Saturday, October 29, 2011

My Own Raspberry Layer Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

When I search for a recipe on google, which gets no exact hits, just those hits google thinks 'you might have meant instead', I get worried.  Maybe everyone in the 'know' knows it would be a terrible idea.  Maybe those flavors just don't mix.  Maybe I misspelled 'cake'.

But, it turns out, sometimes I have ideas.  Ideas people haven't written thousands of recipes for.  Ideas that actually come from me and my culinary self. 

Like: Raspberry Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Now, I know what you are thinking: of course recipes for this exist out there.  Let my testify: you will find armloads of recipes for Chocolate-Raspberry Cake (like this one I did last year), or recipes for Raspberry Torte, or all the kind of cupcakes your heart could desire.  But, listen up google, while I love chocolate based cakes, I wanted something lighter, and while I love tortes, they aren't layer-y, celebration-y enough, and though I'm somewhat fond of cupcakes, they can never ever replace a cake.  What I really wanted was a layer cake, where the layers were raspberry cake and the frosting was dark chocolate.

So, I, much to my chagrin, had to come up with a recipe... of my own.  By which I mean, I pieced together and tweaked other recipes, but still, I felt pretty triumphant by the end.

For the cake layers, I took my cue from a three-layer strawberry cake (thank you, smittenkitchen).  But, it was a small crowd (and a small oven), so I slimmed it down to two layers, and swapped out the strawberries for the raspberries.

Before the steps, here's a tip.  If you don't happen to have 'cake flour', you can make your own.  Just mix 7/8 cup of regular flour and 1/8 cup cornstarch.  And instantly you have 1 cup of cake flour.

After you whisk together the dry ingredients, its time to put together some raspberry puree.  If you are smart (which I was not) you will use a 12 ounce bag of *defrosted* raspberries to get 1 cup of raspberry puree.  Do not attempt this with (a) frozen raspberries (you can't get them through a sieve)

or (b) 1 cup of frozen raspberries (you will never ever get 1 cup of sieved puree from that).

Unlike a lot of cakes, where you begin by creaming your butter and your sugar, for this one, you just throw the butter and raspberry puree in with the dry ingredients from the outset.

But, come on, how charming is the color of this batter?

I couldn't get over it.

Next, beat up some egg whites with milk.  Then, fold some of those eggs whites into the batter, to lighten it up.

Fold in the rest of the egg whites in 2 more additions.

Pour into two butter and parchment-ed cake pans.

Bake for about 30 minutes.

Let rest and turn out after 10-15 minutes.  Let cool for at least an hour, and then you can frost away.  Unlike last time I attempted to frost a cake (and did so with the elegance of a 5 year old),
this time, I surrounded the bottom of the plate with parchment, which I could then drip onto all I wanted, and remove when I was done.

It worked great.

Garnish with some raspberries.

And, this is important, while the cake will be...
...very good without extra, fresh raspberries...

...if you serve it with even more raspberries, it will be perfect.  Really, the extra bites of fresh raspberries brings out the somewhat subtle raspberry flavor in the cake itself.  So, they are a must.

 There you have it: my very own Raspberry Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting.

Raspberry Layer Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache Frosting (adapted from smittenkitchen)
For the cake*:
3 cups cake flour**
2 cups sugar
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup pureed raspberries (passed through a sieve)***
5 extra large egg whites****
1/4 cup + 3 Tablespoons milk
Fresh raspberries

Preheat the oven to 350.  Butter two 9-inch round cake pans.  Line with parchment and butter the paper.

But the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl.  Whisk together.  Add the butter and raspberry puree.  Mix to blend the ingredients.  Raise the speed to medium, beat until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.

In another large bowl, whisk together the egg whites and milk.*****  Add the whites to the batter in three additions, scraping the sides of the bowl well and mixing only to incorporate after each addition.  Pour the batter into the prepared pans.

Bake for 30-34 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.  Allow the layers to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes.  Invert and turn onto wire racks and peel off the paper.  Let stand until completely cooled before assembling the cake, at least an hour.

For the dark chocolate ganache frosting (I've used this before)
8 ounces fine-quality semi-sweet chocolate1/2 cup heavy cream (aka heavy whipping cream)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

Finely chop chocolate. In a small sauce pan, bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.

Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (30-40 minutes).

Frost the cake, garnishing with fresh raspberries.  Serve with more fresh raspberries.

*I did two layers for this cake, but if you want to do three, follow the smittenkitchen's measurements
**If you don't have cake flour, substitute 7/8 cup all-purpose flour and 1/8 cup cornstarch for 1 cup of cake flour
***I used 12 ounces of frozen raspberries, pureed them in a food processor, and then pressed them through a sieve to remove the seeds.
****Technically, it should be 5 1/3 egg whites, so I attempted to add 1/3 of an egg white, but you might be fine if you just did 5.
*****I'm not quite sure how much you are supposed to whisk the egg whites.  I'm sure soft peaks would be fine, but I just went for really very frothy.
******This makes some extra frosting

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