is obvious why it took so many rave reviews from the group you were hosting!

bakewithjill.com said...

Oh gosh, that looks delicious! I get stressed about frosting cakes and making them look nice. I took a cake decorating class, but unless you do it all the time (which I don't!), it can be a challenge.

gobakeyourself said...

A huge success I would say - this cake looks fabulous! Rich decadent and with so many awesome flavours to offer :)
Yum!

Cheers
Choc Chip Uru

Jay said...

looks amazingly tasty
Tasty Appetite

Medeia Sharif said...

I love chocolate and raspberries together.

I've never tried decorating a cake. I'm not sure if I'd be any good at it.

Mary said...

This is a beautiful cake, Beth. You'd better watch out or you aren't going to be able to claim that you and frosting are not friends! (I rarely make a pretty cake. Sheet cakes are more my style as well!)

Rosita Vargas said...

Un pastel hermoso y delicioso rica combinación y Pablo Neruda es un gran poeta

Gloria said...

love this cake!!

Gloria said...

and love so much the little faces!!lol

Sue said...

Raspberry cream sounds delicious! Your cake looks amazing, and I love the horse cake (and the photo) too! You have quite an impressive repertoire of cakes, Beth:)

Jill | Dulce Dough said...

I love the combination of raspberry an chocolate! Sounds like an amazing cake. And that picture of your girls is adorable!

Rita said...

I made your cakes, stored it in the freezer and will decorate it next weekend to celebrate 2 grandchildren's birthday.
Rita

Beth said...

That's great, Rita! Let me know how it turns out!

comfortablydomestic.com said...

Of course the Book Group cake looks fantastic. I'm a big fan of any cake that doesn't require that I tame icing. But, I must say that I gasped out loud at the horse cake. I made a nearly identical cake for a Cowboy themed birthday party, after which I swore to Never Again Carve Cake. :)

Rita said...

Fantastic; will be posting about it soon. Big problem; you are not on my list of blogs that I follow anymore; trying to figure out how to follow you now.
Rita

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