Sunday, June 23, 2013

Chocolate + Raspberry + Vanilla Buttercream Layer Cake


On June 9th, Jimmy turned the big 4-0!  Oh, I had grand plans!  First was to copy my friend Ashley's 40 gifts idea, that she pulled off so effortlessly for her lucky husband. (Over achiever, hmph... :))  I bought 4 presents and darn near exceeded my budget. Ok, really 5 gifts, but one was a pair of sunglasses for me. (I'm terrible.  To my credit I was buying Jimmy a pair and as a result I got $50 off a second pair.  Sucker for a deal.)   Then in a last minute brainstorm I was going to email 40 friends, family members, and colleagues, have them send me birthday wishes that I could print up and insert into 40 helium filled balloons so that when Jimmy came down the stairs in the morning of his big day, bam, surprise!  I only got as far as posting his birthday on Facebook (he doesn't have an account) because I am friends with his friends, old college roommates, and such, so throughout the day I'd say "so and so wishes you a happy birthday". (yes, lame)

BUT!!! Lest you think I did not redeem myself, I did!  I made a mighty fine and fancy dinner (beef tenderloin with a Parmesan, basil, homemade mayonnaise, garlic mashed potatoes, and my secret (really my Mum's) caramelized carrots and shallots, with plenty of Champagne and a really sinful chocolate cake as the crowning finale!  The way to a man's heart, right?



Truth is I really stink at adult birthday's, especially with this one because I felt a certain amount of pressure to deliver some epic production in honor of such a milestone birthday, you know, to welcome him to middle age and all.  In the end though, Jimmy had a really fabulous day.  Porche show, gifts he really liked (Or pretended to.  Just kidding.  I did well.  But a vintage Porche would have been better!  Maybe for the next milestone birthday -- 50?!) and lots of love from his most adoring fans!


The cake was a twist on my favorite chocolate cake recipe. And it was ridiculous.  Ri-dic-u-lous!  It isn't much more effort thanks to store bought raspberry preserves, and it could be made a day in advance (just store, covered, in the fridge and let it sit at room temperature an hour before serving.)  I can hardly stand to look at these pictures and not get an intense craving for another slice.  It's definitely celebration worthy.

Chocolate + Raspberry + Vanilla Buttercream Layer Cake

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa {I like Ghirardelli}
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk {I've used 1% and whole with equal success}
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tsp good quality vanilla
1 cup boiling water



Preheat oven to 350.
Prepare batter according to directions.

Butter 4 round cake pans. Place a parchment sheet, cut to fit, in the bottom of each pan and then butter the parchment.  Flour the sides and bottoms of each pan.  Parchment may seem like overkill, it's not.  Trust me. It will make your life so much easier.  These layer are thinner so you want them to come out without any resistance or they may break.

Add 1.5 cups of batter to each pan and make sure they are level.  Bake for about 12 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let cool for 5-10 minutes, then run knife along sides and invert cakes onto a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.  I left the parchment on until I was ready to assemble the layers.

Vanilla Buttercream
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese from fridge
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
4-6 TBS heavy cream

Blend butter and cream cheese and vanilla till combined.
Add powdered sugar blend on low till combined, increase speed to medium and beat till fluffy.
Slowly add cream to desired spreadability.
Beat till fluffy.


Raspberry Filling
13 oz jar of Bonne Maman raspberry preserves (don't substitute, it's the best)

Chocolate Buttercream 
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese from fridge
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
4 cups powdered sugar
4-6 TBS heavy cream

Blend butter and cream cheese till combined.
Add vanilla and cocoa, blend till combined
Add powdered sugar blend on low till combined, increase speed to medium and beat till fluffy.
Slowly add cream to desired spreadability.
Beat till fluffy.

Assembly... Place one layer of cake on a cake stand, top with a generous amount of vanilla butter cream.  You won't use all of it, but more than half.   Save the rest in the mixing bowl for when you make the chocolate buttercream, you will use it all up by the end.  Top with the 2nd layer of cake and spread with raspberry preserves.  Use the whole jar but don't quite spread to the edge, leave about a 1 inch border around the perimeter.  The jam will spread a little when you add the third layer.  Top with the 3rd layer and then spread with chocolate buttercream.  Top with the 4th layer and then ice the rest of the cake.  You could top with raspberries and chocolate shaving too.  There was no room on mine with ALL the candles! Ha! :)  

8 comments :

  1. Looks SO good! thanks for sharing the recipe:) Adorable family photos!

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  2. making this for a belated fathers day weekend gift to my daddy! keep your fingers crossed for me!!!!!!! ps. happy bday to your love! i know that dinner made him feel so special and loved! now share your recipes for the rest of the dinner!!! it all sounds DELICIOUS!!! have a great week! xx.












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  3. I LOVE the idea of 40 messages from friends and 40 balloons!!!! I think I already need to start buying and saving presents for 45 and 50! Haha! That cake looks amazing!!! Hope your hubs had the best birthday ever! xoxo, Ashley

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  4. Your birthday celebration looks wonderful!!! I love chocolate and raspberry! So delicious!! Happy Birthday to your Hubby!!

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  5. you know they DO say the way to a mans heart is through his stomach, SO i think you are on the right track!! :) looked wonderful...thank you ladies for raising the bar so high...ha! at least i have some good ideas now to copy ;))))

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  6. well everyone DOES say the way to a mans heart is through his stomach...so i would say you are right on track my dear!! :) im so VERY appreciative of you ladies setting the "husband turns 40" bar so high...haha! at least i will have a bunch of great ideas to copy when our time comes :) xoxoxo
    nat

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  7. Was the Basil Mayo that you made for the Beef Tenderloin an Ina recipe? I've been considering trying that recipe. Would you recommend it? Everything looks delicious!!
    ~Mary Keller southlandavenue.blogspot.com

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  8. Have you ever wanted to open a little baked goods shop? Your treats always look AMAZING! Wasn't it about this time last year that you were here? Come back! At least it's not 108 degrees this time! xoxo!

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