Remember the post about my mom’s birthday cake? Remember how I told you that I had originally planned to post about my brother-in-law’s birthday cake, as his birthday was two days before my mom’s? Well, this is said cake. A beautiful, delicious Raspberry-Chocolate Torte! And it’s big. As in: really big! But that’s okay, right? I mean, ‘big’ is not really a negative adjective when it comes to cake, right?
Well, as the Rocking Rebel and I were driving to my brother-in-law’s birthday party – me riding shotgun with the torte on a serving platter covered with aluminum foil on my lap (why don’t I have some sort of cake transportation container?) – the main flaw of my ‘the bigger the better’ cake philosophy suddenly hit me…
Just when my dear Rocking Rebel suddenly hit the brakes…
(Again, why don’t I have some sort of proper cake transportation container?)
Luckily, the cake survived.
Anyway, although this cake may seem like a big project, it consists of very simple elements – which are all very easy to whip up – and the cake itself is quite easy to assemble. Besides, the cake can (and should!) be made over the course of two days. It not only reduces any cake related stress-levels to a minimum, it also enhances the flavor of the cake.
I’ll admit, the first day is quite labor-intensive compared to the second one, and it may require a bit of planning, but if you start in the morning and follow the printable recipe below, you should be able to have your genoise and syrup ready and cooling in the fridge within two hours. And that’s only if you’re a very slow baker… I suggest you make the Bavarian cream in the evening, so the assembled cake can set in the fridge overnight. The following day, when the flavors of the cake have wedded together, decorate the cake and wait for your guest to arrive!
Or, as in my case, risk ruining your perfect, yet slightly wobbly cake by trying to transport it to a birthday party without a proper cake transporter box…
Whatever you plan to do with the finished product, start by making the chocolate genoise layers. In a small bowl, combine all the dry ingredients: cocoa, flour and salt.
In another bowl, combine eggs, sugar and vanilla.
Note that there are only 3 eggs in the picture, while the recipe states you need 9. See, I first made the genoise with 6 eggs, but decided that you really can never have enough chocolate cake…
Particularly when feeding my family.
Whisk all of this together until the eggs are frothy…
… then place the bowl over a pan with simmering water and mix until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is slightly warmer than body temperature.
Dip your finger in. If the mixture feels warm, it’s ready.
Take the bowl off the heat and keep mixing until the mixture feels cool again and ‘ribbons’.
See how beautifully my mixture ribboned? That’s what you’re going for…
Very gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture. Try not to beat any air out of the eggs, as the fluffy eggs will ensure a fluffy cake!
Next, add some clarified butter to one third of the chocolate batter and fold it in.
Add the buttery chocolate mixture to the rest of the chocolate batter and, again, gently fold it through, making sure you don’t beat too much air out of the batter.
Pour the batter into a cake pan lined with baking parchment and bake! In the meantime you can make the raspberry simple syrup…
I didn’t take pictures of the syrup. It looks like water. Just a little thicker. Not really photogenic.
After about 30 minutes, you’ll have a beautiful syrup and a gorgeously dark, fluffy cake. I cut the edges off, as I was using a smaller pan to assemble the cake in…
Besides, I knew it would leave me with cake scraps to nibble on.
Once the cake has cooled, you can make the Bavarian cream. Now, Bavarian cream is basically a crème anglaise (custard) that has been thickened with gelatin. So first, you need to make some custard.
Start by scalding some milk with some sugar.
Whisk together some eggs, sugar and a splash of milk.
Combine, stirring continuously, and pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Heat over low heat, again stirring continuously with a rubber spatula, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. This will happen around 78°C or 172°F.
You can go by eye or use a thermometer… whichever method you prefer…
Add gelatin to the hot custard and whisk in some raspberry purée until you have a gorgeously smooth, purple crème anglaise.
Who would have thought pale yellow and red would ever turn purple together?
I sure didn’t…
Once the crème anglaise has cooled, fold in some whipped cream.
