Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong: Challenge #18

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Welcome to our February Bakealong challenge. Each month, we’ll announce a new recipe for you to try, along with helpful tips and step-by-step instructions here on our blog. We invite you to bake this decadent Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries, then share a photo of your creation, tagging it #bakealong. Enjoy!

OK, let me start right out by saying, I don’t bake many cakes. Cake pan cake? Nailed it years ago. Hot milk cake? Slam-dunk. But both of these are ultra-simple, stir-up-the-batter-and-pour-it-into-the-pan type cakes. Maybe melt some chocolate chips or caramel to spread on top in lieu of frosting, because I don’t do buttercream. To me, fancy icing is two-ingredient ganache. (I do have a piping bag… somewhere.)

So when I read the recipe for this month’s Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong challenge, my heart fluttered. FOUR layers? Not just cake and frosting, but filling, too — and garnishes? Wait; isn’t there someone better suited to write this particular blog post — maybe Martha Stewart?

But after those first moments of panic, I calmed down enough to REALLY read the recipe. Yes, it’s long and multifaceted. But honestly, each one of the steps is pretty simple. There’s no tricky creaming of butter and sugar; no fancy frosting requiring either homemade sugar syrup or egg whites. The toughest technique you’ll face here is using an electric mixer (stand, or hand) — so if you’ve mastered that tool, you’re good to go.

And truth be told, I actually learned a few things as I made this cake. Like how to do a crumb coat. That it makes a difference whether you halve raspberries around their circumference or longitudinally. What a naked cake is. (It’s a layer cake that’s either not frosted, or frosted so thinly that the cake shows through the frosting. I’d call this particular cake semi-naked: fully clothed, but barely.)

And finally, where that elusive piping bag was hiding (in the back of my desk drawer with some stray dog treats).

If you’re a veteran cake baker, you’ll love this striking four-layer cake for its easy accessibility; you’ll probably be able to put it together with one hand tied behind your back (until it comes time to fill the piping bag).

For you neophyte or marginally skilled cake bakers (like me), you’ll find this a huge confidence-builder. “I made that gorgeous cake? ME?!” Go ahead, pat yourself on the back and preen in the glow of your family’s or co-workers’ admiration. Then dig in, and discover the biggest plus of all —

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries is utterly delicious. The cake itself is moist and deeply chocolate; the filling, dense and rich. And the frosting — well, it reminds me of bakery frosting in the nicest way: pleasing mouthfeel, excellent flavor, and just enough of it to complement without overwhelming.

But wait, there’s more: fresh raspberries in every sumptuous bite. What’s not to love?

DIY? Absolutely. Take the Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong challenge to see how it's done. Click To Tweet

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Grease two 8″ round pans at least 2” deep (and preferably 3” deep); OR four 8″ round pans at least 1 1/2” deep; OR three 9″ round pans. If you have parchment rounds, line the pans with parchment, and grease the parchment.

Note: If your pan assortment doesn’t include any of these particular combinations, you can bake the cake batter in batches; the unbaked batter won’t suffer while awaiting its turn in the oven.

Prepare the cake batter

Whisk together the following in a large mixing bowl; or combine thoroughly using a stand mixer equipped with the whisk or beater attachment:

1 3/4 cups (7 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour*
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, natural or Dutch-process cocoa

*This recipe becomes gluten-free simply by substituting our Measure for Measure flour for all-purpose flour.

Once you’ve whisked everything together, check to make sure there aren’t any hard lumps in the mixture; if there are, press them through a sieve.

Combine the following in a medium bowl or large measuring cup:

1 cup boiling water*
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk or yogurt (Greek or regular; nonfat, low fat, or full fat)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

*Substitute 1 cup hot brewed coffee for the water, if desired; this will enhance the cake’s chocolate flavor without adding any coffee flavor of its own. Alternatively, add 1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder to the batter along with the other dry ingredients.

Once you’ve brought the water to a boil, combine it with the remaining ingredients. Add these liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat at medium speed for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the batter is smooth.

Scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl, then beat in 3 large eggs one at a time.

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Mix on medium speed for another minute, or until smooth. The batter will be very thin; don’t worry, that’s how it’s supposed to be.Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Divide the batter among the pans

The total weight of the cake batter is about 50 ounces (1417g). To ensure your layers are all the same size, divide the batter’s weight by the number of layers you’re baking, and weigh the amount into each pan.

