Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chocolate Layer Cake with Raspberry Ganache

It's birthday time...bring on the candles, cake, balloons and everyone to our house!!!  Oh, it's not my birthday, but that kind of makes it more special because it's time to make a cake!  And not just any cake, but a piece of chocolate heaven, layered with more chocolate and then topped with...you guessed it...chocolate.  Oh, and there's a little raspberry in there, too.




I find that cakes can be a little time consuming with the baking and letting it cool and then frosting, but once you take your first bite, all that time can be very worth it. 
 Also, when comparing decorating time for a cake vs smaller items, like cupcakes, it seems well worth it.  I can decorate a cake much faster than 24 cupcakes.  They can be baked in all shapes and sizes or transformed into all shapes and sizes.  Fun decorations and of course the candle(s) can put a smile on face of kid inside all of us. 



Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake





Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup + 2-3 Tbls unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
Chocolate Ganache & Raspberry Topping Ingredients:
  • 18 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped or bittersweet chocolate chips (do not exceed 61% cacao)\
  • 2 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 6 Tbls seedless raspberry jam, stirred to loosen, divided
  • 2 6-oz containers fresh raspberries
  • Powdered sugar
Preparation:
  • For the Cakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Cut the shape of the bottom of the pans in parchment.  Butter the bottom of two 9" cake pans and use the 2-3 Tbls of unsweetened cocoa powder to coat the sides.   Place the parchment paper in each cake pan and set aside.
  • Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into large bowl.   Mix together and form a well in the center.
  • In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup water, buttermilk, oil and eggs and whisk until blended.  Pour into the dry ingredients and whisk until just blended. 
  • Divide cake batter evenly between two pans (about 3 cups each).  Bake at the 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until tester inserted into center comes out clean.  Note:  If you don't have a tester, a metal skewer or toothpick works equally well.  This can be done up to a day ahead of time.  Just refrigerate or freeze.  Make sure to bring to room temperature before adding the Ganache.
  • For the Ganache:  Put bittersweet chopped chocolate or chocolate chips into a heat safe bowl.  Bring cream just to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan.  Pour over the chocolate and let stand one minute.  Begin stirring till the mixture is melted and smooth.
  • Transfer 1 1/4 cup ganache to small bowl.  Cover and refrigerate until ganache is thick enough to spread, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.  Let remaining ganache stand at room temperature to cool until barely lukewarm.
  • For Assembly:  Carefully remove the first cake from it's pan and place upside down on your serving dish/plate/cake stand/etc.  Remove parchment paper.
  • Spread 3 Tbls of raspberry jam evenly over the top of that layer.  Spoon dollops of the chilled ganache over, also spreading evenly. 
  • Invert second cake layer on top of first layer upside down.  Remove parchment paper.  Spread remaining 3 Tbsp raspberry jam over the top of the second layer.  Pour half of the lukewarm ganache over the top and side of the cake.  Place in the freezer until sets, about 30 minutes. 
  • Remove from freezer and pour the remaining ganache over the top and sides of the cake.  Spread until smooth.  Arrange fresh raspberries on top of the cake as you would like and dust with powdered sugar. 
  • Serve with homemade whip cream and coffee...this is a rich dessert!


Happy Baking!!!

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