Then start assembling the cake!
Start by placing a layer of genoise on the bottom of a springform pan lined with baking parchment, brush it with an ample amount of raspberry syrup and spread a thin layer of dark chocolate spread on top.
This was my second layer…
Place the cake in the freezer for a couple of minutes to allow the spread to firm up a bit, then pour half the Bavarian cream on top of it.
Repeat with another layer of genoise, syrup, chocolate spread and Bavarian cream, then top with the final layer of genoise and leave the cake to set in the fridge overnight.
The following day, simply take off the springform collar and peal off the baking parchment, leaving the cake gloriously naked.
Just look at those layers. They’re huge!
How is it that I can’t, no matter how hard I try, make a small, delicate layered cake?
Cover with a thick layer of rich, chocolate ganache…
Decorate with fresh raspberries and white chocolate shavings and serve with a big ol’ cup o’ tea! Or coffee, of course, if you’re into that…
Then gather your peeps around and cut everyone a big slice!
- 165g (or 1¼ cup + 1 tablespoon) all-purpose flour
- 135g (or 1 cup + 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- 9 large eggs
- 340g (or 1½ + 3 tablespoons) granulated sugar
- 2¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 150g (or ½ cup + 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) unsalted butter
- 60ml (or ¼ cup) water
- 50g (or ¼ cup) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon raspberry eau de vie (or raspberry liquor)
- 200g (or 7 ounces) dark chocolate spread
- 225ml (or ¾ cup + 3 tablespoons) whole milk
- 225ml (or ¾ cup + 3 tablespoons) heavy whipping cream
- 5 large egg yolks
- 110g (or ½ cup + 2 teaspoons) granulated sugar
- enough sheet gelatin to set 700ml (2¾ cup + 3 tablespoons) of liquid
- 200g (or 7 ounces) frozen raspberries, thawed but still cold
- 450ml (or 1¾ cup + 2 tablespoons) heavy whipping cream
- 160ml (or about ½ cup + 3 tablespoons) heavy whipping cream
- 200g (or 7 ounces) dark chocolate, chopped
- 60g (or ¼ cup + 2 teaspoons) granulated sugar
- 200g (or about 1½ cup) fresh raspberries
- 200g (or 7 ounces) white chocolate shavings
- Start with the genoise cake layers:
- Preheat your oven to 175°C/350°F (standard oven setting) and line a 23-cm (9-inch) cake pan with baking parchment. This will be easier if you stick the parchment to the pan with a little bit of butter. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Place the bowl on top of a pan with simmering water (the bowl should not touch the water; check out my tips on 'Faking a Double Boiler') and gently heat the egg mixture, while continuously mixing with a hand mixer, until the mixture is slightly warmer than body temperature and the sugar has dissolved. Take the bowl off the heat and mix until the mixture feels cool to the touch, has tripled in volume and ribbons when you lift the beaters of the mixer (after the mixer has been turned off, of course). Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold in one-third of the dry ingredients, followed by the remaining two-thirds of the mixture. Be very gentle about this; you don't want to beat all the fluffiness out of the mixture.
- In the meantime, gently melt the butter in a small saucepan. Once the butter has melted, take it off the heat and skim off the foam. Carefully pour the melted butter in another container, making sure not to pour in the white milk solids on the bottom of the pan. You now have clarified butter. Measure off 100g (or ⅓ cup + 5 teaspoons) of clarified butter and fold it trough one-third of the genoise batter. You don't have to be too gentle with it at this stage. Next, gently fold the butter mixture through the remaining genoise batter, taking care not to beat the air out of the mixture.
- Pour the batter in the prepared cake pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. While the cake is in the oven, prepare the raspberry syrup, following the recipe below. Once the cake is done, take the cake out of the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack before turning the cake out of the pan. Once the cake has come to room temperature, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and leave to chill in the fridge for at least two hours. This would be the perfect time to resume your normal day-to-day activities!
