But Sugar is Sweeter

Six Layer Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Buttercream and Whipped Ganache

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So I celebrated a big one a few weeks ago.   Yep, a whole year has passed.  Since my brother and I were born on the same day, our birthdays were always a big deal.  It all started when I was 6, and my brother was turning 1.  Tell a six year old that they have to share their birthday after 5 years of flying solo, and well, it could’ve been a little rough.  Instead my parents went over the top and had an all out celebration with a tiered cake, our whole family,  and a clown who doubled as a magician.  I still cheered when the clown told me he was going to make my brother disappear, but overall, I LOVED sharing a birthday.

This year was no different.  It’s been pretty great being back in Ohio and being able to once again share birthdays with my favorite brother. I insisted on making the cake, because it’s the one time of the year I don’t feel bad about going all out with an over the top birthday cake.  Six layers was obviously a necessity, but because I didn’t want to be eating leftover cake for weeks, I thought 6 inches was perfect.  The only problem – I didn’t have any six inch cake pans.  Thankfully whole foods came to my rescue.  I noticed they sold 6-inch cakes and jokingly asked the baker if she had any pans for sale.  Well it turns out they bake all their cakes in disposable paper rounds – and she gave me 3 for a buck, steal!
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The initial recipe called only for the raspberry filling, which does make a beautiful contrasting interior, but I really wanted more chocolate, so I alternated a chocolate ganache frosting with the raspberry butter cream.  It was  not much more work because the ganache is just 2 ingredients, whipped to a fluffy consistency.  But I will say the cake on it’s own is a moist, rich, dense chocolate cake, and could easily stand as the only chocolate in the cake if you want to double the strawberry buttercream instead. The whole thing is then topped with a rich chocolate ganache that drips down the sides and makes for a wonderful presentation.   If your looking for some other wonderful birthday cakes, here’s a few I’ve made:

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Six Layer Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Buttercream and Whipped Ganache

Makes 1- 6 layer,  6 inch cake.

For the Cake: 

  • 1-1/2 cups (180 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/3 cups (275 g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) dark cocoa powder
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons (6 g) baking soda
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons (6 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
  • 140 ml (5 liquid oz) buttermilk
  • 130 ml (4.5 liquid oz) espresso or strong, hot brewed coffee
  • 75 ml vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract

For the Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

  • 3 large, fresh egg whites (100 g)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 sticks butter, cut into cubes and cool
  • 1/4 cup raspberry puree, strained to remove seeds
  • few drops of pink food coloring (optional)

For the Whipped Chocolate Ganache Filling:

  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream

For the Chocolate Glaze:

  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 c. heavy cream
  • 2 T unsalted butter

Instructions

For the Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare three 6-inch round cake pans with butter, parchment paper rounds, and flour or cocoa powder. Tap out excess.
  2. In bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients to bowl with the dry ingredients and with paddle attachment on mixer, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed (you may need the plastic splash-guard that comes with mixer) and pour into prepared pans. If possible, use digital kitchen scale and weigh pans for even layers. Batter will be liquidy.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes and then rotate pans in oven. Cakes are done when toothpick or skewer comes out with a few crumbs, about 30 minutes total. Try not to over-bake.
  5. Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes then gently invert onto racks until completely cool.
For the Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
  1. If using raspberry puree, place a handful of fresh or frozen raspberries in a food processor, and process until a smooth. Press through a mess sieve to remove seeds and retain at least 1/4 cup to add to frosting.
  2. Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 160°F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
  3. With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes or so). *Don’t begin adding butter until the bottom of the bowl feels neutral, and not warm.
  4. Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). *If mixture is too runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes and continue mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.
  5. Add raspberry puree to taste and if desired a few fresh raspberries, and blend until combined. Add small amount of pink food coloring, if desired.

For the Whipped Chocolate Ganache.

  1. Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan until just before boiling.
  2. In a heat safe bowl, pour cream over chopped chocolate. Let sit for ~5 minutes, then stir to melt chocolate.
  3. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally (about 30-45 minutes). (Or place in the fridge for a few minutes at a time  to expedite the process)
  4. Whip mixture on high until it becomes paler and fluffy, about 2-4 minutes.
For the Glaze:
  1. Place the chocolate, butter and heavy cream in a medium heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir the mixture using a rubber spatula until melted and smooth. *Be careful to not get even a droplet of water into your bowl of chocolate and butter.
Assembly of the Six-Layer Dark Chocolate & Strawberry Buttercream Cake
  1. Slice the 1st cake layer in half horizontally, using a large serrated knife or dental floss and place cut side up on your cake board, pedestal, or plate.
  2. The general order of the cake starting from the bottom will be:
    • Cake
    • Whipped Ganache
    • Cake
    • Raspberry Buttercream
    • Cake
    • Whipped Ganache
    • Cake
    • Raspberry Buttercream
    • Cake
    • Whipped Ganache
    • Cake
    • Raspberry Buttercream
    • Finish with layer of Chocolate Glaze
  3. Using a small offset palette knife, spread approximately 1/2 cup of whipped ganache evenly on top.
  4. Add a layer of cake and cover with about 1/2 cup raspberry buttercream.
  5. Repeat this with remaining cake layers, until you come to the final layer, which you will place face-down on the top of the cake.
  6. Place cake on a turntable (if possible), and using a small offset palette knife for the top of the cake, and medium straight palette knife for the sides, cover the cake in a thin layer of buttercream to seal in crumbs. Refrigerate for 30 minutes (or more). *This does not need to be perfect, as that will come with the top “coat” of buttercream.
  7. Chill cake.
  8. If glazing the cake, make the glaze and set aside for a few moments to cool a bit. Pour glaze over chilled cake, smoothing the top with a clean small offset palette knife.
  9. Chill again to set, serve at cool room temperature.

Cake and Swiss Meringue Buttercream adapted from Sweetapolita, Chocolate Ganache from Martha Stewart 

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One response

  1. this is mouth watering

    August 16, 2014 at 1:37 pm

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