raspberry truffle cake

I figured that all of the recipes I’ve posted so far have been pretty healthy, so lest you get the wrong idea about what type of girl I am on the inside, here is one that better speaks to what I truly love: that would be something sweet, rich, and smothered in chocolate.

This cake and I go back to May of last year when I was browsing this newly addictive site called Pinterest (I discovered it about one year ago, perhaps later than everyone else). I saw the pink raspberry buttercream and drizzled chocolate ganache and it was love at first sight, so I decided to make it for my dear sister-in-law Ashley for her birthday (which was also a surprise baby shower). This cake is amazing, and it was a big hit because Ashley is requesting it again for her birthday this year. The original recipe is from the blog Annie’s Eats, and I really recommend checking it out because there are great recipes and beautiful pictures. Since I just made this cake for the second time, I made some tweaks to the preparation that made it a little less high-maintenance for me.

This time around I baked the cake and froze it a few days early so the assembly was a breeze; otherwise you might use every dish in your kitchen and spend a lot of time on your feet for one day. The raspberry filling and ganache can easily be made in advance too.

Raspberry Truffle Cake

Click here to download the printable recipe.

Ingredients:
For the cake:
1½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp. espresso powder or finely ground coffee
1½ cups boiling water
¾ cup sour cream
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
3 sticks butter, at room temperature
2½ cups plus 2 tbsp. sugar
3 large eggs
1¾ cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1¼ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt

For the raspberry filling:
16 oz. frozen raspberries, thawed
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch

For the ganache filling:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (chocolate chips work)
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp. butter, at room temperature

For the raspberry frosting:
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
21 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
1 6-oz. package raspberries
½ tsp. vanilla extract
red food coloring (optional)

Directions:

For the cake (I recommend doing this a day or more before and freezing): Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Boil 1 1/2 cups of water on stovetop. Grease and flour the edges of two 8 or 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with a round of parchment paper.* Combine cocoa and espresso powder in a small bowl, and add the boiling water. Whisk and let cool slightly, then whisk in sour cream.

Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and whisk together.

Cream the butter and sugar in your mixer on medium-high for about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla (scrape down sides of bowl as necessary).

With the mixer on low, add flour mixture and cocoa-sour cream mixture in three additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture (flour, sour cream, flour, etc.). Mix until just incorporated.

Divide batter between pans.** Bake 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely. I recommend freezing the cakes a day or so before assembling because they are very dense and crack easily. When frozen, they are easier to move, stack, and frost. Just wrap the cake pan in plastic wrap or foil and freeze once cool.

Ganache: Place chocolate in metal (or heatproof) bowl. Heat cream in the saucepan until it simmers, then immediately pour it in the bowl with the chocolate. Let stand 1-2 minutes, then whisk together until smooth. Whisk in butter 1 tablespoon at a time until incorporated.

Take 3/4 cup of ganache out of the bowl and put in a zip top baggie or pastry bag fitted with 1/2 inch round tip (if using a baggie snip a whole in one corner). This will be used for piping a border around the primeter to hold the raspberry filling in once the cakes are stacked. Let ganache cool and harden slightly so that it can be smoothed between the cake layers. I recommend putting the baggie and bowl (with the whisk) in the freezer, stirring every few minutes until it is a spreadable but thick consistency (this may take up to 15 minutes).

Raspberry filling: Drain the thawed berries over a measuring cup reserving the juice. Add enough water to the measuring cup to equal 1 1/4 cups; add this to a medium saucepan with the cornstarch and sugar. Heat over medium-high heat, whisking constantly to smooth lumps, until mixture bubbles and thickens (this only takes a few minutes). Fold in drained berries, cover, and chill to thicken. I recommend chilling for at least 15 minutes in the fridge before using.

Raspberry buttercream: Combine sugar and egg whites in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water (I use my mixing bowl). Keep stirring so the egg whites don’t harden until the mixture reaches 160 degrees.

Transfer to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium-high until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature (about 8 minutes).

Reduce speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. (If frosting looks soupy or curdled continue to beat on medium-high for 3-5 minutes).

Add vanilla and raspberries, whisking on low until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. If desired, add food coloring to make the frosting more pink.

Assembly of cake: At this time I always trim my cake layers with a sharp knife so that they are even: make sure they are not lopsided and they are relatively even all the way around. I even stack them and trim sides that overlap if necessary. This makes the whole cake look much more professional when its done, but it must be done before it is frosted.

Place bottom layer of cake on a cake board or serving platter. If you assemble directly on your serving platter, place pieces of parchment paper, paper towels, or wax paper under the cake to keep your platter clean during decorating.

Spread 1/2 cup of ganache evenly over the top of the bottom layer and the bottom of the top layer (laying upside-down so the bottom is up; this will end up being 2 layers of ganache sandwiching the raspberry, yum!). Using your pastry bag, pipe a border of cooled ganache around the perimeter of the bottom layer. This will help hold the raspberry filling in place. Reserve remaining ganache.

Add raspberry filling on top of the bottom layer. I used a generous amount and had about a 1/2 cup leftover (raspberry syrup for pancakes, anyone?). Place top layer (with ganache side down) carefully on top of bottom layer.

Frosting the cake (my perfectionistic version): Once assembled, I do a crumb coat of frosting: smooth a thin layer of frosting all over cake, making sure to even out the sides (in case there is a gap between the layers). Then, chill in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. This eliminates the problem of crumbs spreading when you spread the frosting.

Do the final coat of frosting. I take several spatulas of frosting and plop them on top of the cake, then smooth them out from the middle to the sides making sure the top is level. Next, I take a spatula full of frosting to the sides, smoothing horizontally in one motion. I use a Lazy Susan to spin the cake while holding the spatula of frosting and this works great. Repeat multiple times until it looks good, then put cake back in the refrigerator so frosting hardens.

Chocolate drizzle: Use your ganache reserved from the filling, and warm it to a liquid consistency once again. Pour in center of cake and spread to the edges gently with your spatula. Add more ganache as needed and push it closer to the edges of the cake until it drips.

Let the cake cool in refrigerator once again, then top with raspberries before serving. If you still have ganache left over, consider drizzling it on top of the fresh berries.

Enjoy your masterpiece! With a tall glass of milk or cup of coffee I recommend. Truly chocolate and raspberry heaven 🙂

*Trick for parchment rounds: Cut a piece of parchment paper roughly the diameter of your pan. Fold in half, then in half again. Take the corner where the fold is, then fold in half again to make a triangle, like this:

Fold one more time the same way, then hold the corner in the center of your baking pan. Cut your triangle with scissors to the size of your pan’s radius. When you open this up you will have a parchment round the size of your pan.

** Trick for baking cakes with flat tops instead of rounded: Cut an old towel into a strip the circumference of  your pan with room to tie or safety pin the sizes together. Get this towel wet and wrap around pan before pouring your batter in, then bake as normal. The tops will come out concave which is perfect for lots of yummy filling.

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