I’ve been in quite the cooking rut lately; sprinkle rushed evenings with cranky kids and a touch of culinary burnout and you find yourself with lots of repeat meals, breakfast for dinner and (gasp) takeout. I haven’t been slacking in the cake department, however. I whipped up this fantastic cake for our office Christmas party last weekend. It is probably one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve made in a very long time!
Although a few mishaps occurred along the way – the cake was supposed to be a 3-layer one, and the Christmas trees I’d first made were much prettier before I dropped the cookie sheet they were sitting on and smashed most of them – it was a pretty straightforward cake to create. I’ll be trying it again for our family Christmas dinner this year.
Chocolate Cake with Ganache & Raspberry Filling
1/3 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups hot coffee (brewed or instant, it doesn’t matter. It does need to be hot to melt the chocolate, though.)
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 300F.
Grease & flour 3 9″ cake pans. I find it easier to line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper and grease the sides.
In a bowl, pour the hot coffee over your chopped chocolate chips. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.
In a large bowl, sift together your dry ingredients.
In your mixer, beat your eggs for about 3 minutes. Add the oil, buttermilk, vanilla and melted chocolate. Beat until just combined.
Gradually add your dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until just combined.
Divide the cake batter evenly among the three pans.
Bake for about 1h to 1h10 until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Cool the cake completely on cooling racks.
Once cooled, carefully wrap each layer in plastic wrap and freeze for a few hours.
3/4 cups of semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cups of heavy cream
In a small saucepan, heat the cream until warm. Make sure not to boil!
Add the chocolate and stir until blended. Set aside.
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup water
8 oz raspberries
2 tbsp cornstarch
In a small sauce pan, heat all the ingredients until heated through. Using an immersion blender, pulse the sauce a couple of times to make it smooth. Pour the sauce in a small bowl and refrigerate.
1 cup of dark chocolate, chopped
Melt chocolate over double boiler. Remove from heat and cool to luke warm.
While the chocolate cools, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Pour chocolate into a piping bag and draw out your trees on the paper. Place the trees in the fridge until cool and you are ready to use them.
1 1/2 cups softened butter
4 cups icing sugar
1 tsp almond extract
2-3 tbsp heavy cream
In a large mixer bowl, cream your butter on low-speed.
Gradually add icing sugar, one cup at a time.
Add whipping cream and almond extract. Keep mixing and adding whipping cream until your icing has reached your desired consistency.
Now it’s time to assemble your cake. Take your cake layers out of the freezer. Level each cake by trimming the top until both sides of the layers are perfectly flat.
Lay out your first layer and pipe a dam around the edge of your cake. Make it at least 3/4″ high. I learned the hard way and all my filling started pouring out!
Pour 1/2 of the chocolate ganache on the layer. Now pour 1/2 half of the raspberry filling on top.
Place your 2nd layer on top and repeat.
Top with your third layer and frost the cake with your remaining icing.
Take your chocolate trees out of the refrigerator. Pipe some butter cream on the back of the trees and place them on the cake.