Our dear friend Don was celebrating his birthday. And who wouldn’t want to make him the best Birthday Cake you could imagine? And wouldn’t you know who volunteered to bake it. Why Andrew, of course. This was before he heard that Don was inviting 18 of his nearest and dearest. Now 18 people means one big birthday cake. So a lot of research later, Andrew discovered a Bon Appetit recipe that was actually called “Giant Chocolate Cake”. Even then, “Giant” meant 12 servings not 18. So Andrew doubled the recipe for the cake to make it even more “Giant”. But that’s not all he did.
Bon Appetit’s Giant Chocolate Cake featured Chocolate Ganache and Edible Flowers. But Andrew wanted his version to have Raspberry flavor both in the cake and between its four layers. So Andrew got out two of his Nick Malgieri cookbooks. In “Perfect Cakes” (Harper Collins 2002) he found both Raspberry Syrup to give the cake itself raspberry flavor and Raspberry filling to bring the fruit’s flavor between each layer of cake. In “The Modern Baker” (DK Publishing 2008) Maglieri’s take on Chocolate Fudge Icing would literally be the icing on the cake. Andrew had taken a course given by Malgieri at ICE, the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. The Institute offers a staggering 1500 classes a year, many of which are what the school calls “Recreational Cooking Classes”. I am not quite sure how recreational making this cake was but it certainly paid off: it was the best-received cake in memory. And I’ve seen Andrew create a lot of birthday cakes.
It’s only fair to tell you that this is no easy-bake oven cake. It involved quite a bit of time over several days. But it was absolute perfection. Our host shared thank-you emails which all raved about the cake and the words “Best Cake Ever” were prominently displayed. It was well worth all the effort. And it was an effort. The recipe for the cake itself had to be doubled. But because our stand mixer’s bowl is the 4.5 quart size, two batches of cake batter had to be made. This was done one day and the cake was then frozen. The night before the birthday party, the cake was defrosted in the refrigerator. The Chocolate Fudge icing needs time to thicken so that was accomplished next. While the icing chilled, the Raspberry Syrup was made. And once that was made, the Raspberry filling followed. Finally the two cakes were carefully sliced in half, ‘painted’ with raspberry syrup and layered with the creamiest of raspberry fillings.
The cake was iced. Then fresh raspberries were placed circling the top of the cake. Finally, gold leaf glitter was sprinkled all over the cake. At the last minute the candles were lit and the cake devoured by one and all. There was practically nothing left of the best birthday cake ever baked. Here are the recipes.
The Absolute Best Chocolate Raspberry Cake Ever Baked
A wonderful, wonderful cake with Raspberry flavor through and through the layers of the moistest Chocolate Cake.
- For the Cake. (Andrew made two separate 12 cakes. These ingredients are for 1 cake.)
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Special equipment:
- 2- 12-inch round cake pan with 2-inch-high sides
- 12-inch cardboard rounds or the removeable bottoms of 12-inch tart pans.
- For the Raspberry Syrup:
- 1/2 cup water
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 4 tbsp. raspberry Framboise
- For the Raspberry Filling:
- 1-10 or 12 oz. package of Frozen Raspberries
- 4 large egg whiteS
- ¾ cup of sugar
- ½ lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons Raspberry Syrup
- For the Chocolate Fudge Icing
- 2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 24 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
- 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For Finishing :
- Fresh Raspberries to encircle the cake (about 20)
- Gold Leaf*
- Step 1 First, make the cake:
- Step 2 Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 2- 12-inch round cake pan with 2-inch-high sides with nonstick spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper round. Spray parchment paper with nonstick spray. Dust pan with flour, tapping out any excess. Sift 2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Sift cocoa into another medium bowl. Pour 1 cup boiling water over cocoa
- Step 3 whisk to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs in large bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add butter to egg mixture and beat until blended. Beat in cocoa mixture. Add buttermilk and vanilla
- Step 4 beat to blend. Add dry ingredients and beat on low just to blend. Transfer batter to prepared pan
- Step 5 smooth top.
- Step 6 Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 38 minutes. Cool cake completely in pan on rack. Transfer the cake to 12-inch cardboard rounds or the removeable bottom of a 12-inch tart pan. The cake, carefully double-wrapped in aluminum foil, can be frozen up to one week ahead. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator. Each cake can be cut into two layers more easily when the cake is cold. Or made one day ahead, the layers should be covered with a dome and refrigerated.
- Step 7 First, make the Raspberry Syrup:
- Step 8 Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Cool and add the Raspberry Framboise.
- Step 9 Make the Raspberry Filling:
- Step 10 Bring the raspberries to a boil in a non-reactive saucepan and reduce slightly. Puree in a food processor or blender. Put puree through fine sieve to remove seeds, Set aside to cool.
- Step 11 Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Set over a pan of simmering water and whisk until the egg whites are hot and sugar has dissolved. Attach the bowl to the mixer and beat with the whisk attachment until the mixture has cooled. Switch to the paddle attachment and beat in the butter gradually. Continue to beat until smooth then beat in the raspberry purée and raspberry syrup.
- Step 12 Make the Chocolate Fudge Icing:
- Step 13 Combine the cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan and whisk well to mix. Place over low heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl to cool to lukewarm, about 110 degrees F.
- Step 14 Add the cooled cream mixture to the melted chocolate and whisk until smooth. Distribute the butter in a small pieces all over the chocolate mixture, then whisk it in smoothly. Whisk in the vanilla. Cool the icing until it is firm enough to spread.
- Step 15 Add the cooled cream mixture to the melted chocolate and whisk until smooth. Distribute the butter in a small pieces all over the chocolate mixture, then whisk it in smoothly. Whisk in the vanilla. Cool the icing until it is firm enough to spread. Do not be dismayed if the icing is too runny. Cool the icing until it is firm enough to spread. Put in fridge checking every five minutes until it is thick.
- Step 16 To assemble the cake:
- Step 17 Cut each 12-inch cake in half to make four layers in all. Place each layer, cut side up, atop a 12- inch cardboard round or tart pan bottom. Moisten the cut side of each layer by brushing each with the raspberry syrup. Then spread 1/3 of the raspberry filling over the first layer, then position another layer on top, spreading of the raspberry filling on top of each one of three layers. Leave the top layer bare. Chill to set.
- Step 18 Spread the Chocolate Fudge Icing all over the top and sides of the cake. Decorate the cake with individual raspberries around the edge of the cake and sprinkle the gold leaf the entire center of the cake.* Serve the cake!
- Step 19 *Andrew used Paillettes dorée from Un Dimanche á Paris (https://www.un-dimanche-a-paris.com/)