Dark Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Filling

Dark Chocolate Cake with Raspberry FillingBig Gestures
Valentine’s Day is Friday. And, this year things are a little bit different. This year Valentine’s Day will not only contain chocolate and conversation hearts but also a prom-posal.

About a week or so ago my son brought up the fact that his girlfriend who is a junior (he’s a sophomore) definitely wants to go to prom. They have already discussed this, but she would kinda like to actually be asked. She doesn’t want anything big—no flash mobs or skywriting. She just wants something that requires minimal effort but still shows he understands that, to her, it’s a big deal. I am all for this. I feel my son needs to learn to be better at showing his appreciation. I also know that I will be involved with this caper because, sigh, he’s a fifteen-year-old dude.

To be fair, he came up with the whole plan on his own but needs my help executing it. She loves cake so he wants to make her a heart-shaped cake that he can decorate with little heart signs on sticks asking her to the prom. Totally cute. The issue is that while he can make a mean quesadilla, his baking skills are lacking. So, that’s where I come in.

After a lengthy discussion, we decided on a chocolate cake with a raspberry filling topped with a shiny chocolate glaze. It might sound complicated, but it’s not. The cake we are making is my go-to for whenever I am craving chocolaty cakeyness. It has all of the moistness of a box cake mix but with much better flavor. The trick is to use good quality cocoa. Do not go for the Hersheys. Splurge on some Valhrona or Scharffen Berger cocoa for this one.

Although I will be using heart-shaped pans this time around, normally I make this cake in a bundt pan for easy slicing and consumption. Sprinkled with some powdered sugar or topped with lightly sweetened whipped cream it’s the perfect dessert for any dinner. Isn’t too bad for breakfast either…

Here’s hoping your Valentine’s Day is filled big gestures of affection and, hopefully, some cake…

Dark Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Filling
Adapted from Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat
Yields 2 8-inch cakes

For the cake
1/2 cup good quality Dutch-process cocoa powder,
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup canola oil
1-1/2 cups freshly brewed strong coffee
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

For the filling
Raspberry jam, strained

For the chocolate glaze
1 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 cups semisweet or chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons corn syrup

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Set a rack in the upper third of the oven.

Prepare the pans
Grease two 8-inch cake pans, then line with parchment paper. Grease and sprinkle generously with flour, tap out the excess, and set aside. ·

Mix the dry ingredients
In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, salt, flour, and baking soda, then sift into a large bowl.

Prepare the wet ingredients
In a medium bowl, stir the vanilla and oil together. Brew the coffee. Add it to the oil-vanilla mixture.

Combine the dry and wet ingredients
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and gradually whisk in the liquids. Gradually add the beaten eggs and stir until smooth. The batter will be thin.

Bake the cake
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Drop the pans on the counter a few times to release the air bubbles in the batter.

Bake the cakes in the upper third of the oven or until the cakes spring back from the touch and just pull away from the edges of the pan or a toothpick inserted comes out clean (about 25 to 30 minutes).

Cool the cakes completely on a wire rack before removing them from the pan and peeling off the parchment paper.

Tightly wrapped, the layers of this cake will keep for 4 days at room temperature.

Make the chocolate glaze
Once the cake is cool, make the glaze.

Heat the cream and corn syrup in a saucepan until the mixture begins to steam.

Place the chopped chocolate into a bowl and pour the hot cream mixture over it. Allow it sit for 5 minutes.

Slowly stir the chocolate mixture to begin to incorporate. Once it begins coming together you can stir more vigorously until the chocolate is completely melted. If needed, you can reheat the mixture very briefly to soften any remaining hard bits of chocolate.

Any leftover glaze may be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for at least a week. Reheat at a low temperature to make it spreadable or pourable. (Or simply eat it, on the spot, with a spoon!)

Assemble the cake
Place one layer down on a cake plate. Spread the raspberry filling on top of the first layer and gently place the second layer on top of it.

Slowly pour the still warm chocolate glaze over the cake and carefully spread with the back of a large spoon allowing it to drip down the sides.

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