For two deep 8″ layers, use about 25 ounces (709g) batter in each. For three 9″ layers, use about 16 1/2 ounces (468g) in each pan. For four shallow 8″ layers, use about 12 1/2 ounces (354g) batter in each pan.

Unless you’re Houdini-like in your ability to scrape the bowl, beater, and spatula completely clean of batter, these amounts will all be a bit less than stated.

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Bake the cakes

Bake the layers for 45 to 50 minutes for two 8” pans; or 25 to 30 minutes for four 8″ pans or three 9″ pans, until the cake just begins to pull away from the edge of the pan, and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs.

Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool for 15 minutes.

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong via @kingarthurflourRun a table knife or thin heat-resistant spatula around the edge of each pan to free the crust, and turn the cakes onto the rack to cool completely.

Make the filling

While the cake layers are cooling, make the filling. Gather your ingredients:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar, divided
2 tablespoons soft butter
8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon Instant ClearJel, optional*
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate mini chips, optional
1 1/2 to 2 pints fresh raspberries, washed and dried

*ClearJel will help stabilize the filling if the cake is baked and served during particularly hot weather.

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

You’ll need about three half-pints of fresh raspberries to fill the layers. Since berries can be pricey at this time of year, see if you can find 12-ounce packs of fresh raspberries (pictured above); they’re generally less expensive. Two of these packs equal 2 pints, which means you’ll have plenty of berries left over for garnishing the top of the cake plus individual servings.

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Start by sifting the confectioners’ sugar, if necessary.Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

It’s usually necessary. You don’t want hard little lumps in your filling, right?

Combine the butter, cream cheese, 3/4 cup (3 ounces) of the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt, mixing at medium-low speed until smooth.

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Melt the chocolate; a minute or less in the microwave should be sufficient to soften the chips enough that you can stir them until completely melted and smooth.

Add the melted chocolate to the bowl and mix on medium-high speed for 1 minute, or until a bit lightened and fluffy.

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar with the Instant ClearJel (if you’re using it). Beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form, then add the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Beat just until the cream is stiff; guard against over-beating, which will turn the cream grainy.

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture; scrape the bowl, and stir to combine any sticky residue.

Finally, fold in the chocolate mini chips, if you’re using them. (I didn’t happen to have any on hand, so left them out; but they definitely add to the cake’s richness and flavor.)

Assemble the cake

Split the cake layers horizontally if you’ve baked two deep 8″ cakes; trim any domes off the tops if you’ve baked three or four individual layers.

 

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Place the first layer on a serving plate (line the edges with strips of waxed or parchment paper to keep the plate clean).Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Spread the cake with one-third of the filling (1 cup; 7 5/8 ounces; 216g). Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Cut 1/2 pint of raspberries in half lengthwise (rather than around the circumference), and place them over the filling, covering its entire surface.

Why lengthwise? Each berry will cover more surface area, meaning you’ll need fewer berries (leaving more leftovers for the top of the cake — or your breakfast cereal).Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Repeat until all the layers are stacked; place the last layer bottom-side up for a flat surface on top.

Chill until set

Once the layers are assembled with filling and raspberries, place the cake in the refrigerator or freezer for at least 30 minutes to firm it up. This will make frosting the cake much easier, since the layers are less likely to slide around and chilling helps prevent the cake from shedding crumbs as you frost.

Prepare the frosting

While the cake is chilling, make the frosting. Here’s what you’ll need:

1/2 cup vegetable shortening, butter-flavored preferred
8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, natural or Dutch-process
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

If you don’t want to use shortening, substitute 1/2 cup unsalted butter for the shortening. However, if the weather is particularly hot, shortening will help keep the frosting from becoming too soft as the cake sits.

When making the frosting, use natural cocoa for mild, milk chocolate-type flavor and lighter color. For darker frosting with richer, more assertive chocolate flavor, use Dutch-process cocoa.

In a large bowl, beat together the shortening, butter, and salt.

Sift the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa through a strainer to remove any lumps, and gently beat into the butter mixture alternately with the milk. Add the vanilla.  Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes, or until fluffy.

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Frost the cake

For the best-looking cake, do the frosting in two steps. First, spread a very thin layer of frosting around the sides and across the top; this is called a crumb coat (a.k.a. “dirty icing” or “setting”).

