Chocolate Raspberry Cake that’s wonderfully rich, tender and moist with layers of luscious raspberry jam and silky chocolate mascarpone all enveloped in rich dark chocolate ganache AKA the best Chocolate Cake you will ever have!
This Chocolate Raspberry Cake is one of my favorite cakes on the planet and always a showstopper (perfect for Mother’s Day!) The combination of deeply-chocolaty cake and fresh raspberries is indulgently rich yet fresh at the same time. You can either use homemade or store-bought raspberry jam (directions included for both) and the cake stays moist and fresh for days for an ideal make ahead, stress free dessert!
My dad and I share a love for dark chocolate and raspberries so when he was in town from Germany last month, I made him this Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cake for his birthday – AKA the cake of his dreams and the cake of my dreams. We celebrated with my sister’s family which meant a total of 11 pieces of moist Chocolate Raspberry Cake and 11 plates licked clean. I asked everyone if they would change anything about the recipe and I was answered with a unanimous emphatic “no.” And I think you’ll agree.
I wanted this Chocolate Raspberry Cake to be reminiscent of a raspberry filled dark chocolate candy bar – you know the ones – with a thick chocolate exterior giving way to oozing raspberry filling. Mission accomplished.
In our moist Chocolate Raspberry Ganache Cake, the richness of the dark chocolate cake and dark chocolate ganache are complimented by the layers of light, silky smooth chocolate mascarpone and the fresh raspberry jam and fresh adorning raspberries for for deeply-chocolaty, silky, raspberry-filled bite after bite after bite.
This Chocolate Raspberry Cake has a few steps (fewer if you don’t make your own raspberry jam), but each step is easy. I’ve detailed the steps below with helpful tips and tricks. It’s more than you need to know, but everything you would ever want to know for imminent success! Happy Indulging!
How to Make Chocolate Raspberry Cake
Our Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cake is super simple, so simple, you don’t even need a mixer because we don’t have to cream any butter! It’s based off of Hershey’s classic recipe but we use dark cocoa powder and buttermilk for maximum flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Here are a few helpful tips:
- Semi-sweet not Dark Chocolate: For a regular chocolate cake, substitute the dark unsweetened cocoa with regular unsweetened cocoa. Note, this is baking cocoa found in the baking aisle and not a chocolate drink mix.
- Don’t pack flour: Whenever you measure flour, don’t scoop it into the flour bag/container or else the flour will compress and packed flour yields denser, drier cakes. Rather, scoop flour into measuring cup and then level.
- DIY Buttermilk: I never keep buttermilk on hand but it is crucial in this recipe for the melt-in-your mouth tender crumb and for the lactic acid to react with the baking soda to leaven the cake. Fortunately, I find DIY buttermilk is just as effective. To make your own buttermilk for this recipe, measure 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar into a measuring glass or one cup measuring cup. Add enough milk to equal one cup. Give it a stir and let sit 5-10 minutes. The milk will curdle so you know it’s ready.
- Room temperature eggs: It is essential that you use room temperature eggs for this recipe or your cake will not rise properly. Room temperature eggs whisk to a higher volume because the egg whites and yolks whisk together more easily. This promotes more even distribution into the batter resulting in light, fluffy cake (because eggs trap air). Cold eggs result in a more dense cake. To quickly bring eggs to room temperature, fill a bowl with warm water (not hot) and add eggs and let sit 10-20 minutes.
- Don’t substitute butter: Butter is often used in cakes for its wonderfully buttery flavor. In this Chocolate Raspberry Cake, however, we want the chocolate flavor to shine through and not be masked by the butter, so oil is the best choice. Oil also results in sensationally moist cake.
- Why use boiling water? In several tests by Baking Illustrated, they concluded that boiling water intensifies the chocolate flavor of the cocoa powder. Cocoa powder + boiling water resulted in a stronger chocolate flavor than even real chocolate and much more moist.
- Batter will be thin: Once you add the hot water to your cake batter, the cake batter will be thin, so don’t panic! This thin batter will bake and rise beautifully into an extra moist cake.
- Don’t overmix: Overmixing your cake batter will result in a dense, tough, dry cake. Mix just until combined.
- Bake on middle rack: The cake layers should both be baked on the middle rack of your oven. If there isn’t enough room, then bake your cakes in two batches.
- Don’t overbake: There should be a few moist crumbs clinging to the toothpick for a moist, tender crumb.
