Recipe from February’s cake club, much requested, with thanks to Claire Gruner, it was a stunning and delicious cake, very tall and impressive: This is the original recipe and was intended for a rectangular cake. I baked mine as 4 x 8” round cakes instead.
Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Buttercream Cake with Ganache Drizzle
Yield: one 4-layer 13?L x 5?H x 4.5?W cake, or one very very tall 8” round cake
Dark Chocolate Sheet Cake
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 2/3 cups sugar
2 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup cocoa powder (I use Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder – Extra Dark)
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
150 ml vegetable oil
280 ml buttermilk
260 ml hot coffee
2 tablespoons of vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat the bottom & edges of a commercial baking sheet (bakers half sheet 13 x 18 x 1, such as my favourite one Nordicware Half Sheet with Lid) with butter then add a layer of parchment paper to the bottom. Dust it all with flour, tapping out the excess. In bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients. Add all remaning 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 splashguard that comes with mixer) and pour into prepared pan. Batter will be liquidy.
Bake for about 25 minutes, rotating once. Cake is done when toothpick or skewer comes barely clean. Try not to overbake. I tend to underbake a few moments, so the skewer is a little bit gummy. This works well for a moist chocolate cake (not vanilla). Cool on a wire rack in the pan.
*This cake is sturdy enough to be used under fondant, stacked, etc. but also moist and tasty enough to go on its own with almost any type of frosting, glaze, etc.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Just a note that you will need approximately 2 times the Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe for this cake.
5 large egg whites (30g each–total 150g)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and vinegar, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly, until temperature reaches 140 degrees F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the mixture is thick, glossy, and cool. Switch over to paddle attachment and, while mixing on medium speed continously, add softened butter in chunks until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). Add vanilla and salt, mix well. You can also add a wide variety of flavourings, extracts, and more.
Add about a 1/2 pint of fresh washed & dried raspberries if you like the textured effect, or raspberry puree for a smooth finish. *Be sure to add the raspberries right before you are to frost the cake, otherwise, if you store in refrigerator overnight, the moisture of the berries will turn your buttercream into an icky mess.
You can also add a drop or 2 of pink gel colour to get a pinker look.
Keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week, leaving out at room temperature when needed, rewhipping in mixer for 5 minutes.
Can freeze for up to 6-8 weeks. To thaw, place on counter overnight, and rewhip for 5 minutes with paddle attachment in an electric mixer.
Makes approximately 5 cups of buttercream.
9 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watching very carefully because if it boils for a few seconds, it will boil out of the pot. When the cream has come to a boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over a cake. Start at the center of the cake and work outward. For a fluffy frosting or chocolate filling, allow it to cool until thick, then whip with a whisk until light and fluffy.
Assembly of the Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Buttercream Cake with Ganache Drizzle
1. Chill sheet cake in freezer for 30 minutes, or refrigerator for several hours. The cake will be a bit sticky, but should not be soft and fragile. If so, place in freezer or refrigerator again until more firm.
2. Using a sharp serrated bread knife, cut the cake in half, then those halves in half–4 total. The pieces will be 11? long and about 4.5? wide.
3. Place 1st layer face up (on a platter, or whatever you choose to serve the cake on), and spread about 1/2? thick layer of buttercream on top. Repeat this step, adding any flavours of buttercream or filling you like, placing your final layer face down. Cover with plastic wrap loosely, and chill for about 15 minutes in freezer or 30 minutes in refrigerator.
4. Crumb coat: coat cake with thin layer of buttercream using a small offset spatula for the top and a straight offset spatula for the sides–if you have a metal bench scraper, you can run along cake to get smooth finish and to achieve sharp corners. Always start at the top of the cake, working your way down. Chill cake for about 30 minutes, or pop back in freezer for 10-15 more minutes to set buttercream. This is a good time to wash and dry your spatulas and bench scraper for the top layer of buttercream application.
5. Using your clean tools, add a thick layer of buttercream on the top of the cake, working it over the edges and then finish the sides. Be very generous with your buttercream, because you will be scraping most of it off with the scraper. It just makes it so much easier to get the smooth finish. Chill the cake for as long as you need, but at least 15 minutes to set the buttercream.
4. Drizzle your warm ganache over the top so it seeps down the sides. Be careful not to use too much, or you will lose your pink cake underneath! You can use your clean small offset metal spatula to smooth it over the top. Chill to set.
5. Add any topping you like or none at all. I piped on a heart with raspberry puree.