Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Triple Layer Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Filling & Chocolate Ganache Frosting

I know what you are thinking- Isn't tomorrow Thanksgiving?  Shouldn't this post be about turkey, or mashed potatoes, or stuffing or even pumpkin pie?  Well, it's not.  It's about Chocolate Cake.  Awesome chocolate cake.  Dense, rich, chocolaty deliciously awesome chocolate cake.  Truly awesome chocolate cake.  Did I mention awesome?  Cause it is, for sure.  In my Husband's family Thanksgiving isn't just about Thanksgiving, it's also about Birthday's.  His two brothers and sister are actually triplets, and their birthday is the same week as Thanksgiving, so Turkey Day is a good day to celebrate, since the whole family has a chance to be together.   I offered to make the birthday cake for tomorrow, so tonight, instead of sharing a traditional Thanksgiving recipe, I'm sharing my Chocolate Cake.  I found this recipe online at a few years ago and it's become my go-to cake for birthdays, holidays, any special occasion.  It's not very sweet, in fact all the coffee and semi-sweet chocolate gives it a rich dark chocolate flavor and as you might have guessed, I think it's awesome.

I've made a few tweaks to the original version.  My version is a triple layer cake and has a raspberry filling between the cake layers.  I also finish the cake off with a ring of fresh raspberries around the top and the base (which quite nicely disguises my amateur cake decorating skills).  But the basic cake recipe is almost the same as the original.  Chocolate lovers rejoice- this is quite possibly the best chocolate cake ever.  And if you don't like chocolate?  Stay far far away.

Triple Layer Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Filling & Chocolate Ganache Frosting
3 9" round cake pans
waxed paper
baking spray with flour
Fresh Raspberries
For the cake:
3 ounces of good quality semisweet chocolate 
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (do not use cake flour)
1 1/2 cups good quality unsweetened cocoa powder (not the Dutch process kind)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup canola oil (or whatever vegetable oil you have handy)
1 1/2 cups well-shaken low fat buttermilk 
1 teaspoon vanilla
For the Ganache frosting:
2 (12 ounce) bags of good quality semisweet chocolate chips (Guittard brand is especially good)
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
2/3 stick sweet cream butter
For the Filling
1 large jar of raspberry jam

Make the Cake Layers First-
  1. Prepare the Cake Pans. Spray the pans with baking spray (the kind that has flour in the spray), line the bottoms of the pans with wax paper and spray the waxed paper as well. If you only have 2 cake pans, it's not a problem, 1/3 of the batter can sit, covered, while the first 2 layers bake and cool.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Melt the Chocolate in Hot Coffee.  Finely chop the semisweet bakers chocolate bar and then combine with fresh hot coffee in a medium sized bowl. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
  3. Sift the Dry Ingredients.  Sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. 
  4. Mix the Wet Ingredients.  In another large bowl beat the eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a stand mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add the oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate/coffee mixture to the eggs, beating until combined well. 
  5. Add the Dry Ingredients to the Wet.  Add the sugar/flour mixture into to the wet ingredients and beat on medium speed until just combined well. 
  6. Add to Cake Pans & Bake.  Divide the batter between the 3 pans and bake in the middle of the oven until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 minutes to 1 hour.
  7. Cool Cake Layers.  Cool the layers in their pans on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edges of the pans and invert the layers onto the cooling racks. Remove the wax paper and let the layers cool completely on the wire racks. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.
Make the Ganache Frosting:
  1. Heat up the Cream, Sugar & Corn Syrup.  In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring the cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until the sugar is dissolved. 
  2. Add in the Chocolate & Butter.  Remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the chocolate chips, whisking until the chocolate is melted. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to frosting, whisking until the ganache is smooth and shiny.
  3. Cool.  Transfer the frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on the chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill the frosting until it is a spreadable consistency). There will be lots of extra frosting left over (Yay!).
Assemble the cake:
  1. Trim Cake Layers.  If the tops of the layers rounded up when they baked, trim the top so that the layers are flat and level. 
  2. Cover Layers with Raspberry Jam.  Spread some raspberry jam over the leveled layers. 
  3. Build the cake and Frost.  Place the bottom layer on your cake plate.  It helps to put some waxed paper around the bottom of the cake, so that you can frost it easily, then slide the waxed paper out and not have a messy cake plate. Spread some ganache over the raspberry jam covered bottom layer. and put the next layer on. Spread some ganache over that raspberry jam covered layer as well. Once the top layer is on, pour the ganache frosting over the top and allow it to go over the sides. Use a large wide frosting blade to spread the sides and top with the ganache. Be careful when working on the top & sides to not let the raspberry seeds show through the frosting.
  4. Add the Raspberry Decorations & Finish Chilling the Cake.  Let the ganache set in the fridge for about 15 minutes and then ring the top of the cake with 1 row of raspberries.  Add a second row around the bottom of the cake.  Put the cake back in the fridge, covered, for at least an hour, so that the ganache can finish setting up.
  5. Serve!  Bring the cake to room temperature before serving.  This cake screams for a glass of milk along side, it is very very rich.
The cake keeps in the fridge, covered, for several days.  There are a lot of steps to making this cake, but I usually make the cake layers one day and then make the frosting and build the cake the next day so it doesn't seem so time consuming.  If you have a stand mixer, it's actually pretty quick and easy to make the cake part.  I've also used this same cake recipe to make cupcakes too, with great results.

If your curious, I did make a traditional dish today to bring to Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow as well. A year ago I found this amazing recipe on Bay Area Bites for a Sweet Potato Gratin.  Check it out, it's delicious!

I hope everyone has a very happy Thanksgiving tomorrow, full of family, friends, good food and good wine.
Bon Appetit!


  1. Oh my goodness..this is the cake of the cakes..dream cake!! Love love the photo, so festive and beautiful!!!

  2. Beautiful cake! Chocolate and raspberry are so good together!

  3. This is so right on time. My daughter asked me about an hour ago to bake something with raspberries so she wouldn't be tempted to eat it. Ask and ye shall receive! Thank you.

  4. What a beautiful cake! I would be so happy if this was my birthday cake.

  5. Yummy! That is an amazing looking chocolate cake. Would love to see a picture of a cake slice.

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  6. Right so you're shipping this cake to me for my birthday right?!?! ;-) Seriously though, this looks so divine...

  7. Wow....this looks incredible. Love it!

  8. Oh, boy, what a magnificent cake!!! YUM!

  9. This looks like art! Props to you, this is gorgeous!

  10. Chocolate and raspberries pair so well together! Your cake looks delicious and photo is, well, picture prefect ;)

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