Layer cakes are the best birthday cakes, don’t you think? The Chocolate cake with raspberries I made for my mom’s birthday and it was a success! Three layers of chocolate cake layered with dairy-free whipped cream and raspberries. And it’s much easier than you think.
Introduction about Chocolate cake with raspberries
There are two different ways to make layer cakes. You can bake a single pan thick cake and cut it in 3 or more layers once it’s cold; or you can bake 3 separate thinner cakes. The second method is more precise because you can weight the batter and get 3 perfectly equal layers without the struggle of cutting them evenly.
This recipe is adapted for baking the cakes in 3 different pans. Don’t try to bake the whole batter in a single pan, because it won’t bake evenly. I used three 16 cm / 5 inches pans.
To make the chocolate cake, I used Muscovado sugar. Muscovado sugar — also called Barbados sugar, khandsari, or khand — is one of the least refined sugars available.
It’s made by extracting the juice of sugar cane, adding lime, cooking the mix to evaporate the liquid, and then cooling it to form sugar crystals. The brown syrupy liquid (molasses) created during cooking remains in the final product, resulting in a moist, dark brown sugar that has the texture of wet sand.
The high molasses content also gives the sugar a complex flavor — with hints of toffee and a slightly bitter aftertaste.
If you can’t find Muscovado sugar, you can replace it with coconut sugar. To avoid over mixing the batter, blend the sugar for a few second in a blender before using, to break down the crystallized parts.
I’m not a huge fan of layer cakes. Because of the frosting. Frostings are always too sugary or buttery or both. Even vegan recipes always contain lots of sugar or processed non-dairy butters. I always remove the frosting and enjoy the cake only.
But there are some healthier options. My favorite is my chocolate sweet potato frosting. Which I enjoy even more than the cake! But If you are making a birthday cake and you want a pretty colorful frosting you’ll need a white base which can be colored with natural powders .
To make the raspberry frosting, I simply whipped some coconut cream with only 2 tbsp of powdered sugar (you can use any other sugar of choice, but the texture may change) and added a handful of fresh raspberries. You can use any dairy-free cream of choice. Be sure to place the cream, the metal mixing bowl, and the beaters in the freezer for 30 minutes before making the whipped cream. You will need to whip for several minutes to get a cream that is thick enough to frost the cake. And if you’re looking for an alternative frosting, you might consider trying Oreo vanilla cake filling, which offers a delightful contrast to the cake’s flavors and textures.
To color the frosting, I used some pink pitaya powder (dragon fruit powder), which is completely natural.
Feel free to use any fruit of choice and to color the whipped cream as you like! I really hope that you enjoy this recipe! I would love to hear your feedback!
Chocolate cake with raspberries
- three 16 cm / 6 inches cake pans
Ingredients for the cake
- 1+ 3/4 cups/ 225 g all purpose flour
- 1+ 2/3 cups / 200g Moscovado or coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup / 45g cacao powder
- 1+ 1/2 tsp baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 1 + 2/3 cups / 360ml water
- 1+ 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp / 120g neutral oil like sunflower
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Ingredients for the frosting
- 400 ml / 13,5 oz soy or coconut cream, chilled
- 1/4 cup / 30g powder sugar
- 2 tsp pink pitaya optional, for the color
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
Make the chocolate cake
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F degrees.
- Grease 3- 16cm | 6 inches pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, cacao and baking soda.
- Add the coconut sugar and salt and whisk to combine.
- Add the water, vinegar, vanilla and oil and whisk to combine. Don't overmix.
- Using a scale, divide the batter equally between the three pans and bake for 20-25mins.
- Remove from the oven and let cool down the cakes into the pans for at least 10 minutes.
- Remove from pans and let cool down copletely before frosting.
- If you're frosting the cake later, wrap each cake into plastic film and place in the refrigerator or up to one day.
Make the frosting
- Be sure to place the cream, the metal mixing bowl and the beaters in freezer for 30 minutes before making the whipped cream.
- Whip the soy or coconut cream with 1 tbsp powder sugar and 1-2 tsp pink pitaya.
- Add the cream, powdered sugar, and pitaya to the chilled bowl.
- Beat the mixture into soft peaks using an electric mixer.