How to Make Homemade Raspberry Jam
Making your own homemade Raspberry Jam is strictly optional. You are welcome to use your favorite seedless Raspberry Jam instead. You will need approximately 1 cup but are welcome to use more for even more raspberry pop.
If making homemade raspberry jam, use frozen raspberries for best results because frozen raspberries are picked at peak ripeness which means they often have more flavor than store bought raspberries which can be a gamble. When purchasing your frozen raspberries, take care your frozen raspberries do NOT have any sugar added.
To make homemade raspberry jam:
- Add raspberries (and any juices from thawing) to food processor and puree.
- Add puree to a fine mesh sieve over a bowl to discard seeds. Press down on the puree with the back of a spoon or spatula, until only seeds remain. This will take several minutes. Take care to wipe the back of your sieve to get all of the puree. You should end up with about 1 1/4 cups of puree.
- Add raspberry puree, cornstarch, sugar and lemon juice to a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring constantly then reduce heat to medium (medium-low if your stove runs hot) and continue to cook and stir continuously until puree is thickened. Refrigerate until completely chilled.
How to Make Chocolate Ganache “Frosting”
While my family and I were devouring our slices of Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cake, my 14-year-old niece said she wanted a whole slice of just the ganache because its so indulgently rich. Don’t let the word “ganache” scar you – I promise it’s even easier to make than frosting with only 2 ingredients!
Just a quick note, you don’t want to start making your chocolate ganache until your cakes are cooled because we will use part of it within 20 minutes to frost our cooled cakes and still want it to be lukewarm.
To make your chocolate ganache: Add heavy cream to a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave until just boiling, about 2 – 3 minutes. Remove from microwave and add chopped dark chocolate. If you don’t like dark chocolate, you can also substitute semi-sweet chocolate.
Let stand 1 minute, then whisk vigorously until ganache is melted and smooth then whisk in 1 tablespoon corn syrup. The corn syrup helps the ganache stay silky. How easy was that? Next, remove a heaping 1/2 cup ganache to use in our Chocolate Mascarpone.
Why Chocolate Mascarpone instead of Chocolate Mousse?
Because it’s dreamy and easier! If you aren’t familiar with mascarpone, it can be found in the specialty cheeses section of your grocery store and is absolutely sensational. Mascarpone is a rich, creamy cow’s milk cheese that is somewhere between butter and cream cheese in terms of both texture and flavor. I particularly love it with chocolate because its delicate, subtle flavor adds richness without distracting from the chocolate flavor. I combined it with nutella in my S’mores Nutella Pie and just wanted to devour the filling! I also love mascarpone because while it is smooth like butter, it is much less “melty” so it whips up like a dream and holds shape beautifully.
Immediately after making your ganache, start making the chocolate mascarpone so you can start to assemble your cake before your ganache cools completely. To make, simply beat the mascarpone, cream, sugar and vanilla with a hand held mixer on low until no lumps remain.
Add the reserved ganache and increase speed to medium high and beat until thick peaks form – it should look like thick whipped cream. You don’t want to overbeat or the mixture will break and curdle but you want it to be quite thick.
Tips How to Assemble Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Jam Filling
- Take care that your cakes are completely cool before cutting in half horizontally.
- Place cakes on sturdy cutting board.
- Use a serrated knife.
- Score cakes in half all the way around before cutting. This way, you are not slicing straight through the cake and coming up uneven on the other side.
- For easy frosting cleanup, place four strips of parchment paper around the edges of cake stand/cake platter to create a square frame then add cake to the center of the square so the edges are overlapping the parchment. This keeps the frosting on the parchment paper which you remove once you’re done frosting and keeps the cake stand clean.
- If your store bought jam is too hard to spread, microwave it for 10 seconds.
- The Chocolate Mascarpone will seem like a lot but pile it on because its soooo good.
- Frost the cake with 1 cup ganache to create a crumb layer then freeze the cake to set the ganache for 30 minutes. This keeps crumbs from getting all in the frosting and allows you to create a smooth second layer that stays in place.
- Garnish with lots of raspberries! The fresh raspberries make this Chocolate Raspberry Cake exponentially better even when you didn’t think it was possible. In fact, I recommend buying raspberries not only to garnish your cake extra raspberries to serve alongside your cake – because they are that good and cut through the richness of the dark chocolate.
Looking for More Spring Cake Recipe?
- Raspberry Cheesecake with Chocolate Ganache
- Coconut Cake (Triple Coconut)
- Lemon Blueberry Cake
- Carrot Cake with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting
- Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pound Cake
- Carrot Cake Cookies
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