Raspberry-Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Ganache

"Happy excess" are two words we associate with this pretty little cake that is crowned with bright red raspberries. Bursting with intense chocolate flavor, just a sliver satisfies most people, and when it’s frosted with a thick, raspberry-spiked ganache, it becomes a virtual chocolate powerhouse. Don’t overbake the cake; it’s meant to be moist.

Beverage recommendations: If it’s a dessert wine that you’re looking for, Bonny Doon Vineyard’s nonvintage Framboise, made from three varieties of raspberries in Washington, is the perfect raspberry-licious foil to the cake’s fruit accents. A Zinfandel Port from, say, California is also an option—they’re big on fruit, and quite rich. On the other hand, have you ever had anything wash down a rich, chocolate cake better than a glass of whole milk?

  • For the cake:
  • 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry (framboise) liqueur, such as Chambord, or 1 teaspoon raspberry extract
  • ¾ cup (1-½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • For the ganache:
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon raspberry (framboise) liqueur, such as Chambord, or 1/2 teaspoon raspberry extract
  • Fresh raspberries, for garnish

To make the cake: Position an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and lightly flour the bottom and sides of an 8-inch round cake pan. Cut a piece of parchment or wax paper to fit in the bottom of the pan. Insert the paper round and butter and lightly flour it.

Put the chocolate in a microwave-safe container and melt, uncovered, in a microwave set on medium power for 2-3 minutes, stirring after 1 minute, or until the chocolate is shiny. (It will not melt to a liquid pool in the microwave. It will liquefy as you stir it. Alternately, melt the chocolate in the top of double boiler set over barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Take great care that no water or steam gets into the chocolate, or it may stiffen.) Stir in the framboise and vanilla and set the melted chocolate aside and cool to lukewarm.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and well mixed. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each one. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the chocolate. Add the salt and then slowly add the flour and beat just until combined and no white flour shows.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake on the center rack for 20 minutes. At this point, insert a skewer or toothpick into the cake halfway between the rim of the pan and center of the cake comes out clean. The center of the cake should be moist and still pudding-like. If the cake is not done, bake for 5 minutes longer and check again. Do not overbake, as you want the cake to be very moist. During baking the cake may puff up in the center and crack. It will fall during cooling.

Set the pan on a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes in the pan. Lay a cooling rack over the top of the cake pan and invert the cake and rack, holding both securely. Lift the pan off the cake, peel off the paper and let the cake cool completely.

To make the ganache: Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until very hot but not boiling. Small bubbles will appear around the sides of the pan when the cream is hot enough.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the chopped chocolate and the framboise. Using a wooden spoon, stir until smooth and glossy. Let the ganache cool to room temperature.

Put the rack holding the cake on a baking sheet. Spoon the ganache on the cake and spread it over the top and down the sides of the cake with a metal spatula. Carefully transfer the cake to a plate and refrigerate for about 2 hours, or until the ganache sets. Decorate the cake with raspberries. Let it come to room temperature before cutting into thin slices.

Published on July 6, 2010