In retrospect, I don't know why I almost had a mini-breakdown while baking this cake.
This cake was for my mom and I had high standards for it. Yesterday, after hours of baking, cooling, and frosting-whipping, I took a good look at the finished product and realized it was ugly af. There was not enough frosting, I was out of raspberries, and chocolate crumbs were everywhere. And so I cried a little on the inside and begged my mother for forgiveness and reconsidered my value as a human being, until I realized this was dumb.
Really, all the cake needed was more frosting. And so I stashed it in the refrigerator for the night, went back to the grocery store, and made some more frosting the next day. Crisis evaded.
There is probably not a real moral to the story because my stories don't have real plots, but if there was one lesson to be learned, I would say: Keep your issues in perspective, find a solution to every problem, and don't eat all the frosting before it makes it onto the cake. Oops that was three lessons.
Luckily, the cake received a makeover and stepped up its game in time for my mom's birthday. It's a super rich three-layer chocolate cake with tart, tangy raspberry frosting on the outside, and coconut buttercream between the layers (which resulted from the raspberry shortage).
The frosting involves reducing the raspberries to a syrup and mixing it in with your regular buttercream ingredients. Nothing artificial in here, and the taste tells all! Even my dad, who normally scrapes the frosting off his cake, offered his seal of approval.
Both the cake and frosting recipes below have been multiplied to make a three-layer cake, but you can stick with the proportions in the links if you prefer two layers. Although I must say, three layers gives you extra satisfaction when you cut into it and see this:
Enough rambling - make cake, eat cake.
Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Buttercream Frosting
for the cake: (adapted from Taste of Home)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons baking soda
1 and 1/8 cup cocoa powder
3 cups granulated sugar
1 and 1/2 cup canola oil
1 and 1/2 cup hot brewed coffee
1 and 1/2 cup milk
1 and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
for the raspberry buttercream: (adapted from Sweets and Celebrations)
24 ounces fresh raspberries
4 sticks unsalted butter
pinch of salt
6 cups confectioner's sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
for the coconut buttercream filling: (adapted from I Heart Eating)
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cups milk
3/4 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cups confectioner's sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup shredded coconut (toasted or untoasted)
To make the cake:
Sift together dry ingredients in a bowl. Add oil, coffee and milk and mix at medium speed for 1 minute. Add eggs and vanilla; beat for 2 more minutes.
Pour into three greased and floured 8 or 9-inch round baking pans (I like to line the bottoms with parchment paper beforehand).
Bake at 325 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. Cool completely before removing from pans.
For the raspberry buttercream:
Place the fresh raspberries in a sauce pan and cook down until the raspberries have broken and are floating in their liquid. You can speed up the process by smashing them with the back of a wooden spoon or spatula.
With a fine mesh sieve, drain the raspberry liquid into a bowl. Drain as much liquid as possible! Place the liquid back into the sauce pan and cook down until thick and syrupy.
Cool in the refrigerator (or freezer, if you're impatient like I am) while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Beat softened butter in a bowl, and add slowly add the confectioner's sugar, vanilla extract, sea salt, and cooled raspberry syrup (about 1 cup). Whip until you reach a thick, creamy consistency.
For the coconut buttercream:
In a small saucepan, whisk flour into milk and heat, stirring constantly until consistency resembles that of a thick pancake batter. Stir in vanilla.
Remove from heat and place in refrigerator to cool.
While the mixture cools, cream the butter, sugar, and salt together until light and fluffy on medium high,a bout 5 minutes. Add in the cooled milk mixture.
Beat for 5 minutes on medium-high until consistency is uniform and fluffy. Fold in shredded coconut.
To assemble the cake:
Once cake is completely cooled, flip over one layer onto a sheet of parchment paper, cardboard cake circle, cake stand, or whatever fancy cake decorating devices you have in your possession.
Using an icing spatula or pastry scraper, cover the top of the cake with coconut buttercream. Then stack on the next layer and repeat. Place the last layer on top and marvel at the beauty of your creation.
Frost the outside of your cake with raspberry buttercream frosting. If neat frosting jobs are not your specialty, it's okay. Use half the frosting to coat your cake with a thin layer, refrigerate overnight, and finish it off with the rest of the frosting the next day. This prevents crumbs from escaping onto the outside of your cake.
Decorate to your heart's content, and enjoy.