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

You should actually be able to see the cake through the frosting in spots, it’s that thin. Refrigerate the cake for 20 minutes to let this layer set up.

Once the cake is chilled, use the remaining frosting to coat it thoroughly and evenly. The frosting will be thin (it’s not quite a naked cake), but the cake should be completely coated, with no bare patches. For more helpful information see our video, how to frost a cake.

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Pipe rosettes 

If you have any leftover frosting, use it to pipe decorations on the top and/or around the base. Pretty good, eh?

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve.

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong via @kingarthurflour Garnish with fresh raspberries just before serving.

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

And after all that labor, here’s your baby: 6 pounds, 14 ounces of sheer delectability!

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

At last — serve and enjoy!

Chill until ready to serve. If it’s been in the fridge very long, though, take it out an hour or so beforehand to let it warm up a bit, which will enhance both flavor and texture.

High-altitude adjustments

Do you bake at altitude? Check out our high-altitude baking tips.

Make it whole wheat

If you want to add some whole wheat, for best flavor and texture we recommend substituting white whole wheat flour for half the all-purpose flour in this recipe.

Make it ahead

Cake layers, frosting, and filling can all be made up to three days ahead, and the cake assembled just before serving. Store the layers, well wrapped, at room temperature; refrigerate the frosting and filling in airtight containers or tightly covered bowls. When you’re ready to assemble the cake, remove the filling and frosting from the fridge and warm at room temperature until soft enough to spread easily.

The entire filled and frosted cake can be tightly wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to a week. If you’re going this route, skip the raspberry garnish on top; the berries will become weepy. Thaw the cake overnight in the refrigerator before serving. Garnish with fresh raspberries, either on top or with individual servings.

Baking gluten-free?

As mentioned earlier, you can make this cake gluten-free simply by using our gluten-free  Measure for Measure flour in place of the all-purpose flour. If you’re very gluten-sensitive omit the Instant ClearJel, which is processed on equipment that also handles wheat.

Take the Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries Bakealong challenge!

Are you ready to take the challenge? Read this post on your favorite device, or print the recipe. And when you’ve finished, remember to post your photos, tagged #bakealong. We’re looking forward to seeing your elegant mousse cake!

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Tina

    Looks really awesome… Would unsalted butter work okay instead of vegetable oil? How much butter in place of the oil? Thanks

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Tina, I think using 2/3 cup melted butter in place of the 1/2 cup oil would yield similar and satisfactory results. Enjoy! PJH@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      If you’d like to use your celebration cake pans, you’re going to end up making 6 layers rather than 4. You might be able to get away with 5 thick layers, but you risk overflow with this approach. It’s fine to let the leftover batter rest at room temperature (covered with plastic) while you bake the first batch of pans. Be sure to divide the mousse filling accordingly so you have enough for all the layers. We think the final presentation will be just stunning! Kye@KAF

  2. Carolyn

    Last month I made this cake for my Dad’s 80th Birthday. It was a resounding success! So delicious and so beautiful. One of the best cakes I’ve ever made. I used a combo of rasperries and blackberries – sensational!

    Reply
  3. Mike

    It looks great, but we’re not big fans of buttercream. What about chocolate ganache for the outside frosting? Could be whipped to a buttercream sort of consistency.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Shana, I think apricot preserves or strawberry preserves would be delicious; or soft chopped dried apricots. How does he feel about dried fruit in general? I could see dried cranberries, cherries, or chopped dried mandarin oranges. You could also add a layer of toasted nuts in place of the berries. Or you could simply leave the fruit out; this recipe will produce a superb “plain” chocolate cake. Good luck — PJH@KAF

  4. cathyf

    What about cutting the recipe in half and making half a cake? Bake it in two pans, cut each layer in half, and pile the 4 semi-rounds as a 4-layer half-cake. Filling and berry amounts would go in half, but frosting is probably the full recipe unless you don’t frost the long cut side.

