Saturday, May 9, 2009

Espresso Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Mousse and Italian Meringue Buttercream

It’s seems that every time I turn around…there is another birthday in the family. And since I am the cupcake/cake queen I typically take on the task of baking the birthday boy or girl their cake of choice.

Yesterday was my husband’s Aunt’s birthday a.k.a. “Fancy Nancy”, so I wanted to make a very special cake since she always does so much for me. What is more indulgent than chocolate and raspberry?

I went out on a limb and decided to use a different chocolate cake than my “go to” recipe. Don’t ask me why, but I always feel like I need to re-create the wheel. I think I just need to realize if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Not that this recipe was bad by any stretch; it wasn’t. But it just wasn’t what I expected, make sense?

I filled the cake with a raspberry mousse, and then slathered the cake with my “oh so favorite”, chocolate Italian meringue buttercream. The cake was delicious….especially at 11:30 PM after listening to Joe Cocker live across the Canadian border. Don’t laugh…it was an awesome concert!

Happy Birthday, Nance! Love, Coco xo

Chocolate Espresso Cake
Recipe derived from Bon Appetit, April 2009

2 cups cake flour
1 cup packed cocoa powder (such as Valrhona)
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoons kosher salt
¾ cups unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
4 teaspoons instant espresso powder dissolved in ¾ cups hot water

Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray two 8-inch cake pans with Pam and dust with flour or cocoa powder. Tap out the excess. Line the bottom of cake pans with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until smooth, add brown sugar and beat until creamy, about 4 minutes on low/medium. Add eggs 1 at a time and beat well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl when needed. Add vanilla and mix. Add espresso mixture and mix together. Then on LOW alternatively add the flour mixture and the buttermilk starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until just combined.

Split batter into 2 cake pans and place on a larger baking sheet. Put on middle rack in the oven and bake for about 40-45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cook cakes on cooling racks until completely cooled. Using a serrated knife, gently run it around the edges of the cake pan so that it loosens the cakes. Invert cakes onto wax or parchment paper, then invert cake again so its top side up. Level cakes, assemble and frost once fully cooled.

Raspberry Mousse

1 ¼ cup frozen raspberries (I used frozen black raspberries)
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 ½ teaspoons gelatin
1 cup heavy cream
1 ½ tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

In a small heavy bottomed sauce pot, add frozen berries and granulated sugar. Cook on medium/low until soft and liquefied. About 5-8 minutes. Put berries through a fine mesh sieve and push through with a rubber spatula. Make sure you get all the puree by running the spatula along the outside of the sieve. Do this until all the berry pulp is out. (You do this to keep the most seeds from being in the mousse.)

Pushing Raspberry Puree through the sieve

Return puree to the saucepan and put back on the heat. Add lemon juice and gelatin. Stir to combine. Cook until the gelatin is completely dissolved stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool completely.

In a medium sized bowl, whip cream to soft peaks. Add confectioners’ sugar and beat until you get firm peaks.

Put puree in a medium sized mixing bowl, add whipped cream in 3 additions, slowly folding the ingredients together with a rubber spatula. Cover and chill until ready for use or serving.

Folding Puree in Whipped Cream

Serving tip: You can fill 1 two layer cake with this. Or you can pipe into fancy glasses and serve with fresh fruit.

Filling the cake


Coco Bean said...

Look at that! What an amazing cake! She must have been so excited to get (and eat) that eh. So you had a good time in Canada?We do throw a good party!

Sweet as Coco said...

Thanks Coco Bean! She was quite excited...we couldnt wait to get home and eat it. We can get to Canada in 30 minutes....the hard part is sitting at the border ;( It's a fun time for sure though!

Teanna said...

That cake is stunning! The filling is absolutely gorgeous! I would eat that all right up!

Shannon (The Daily Balance) said...

so amazing! thanks for sharing ;)

Anonymous said...

that cake looks beyond delicious!! :) i want this for my birthday- great job!

Sweet as Coco said...

Thank you....and heck I wish I had it for my birthday!!!

Emily DeVoto, Ph.D., said...

I think I'm going to have to make this for Valentine's day... :)

Emily DeVoto, Ph.D., said...

Hi SAC... For this, I'm actually using the Rich Chocolate Cake you link to as your go-to cake (um, forgot to buy cake flour)... it looks like about the same volume of ingredients, so do both of them actually make two 8" layers?

Sweet as Coco said...

I would definately use the "go to" I think its better. Don't buy cake flour for don't need it! I just use all purpose--

Sweet as Coco said...

Oh, and yes, this makes 2, 8" cake layers.

Sunscented said...

Hi, thanks for this recipe. Could you please tell me, when do you add the 1/4 cup of sugar? In the beginning when you heat the raspberries? It doesn't say. Thanks!

Sweet as Coco said...

Sorry about that, I fixed the recipe error. You would add the 1/4 granulated sugar along with the raspberries in the saucepan. Sorry for the confusion!

Mallory said...

This recipe didn't work for me at all. I know I'm really delayed on the posting, but I remember WHOLE FOODS used to have this amazing chocolate cake with raspberry mousse cake they would sell. So I had to make dessert for a church bbq, and thought this would be perfect. I found your recipe because it looked simple, and I followed it exactly except for the fact that I instead added the puree to the whipped cream since I was out of bowls, and the gelatin did not make the puree thick whatsoever. It ended up turning out like cottage cheese, and looked disgusting. I was very disappointed.

Sweet as Coco said...

Sorry it didn't work out for you Mallory! Did you cook the puree with the gelatin until it dissolved? You mentioned just adding the puree to the whipping cream so I am not sure if that is the step you said you skipped? Sometimes that is where I have gone wrong before not cooking the mixture long enough for the gelatin to completely dissolve--and gotten cottage cheese (not in this recipe but a few others).

DaRock said...

This looks so good! How long can this be left out on the counter? Any danger from the egg whites?

Sweet as Coco said...

I wouldnt leave this out on the counter for more than a couple of hours because of the mousse. The mousse would not only go bad, but it would also could get rather soft/soupy.

If you DIDN'T have the mousse on the cake and filled it with the Italian Meringue buttercream--it can be left on the counter at room temperature for 3 days, or refrigerated for up to a week. The frosting does have egg whites in it, but they are cooked and stabilized from the sugar.