Cold weather food for those long nights of winter, Classic Beef Stew & Dumplings is…
“Chemically speaking, chocolate really is the world’s perfect food.” ~ Michael Levine, nutrition researcher. Maybe he’s had my Double Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cake.
What is life without chocolate? Horror of horrors. Don’t even think it. It is too hideous, look away, look away.
Chocolate is something of a religion for me. A sacred bond. A covenant betwixt me and the glorious bean that is Cocoa. It has seen me through abandonment and depression and heartbreak and a tax audit that nearly broke my bank but never broke my spirit because I had chocolate; and in chocolate there is courage.
Yes. We have been through much, chocolate and I. In the summer of 2008 I found my way through extraordinary circumstances by paying homage to that dark, rich taste by means of perfecting a chocolate cake.
Based on a recipe from Brigeten’s Restaurant, in New Orleans published in Bon Appetit magazine’s R.S.V.P. section (April 2008), it was juggled and shuffled to find my personal sweet spot.
Thus my Double Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cake was born. It was a messy beginning.
Past staff members at the Dragonfly Inn can attest to the many stages of its development (and the thunder thighs) until finally I found balance and — dare I say it — elegance.
Visionary that I am… I added more chocolate. I know. Ground breaking. Oh, and raspberries. Prepare yourselves.
Let’s be honest; this is not a quickie recipe. It will goo-up a minimum of eight bowls, two saucepans, a couple of racks and several utensils. The frosting will splatter, there may be icing sugar and cocoa powder air-born, the batter is a precise science and it will not tolerate mistakes.
This is a cake that takes time, patience and effort. Therefore I only make it for those who will not just appreciate, but worship it. The slightest variance from which turns me into the Cake Nazi:
“NO CAKE FOR YOU!”
Because when it’s finished, those whose lips it touches will thrill to a rich, yet light old-fashioned cake that crumbles under the fork, a hint of ripe, sharp raspberry and a smooth, semi-sweet whipped icing, that cranks the sweet tooth of a mature palate.
The good news; you can make it well ahead. Using a simple syrup on the cake base, it keeps for as long as five days in the fridge, still moist. Simply let it stand at room temperature for an hour and — voila.
Often, I cut the cake rounds in half to create a four layer cake. I opted not to do that this time as I wanted a loose, friendly cake – reminiscent of Donna Reid and the 1950’s. So I wore pearls and high heels with my polka-dot apron and gobbed on the southern style frosting, made with sour cream, with a big spatula.
I filled the centre with far too much raspberry preserve, letting it gush down the sides, oozing red, ripe flavour, only to stop the hemorrhaging with more icing so that it might be somewhat contained and absorbed by the layers.
Allowed it to chill for an hour to make it firm in the heat and topped with violets from our garden.
I let it be juicy and messy and completely wonderfully imperfect because I find that so magnificently — delicious.
Then… I licked the bowl.
Double Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cake – Recipe
Prep / Cool/ Finish Time: 3 hours
Baking time: 20 – 25 minutes
• 2 cups sifted cake pastry flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 cups icing (powered) sugar, divided
• 1 1/4 cup buttermilk, divided
• 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
• 2 large eggs
• 3/4 cup water
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup raspberry preserves
• 1/4 cup fresh raspberries
• 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
• 1 cup sour cream
• 2 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 cups icing/powdered sugar
• 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
• 8 oz semi-sweet dark chocolate
• 1/2 cup whole milk
Pre-heat oven to 350*F
Butter two 9-inch cake pans with 1 1/2-inch sides.
Dust buttered pans with powdered sugar.
Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper cut to fit.
1. Sift four, baking powder & salt into one medium bowl.
2. Whisk 1 cup icing sugar, 3/4 cup buttermilk and cocoa powder in second bowl, until just smooth.
3. Whisk remaining 1/2 cup buttermilk and vanilla in small bowl.
4. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until creamy. Add remaining icing sugar; beat until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until blended. Beat in coca mixture. Add flour mixture, 1/3 at a time, alternating with buttermilk vanilla mixture. Beat until just mixed.
5. Divide batter into the two prepared pans. Batter can be quite stiff, you may need to smooth it into place to get an even distribution of batter so cake rises well.
6. Bake at 350* for approximately 25 minutes, until teaser inserted in middle comes out clean.
7. Cool on racks 15 minutes. Run a knife around edges to loosen any sugar adhering to pan and invert cake onto rack to cool completely.
GYPSY NOTE: Cake can be made 1 day ahead, cover and store at room temperature.
1. Bring 1/2 cup water & 3/4 cup sugar to fast boil over high heat, boil 2 minutes, remove immediately from heat, creating a simple syrup. Cool. Reserve.
2. In a small bowl combine 1/2 cup (good, clear) raspberry preserves/jam with fresh raspberries. Crush lightly with a fork. Leave slightly lumpy.
1. In large bowl use electric mixer to beat butter until smooth. Beat in sour cream and vanilla.
2. Melt chocolate either over a double boiler or in the microwave, allow to cool slightly.
3. Add icing sugar and cocoa powder to butter mixture with electric mixer.
4. Slowly drizzle in melted chocolate at high speed until icing is whipped and light.
If you desire a four layer cake, cut cake rounds horizontally. Place one layer of cake on serving plate. Brush with 3 tablespoons of simple syrup. This is the key to this cake’s longevity and moisture.
Spread 1/2 cup of icing over cake. Repeat with next layer in same manner, simple syrup, icing and now adding raspberry filling before adding 3rd layer and repeating process.
This cake has been a superstar of many a birthday, and it marks my one year Food Gypsy Birthday!
A year ago, on the shores of Roatan Honduras this little blog was born. We’ve come a long way since, it’s been a great adventure and it’s a great LIFE. I made it myself, from scratch.