    One of the reasons that I don’t make cakes very often is that hubby and I have trouble eating that much. A half a cake isn’t so daunting. Also, the cutting in half horizontally terrifies me, and this is how to get 4 thin layers (3 layers of filling!) with only two pans.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      This sounds ingenious, Cathy — I don’t see why it wouldn’t work just fine. You might want to lay it all on its side (unfrosted side down) for stability, in which case you can do the entire recipe of frosting and simply use it more generously on the sides and ends. Go for it! PJH@KAF

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Tracy, you’d have to chop the strawberries pretty fine, and then they might ooze juice. Your better bet might be to use strawberry preserves or apricot preserves; or perhaps dried fruit, like dried cherries. Or maybe some chopped toasted nuts? Anything would be fine that goes with chocolate and won’t get mushy as it sits. PJH@KAF

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Cheryl, I’d say bake at 350°F for less time than the recipe indicates… maybe 15 minutes? Not sure, since we didn’t test this. Keep your eye on it and take it out just as soon as it tests done (e.g., toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean). Be sure not to overfill your pan; you may have to bake the batter in two batches. Good luck! PJH@KAF

  5. Amy Lafayette

    Any advice if I wanted to make this in cupcake form instead? I’m guessing I wouldn’t need nearly as much of all ingredients?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Amy, if you’re looking to bake cupcakes, you might consider using this recipe for Bake Sale Fudge Cupcakes instead. It’s quite similar to the base of this Chocolate Mousse Cake, but it’s written to make beautiful cupcakes instead of a layer cake. If you’d like to use the frosting from the mousse cake, you’re welcome to do so. If you like your cupcakes generously frosted, you can make a full batch of frosting. You could core the cupcakes and add a scant tablespoon of filling. (You’ll be able to make 1/3 of a batch of filling or simply omit this part of the recipe.) Top with a fresh raspberry or two to incorporate this flavor element as well. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

    2. Kathy H.

      Amy… I concur with PJ. I’ve made those Bake Sale Fudge cupcakes multiple times… they are fabulous.

  6. Emma

    So I really, really detest cream cheese. Any substitutions? Would ricotta work? Or would I be better off doing a different interior frosting all together?

    Reply
  7. Susan V.

    I made this cake and it is delicious! I did not use fresh whole raspberries although I used fresh from my garden that I thawed and made a raspberry simple syrup and brushed each layer instead before adding the mousse on top. Worked well. Taste is wonderful and creamy. Cake is very moist. I used all butter in the frosting instead of butter flavored veg. Shortening and it was a bit to buttery for my taste but I had rave reviews from all!!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Susan, thanks for sharing. Sounds like you came up with the ideal solution for using the bounty from last summer’s garden. Glad everyone enjoyed the cake! PJH@KAF

  8. Amy S

    I am a gardener and still have some homegrown raspberries in the freezer. They were so tender that most of the berries broke apart into individual little balls. Some are still thimble shaped. Other than the aesthetics of using fresh cut raspberry halves, is there any reason I shouldn’t use an even layer of frozen raspberries? Would they be too juicy once thawed?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Amy, I froze a whole cake stuffed and topped with fresh raspberries; as the cake thawed, the berries did weep a bit, though the ones on top were worse than the ones inside. You could try the frozen raspberries; I suspect they’d make your filling juicy, and you’d have to decide ahead of time what your capacity for potentially watery filling is. Personally, I think you might do better stirring the berries with a bit of sugar on the stovetop to make a quick jam, which would ensure your cake won’t be dribbling liquid down its sides. Good luck – PJH@KAF

  9. Margherita

    I made this with strawberries. It came out nicely; however next time I would use less sugar, delete the chocolate chips (overkill) and make extra mousse in place of the frosting. Everyone who tried it thought it was great and I did make sure it was served at room temperature.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Margherita, thanks for sharing your baking experience here; we’re glad to hear you tweaked the recipe to your own taste. We love it when our readers feel free to personalize our recipes; it shows you have confidence, which is a valuable commodity for both bakers and cooks! Cheers – PJH@KAF

    2. paige reetz

      How much less sugar? Was it in the batter, frosting or mousse? Or in all? We dont like over sweetened anything. I was thinking it would mess with the texture of the cake if I lowered the cake sugar to 1cup. Any suggestions would help. Thank You

  10. Mary Jo Lewis

    This is my go-to chocolate cake. It’s a big hit wherever I take it. I do leave out the extra chocolate chips.

