Saturday, March 24, 2012

Baked Sunday Mornings: Chocolate Coffee (Raspberry) Cake

My kitchen has been busy for the past couple of days as we have celebrated a couple of birthdays as well as a few other events that have required baking projects.  It has been fun to incorporate my baking groups projects into the special events going on at our house, and in my community.

I decided to get creative, for better or for worse, with today's Chocolate Coffee Cake which became a Spring Birthday Cake using fresh raspberries instead of coffee as a flavoring/coloring ingredient.  The flavor change was a good idea, but I had a few challenges with the cake.

First of all, I deal with an Arizona challenge.  Today was such a beautiful day.  A perfect day for a backyard birthday party and cookout.  The temperature reached 90^ at our house...we've been about 5^ hotter than our neighbor, Phoenix, over the past couple of months.  So if you watch the national weather, we are a little warmer.  

The only thing bad about our temperature is all the butter in the buttercream frosting (and butter really is a good thing!).  It melts.    To compensate, I added powdered sugar to thicken the frosting and help it hold its shape.  But with all that butter, and 90^ and beautiful sunshine, even in the shade, it melts. So, no more buttercream frostings until next winter.  (Not to worry, I find that by adding cream cheese or other sturdy ingredients to frostings along with the butter, everything works just fine.)

The other impossibility is finding fridge space to let a whole cake set up.  What a joke at my house.  I have two fridges, and there is just Hubby and I left at home, so you'd think I could find some room, but,  HA!  Both fridges are crammed full worse than ever.  This weekend I have two birthday party's ingredients stuffed into all refrigerated spaces.  And, for the past couple of years I NEED to have several new types of cheeses, lots more butter, eggs and cream, and....I'm sure you know how it goes.  Kinda like my pantry with the dozen kinds of salts.  One or two types used to be good enough, but not any more.

So, I have my cake all frosted with melting raspberry  buttercream, but with the addition of powdered sugar, it was under control.  Then I had to figure out how to add the ganache.  To be runny enough to drip down the cake sides, the ganache glaze had to be a little warm, but my cake did not need any more "warm."  

Being brave and knowing it would taste good, I poured it on.  As I pushed the ganache puddle from the cake top down over the sides, it did not drip down in pretty streams.  I had to let the glaze cool too much to drip.  Instead of dripping, my ganache  slithered down the sides in globs, taking some of the buttercream along for the ride.  My drips could not be like the elegant photo that goes with this recipe.  Guess I need another fridge.

My last challenge is baking with shortening.  I could not add it to a family birthday cake, not even the kind from the natural food store.  Shortening is such a turn off.  I know it has useful properties in baking, but I try to find other methods.  So I used all butter, which created a dryer, crumbly cake.  It tasted good, but could have been better. I had to think up a way to compensate.

Anyway, these were my challenges.  I was apologizing about the not-pretty cake when Stephy-Wephy told me that it was the kind of cake she hoped to find at grandma's house.  Totally homemade and festive for the party.  Of course, she helped me to feel better.  But I had seen that beautiful photo.  And my cake cannot compare.  And I know I will see beautiful cakes on your sites.  And I should be embarrassed to post my cake.  But it's all part of the experience...learning what works and sometimes what does not work.

OK, now to the other issues.  I decided not to do a coffee flavor cake...does not work at my house.  So, to turn this cake into a Spring birthday cake I chose fresh raspberries as I love raspberry and chocolate together.

I purchased a bottle of raspberry flavored Italian soda/coffee flavoring syrup that I brushed onto each of the three baked caked layers, adding extra flavor and moisture to the cake.  Then between each layer I smoothed on a layer of raspberry jam as well as my raspberry flavored buttercream frosting.  Besides their great flavor and buttery goodness, these fillings and syrupy additions also helped bring moisture to the cake.

When comparing this cake to the Devil's Food Cake we made earlier from the "Baked" book, I personally prefer the Devil's Food Cake which I have made a few times.  In the future, I will use that recipe.

It was fun to play around with today's cake, and it did work out OK for a family birthday gathering, but I'll just say that I hope you all made wonderfully beautiful, elegant, delicious cakes that I will drool over as I read your posts. I'm sure I'll be inspired by your baking.
"See" you all soon.

I'm sure my cake won't take any beauty pageant awards, but it was fun to bake and decadent to eat.



  1. I'll bet your cake tasted good with the chocolate raspberry flavors, yum! Warm weather and pastry are just not very good partners, but I would trade your weather for our rainy weather(although I know we need it!

  2. Love chocolate and raspberries....looks yummy!

  3. such a nice twist! i'm sure it was delicious even with the melting :)i got as far as baking the cake into cupcakes, and ran out of steam, so no frosting no glaze... i've stashed them in the freezer for later.

  4. Oh, my gosh, you should NOT be embarrassed about this cake at all, Kris!! It is so beautiful! And I like that you made it with raspberries - fresh and jam. What a delicious flavor combination with dark chocolate. I am envious that it was warm enough for you to enjoy your cake outside. This is such a delicious cake and your photos just show how delicious it is.

  5. Kris I love the look of your cake! It's a big gooey chocolate cake and raspberries always goes well with chocolate. Yum Yum!!

  6. Just beautiful, Kris! I would have preferred your raspberry version myself, but since I made this for my husband and he loves coffee, so I made it for him. Surprisingly, I liked it with the coffee flavor. I do think the cake itself is the best I've made!

  7. I absolutely love chocolate and raspberry together, so I can only imagine how delicious this cake was! I think it looks terrific, and I love all the fresh fruit garnish! I live in DC and I usually swear off frostings during the warm weather months, too! ;)

  8. What a gorgeous looking birthday cake! And such a nice family gathering as well.

  9. I think it looks great! Tasty too!

  10. Hi, Kris!

    I've given you the "Versatile Blogger Award!" Please stop by my blog to "Pick it up."