- In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and heat over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved and the mixture becomes clear, take it off the heat and pour it in a heatproof container, such as a coffee mug. Leave to cool to room temperature, measure off 60ml (or ¼ cup) syrup and stir in the raspberry eau de vie. Discard the remaining syrup or save for another purpose. Allow to cool to room temperature, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge until use.
- NOTE: should be made right before cake assembly.
- Combine the milk, the 225ml (or or ¾ cup + 3 tablespoons) of whipping cream and two-thirds of the sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. In a small bowl, whisk together the yolks, the remaining sugar and a splash of the milk mixture from the pan.
- Heat the milk mixture over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, crank up the heat and bring to a boil.
- In the meantime, soak the gelatine in cold water for 10 minutes and purée the raspberries in a food processor or with a stick blender.
- Once the milk mixture has reached scalding point, slowly drizzle the mixture in the egg mixture, whisking continuously to prevent the yolks from scrambling.
- Once all the milk has been added, pour the mixture back in the sauce pan and heat over low heat, stirring continuously with a rubber spatula, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon (at 78°C/172°F).
- Once the mixture has thickened, pour it through a fine-meshed sieve in a cool, medium-sized bowl. You have now made crème anglaise.
- Give the gelatin (after its 10 minute soak) a good squeeze to get rid of any excess water and whisk it into the hot custard to dissolve. Once the gelatin has dissolved, whisk in the cold raspberry purée and leave the raspberry cream to cool to body temperature on the counter.
- In the meantime, whip up the remaining cream until it holds soft peaks.
- Once the raspberry cream has cooled sufficiently, fold it through the whipped cream. Assemble the cake immediately.
- NOTE: start assembling right after you made the raspberry Bavarian cream.
- Line the sides of a 23-cm (or 9-inch) springform pan with parchment. You can use a little butter to make the parchment stick to the sides of the pan.
- Carefully split the genoise cake in three equal layers. Place one of the layers on the bottom of the springform pan and generously brush it with raspberry syrup.
- In the bowl of a double boiler, heat the chocolate spread to loosen it and spread half of it on top of the cake brushed with syrup.
- Place the cake in the freezer for a couple of minutes to firm up the chocolate spread, then pour half the raspberry Bavarian cream on top of it. Place the cake in the freezer for another ten minutes, so the surface of the cream can set a little.
- Gently place the second genoise layer on top of the set Bavarian cream layer, pushing down slightly to get rid of any air pockets, and brush the genoise with the syrup. Spread the remaining chocolate spread onto the cake and place the cake in the freezer for another five minutes for the spread to firm up.
- Pour the remaining raspberry cream on top of the cake layer and carefully place the third genoise layer on top, pushing down slightly to get rid of any air pockets and making sure the final layer is as level as possible. Place the cake in the fridge overnight, so the gelatin in the Bavarian cream can set properly.
- Combine the sugar and whipping cream in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat to dissolve the sugar, then crank up the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Place the chocolate in a small, heatproof bowl and pour the hot cream on top of it. Leave to sit on the countertop for a few minutes, then whisk smooth. If the chocolate hasn't melted properly or the mixture is too thick to pour, heat the ganache in the bowl of a double boiler until shiny and runny.
- Take the cake out of the fridge and remove the springform collar. Peel the baking from the sides of the cake, then transfer the cake to either a serving plate or wire rack (placed over a dripping bowl) and pour over the ganache. Using a rubber spatula or a spoon, spread the ganache to the sides of the cake so that it will drip down and cover the sides. Place the cake back in the freezer for 30 minutes (or put straight back in the fridge and leave it there for at least 1 hour) then place it in the fridge until ready to serve.
- If the cake has been glazed on a wire rack, transfer the cake to a serving plate. If the cake has been glazed on a serving plate, carefully remove any ganache drippings with a small knife and clean the edge of the plate with a clean, damp cloth. Arrange the raspberries in a circle around the top edge of the cake and sprinkle the center of the cake with the chocolate shavings.