Firstly, those two words – Chocolate Cake. Is there anything better, really? I usually think of a lovely rich chocolate flavour and of course, frosting. I’m a little bit biased when it comes to cakes that have frosting. I just don’t think that cakes without frosting are as good as cakes with frosting. I’ve actually been known to refuse cake without frosting (not chocolate cake of course, I mean that’d be a bit mental…).
So for me to make a chocolate cake, it has to be a good one. I’m not wasting time making, or room in my tum with cake that’s not that great. What’s the point of that? This cake is lovely and moist, rich and sooo chocolatey too. I mean there’s a whole cup of cocoa in the batter of this cake – yeah! There’s also a third of a cup of cream and I used brown sugar instead of white sugar. I think that the brown sugar just lifts this cake to another level. And I have a particular love of dark brown sugar or muscovado sugar. You may notice that. So if you have either of those then use it in this recipe, otherwise normal brown sugar is fine.
Tell you a funny story (it wasn’t really,) about making this cake. When I was making the raspberry coulis to put into the buttercream I popped the raspberries in a pan with some sugar and water and put the gas on low. Well… I went about folding up washing and all those other joyful things that you get to do after you’ve finished work for the day, when my husband got home and said “why is there smoke in the kitchen?”. I ran over and of course my coulis was pitch black and cemented to the bottom of the saucepan. I’m talking an inch thick and rock hard. It took me 2 days of soaking, baking soda and scrubbing to get it clean. Needless to say, sometimes you live and learn, sometimes you don’t…
So I made another batch of coulis, set the timer, checked it often and added some to the buttercream. The buttercream had a proper raspberry flavour which complimented the rich chocolate cake nicely.
I made this cake for my gorgeous friend Sue’s birthday and really wanted it to be a lovely looking cake as well as tasting amazing. Adding flowers to the top of the cake looks super cute and you can easily do this at home by using either silk flowers or fresh flowers (as long as they have no chemicals on them of course!). The table was set with gorgeous vintage crockery, crystal glasses that I hired locally, and lovely flowers. How cute does the table look in the pics below? It was a really fun thing to do for a lovely friend.
You may notice that the cake in the collage photo above is different from other photos in this post (as well as it being on a different cake stand!).. I had made the cake at the top of this post as a practice for the morning tea we had for Sue. I pretty much always do a practice of a cake if I’m making it for an occasion and haven’t made that recipe before. For my husband’s birthday a couple of years ago, I did 8 practices. Yep… 8… So you know when I post something, it works!
I bake this cake (and all layer cakes) in layer tins. I use Bakers Secret non stick, 20cm (8 inch) pans that are about 3cm (just over an inch) deep. The Wilton cake pans are just as good and the same size. I have never had any luck with cooking a larger cake evenly throughout – not ever. It is always drier on the edges than the middle. That’s if the middle cooks properly at all (without the edges going dry). This way the 3 shallow cakes cook quickly and evenly – no frustration & perfect layers. You’re welcome
Rich Chocolate and Raspberry Layer Cake
– 1 cup cocoa
– 1 cup boiling water
– 2 cups brown sugar (preferably dark brown or muscovado)
– 230g / 8.5 ounces softened butter
– 4 eggs
– 2 & 1/2 cups Self Raising Flour
– 2/3 cup milk
– 1/3 cup cream (thick or thin cream is fine)
– 1 cup frozen raspberries
– 1/4 cup white sugar
– 1/4 cup water
Preheat oven to 170°C or 340°F. Grease and line 4 layer tins.
While you are making the cake batter, start the Raspberry Coulis to add to the buttercream. You want to end up with 3-5 tablespoons of coulis. In a small saucepan add the frozen raspberries, sugar and water. Heat on medium heat and stir until the sugar is melted and the mixture is just simmering. Simmer very gently until the coulis is nice and thick and reduced. Push the mixture through a sieve to remove the raspberry seeds. Allow to cool completely.
In a bowl or jug, combine the cocoa and boiling water and whisk really well until there are no lumps left.
Beat the brown sugar with the softened butter until light in colour and nice and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating a little between each egg.
Beat the flour in gently, then add the cocoa mixture, milk and cream and mix gently until combined.
Pour quarters of the mixture into each of the 4 layer tins. You want the tins to be about 2/3 full so that they have room to rise.
Bake for around 15 – 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Cool in the pans.
Make Buttercream Frosting as per the instructions. Beat in a tablespoon of Raspberry Coulis at a time until it is to your taste. If you would like to, add a teeny bit of red food colouring to enhance the colour of the buttercream. Fill in between the layers and the top of the cake with the buttercream.
Decorate the top of the cake with silk flowers, or real flowers that are chemical free if you wish.