Friday, October 05, 2012

Raspberry Devil's Food Cake

Oh, how I wish the new Blogger interface would work with my browser. Instead, let me resort to descriptive writing. Four layers of rich chocolate cake. Raspberry ganache filling and icing. Artfully arranged raspberries atop the cake (OK not really, I just plopped them on pointy side-up, and called it a day). The recipe comes from Nick Malgieri's wonderful cookbook, Chocolate: From Simple Cookies to Extravagant Showstoppers. This cake? The latter. I keep peering into the fridge, all self-satisfied. "I baked that." Yes I did. Maybe not the perfect dessert with a meal of lasagna, but eh, I'll bet Nick would approve-he looks like the sort of guy that can appreciate a slab of lasagna and a hunk of cake.

I don't like to cook at the weekend, so I try to make a nice dessert that will see us through. Unless we have unexpected company, this cake will probably last weeks. I'm going to freeze half as I've had good results freezing ganache/mousse type cakes. Sometimes they're better slightly frozen. We'll see.

The recipe called for covering the entire cake in chocolate shavings at the last. I have rheumatoid arthritis-I don't *do* chocolate shavings. Chopping up a whopping twenty ounces of chocolate for this cake used up all the hand strength I could summon today. What's more, no matter how neatly I work (and I'm pretty neat in both senses of the word) pressing chocolate shavings onto the surface of a cake results in a mess to clean up-and waste. While I'm not above stooping to lick clean the counter thus avoiding waste, I'd still have to clean it again, and well, to hell with that, I just chopped twenty ounces of chocolate. I mean, how much chocolate do you need? Nick? Nick? How much chocolate Nick?

Finally, I thought twenty ounces of semi-sweet chocolate was insane, so I used half unsweetened to make a bittersweet of sorts. It is indeed quite bitter, but against the sweetness of the cake we thought it was just about perfect. Adjust according to your tastes. You will have ganache left over, so let it firm up in the fridge, then form balls, roll in cocoa powder and make truffles. Or just eat it with a spoon when no one is looking. I won't rat you out.

Cake Batter:

2 1/4 cups cake flour
3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons unsalted butter-very soft
1 3/4 cup buttermilk, divided
4 large eggs


10 ounces frozen raspberries with their liquid (I used fresh and added 1 tablespoon water)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
20 ounces semi-sweet chocolate cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 cup raspberry preserves

Chocolate shavings, or as I did, topped with fresh raspberries and a scattering of pearl sugar for brightness

Grease and flour 2 10 inch cake pans. Nick says to line the bottom with parchment. I just spent about fifteen bucks on chocolate, butter, and raspberries so pardon me as I channel my grandmother..."You vant I should vaste parchment to bake a cake?" Funny, I just got the strangest craving for kasha and bowties. *Shrug*. Anyway, line the pans as you see fit, but butter and flour worked fine here.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Set the rack in the centre of the oven.

Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Add butter and mix on low speed for 2 minutes (yes, this will send cocoa powder and everything else airborne). Add half the buttermilk, and mix 5 minutes longer, scraping the bowl once in a while. Beat the eggs into remaining buttermilk, add in 3 additions, scraping well after each.

Pour into prepared pans and bake about 30 minutes or until cakes are firm on top and test done with a toothpick. Cool 10 minutes in pans on a rack, then cool completely on rack. Meanwhile, make the filling.

Bring raspberries to a boil and reduce slightly. Strain through a sieve to remove seeds (yes, this is annoyingly slow). Cool. Bring cream and butter to a boil. Remove from heat, pour over chocolate in a large, heatproof bowl, and let sit two minutes. Whisk smooth. Whisk in the raspberries. Cool until thickened.

Slice cakes in half to make four more-or-less even layers (hey, I won't tell anyone if your cake is lopsided. You made cake!). Spread with a bit of the preserves, then the filling. Mask the outside of the cake with the remaining frosting. Top with raspberries or chocolate shavings. Serve chilled.

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