    Reply
  11. Anna

    How did you get your filling to come together so nicely? When I went to fold in the whipped cream, the two sort of smeared together but I still had big globs of the chocolate mix, and I was worried about overmixing and deflating the whipped cream. It was still delicious, but not very smooth.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Anna, in order for the filling to have a smooth texture and come together easily, it’s important for the cream cheese to be soft at room temperature. If your kitchen is cold, you can even try submerging the still-wrapped package of cream cheese in a bowl of warm water for five minutes to soften it. This should make the mixing process smooth sailing. Don’t worry about over-beating the cream cheese and melted chocolate mixture together; mix until it’s homogeneous and smooth. It can also help to mix in about 1/4 of the whipped cream into the cream cheese/chocolate mixture before gently folding in the remaining whipped cream. Stirring in the initial amount will help lighten the filling so that when the rest is folded in, it stays airy and light. Last tip? Don’t worry if there are some chunks in the filling. It gets covered up by the cake layers and a little bit of texture is just fine. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  12. Toni Barr

    Oh this turned out to be a delicious cake. So delicious that it could be top shelf to any cake baked at a high end bakery. Thanks for the recipe and the fun of baking a bakealong.

    Reply
  13. Kathy E

    Wonderful, wonderful recipe!! Not too sweet, but still very delicious! I used the brewed coffee instead of boiling water in the cake per your suggestion and I think it makes a huge difference on really bringing out the chocolate flavor! I put the mini chocolate chips in the mousse and I must admit that my family’s reaction was mixed; some loved the little bit of crunch the chips added while others thought that a smooth, creamy mousse would be better. Still overall a huge hit! This recipe is definitely a keeper!

    Reply
  14. Audrey

    Soooo, I have only baked a couple of cakes in my life, since we have no kids and it’s just me and my husband. I’m more of a bread baking person. But I just got back from a visit to a friend who is a gold medal cake decorator and she gave me a little lesson on doing flowers, so I decided to bake this cake for a ladies group dinner. It was a huge success. I substituted sliced toasted sugared almonds for the raspberries and put them all over the outside along with some frosting flowers. It was a HUGE success! My husband really liked it, although he suggests reducing the sugar a bit since he’s not big into really sweet cakes. I think if I make it again I will reduce the sugar for the filling in-between the layers. Anyway, it took me all day but it was really fun and came out great, even for a novice cake maker like myself. Oh, I even called the help line to ask about the baking setting and they were really helpful. A terrific fun experience, thanks! Oh, is there some way to post a picture of my masterpiece?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Audrey. Thanks for giving this recipe a go, we’re glad you enjoyed it! You can share it with us on our Facebook page, or share it on Instagram tagged with #bakealong or #kingarthurflour and we’ll be thrilled to see it. Annabelle@KAF

  15. Jenni M

    I would like to serve this cake on Saturday evening, but don’t have any time that day to make or even assemble the cake. If I make it Friday (or at least assemble it on Friday) will it hold up in the fridge for 24 hours or so? It looks a little intimidating to make, but I’d love to give it a try! Thanks!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      No worries, Jenni. If you make it a day ahead it should be fine in the fridge covered up for 24 hours or so. Leave the final raspberries for the top until you’re serving it so they don’t bleed on the frosting. Pull it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature for an hour or so before serving. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

    2. Kathy H.

      Jenni…. I found that it was *better* after 24hours! The juice from the berries had dissipated somewhat into the cake, which made it slightly less ‘weepy’, and intensified the flavor of the berries (which I found a bit too meek at first taste test of completed cake). Next time, I am planning on trying freeze-dried berries. Oh, and I made the cake layers on Friday, filled & frosted Sunday… last slice consumed by lucky recipient on Tuesday.

  16. Kathy H.

    Wish I could share my fb “album” of this cake construction with y’all. I don’t ‘do’ Instagram. What a fun project! Had the same issue with the cold cream cheese as the person above, so thanks for the tips.

    Reply
  17. Heather

    I have different sized round spring form pans I think they are 9″, 8″, 7″. How much would they have to weigh, or maybe the recipe would only be big enough for 2 pans, the 9 and the 8?
    I’m thinking of trying this for me and my husband’s first Valentine’s day, thanks

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Heather. The 8″ and 9″ pans will be perfect. You’ll find that with the amount of batter you get in this recipe, you’ll be able to fill each pan about halfway which is ideal. Have a wonderful first Valentine’s Day! Annabelle@KAF

  18. Pam T.

    I’ve made this cake several times for Benefit Dessert Auctions for our Church with them going for over $150 each! Very impressive looking cake…but the taste is wonderful!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Definitely, Barbara! That will be absolutely beautiful. It can be a little tricky to frost the sides of a heart shaped cake, so if you choose, there’s nothing wrong with spreading frosting on the top and leaving the sides bare to show those beautiful raspberries inside. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

  19. Elizabeth Hancarik

    This was a HUGE hit at the office. I didn’t add the raspberries just because they are so expensive. I finely chopped semi-sweet chips and folded them into the filling and it was amazing! This one is a keeper.

