Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

Chocolate Cake Raspberry Buttercream Nutella ButtercreamMy friend recently celebrated her birthday and the theme of her party was Cake and Champagne – each guest was required to bring either a cake or a bottle of bubbly. My immediate thought was: an excuse to bake a layer cake? DONE.

Normally when making new friends, I try to get a sense of their favourite flavours and any flavours to avoid. The shortlist in this case was: raspberry, chocolate, and hazelnut. My original plan was to make a hazelnut chocolate cake with raspberry buttercream frosting, but I wasn’t able to find hazelnuts in time (they’re surprisingly difficult to find in my neighbourhood) – so I “settled” for Nutella. POOR ME! I incorporated this by making Nutella buttercream frosting as a cake filling. Feel free to skip this step or file this frosting in the back of your mind for a future treat! It’s also great on cupcakes!

Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Buttercream Frosting and (optional) Nutella Buttercream Filling

Yield: One two-layer 8″ round cake.

Cake recipe via Molly Yeh

Raspberry Buttercream recipe adapted via Vanilla Bean Baking Blog

Notes: The hazelnut buttercream filling is completely optional. It makes for a nice hint of hazelnut and extra chocolate flavour, but the cake is rich enough to hold up to the raspberry buttercream without any help.

Cake Ingredients:

Dry

  • 1 ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt

Wet

  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup flavourless oil (I used canola)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (if you do not have buttermilk, combine 2 tsp white vinegar with 1 cup milk and let sit for at least 5 minutes)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup boiling water

Raspberry Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh raspberries (if you do not have fresh raspberries or they are out of season or too expensive at the grocery store, you can sub this for raspberry jam – just note it will make the frosting sweeter!)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 16 Tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of table salt

(optional) Nutella Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup Nutella
  • Up to ¼ cup heavy cream or milk

Cake Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Put some water on to boil (at least 1 cup).
  3. Grease two round 8×2” cake pans. I like to dust with cocoa powder instead of flour for chocolate cakes (makes it even more chocolatey!) to further help prevent the cake from sticking. Line the bottom with parchment paper (easiest way to do this: trace the bottom of the cake pan on parchment and cut out). If you do not have 8×2” pans, you can try using 9×2” but keep a closer eye on the cakes during baking.
  4. In a large bowl, sift (or whisk) together all the dry ingredients.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients except for the boiling water.
  6. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. The batter will be very thin (this is fine!).
  7. Slowly whisk in the boiling water until just combined.
  8. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.
  9. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Start checking at 28 minutes, although mine took about 32. Also note your cakes may bake at difference rates (I took one out a minute before the other because it baked quicker).
  10. Allow cakes to cool in pans for about 10 minutes, then flip onto a cooling rack.

Raspberry Buttercream Frosting Directions:

  1. Using a food processor or blender, purée raspberries until smooth.
  2. Remove the seeds from the purée by straining through a fine mesh sieve. You should be left with about ⅓ to ½ cup strained purée. I ended up helping the purée through by running the back of a spoon along the sieve.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream butter on medium-high until light and fluffy – roughly 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the icing sugar, one cup at a time, and beat each addition on medium-high for 1-2 minutes. Between additions, scrape down the sides of the bowl. It should go without saying, but be careful not to put the speed to the max right away or else you’ll be covered in icing sugar. It should start to combine after about 10 seconds on low.
  5. Once all of the icing sugar has been combined, add ⅓ cup of the raspberry purée, 1 tsp of vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Mix on medium-high until well-combined and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl at least once during this step.
  6. Taste the frosting. If it’s raspberry-y enough for your taste, you’re done! If you think it could use more tang, add the rest of the purée. If the consistency becomes too thin, add a Tbsp or two of icing sugar. If the consistency becomes too thick, add a Tbsp of milk. Play around until it’s thick but spreadable.

(optional) Nutella Buttercream Frosting Directions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream butter on medium-high until light and fluffy – roughly 2-3 minutes.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the icing sugar and cocoa powder, mixing on medium-high until fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the Nutella. Mix on medium-high until well combined, 1-2 minutes.
  4. Test the consistency of the frosting – it should be thick but spreadable. If too thick, add milk or heavy cream, 1 Tbsp at a time, and mix until combined.

Cake Assembly:

I like to frost cakes on a cake board – it’s easier to move and work with the cake. It’s also easy to gift cakes as there’s no plate that needs to be returned.  

Note that step 4 is only required if you are using the Nutella frosting.

  1. Once cooled, level the cakes. To do this, flip them right-side up and cut the rounded top of the cake horizontally to create a flat surface.
  2. Place a dollop of frosting (either one) on a cake board, and centre one of the cake layers on the board, cut-side down.
  3. If using, spread the Nutella frosting, starting in the centre, along the top of the cake. It should be roughly ½” thick (or thicker, if you prefer more frosting!). Be sure to leave about ½” border around the circumference. If you are not using Nutella frosting, spread the raspberry buttercream all the way to the edge of this layer.
  4. Fill a piping bag (or ziplock bag with a small, roughly ¼” hole cut out of one of the bottom corners) with about ½ cup of raspberry frosting. The tip does not matter – this frosting will not be seen. Draw a line of raspberry frosting around the perimeter of the Nutella frosting layer. This will serve as a barrier between the Nutella frosting and your raspberry frosting crumb coat.
  5. Place the second cake layer, cut-side down, on top of the frosted first layer.
  6. Frost the cake with a thin layer of raspberry frosting. This is called your crumb coat.
  7. Place the cake in the freezer for at least 15 minutes (30 minutes is preferable).
  8. Immediately after removing the cake from the freezer, frost the cake. This is where you should get creative! If you are using an offset spatula, you can achieve a smooth and even cake top by dipping your spatula in a glass of hot water and running it along the top. This process is easiest if using a lazy susan or revolving cake stand.
  9. Enjoy your beautiful cake!

Chocolate Cake Raspberry Buttercream decorations

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