Valentine’s Day Sweets: Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake

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Valentine’s Day, for many, is a day of decadence: gourmet food, fancy wine or champagne and lots and lots of chocolate!  With Valentine’s Day falling on a Saturday you can spend the entire afternoon preparing for your special evening.  I’m not sure if it’s because it is so unbelievably cold outside or the fact that I wanted to avoid doing homework, but I have been feeling a strong desire to bake.  With today being a chocolate holiday I pulled out my tried-and-true recipe for a vegan chocolate layer cake.  I love this recipe in particular because it is spectacularly delicious and so wonderfully versatile.  Depending on the season, the mood or the occasion you can easily substitute the extract for vanilla, mint, orange, lemon, almond, cinnamon, or in today’s recipe: raspberry!  When most people think of vegan baked goods they imagine dry, crumbly, tasteless cake or cookie “wannabes”.  However, I served this cake at a wedding and everyone loved it, no one believed it was vegan and I had many requests for the recipe!  And as my Valentine’s Day gift to you I am going to share with you a “lovers” version of my chocolate layer cake!

Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake

serves up to 12

Supplies:

  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Mixing bowls
  • Sifter
  • Hand or stand-up mixer
  • Parchment paper
  • (2) 9” round cake pans
  • Saucepan
  • Off-set spatula
  • Cake stand or plate
  • Raspberry jam or syrup

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons raspberry extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt)
  3. Stir in wet ingredients (water, vegetable oil, vinegar and mint extract)
  4. Mix evenly until batter is smooth.  Break up any lumps. (The batter will naturally bubble from the vinegar and baking soda)
  5. Cut out two rounds of waxed paper to place in the bottom of your 9″ cake tins (give a light spritz of cooking spray to the sides)
  6. Fill both tins evenly with batter and place in middle rack of your preheated oven
  7. Bake for 40 minutes

Baking tip: Begin the “toothpick” test after about 30 minutes.  When there is minimal moisture on the toothpick, pull the cake out of the oven.  You do not want the toothpick to pull out clean because your cake will continue to bake as it cools and it may become too dry.  If there is still a lot of moisture on the toothpick, put the cake back in the oven for 5 minute increments.

Leave the cakes in their pans until they are completely cool.  Once the pans are cool to the touch remove the cakes and place on wire racks until they are completely cooled! This is important because if you attempt to handle or frost a cake that is still warm it may crumble. As the cakes are cooling it’s time to make the frosting!

Chocolate Frosting:

Makes 2 cups

**This recipe yields enough frosting for one layer cake but I prefer to double it, you can never have enough frosting!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon raspberry extract

Directions:

  • In a medium saucepan thoroughly mix dry ingredients (sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder and salt)
  • Whisk in water
  • Heat over a medium flame until it begins to boil gently (do not let it get to a rolling boil or the frosting will turn into taffy!)
  • Gently boil for about 1 minute, just until it begins to harden
  • Remove from heat and stir in oil and raspberry extract
  • Whisk until the frosting begins to form peaks
  • Let cool completely before you frost your cake

**Store any extra frosting in an airtight jar and refrigerate for up to one week

Cake Construction and Frosting Tools:

  • One 10″ cake plate, stand, or decorative dinner plate
  • Waxed paper cut into four thick strips
  • Serrated bread knife
  • Off-set frosting spatula
  • Raspberry jam or syrup (I like to use syrup because it soaks into the cake!)
  • Cooled frosting

Directions:

  1. Take your four strips of waxed paper and place around the outer edge of your chosen plate (this will keep the plate clean while you frost)
  2. Use bread knife to “level” both cakes (then munch on delicious cake scraps)
  3. Place first cake face up onto center of your plate
  4. Add a generous layer of raspberry syrup and allow to soak into the cake (if you are using raspberry jam you can skip this step)
  5. Spoon about a quarter of the frosting onto the center of the cake
  6. Use the frosting spatula to spread the frosting from the inside to the outer edges **As you frost make sure to turn your plate as you spread, NOT your hand
  7. If you are using raspberry jam, spoon a thick layer on top of the frosting and spread it out evenly (if you are using raspberry syrup you can skip this step)
  8. Place second cake face down onto the center of the bottom cake
  9. Add another generous layer of raspberry syrup to the top of the cake and allow to soak in (if you are using raspberry jam you can skip this step)
  10. Spoon another generous amount of frosting into the center of the cake
  11. Use the frosting spatula to spread the frosting from the inside to the outer edges
  12. Gently pull the waxed paper out from under the cake and admire your clean plate
  13. Use some extra syrup to drizzle the cake plate

In honor of Valentine’s Day I decided to leave this cake “naked” by not frosting the sides. If you chose to frost the sides of the cake do so by applying it with the frosting spatula while turning the plate as you spread! Keep this yummy cake in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve; enjoy!

The wonderful thing about cake (aside from how awesome it tastes) is how well it keeps.  If you have leftover pieces that you know you won’t be able to finish, rather than throwing them out or giving them away, wrap each piece individually in saran wrap and then in tin foil.  Put all of the individually wrapped pieces into a freezer bag and leave in the freezer for up to six months.  If you decide that you want a piece of cake for dessert or you have some unexpected guests, pull out the desired number of pieces, unwrap them and let thaw on the counter for about 30 minutes.

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This cake is so delicious and decadent I promise that you and whomever you choose to share it with will feel perfectly indulged!  Wishing you and yours and very happy Valentine’s Day filled with love, long kisses, champagne and of course, cake!

Cheers,

Amy

 

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