    Reply
  20. Hilary

    I made this cake for a dinner party and it was so good everyone had the rest for breakfast the next day! It is also a forgiving cake recipe. I was baking at a friend’s house and not familiar with the oven and accidentally turned the oven OFF while trying to set the timer. Of course when I checked for done-ness it wasn’t done at all, and I ended up “baking” it with the oven cooling from the pre-heat for about 45 minutes and then being turned back up for another 45 and it was fine. I kept checking it because this isn’t all how things usually bake but it worked.

    Reply
  21. Sam

    I can’t do chocolate-raspberry combinations… would this work with strawberries? should they be sliced or whole or prepared another way?
    [sorry i posted this in the wrong place before!!]

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Sam. Strawberries will be just delicious. For the filling, slice them length wise so they’re about 1/4-1/2″ thick. Either sliced or whole berries would be beautiful for the garnish. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Certainly, Jo Anne. The tips section of this recipe read: “Substitute 1/2 cup unsalted butter for the shortening in the frosting, if desired. If the weather is particularly hot, shortening will help stabilize the frosting.”
      Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Mary. Espresso powder, along with coffee or fresh espresso, brings out the flavor in chocolate. It doesn’t necessarily add a coffee flavor, but it enhances the rich chocolate notes. You can certainly make a recipe without it, but we recommend giving it a try sometime! Annabelle@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Patti, if you’d like to use strawberries, we’d recommend cutting them into even slices and placing them on top of the mousse filling between the cake layers. (Chopping the berries into a relish-like consistency will release quite a bit of juice and may make the cakes soggy.) Garnish the top with slices or whole berries based on how large they are and what aesthetic you’re looking for. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  22. Dan Harper

    I made this cake for a dinner party last night and it was a hit. Only one slice left! The frosting is excellent, the cake layer was quick and turned out wonderfully moist. I want to make it again and replace the raspberries with blood oranges. Great recipe, thanks for bringing it to us!

    Reply
  23. MWagner

    How did you remove the waxed paper from the bottom of the cake? Every time I try it on other cakes I ruin the frosting on the side?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You might want to try using something that’s a bit stiffer than wax paper if you’ve had trouble in the past. Try cutting up strips of box board (like a cereal box, etc.) and using those to protect the serving plate. When you’re ready to remove them, press downwards and slide out in one swift motion. If that still doesn’t give you a clean edge, consider using an offset spatula or a dough scraper to press against the side of the cake and then pull the strips out from underneath. We hope that helps, and good luck! Kye@KAF

  24. Trish

    I use natural applesauce in all my cake baking and some other in place of oil. Have you tested this? My cakes and brownies are more moist, less crumby and seem to rise better.
    Also you mentioned turning onto cooling racks. Do you flip them so tops are up? And how do you figure for the rack marks, if you don’t flip?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Trish, we’ve experimented with using applesauce in place of some of the oil in baked goods, and we’ve found that replacing between 25% and 50% is typically the maximum amount that yields favorable results. Some quick breads (like banana bread, for instance) are more forgiving and can handle a larger amount of applesauce without changing the final product much. However, in delicate layers of cake like this, you might notice a textural differences more readily. We’d recommend starting by replacing a quarter of the oil with applesauce and then increasing it in the future if you like the results. Our test kitchen bakers use a host of different techniques for turning cakes out of the pan, but one tried and tested method is flipping the cake out of the pan and onto a plate, and then turning that onto a cooling rack (to prevent those marks you refer to). Any way you can get the cake (in one piece, top-up) onto the cooling rack is just fine. Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Feel free to use whatever frosting you think will pair best with chocolate cake and fresh raspberries: a cream cheese chocolate frosting sounds divine. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  25. Linda Jean

    Made this gluten free for my friend’s birthday. I used your GF chocolate cake mix and did not split my layers – was concerned that my hand would not be steady enough. The results were awesome! The cake was a huge hit. That filling!!!! So rich and flavorful! I had nature’s refrigerator going for me; it was no problem to keep putting the cake and components on the porch to cool and set up. I followed your directions and was pleasantly surprised at how quickly the completed cake came together. I had never bothered with a crumb coat before but it’s going to be my go to now. Best compliment – my friend, who’s always on a diet, kept all of the leftovers so I knew she loved it!

