All thanks to my wonderful and talented Mum, I’ve been baking for almost my whole life. Pretty much my first memory is making delicious spice biscuits and getting to help roll them out and ice them with jam and icing. I’ll have to share those at some point, if for no other reason than the nostalgia trip. Plus, they’re super yummy.
For a long time, I didn’t really have a favourite baked good. I wasn’t fussy. Anything that was delicious, I was happy to give a go. I’ve made tortes and gateaux, cookies and biscuits, sponges and slices, candy and fudge. When it came to birthdays, I usually made a sour cream chocolate cake which was delicious, but pretty traditional.
Close to five years ago, a very good friend introduced me to the idea of the baking blog. Oh my. Cue montage of life-changing moments. This was definitely one of those.
The first blog I started reading was NSHP, which I’ve referenced a number of times. Other favourites include Smitten Kitchen, Delicious Delicious Delicious, Sprinkle Bakes, Bakers Royale, David Lebovitz, Delicious Everyday, and Sweetapolita.
Sweetapolita and Smitten Kitchen are two that have taught me soooo much in terms of technique, and new ways of doing things. Since I’ve been reading baking blogs, my techniques have improved vastly. In particular, I’ve discovered my true baking love – layer cakes. Ahhhh how I love an elegantly tall, gorgeously frosted layer cake.
When I discovered Sweetapolita’s one-bowl chocolate cake, that turns out gorgeous every time, I was also hooked. Alas, it tends to induce a sugar-coma… it doesn’t taste super sweet, but once you add in a few cups worth of frosting? Suffice to say I was almost getting a headache from eating it.
This recipe today adapts the original, converts it into metric (and some easy Aussie measurements), and also dials down the sugar to allow consumption without feeling ill. I’ve also adapted the size of the buttercream recipe to suit this size.
I’ve made Sweetapolita’s raspberry-chocolate cake a few times, both in the original rectangle shape, and as a circular cake. I use 7″ cake tins in all my recipes, and this makes 3 layers, which I bake separately (yay, no torting!). This also cuts down on the baking times.
I made this cake for my boyfriend’s birthday this weekend. I am pleased to report – no sugar comas WIN! Plus, he thought it was pretty great, so I was happy.
If you make this with Swiss Meringue Buttercream as I have used, make sure it’s allowed to sit at room temperature for at least half an hour, otherwise it will be hard and just taste like butter.
Before the ganache pour, this is what it looks like.
My favourite chocolate cake
- 265g cake flour or plain flour
- 350g sugar
- 75g cocoa
- 14g baking soda
- 7g baking powder
- 5g salt
- 2 eggs (about 120g), room temperature
- 250g strong black coffee (I just use instant, it can be hot)
- 250mL buttermilk, room temperature
- 105mL vegetable oil
- vanilla extract or paste
- 200g eggwhites (approx 7 eggs' worth)
- 400g caster sugar
- 500g butter, cubed and allowed to warm slightly (just sit on the bench)
- 100-120g frozen raspberries
- 100g cream
- 50g milk chocolate
- 50g dark chocolate
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 170 degrees if fan forced.
- Grease and line the base of 3 x 7" tins - you could also make an 8" cake with this mixture, it would be slightly shorter.
- Coat tins with cocoa - pop a tablespoon of cocoa in the tin, and shake around to cover the sides. This helps the cake to come out once it is baked.
- Weigh each of your dry ingredients straight into the mixer bowl. Pop into the mixer and mix on medium for 30 seconds to mix together.
- Pour in your coffee and mix until combined.
- Weigh your other wet ingredients into a jug. I find it easier to just measure them directly straight into the jug, and then mix.
- Add your wet ingredients to the mixer, and beat on a medium speed for 2 minutes.
- Weigh into your tin/s. My tins are all the same, so I tare the scales to the tin, and then weight approx 475g into each tin. Sounds pedantic, and you don't have to do this, I just find it easier.
- Bake for approximately 15 minutes before switching positions in the oven.
- Bake for a further 10-15 minutes, 'til you can smell the cooked cakes.
- Cool in the tins on wire racks for 20 minutes before inverting onto the racks and allow to cool completely.
- Combine sugar and egg whites in a heatproof bowl. Sit over a pot of simmering water (do not allow to touch the water).
- Whisk to mix together, and continue to whisk regularly while the mixture cooks. Especially at the beginning - you don't want bits of cooked egg!
- You want the mixture to reach about 60 degrees Celsius, at which point the meringue mixture will feel hot, and it should be slippery - the sugar will be dissolved. This will take about 10 minutes.
- Pour into your heatproof mixer bowl, and whisk for as long as it takes for the meringue to triple in size and the bowl to feel neutral to the touch. This will take about 15 minutes.
- While this is whipping, get out your frozen raspberries and pop them into a small saucepan with caster sugar to taste. I used about 1/3-1/2 cup.
- Heat over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, to help the raspberries break down. I cooked it for about 15 minutes, allowing it to thicken slightly. Allow to cool. You can press through a sieve if you don't want the seeds, but I think they make it look lovely.
- Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and start to beat on low- medium while you add one or two cubes of butter at a time. Continue 'til you've added all your butter, and the buttercream has come together.
- It may at some point, if you add your butter too quickly, start to curdle. Don't panic - this happens really easily. Continue to beat it, and it will come together.
- Add your raspberry syrup until it tastes good :)
- I did this once I had frosted the cake and it was setting in the fridge.
- Heat cream slowly in a small saucepan until it's almost boiling. Pour over chocolate, and allow to sit for a minute.
- Whisk to mix together. If the chocolate is still too solid, heat on medium low in the microwave for 30 seconds, and that should help. Don't heat it too much or it may burn.
- When the ganache is smooth, allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
- Slice cake in two if you've used one tin, and/or level layers. Place the first one on a cake board or whatever you're serving it on.
- Use about 1/2-1 cup of frosting to cover the first layer. Ensure it is nice and flat. Place your next layer on and repeat.
- When you get to the last layer, cover the whole cake in a thin layer of frosting. This is called a 'crumb coat' and prevents your final layer of frosting from having crumbs in it.
- Refrigerate for 15 minutes to set the frosting, before covering with a final layer of frosting.
- Refrigerate for a further 15-30 minutes before adding the ganache.
- To do the ganache pour - Pour a small puddle onto the top of the cake. Using a small offset spatula, spread to the edges of the cake. Add more if needed, and repeat. I stopped once the top edge of the cake had been covered. Allow to drip down the sides. Pop back in the fridge.
- To serve - take cake out of fridge about 1-2 hours before serving, as this allows the buttercream to soften appropriately.
Recipe and photos © Rainbow Bakes/Laurin Milsom 2014. If you would like to post the recipe on your blog, please link back to rainbowbakes.com.