Sunday, 21 October 2012

Devil's Food Raspberry Layer Cake

This post is a special one as I'd like to dedicate it to my brother (cousin). Happy birthday! Although we are oceans apart, your presence is still muchly missed. I would sometimes address older guys that I know as ‘brother’ out of politeness (as it’s common in our Asian culture to do so) but I’ve always naturally called him brother since a little girl. I never call someone 'brother' as effortlessly as I do with him. We may have only seen each other no more than 10 times in our life, but we would always hit off when we see each other. I miss our casual stroll down to the park on a nice sunset evening, sitting on the swings and talking mindlessly about anything that comes to mind. I felt safe and secure during those timeless moments. I also miss the deep and meaningful conversations that we had which could've possibly lasted till 5am in the morning if our parents didn't nag us to get some sleep.
I was inspired to do this cake when I stumbled upon it on Gourmet Traveller. Despite how amazing it looks, the recipe looked overwhelming and impractical due to my diet restrictions. I can't imagine cutting a slice from an 8-layered cake, although I'm confident that I could finish a slice myself, hehe. In my mind I was imagining how the layers will fall apart as I'm cutting it and that would be my worst nightmare. So then, I thought I'd come up with my own smaller version of that chocolate raspberry layer cake.
I was tempted to try David Lebovitz's recipe for the first time. What not better to start off with his Devil's Food Cake that is full of chocolatey goodness. The cake is smooth and delicate in texture and is not overbearingly sweet in taste. However, I guess I could've used milk chocolate ganache or even buttercream instead of dark chocolate ganache to marry the sourness of the raspberries since the cake is not that sweet to begin with.
There are so many things that I wished I could've done differently to the assembly of this cake. The first mini kitchen disaster was leaving the cake a little bit longer in the oven as I didn't hear the alarm ringing the second time round. It certainly would not do any justice to a cake that's meant to be moist in the first place. The next few events didn't go as well as I had planned. I probably shouldn't have made a 4-layered cake but just keep the 2 layers of cake as it is and have one generous slab of whipped cream in between. Next the frozen raspberries starts dripping out on the cream as they thaw. Lastly, the chocolate ganache on top drooped down in quite an ugly way. It wasn't even meant to droop down in the first place. Gahhh what could get worse here on.
Well, given that my brother is not around to see me hang my head in shame on the appearance of this cake, I do however have one last message for him: "Please come back to Australia again! Although it should be my shot to come visit you overseas this time round" =P

Devil's Food Raspberry Layer Cake

(adapted from David Lebovitz's Devil's Food Cake Recipe)

9 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ cups cake flour (It's not self-raising flour! I used plain flour)
½ tsp salt
1 tsp bicarb soda
¼ tsp baking powder
112.5g (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups caster sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup strong coffee (or water)
½ cup whole or low-fat milk
Optional: 1-2 punnets of raspberries

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Grease and flour two 20cm cake pans; line bottoms with circles of baking paper.

2. Sift together the cocoa powder, flour, salt, bicarb soda, and baking powder in a bowl. Using an electric mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar about 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time until it's fully incorporated.

3. Mix together the coffee and milk. Stir half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, then add the coffee and milk. Finally stir in the other half of the dry ingredients.

4. Divide the batter into the two prepared cake pans and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Dark Chocolate Ganache
Please refer to the original recipe if you want to cover the whole entire cake with ganache.

100g dark chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup water (or cream)
50g unsalted butter, chopped

In a mini saucepan, bring the water to boil with small-medium heat. Add in the chopped chocolate to the water, stirring occasionally till it's completely melted. Remove the saucepan from heat and add in the butter. Whisk them into the chocolate until completely melted and smooth in texture. Cool ganache at room temperature for approx. 1 hr or wrap up with cling wrap and leave in the fridge to set.

Whipped Cream
300g thickened cream
1 tbsp icing sugar

Beat the thickened cream with electric mixer for approx. 2mins and then add in the icing sugar. Continue to beat the cream until stiff peaks start forming.

Assembling the cake
For both of the cakes, slice them horizontally across into two equal parts to get 4 layers (you may want to trim the tops off a bit if you want straight even layers). Crumb coat the first layer of cake with cream, then cover the cake with some more cream, smoothing out with an offset spatula. Distribute some raspberries on top. Add the next layer of cake on top. Repeat the same steps for the second and third layer of cake. The cream should be fully used up by the third layer. For the fourth layer of cake, spread the dark chocolate ganache on top using an offset spatula and top up with some raspberries.

Serve immediately. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature and keep it away from sunlight.

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