To celebrate Valentine's Day a little early I made this chocolate layer cake with raspberry buttercream. It combines one of my favorite desserts with one of the best fruits. And it's pink! Who can resist a pretty pink cake? I was really excited about this frosting because there isn't any food dye used; you use fresh raspberry puree to make it pink. It's a little time consuming to make the frosting, but it's so worth it. The cake is easy though, so it kind of balances out. I love a festive dessert and I have a feeling I'll be making it on other occasions, besides Valentine's Day.
Do you make any festive desserts for Valentine's Day? One year when Matthew and I were dating I made chocolate hazelnut truffles and they were a huge hit. I remember Matthew helping me get the skins of the hazelnut with a t-shirt. It was clean, promise. It was a lot of fun though and we will always remember that Valentine's Day.
The baked cake layers can be made a day ahead. Frosted cake will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- For the cake:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
- For the buttercream:
3 egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Dash of fine sea salt
2 cups raspberries, mashed and strained through a sieve to catch the seeds
- For assembly:
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/2 cup raspberries, for topping
Powdered sugar, for topping, optional
- Bake the cake: Position racks in top and bottom third of oven and preheat to 350°F. Coat two 9-inch diameter cake pans with nonstick spray. Line bottoms with parchment paper rounds; spray rounds.
- Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine and then form a well in the center.
- Whisk water with buttermilk, oil, and eggs in a medium bowl until blended. Pour wet ingredients into well in dry ingredients and whisk until just blended.
- Divide the cake batter between prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely in pans on cooling racks. The cakes can be made a day ahead, covered and kept at room temperature.
- Make the frosting: In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar until combined. Place the bowl over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk gently until the mixture is very hot to the touch (130°F on a candy thermometer). The mixture will go from being gloopy and thick to a more fluid consistency.
- Move the bowl back to the stand mixer and using the whisk attachment again, whip the mixture until it has tripled in volume and becomes thick, glossy and holds stiff peaks like a meringue. This will take about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the mixer down to medium-low speed for a minute until the bowl is cool to the touch. Then bring the speed back to medium-high and add the butter one piece at a time, adding the next piece just as the previous one has been incorporated. Stop the mixer if you need to scrape down the sides of the bowl. The buttercream will take on a curdled appearance, but don't worry because this is normal. Keep on mixing at medium speed until it comes together. Once all the butter is incorporated and the frosting is creamy and fluffy, blend in the vanilla, salt and raspberry mixture.
- Assemble the cake: Carefully run knife around pan edges to loosen cakes. Invert 1 cake layer onto a cake plate. Peel off parchment paper. Spread raspberry jam over top. Then spread 1 cup of raspberry buttercream onto cake. Using a metal spatula, frost the top of the cake, spreading frosting to the edge of the cake. Filling will be about 1/4-inch thick. Stack the second cake top side up on top of the frosted cake and spread another 1 cup of buttercream on top. Apply a thin layer of frosting all over the cake to create a "crumb coat."
- Refrigerate cake for 10 minutes until the frosting is firm, and then frost the cake with the remaining buttercream. Top cake with fresh raspberries and dust with powdered sugar, if you like.
- Desserts, Cake
- North American
- Serves 10-12