- Could take 5+ minutes.
- Reserve 1 cup of the whipped cream to frost the outside.
- Gently fold in raspberries in the remaining cream (about 1 1/2 cup).
Assemble the cake
- Place the first cake layer on a plate.
- Spread 1/2 cup of the whipped cream in the center.
- Add the second cake layer and proceed in the same way.
- Lightly frost the outside with remaining pink frosting.
- Place the cake in the refrigerator to set for at least 30 minutes.
Here are some cooking tips for making a chocolate cake with raspberries:
- Choose high-quality ingredients: Use high-quality chocolate, cocoa powder, and fresh raspberries for the best taste. Just as using the best flour and starter are crucial in dutch ovens for sourdough bread, using top-notch ingredients ensures the utmost flavor and texture in your cake.
- Use room temperature ingredients: Allow the eggs, butter, and milk to come to room temperature before mixing the batter. This will help the ingredients to blend together more smoothly, just as the proper temperature of water and starter are essential for a successful sourdough bread bake.
- Beat the eggs well: Beat the eggs well until they are light and fluffy. This will help the cake to rise and become lighter in texture, similar to the aeration and proper handling needed for a well-risen sourdough bread.
- Don’t overmix the batter: Overmixing the batter can result in a dense and tough cake. Mix the ingredients just until they are combined, akin to the gentle folding and shaping required for sourdough bread dough.
- Add the raspberries at the right time: Fold the raspberries into the batter at the end, just before pouring it into the pan. This will help to distribute the raspberries evenly throughout the cake, much like the incorporation of mix-ins into sourdough bread dough during the bulk fermentation.
- Use parchment paper: Line the bottom of the cake pan with parchment paper to prevent the cake from sticking to the pan, similar to using parchment paper to prevent sticking in a dutch oven when baking sourdough bread.
- Bake at the right temperature: Follow the recipe instructions and bake the cake at the correct temperature. Overbaking can result in a dry and crumbly cake, just as improper baking temperatures can affect the crust and crumb of sourdough bread.
- Let the cake cool before frosting: Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting it. This will prevent the frosting from melting and sliding off the cake, similar to the need for cooling before slicing into a freshly baked loaf of sourdough bread.
- Garnish with fresh raspberries: Top the cake with fresh raspberries for a beautiful and delicious finishing touch, much like the addition of seeds, nuts, or herbs to the crust of sourdough bread.
- Store the cake properly: Store the cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator to keep it fresh for up to 3-4 days. Just as dutch ovens are used to maintain the freshness and texture of sourdough bread, proper storage ensures your cake stays moist and delectable.
FAQs of Chocolate cake with raspberries
Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about chocolate cake with raspberries:
Q: Can I use frozen raspberries instead of fresh ones?
A: Yes, you can use frozen raspberries, but make sure to thaw them completely and drain any excess liquid before using them in the cake.
Q: Can I use other types of berries instead of raspberries?
A: Yes, you can use other types of berries like strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries, but the flavor and texture of the cake will be different.
Q: Can I make the Chocolate cake with raspberries ahead of time?
A: Yes, you can make the cake a day ahead and store it in the refrigerator. However, add the fresh raspberries on top just before serving to prevent them from becoming soggy.
Q: Can I freeze the cake?
A: Yes, you can freeze the cake for up to 2-3 months. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or foil and place it in an airtight container before freezing. Thaw the cake in the refrigerator before serving.
Q: Can I make the cake without eggs?
A: Yes, you can make an eggless chocolate cake by using a substitute like applesauce, mashed bananas, or flaxseed meal mixed with water.
Q: Can I use a different frosting instead of chocolate ganache?
A: Yes, you can use a different frosting like cream cheese frosting or buttercream frosting, but the flavor and texture of the cake will be different.
Q: How do I prevent the raspberries from sinking to the bottom of the cake?
A: Toss the raspberries in a little bit of flour before folding them into the batter. This will help to coat them and prevent them from sinking to the bottom.
Q: Can I make the cake in a different shape or size?
A: Yes, you can adjust the recipe and baking time to make the cake in a different shape or size. However, this may affect the texture and baking time, so keep an eye on the cake while it bakes.