This cake proved to be one of the most popular at our wedding. Obviously lots of our guests are chocoholics, just like me! Use the best quality chocolate you can afford, it will make such a difference to the taste, especially in the icing. You can thank me later! Around 70% cocoa solids is ideal.
It’s a perfect choice if you are looking for a cake that you can make a few days ahead of time. The sponge gets more fudgy with age. I find it to be at its best after 4 days of baking. However, the raspberries will not keep this long and it’s best to decorate with them on the day it is going to be eaten. If you want the raspberries to stick to the icing, the icing will need to be done at the same time.
For our wedding, I baked the sponges 4 days in advance. Once cool, I wrapped each sponge individually in clingfilm (to seal in freshness) and kept in an airtight container. The day before the wedding, I iced the cakes and decorated with raspberries. Keep the cake in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Try to resist the urge to put the cake in the fridge as it will zap moisture from your sponge.
When icing a cake, I usually go for the messy ‘dip-your-finger-in’ look which is easily created with a mini palette knife. As I was serving lots of buttercream-covered cakes at our wedding, I wanted them all to look different so I decided to make this one as smooth as possible. To create this look, I use a cake turntable and a dough scraper. It takes time and a bit of patience. If you are not quite happy, allow the icing to crust over (30-ish minutes) then you can use baking paper to smooth any bumps. Too much hassle..? Just plonk the icing on, spread with a knife and eat; I promise it will still look and taste delicious!!
CHOCOLATE AND RASPBERRY CAKE
adapted from ‘Ultimate chocolate cake’ by Angela Nilsen
For the sponge:
- 200g unsalted butter
- 200g dark chocolate
- 1 tbsp coffee granules dissolved in 125ml cold water
- 85g plain flour
- 85g self raising flour
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 200g light brown muscovado sugar
- 25g cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 75ml buttermilk
- 3 medium eggs
For the buttercream:
- 175g dark chocolate
- 225g unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 250g icing sugar
- 6 tbsp raspberry jam
1. Melt the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Be careful not to overheat. Add the dissolved coffee and stir until smooth. Allow to cool slightly while you prepare everything else.
2. Preheat the oven to 140°C fan/160°C. Grease and line 2x 20cm round cake tins.
3. Sieve together the flours, sugars, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl.
4. Beat the buttermilk and eggs together until smooth.
5. Pour the chocolate and egg mixtures into the flour mixture, gently folding until everything is well blended and you have a smooth, runny consistency.
6. Pour into the tins and bake for 45 minutes – a skewer should come out clean and the top should feel firm (don’t worry if it cracks a bit). Leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
7. Once the cakes are cool, make the icing. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over gently simmering water. Allow to cool slightly.
8. Cut each sandwich cake into two so there are four layers. Spread about 2 tbsp raspberry jam between the sliced cakes to stick them back together again (the middle of the cake will have buttercream and jam). Try not to spread the jam right to the edge as it makes the outer layer of buttercream tricky to keep clean.
9. Beat the butter. Add the sieved icing sugar, milk and vanilla extract and beat together until smooth and creamy.
10. Add the melted chocolate and beat again.
11. Place 1 cake upside down on your cake plate.
12. Spread with about ¼ of the icing. Carefully spoon 2 tbsp jam on top of this and gently spread (again, not to the edge). Place the second sponge on top, right side up (i.e. so the 2 flat sides of the sponges meet in the middle) and cover with the remaining icing.
13. Decorate the top of the cake with raspberries.