Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

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I wanted to make a cake to bring for our Mother’s Day get-together today. It also happens to be my aunt’s birthday so I wanted it to be extra special. When I found this recipe for dark chocolate cake with raspberry filling and a chocolate marshmallow buttercream frosting, I knew I couldn’t go wrong!

I’ll be honest, the original recipe said that the total time was 1 hr 35 mins but it took me quite some time to prepare, bake and arrange this cake. I began the process around dinner-time yesterday and finished around midnight (this also included the time needed for cleanup since I don’t have a large professional kitchen with lots of work space and unlimited supplies of mixing bowls, rubber spatulas, etc.). Even though I was tired, I was very happy to see the final product and I knew my family would appreciate this.

IMG_9579Funny enough, the first step felt a little bit more like an art project for me than food preparation.

I have used parchment paper before but mainly when baking cookies. I never actually used it on the bottom of a cake pan. It took me a few extra minutes to cut the perfect circle to fit into the pans.

I flipped one of the pans over and cut carefully around the bottom in order to get the exact size I needed. When my boyfriend saw what I did, he asked me why I didn’t just trace the paper from the inside of the pan. Ha, I guess I could’ve done that instead. The point is do whatever works best for you just as long as you get the entire pan lined. 

IMG_9590I was very pleased with the results of using the parchment paper. It made the cakes release from their pans a lot smoother than if I had just used the normal suggested greasing of butter and dusting of flour (which can also give your baked cake that unattractive extra white embedded powder look).

The actual preparation of the cake batter was fairly simple. Standard mixing of the dry ingredients and then adding the wet. I was excited to use sour cream in the cake mix which I don’t normally do. I used Tofutti’s Better Than Sour Cream because it is lactose-free. What I found interesting is that this recipe also called for white vinegar “for leavening and a more tender cake”…I was glad to learn something new.

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As the cake was cooling (and making our kitchen smell absolutely devine), I began putting together the frosting since it had to chill in the refrigerator before it could be used. This was fun because I was finally able to melt chocolate freely in my new double boiler rather than in the microwave (which can overcook it a lot quicker). For the frosting, I used Ghirardelli’s 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate.

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IMG_9633While the finished frosting was in the refrigerator, I put together the creamy raspberry filling. Instead of having to worry about straining any seeds, I just used seedless red raspberry jam.

At this point, it was getting pretty late and I was getting kind of tired. That’s when I recruited my boyfriend to trim the cake (for a flatter surface) and spread the filling while I took a short break. My selling point? I told him he would be able to have a sampling of the cake before anyone else would. It worked. :)

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After my boyfriend did a wonderful job filling the cake, I grabbed the chilled frosting and went to work. When that was said and done, he took his promised sampling with the remaining cake, filling and frosting. Even though our eyes were closing from fatigue they popped open because the taste was so delicious!

Once the cake was totally done, I realized that I didn’t have a cake carrier or storage container which could fit in the refrigerator in order for me to chill it overnight (while keeping it moist and avoiding it from potentially picking up any transferred smells or flavors from the other foods). The recipe doesn’t require that the cake be refrigerated, but I thought the cake would be tastier if the filling and frosting had a nice brisk texture to it before being served.

IMG_9649My first thought was to cover it in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. However, I didn’t want the frosting to get smooshed. Then I thought about inserting some toothpicks into the cake to prevent the wrapping from touching the frosting. However, most of the time the toothpicks just go right through the wrapping making this method unsuccessful. Then I finally figured it out. I had recently purchased some fresh strawberries which were fairly large. So I plucked the stems and leaves off, rinsed and thoroughly dried seven of the berries. Placing these on top of the cake not only gave it a nice decorative touch, but it also allowed for the perfect amount of cushion between the wrapping and the cake itself. We placed the aluminum foil on the cake, put it in the refrigerator and called it a night!

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Here is the original recipe for the cake: http://www.countryliving.com/recipefinder/deep-dark-chocolate-cake-desserts

Ingredients

2 cup(s) All-Purpose Flour
1 cup(s) Cocoa
2 cup(s) Granulated Sugar
1 teaspoon(s) Baking Soda
1 teaspoon(s) Baking Powder
1 teaspoon(s) Salt
2 large Eggs
1 teaspoon(s) Pure Vanilla Extract
1 cup(s) Sour Cream
1/2 cup(s) Canola Oil
1 teaspoon(s) White Vinegar
1 cup(s) Unsalted Butter, softened
3/4 cup(s) Raspberry Jam, strained and seeds discarded
1 1/2 cup(s) Confectioners’ Sugar

Preparation

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch-round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Combine flour, cocoa, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Add eggs, vanilla, sour cream, oil, vinegar (for leavening and a more tender cake), and 1 cup hot water and mix with a wooden spoon until batter is smooth.

Pour batter into prepared pans and bake until a wooden skewer, inserted into cake center, comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 20 minutes; release from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

Beat butter and jam together using an electric mixer set on medium speed until fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth. Spread filling between 2 cake layers and frost with Superquick Chocolate Buttercream.

 

Here is the original recipe for the chocolate buttercream frosting: http://www.countryliving.com/recipefinder/quick-chocolate-buttercream-frosting-recipes 

Ingredients

1 cup(s) Butter
6 ounce(s) Bittersweet Chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
2 cup(s) Marshmallow Cream
3/4 teaspoon(s) Vanilla Extract
6 tablespoon(s) Confectioners’ Sugar

Preparation

Using a mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and chocolate together until fluffy. Reduce speed to medium and beat in marshmallow cream. Add vanilla extract and sugar, increase speed to medium-high, and beat, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally, until smooth and fluffy. Chill 20 minutes before using.

 

 

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