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A Birthday and a Very Tall Cake.

Double Chocolate Layer Cake with Raspberry Filling

Yesterday was Taylor’s birthday, and there is no such thing as a birthday without cake. And rather than allow Taylor to indulge his sweet tooth on the $1 slices of Kroger cake he loves to sneak into the shopping cart from time to time, I decided to put that cake to shame and bake a delicious chocolate cake from scratch.

I knew I succeeded by the sigh that came from his mouth after eating the first bite.

I used probably the most popular recipe ever to exist on Epicurious, the famous Double Chocolate Layer Cake with the raspberry filling variation a la Smitten Kitchen.

However, I know very few people who have a full range of cake pans – 8, 9, and 10 inch. Me, I’ve got three 8-inch pans (purchased to make that beautiful Petit Four cake from a few months back), and one 9-inch pan. So when this recipe called for two 10-inch pans, I knew I had some modifications to make.

Little did I know that those modifications would result in a really tall cake.

I thought I had found an accurate conversion chart via AllRecipes… which, if it had been accurate, says that two 10-inch cakes are equivalent to five 8-inch round pans. Five? Seriously? Ok, I thought… I’ll just make a few dozen cupcakes in addition to the three layers of cake I’ll get.

The chart also states that an 8-inch pan holds 4 cups. So as I divvied the batter into the prepared pans, I got to 3 cups and felt something was wrong. The pans were nearly full at 3 cups, AND I did not have a spec of leftover batter for cupcakes. Obviously the chart is missing some crucial information. Such as, um, how full the cake pans need to be to avoid overflowage (which my overfilled pans threatened to do.)

I guess I’ve spent too much time baking cupcakes to know the ins and outs of baking their larger and more complicated counterparts.

Double Chocolate Layer Cake
(Yep, that little itty bitty slice was all we ate. Just a testament to how tall and decadent this cake really is).

Another lesson I learned – overfilled cake pans leads to unevenly cooked cake. While my toothpick testers came out clean, I could tell the cakes were slightly on the undercooked side. Which in all honesty, is what probably lead this cake to be so incredibly moist. Happy accident I guess. I told Taylor when taking these out of the oven that he might really end up with that Chocolate Pudding Cake, albeit unintentionally.

But this cake. This cake is good. Unbelievably good. And easy to make it dairy free, which makes it even better (because I can actually eat it).

We’ve officially declared that a birthday lasts as long as the cake does, so don’t be surprised if Taylor’s birthday cake next year is twice as tall. Silly boy. :)

Double Chocolate Layer Cake with Raspberry Filling

Makes 12-14 servings. Recipe from Epicurious via Smitten Kitchen.

Ingredients:

For cake layers:
3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk (for dairy free variation: mix 1 1/2 cups soymilk with 1 tablespoon cider vinegar and set aside to curdle)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

For ganache frosting: (halve this if filling with raspberry or other filling)
1 pound fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1 cup heavy cream (or soy creamer)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter (or margarine)

For raspberry filling: (optional)
2 10-ounce bag frozen raspberries, thawed
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Directions:

Make cake layers:
Preheat oven to 300°F and grease two 10" cake pans, or three 8" or 9". Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper.

Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well.

Divide batter between pans (pans should only be half full - if you use 8" pans you will have some batter leftover) and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

Make frosting:
Finely chop chocolate. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.

Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistency). I found that stirring this over a bowl of ice water did a great job of cooling it off quickly and evenly.

Make filling:
Puree the raspberries in a food processor, blender or immersion blender. Press the puree through a fine-mesh strainer with the back of a spoon, removing the seeds. Heat the puree in a small pot with the sugar and cornstarch until mixture boils, stirring constantly. As it boils, it should quickly thicken. Let cool.

Spread filling between cake layers, assemble, and spread ganache over top and sides. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring cake to room temperature before serving.

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28 CommentsLeave a Comment →

  1. 1
    Posted On January 23, 2009 at 10:17 am

    SO impressive. Death by chocolate- the only way to go.

    Happy Birthday to your husband.

    Reply

  2. 2
    Posted On January 23, 2009 at 10:48 am

    That is tall! But it looks sooo good. There’s enough left for a party. :)

    Reply

  3. 3
    Posted On January 23, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    I love your tall cake. So beautiful! And Happy Birthday to your DH.

    Reply

  4. 4
    Posted On January 24, 2009 at 11:17 am

    I made this cake too a while back and it was one of the best layer cakes I have ever made. Seriously! It was so moist and chocolatey. No wonder its the highest rated recipe. I hope you and your boy had a fun time celebrating!

    Reply

  5. 5
    Posted On January 24, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Ha! I made this cake for my son’s birthday last week (I also made an armada of cupcakes along with); AND I made it in 8″ pans, resulting in a rather impressive four-layer cake. It was fantastic, and it was wonderful to see my little guy’s eyes grow wide when he saw me stack layer upon layer.

