Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Mousse Filling
Okay, so technically this was a birthday cake (if you're reading this, happy birthday Alicia!), but it would be PERFECT for Valentine's day. It was for my mom's friend's party, and she had asked me to make the cake. She said she liked raspberries, dark chocolate, and mocha. Figuring out how to combine ingredients like those is the fun part!
I started off with a simple chocolate cake recipe. I use it for all my chocolate cakes, because it's super simple and comes out moist and delicious every time. It's one of those "wacky cakes", which doesn't take any dairy or eggs but instead uses a chemical reaction with vinegar and baking soda. So yes, if you didn't smother it in cream and butter like I did, it would be vegan :) OK, so I'm going on about how easy this is, but I really messed it up. Like, dropped-a-cake-while-pulling-it-out-of-the-oven-and-had-to-start-all-over messed it up. Oh well, it just went from simple to time-consuming!!
The filling was the hardest thing for me to decide on. I knew from the start that raspberry mousse would be a good choice, but I couldn't find a recipe. Most of the recipes call for raw egg whites, but we knew there would be a little kid there, so that was out. (By the way, she asked me to make her a "rainbow ladybug cake" for her birthday. looking forward to trying to figure that one out...) I finally found one that used gelatin instead, which was another problem for my vegetarian-ness, but it was easily fixed by swapping in agar-agar (made from seaweed but works the same way).
The frosting was a simple chocolate buttercream. The cake was not hard to put together, especially because the layers aren't crumbly at all. I used some leftover mousse to write on top, but we still had TONS left. No worries, it was happily consumed with cake scraps. Enjoy!!
*Those silver balls? Put on with tweezers. One by one. Just saying.
Easy Chocolate Layer Cake (from Baking Bites)
(a.k.a. “Wacky Cake”)
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbsp vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups cold water
1 tbsp coffee powder
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans, line with circles of parchment paper, and grease again.
In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, soda and salt. Make three wells in the flour mixture. In one put vanilla; in another the vinegar, and in the third the oil. Dissolve the coffee powder in the cold water (or just use cold coffee for a slightly more mocha taste) and pour the water over the mixture. Stir until smooth. Divide evenly into prepared pans.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool in pans on wire racks for 15 minutes. Turn cakes out of pans onto a plate (or another rack), remove parchment paper, and reinvert onto racks to cool completely before frosting.
If storing overnight before frosting (they can be made a day ahead), just wrap completely in plastic wrap and keep at room temperature.
Raspberry Mousse Filling (from Cook From The Hip)
10 oz bag frozen raspberries
1 cup sugar
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (I substituted an equal quantity of agar-agar)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Heat the raspberries and sugar in a small saucepan. Stir until all of the raspberries break down and are heated through. Run the raspberries through a strainer and into a new saucepan. Add the gelatin to the raspberries and heat until the gelatin is dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whip the heavy cream until it form soft peaks. Fold the cooled raspberries into the whipped cream.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (from Savory Sweet Life)
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened (but not melted!)
3 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon almond extract
2-4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Turn off the mixer. Sift 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the dry ingredients do not blow everywhere) until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.