We all need a good cake recipe in our lives. One that will please the pickiest of eaters and moodiest party guests. With all those rotten cake mixes and trashy grocery store cakes sitting around, it’s easy to forget what real cake actually tastes like, and I think that is something which should never be forgotten.
Making cake from scratch may take a little more effort, but it’s well worth the labor. It doesn’t even require much skill. As long as you can mix things together, there ain’t a batter that could be too difficult for you to tackle. Not to mention, there is such a wonderful feeling of accomplishment that comes with seeing your own creation emerge out of the oven. The smiles it puts on people’s faces when they take their first bites are enough to fill me up with warmth and joy. It’s a way of showing your affection for others without being verbal.
Ever since I started getting into cooking, I have always enjoyed the blog 17 and Baking. Breathtaking photography and mouth-watering recipes drew me in, but the fact that these wonders were being made by another teenager inspired me. If a young seventeen year old could do it, why couldn’t I, and so not only did this blog motivate me to keep baking it, but it pushed me into staring my own blog. It’s been a bumpy two and a half years. I’ll admit that my writing was quite miserable when I began, but now as a wiser (kind of) 20-year-old looking back, I hope that I’ve been able to develop a more entertaining and informative voice by now.
I have recreated quite a few 17 and Baking recipes in my own home, but perhaps the most beautiful of them all would have to be the Chocolate Raspberry Ganache Cake. The first time I made it, I was a mere 16-year-old trying to bake up something amazing for a friend’s birthday. Making it again two weeks ago for my brother’s graduation, the cake has changed little from the original recipe save for swapping the raspberries for a mixed berry blend and using chocolate with a higher cocoa content. I couldn’t be happier with the results. Darkly colored, moist to the point of disbelief, and brimming with textural and flavor contrasts from the rich cake center, tart and chunky berries, and bitter and slightly savory ganache, this cake is my heaven, my ecstasy, and my ultimate joy. Ms. Elissa Bernstein, the amazing blogger behind 17 and Baking, I offer my uttermost thanks to you for first making this delicacy. I know that the chances of you coming across my blog are slim, but you have inspired me to keep writing for a lifetime.
Here’s to five million more blog posts!
Adapted from 17 and Baking
- 2 cups cake flour
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened 100% cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water, mixed with about a teaspoon of instant coffee granules
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup mixed berry jam
Mixed Berry Ganache
- 8 oz bittersweet chocolate with a 60% cocoa content
- 8 oz bittersweet chocolate with a 70% cocoa content
- 1 2/3 cups frozen mixed berry blend
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) salted butter, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans and cover with parchment paper.
In a stand mixer, combine the oil and sour cream and then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until the mixture is well incorporated. Add the vinegar, vanilla extract, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Make sure the ingredients have been mixed well together.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and cocoa powder. Add these dry ingredients in about three or four batches to the wet ingredients, stirring slowly after each addition. Then add the boiling water. Be careful not to over mix the batter. Finish stirring with a rubber spatula if needed.
Pour the batter into the cake pans. It will be very runny. Bake the cakes for about 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely before proceeding to the frosting process.
While the cakes are cooling, prepare the ganache. Start by placing a large bowl over a pot filled with about an inch of simmering water. This is called a double-bath. Microwave the frozen berries at 30 second intervals until they have softened and become mushy. Strain out the seeds and pulp, reserving the juice. You will have about 1/3 cup juice. Melt together the butter and chocolate in the double bath until smooth and well combined. Then take the bowl off of the pot and stir in the berry juice. Allow the ganache to cool until it spreadable. You can speed up this process by beating the ganache after an hour of cooling in a stand mixer till it has begun to resemble the consistency of frosting.
When frosting the cake, start by inverting one of the cake layers on a cake dish. Spread about 1/3 of the mixed berry jam on top and then cover with a thin layer of ganache. Invert the second cake layer on top of this and again spread 1/3 cup of the mixed berry jam followed with a thin layer of ganache. Then proceed to frost the entire cake with a thick layer of the ganache. Allow the cake to sit for an hour or two before cutting into slices and serving. Enjoy this cake folks, it is divine, decadent, and deadly, but in a good way of course.