    Reply

  6. 6
    Posted On January 24, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Mmmmmmm, this looks so amazing!! Yum. :)

    Reply

  7. 7
    Posted On January 24, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Holy cow, four layers? And I thought my 3 layers were tall! Though thinking about it, the amount of batter would probably have been just about right for four 8″ pans. I can only imagine how excited your son must have been. It’s quite a cake! :)

    Reply

  8. 8
    cindy
    Posted On January 24, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    O.M.G. This has to be the most amazing looking cake, I’ve EVER seen.

    Reply

  9. 9
    Posted On January 24, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    Oh my gosh! This looks lovely and sounds fantastic. I wish I had Smell-O-Vision, .. well, perhaps its best that I don’t. I might NEVER get away from my monitor.
    ;)

    Reply

  10. 10
    Posted On January 24, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    I think this is the most chocoaltely cake I’ve ever made. It always gives me a headache whenever I make it, well maybe it’s because I eat too much of it! It looks great!!

    Reply

  11. 11
    Posted On January 25, 2009 at 2:01 am

    This looks great.
    We (Sweetie and I) use to do these date cards. One of them was make a dessert together.

    We made a white chocolate macadamia nut cheesecake.

    It was the tallest cheesecake I have ever seen. Rich and wonderful. We had to give some of it away because it was so incredibly over the top.

    Reply

  12. 12
    Posted On January 25, 2009 at 6:54 am

    Nice looking cake! I really like the sound of the raspberry in it.

    Reply

  13. 13
    Ree
    Posted On January 25, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    This cake looked sooooo good that I decided to make it for my birthday. I made it with egg replacer because I do not eat egg but my dough came out too sticky and did not rise as much as I would have hoped – it actually dented. Should I have left it in the oven for those extra 10 minutes? Should I have used real egg to have it rise? If anyone knows where I went wrong, please help me out.
    Regardless the cake was DELIIISSSIIOUUSS!!!!

    Reply

  14. 14
    Posted On January 26, 2009 at 11:10 am

    yours is a blog I can always count on for wonderful recipes, great writing style and fantastic photography. i hope some day my newly-launched food blog can be much like this as well. drop over some time if you get the chance!

    cheers,

    *heather*
    http://squirrelbread.wordpress.com

    Reply

  15. 15
    Posted On January 26, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    This is by far my favorite chocolate cake recipe! Comes out perfect every time, and also makes great cupcakes :) YUM!

    Reply

  16. 16
    Posted On January 26, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    What a gorgeous cake! Just lovely! I’ve had big , tall chocolate cake on my mind for about a week now and I’ve yet to get around to making it. This might be just the inspiration I need. Love it!

    Reply

  17. 17
    Posted On January 27, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    you are a got… omg, i had a similar cake not to long ago, it was mint raspberry and chocolate. it was unreal. i might just have to steal this recipe from you =D

    Reply

  18. 18
    JLuu
    Posted On January 28, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    This chocoholic here is DYING every time I check your site.

    Reply

  19. 19
    Jen in Saskatoon
    Posted On January 29, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    This recipe and the timing are perfect! I need an impressive-looking and tasting chocolate raspberry cake for my husband’s birthday this Saturday, thanks so much for posting.

    By the way, I found this by googling “delicious chocolate raspberry cake” – you’re the fifth hit. :)

    Reply

  20. 20
    Posted On December 18, 2009 at 1:49 am

    this cake is AMAZING. I made it tonight for a Christmas party and it was a big hit! So light and moist, yet rich with flavor! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  21. 21
    Posted On January 9, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Impressive !

    Reply

  22. 22
    Posted On February 18, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    How would you modify this if you wanted to leave out the coffee?

    Reply

  23. 23
    Marie
    Posted On March 3, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    I made this cake this weekend, and it was SO GOOD. It is moist, it is light, and it was yummy.
    straining the raspberries took a lot more time than I expected (and I could only find 16oz bags) but the filling was so good.
    Also, I did 1 cup coffee and 1/2 cup soy milk, and it turned out just fine. Thanks again for the great recipe!

    Reply

  24. 24
    Beth
    Posted On July 9, 2010 at 9:16 am

    I saw this post and thought this looked like an amazing cake, and so I set out to make it for a friends birthday…Amazing is right! So rich and moist! I added fresh raspberries on the top, and it was gorgeous. I’ll be making it again for the same friend’s wedding reception desert table..Love your site!

    Reply

  25. 25
    Posted On August 9, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Made this cake along with the Vanilla cake with tiramisu buttercream for the wedding reception, with a few changes and they were amazing. I’d love for you to check out my blog, since I use your recipes and list you as the source Ive got pics of my versions of both of these cakes there. I’d love your feedback- thanks so much for all you do, your site is amazing!

    Reply

  26. 26
    Charles
    Posted On December 25, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Our favorite cake to make! Just wanted to let you know =) Our Christmas go to cake as of last year. Merry xmas!

    Reply

  27. 27
    jennifer
    Posted On January 4, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Would this recipe work well for cupcakes too? Just cupcakes?

    Reply

  28. 28
    ReneeNYC
    Posted On July 4, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    I love tall cakes – and this one looks awesome. Thank you!

    Reply

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