Death by Cake

I am conscious that I haven’t posted for a while and that so far I haven’t blogged about baking. So much so it is going me nightmares. The truth is that I have just been really lazy this week and rather just get on and write, I have taken the option of drinking wine… (Speaking of which, Morrison’s have a lovely St Chinian red on offer for £4.99, it is usually £9.99, V. good!)

It was my Father in Laws birthday last weekend and rather than make cupcakes (blog post on those to follow!) I decided to make a good old fashioned chocolate cake, with a bit of a fruity twist.

The idea of raspberries with chocolate is a very common combination and I think that the inclusion of a raspberry cream as the cake filling really helps to cut through the richness of the cake. The cake consists of a rich chocolate sponge, the raspberry cream and the whole thing is then covered in a beautiful, thick chocolate ganache icing.

The different elements of the cake are an amalgamation of 3 different Nigella Lawson recipes, who I think is pretty reliable when it comes to cake. (Although I have to say I don’t ever take cake decorating tips from her, she’s a bit scruffy for my liking and she’d probably agree with me).

Raspberry Chocolate Cake
For the cake
50g/2oz best-quality cocoa powder, sifted
100g/4oz dark muscovado sugar
250ml/8fl oz boiling water
125g/4½oz soft unsalted butter, plus some for greasing
150g/5oz caster sugar
225g/8oz plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 free-range eggs

For the raspberry cream
1 punnet raspberries
300ml extra thick double cream

For the icing
75g unsalted butter
175g best quality dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
300g icing sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
125ml sour cream
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1 punnet of raspberries, to decorate

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line the bottoms of two 20cm/8in sandwich tins with baking parchment and butter the sides.

Sift the cocoa into a large bowl and mix in the dark muscovado sugar. Pour in the boiling water and mix. Se to one side to cool slightly

Cream the butter and caster sugar together in a separate bowl, well until pale and fluffy

Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together in another bowl and set aside for a moment.

Dribble the vanilla extract into the creamed butter and, then crack in one egg, quickly followed by a spoonful of the flour mixture (this stops it from curdling), then the second egg. Keep mixing after each addition. Incorporate the rest of the flour mixture little by little, then finally mix and fold in the cocoa mixture.

Divide the batter between the two cake tins and put in the oven for about 30 minutes. (Mine cooked in about 20, so be aware! If a cake tester comes out clean, it’s done!)

Leave the tins on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes, then turn the cakes out and set aside to cool. It took a good hour and a half – 2 hours.

For the filling, simply fork through the raspberries into the cream. If you haven’t bought thick double cream, you will need to whip it beforehand until it is soft and voluminous, but not too stiff.

To make the icing, melt the butter and chocolate in a good-sized bowl, set to one side.

While the chocolate and butter are cooling a little, sieve the icing sugar into another bowl.

Add the golden syrup to the cooled chocolate mixture, followed by the sour cream and vanilla and then when all this is combined whisk in the sieved icing sugar.

When you’ve done, you may need to add a little boiling water or more icing sugar depending if you need it to be thicker or runnier. It should be liquid enough to coat the cake easily, but thick enough not to drip off. In any case, the icing will dry off quite firm.

Assembling and decorating the cake
On your cake stand / plate cut out four strips of baking parchment to form a square outline on it (this stops the icing running on to the plate). Then sit one of the cakes, with the domed side down.

Spread the raspberry cream into the cake half evenly and smoothly with a palette knife / spatula. Sit the other cake on top, normal way up, pressing gently to sandwich the two together.

Spoon half of the icing on to the top of the cake and spread it over evenly. Spread the sides of the cake with the remaining icing and leave a few minutes till set, then carefully pull away the paper strips.

Decorate with raspberries. To keep them in place, I dipped the bottom ends into the icing to stick.

Try and not to devour it all at once.

30 thoughts on “Death by Cake

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  4. I tried to make this cake twice. The first time both cakes got really stuck to the tins. The secong time they came out fine but then in front of my eyes on the cooling rack they broke into several pieces. What am I doing wrong?

    • Hi Jennie, firstly, have you greased and lined your tins with butter / baking parchment? This should stop any sticking to the tins. You also need to test the cake with a skewer / toothpick to make sure its cooked all the way through. The only reason I can think of as to why the cake crumbled on cooling was either you maybe turned them out too soon after coming out of the oven (you need to let them cool for about 15 mins in the tins) or that they were overcooked. All ovens work slightly differently and the recipes are for my oven, so try adjust the cooking times and check. Hope this helps.

  5. nomnomnom
    question: where you cite that you use this recipe, i presume you use it the exact same way? ie all the fruity twists

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  7. Hi Susie, absolutely love the idea of the creme egg cupcake im going to make them for a girl i like to impress them the only thing is she has a gluten & wheat intolerance so for the cake base could i just swap the flour and baking powder for gluten free alternatives?? Im a newbie to this baking but would really love to make these 🙂 thanks

    • I’m not an expert of gluten free baking, however the recipe should still work if you use any other GF chocolate cupcake / cake batter, use that for the cupcakes and then use my frostings. That should work! Hope that helps. Fingers crossed she likes them! Susie

  8. This cake was amazing……….highly reccomend!!
    Do u think its possible to make the icing with white chocolate?? X

    • Hi, yes that is possible – you could make a white chocolate ganache and the fondant. My only concern is that it could end up being too sweet, but then againi don’t have a very sweet tooth! Susie

  9. Hi, when I tried this sponge mixture my cakes didn’t really rise and it became more of a very dense brownie. Any tips or advice on how to make a lighter sponge would be gratefully received 🙂 Thanks

    • Hi, thanks for your comment. Not sure what could have happened as I’ve never had this problem with this recipe. I’d check your raising agents I make sure they are still active and you really need to cream the butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy and no trace of sugar granules remain. This is what gives a cake it’s fluffy texture. Also be careful not to over beat the flour once you add it to the mix and overworking will cause gluten which causes a dense chewy cake. Hope this helps. Susie

  10. Love this recipe. The cream egg cupcakes were a hit now using this recipe to make a full chocolate cake and 24 cupcakes for my girls birthday!! All with chocolate and vanilla frosting. Cant wait to eat them!!!

  11. Loved this sponge recipe when I made the cream egg cupcakes back in April. Going to attempt cupcake versions of the whole ‘death by cake’ recipe for a cake comp at work this week. Thanks for sharing!!

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  13. I followed the instructions to the letter and when I turned one of the cakes upside down to place the raspberry cream on, it started to split. Is this normal? It had fully cooled and the cake tester came out clean. Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Carl, sorry to hear this – when you say split, was the texture of the cake quite dry and crumbly? To me that would suggest the cake might have been overbaked – how long did you bake them for? All ovens are very different so if you make it again I would perhaps check that cake at around 20 mins. Also – did you use 20cm / 8inch tins? If you used anything larger then this will impact cooking times. Hope this helps.

      • Hi Susie,

        Thanks for your reply, if the cakes were overbaked, then that’s the moist-est overbaked cake I’ve ever had Haha.

        I think it was just gravity playing it’s part as the cake had risen a fair amount, still came out lovely.

        Only problem I found is the raspberry cream isn’t made to last, I used Elmlea and fresh raspberries and found it would fur if stored too long, ruining the cake. Just about to make this for the third time (if you count the creme egg cupcakes I made from your recipe) and am game to destroy the whole cake before the fur hits. Goodbye waistline.

        Thanks for the awesome recipes. I love them.

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