This Chocolate Raspberry Cake has six glorious layers of vanilla cake with raspberry sauce and a rich dark chocolate frosting.
My baking this week was planned quite poorly. Mostly because I was procrastinating and couldn’t decide what I wanted to post on Sunday (today). I ended up baking two things that I couldn’t actually use, because I need to save them for collaborations later this month.
So here I am halfway through the week with nothing to go for Sunday. Clearly I did not have my $%&# together. I’m usually a very organized person, but not so much when it comes to baking. Or rather, I’m bad at planning and scheduling out my baking because I kinda go with what I *feel* like doing on a particular day/week. On the plus side, my next two posts are basically done. Hah.
I had a few 6″ vanilla cake layers sitting in the freezer — they were extras from the Blue Bear Birthday Cake I made for my friend Brad’s son’s birthday. They’d been sitting in there since the beginning of December. I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do with them, so there they stayed, taking up valuable freezer space.
Thankfully, cake layers freeze really well. I actually read somewhere, back in my cake decorating days, that it’s better to freeze the layers right away (even when still a bit warm) as it will really help lock in the moisture. Wrap them well in plastic wrap and then again in tin foil (if storing for a longer period). You can freeze them overnight, thaw in the morning, and decorate your cake.
Placing cakes in the fridge, however, has the opposite effect. It actually dries them out. So if you want to store a cake for more than a couple days, I always suggest the freezer. This very cake has now been portioned up, layered between strips of parchment, and placed in an airtight container in the freezer. I have to do that, or else we’d eat the whole damn thing in 2 days.
I don’t really know how I finally decided what to make. I love chocolate, in case you haven’t noticed, and raspberries are my favorite berry, so Chocolate Raspberry Cake it was. I figured it would also be a good combo for Valentine’s Day. Chocolate + red is the epitome of V-Day, right? I’m not a huge V-Day person, but I do like to acknowledge the holiday. So, this Chocolate Raspberry Cake is my acknowledgment of Valentine’s Day 2016.
Cake layers in hand, all I needed to do was make the raspberry sauce and frosting… and decide how I was going to decorate it, which really was my biggest hangup. I still had frozen raspberries in the freezer from the last time I made a raspberry sauce, so I was happy to use them up. I left the seeds in this time instead of straining them, because I actually like the texture of them in a cake. If you prefer your sauce seed-free, you can strain it, but be sure to double the sauce recipe so you have enough for all the layers!
For the frosting I wanted something dark, chocolatey, smooth, and silky. Most standard buttercreams end up being a bit grainy and fluffy from the powdered sugar, and I wanted to try something other than a meringue buttercream. After much researching, I decided to adapt a Martha Stewart recipe that I’d come across. I didn’t use quite as much chocolate or cocoa as her recipe calls for, simply due to laziness and ease of measurement. I like round numbers!
One very important thing to note: if you chill the frosting it will get very hard. Much like a meringue buttercream, but this one doesn’t quite soften up as much when it comes up to room temperature. It will be very thick and fudgy (but still delicious). If you prefer a creamier frosting, I recommend serving this chocolate raspberry cake the same day and not chilling it once frosted.
The frosting wasn’t quite as dark as I’d hoped, so next time I think I will add in some black cocoa powder to give it that darker color. I would also add 1/2 cup more butter to give it a softer texture when it comes out of the fridge. That would likely make it more challenging to work with, as it would be softer when spreading on, but I’m going to give it a shot.
Either way, this frosting is AH-mazing! Dark and chocolatey, not too sweet, and it pairs perfectly with the sweet vanilla cake and sweet/tart raspberry sauce.
Tips for this Chocolate Raspberry Cake:
- You can use store-bought raspberry jam instead. Heat it up a bit if you want it easier to spread. I didn’t strain out the seeds, but you can do so if you prefer. Double the recipe for the sauce if you plan to strain seeds out.
- This frosting is best kept at room temperature and served same day. Once the frosting or cake is chilled it becomes very firm and will crack if you try to cut it when it’s cold.
- If you chill the frosted cake, be sure to take it out 1-2 hours before you plan to serve it. The frosting will be a thick fudge consistency.
- To help ensure your cake layers bake up nice and flat, see my tips here.
- If you like this cake, check out my Chocolate Strawberry Cake and Mocha Chocolate Cake recipes!
Chocolate Raspberry Cake
Almost Scratch Cake
- 2 cups frozen raspberries
- 2 Tbsps granulated sugar
Almost Scratch Cake:
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Combine all dry ingredients and whisk together. Add wet ingredients and mix until combined. I use my KitchenAid on low for 2 minutes but you can also do this by hand.
- Divide the batter between the pans and bake for approximately 40-50 minutes. Or until a cake tester comes out mostly clean.
- Cool in pans on wire rack for 10mins, then turn cakes out onto wire racks to cool completely.
- Place frozen raspberries and sugar into a small saucepan and cook over med-high, stirring often, until raspberries are broken down and syrupy (crush with a wooden spoon as you stir).
- Beat butter, sugar, and sea salt until pale and fluffy. Gradually add in melted chocolate. Gradually add in cocoa mixture. Whip until well combined.
- Let stand 1-2 hours to firm up.
- Cut each cake layer in half horizontally. Transfer one layer to serving dish or cake stand. Spread 1/3 of the raspberry sauce over top. Place another cake layer on top and spread approx. 1 cup of the frosting over top. Alternate layers of cake with raspberry sauce and frosting, but leave the very top uncovered. Chill to set for 30mins before frosting outside of cake. Work quickly as the frosting will harden on the cooled cake.
- Watch this video to see how to do the rustic swirly frosting.