    Reply
  26. Tania Franco

    Is there any way to make this vegan? I figure I can substitute almond or coconut mills but not sure how to replace cream, eggs, etc.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Tania, unfortunately, this cake has so many different forms of dairy, we decided not to offer vegan or dairy-free alternatives. I can highly recommend our vegan cake pan cake as the basis for a nice layer cake. Double the recipe, and bake in two 9″ round pans. Split the layers in half to make four layers. Make frosting using a ratio of three parts chocolate chips to one part cashew milk (or other non-dairy milk), by weight. Use frosting between the layers, adding fresh raspberries; frost the entire outside of the cake. I’m just guessing at amounts here, but for frosting four layers I’d try 3 cups chocolate chips and 3/4 cup cashew milk; put the chips in a bowl, bring the milk to a simmer, and pour it over the chips. Wait about 3 minutes, then stir until smooth. If the frosting is too thin, let it sit at room temperature until it starts to thicken. Good luck! PJH@KAF

  27. Caitilin

    Do you think melted coconut oil would work as the vegetable oil? Or would I be better off to substitute in melted butter as above?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      That should be perfectly fine, Caitlin. It will give the cake a nice “Mounds Bar” flavor! Annabelle@KAF

  28. Becky

    This is hands down the best chocolate cake recipe I’ve ever made. Super easy, fast and delicious. I made 12 cupcakes and a three tier 6” cake. I will 100% be making this again! Thank you KAF!

    Reply
  29. Jan P Fisk

    After reading the comments, I decided to go with a mousse only finish – seemed rich enough, right? I doubled the mousse recipe, reserved 2 cups, and frosted layers and outside of cake. Added 1/4 C mini-chocolate morsels to reserved mousse and frosted the top. I ‘raked’ sides and top, chilled, added raspberries to top edge, finished with a little confectioner sugar snow, and voila! I couldn’t be more pleased. The double mousse recipe left enough to lightly frost another regular cake, inside and top. Just pop in freezer. Mousse is delicious, not too sweet. Thanks KAF, for another home run.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Jan, wish I could see a picture of that glorious cake; I like your idea to rake the sides. I do like the chocolate frosting, so don’t know if I could give that up in favor of mousse, but kudos to you for coloring outside the lies and building your own perfect cake! PJH@KAF

  30. Chloe

    It’s a great recipe! So far every part of it is coming out perfect, and exactly down to the weights that the author states! 🙂
    I’m so happy I tried this challenge.

    Is it also possible for the frosting if you don’t want to use all shortening, can you use half shortening and half unsalted butter??

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Chloe, we’re glad to hear you’re baking along with us. The recipe calls for using 1/2 cup vegetable shortening and 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) unsalted butter in the frosting, which helps makes it both buttery and stable at warmer temperatures. However, you can certainly use 1 cup of butter instead. Just note that the frosting may not hold its shape as distinctly without the shortening. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Susan, I’d go with tablespoon or two (to taste) of Chambord (to match the raspberries); Kahlua (to enhance the chocolate); Amaretto (if you like almond), or even Grand Marnier, if you like the chocolate/orange combo. Sounds good! PJH@KAF

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      Oooh, you’re our kind of baker, Susan! You might consider soaking the berries in a flavorful, fruity liquor like Grand Mariner or Kirsch. You could also apply a soak to the cake layers themselves: Kahlua, Bailey’s or Amaretto would all be delicious options here. Of course, apply the soak to taste depending on how strongly you’d like the flavor of the booze to come through. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Deena. This recipe calls for 3 large eggs. Are you looking to bake this cake egg-free? If so, we had great success making it with Ener-G Egg Replacer in our Test Kitchen. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

  31. Becky Coolidge

    Made this for my own birthday cake:) Rasberries were dear at my store so i only bought one half pint and then my son raided it before i assembled it so i only had enough for one layer:/ and none for garnish so i drizzled with white chocolate. And since ganache makes everything better…It is very tall because i used a pair of smaller oval pans. Mousse was awesome!

    Reply

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