Raspberry Chocolate Cake

IMG_4945In a perfect world, with perfect days, bank accounts, and happy decent people with perfect pets; where there are perfect homes warmed by wood-burning fires; with perfectly tended back-gardens, big spacious kitchens, copper pots, generously-stocked cupboards, perfect recipes and the perfect moment: the most perfect cake for my birthday would be a chocolate raspberry cake!

Yes! Dark Chocolate and sweet, yet tart raspberries, married and living happily ever after. My dream come true. If I had to choose a favourite dessert I could not. It depends on many things. The place, the season, the trends, the ingredients. However, raspberries and chocolate are the first two ingredients that pop into my mind.  I have no idea why. Raspberries are not native to the Island where I was brought up and still live.

Gozo is famous for figs, prickly pears, lemons and pomegranates. Very Mediterranean. Raspberries have only come along in recent years, whereas everything else has always been available. Convenient, yet sad. I usually keep to seasonal stuff, but on my Birthday, I made an exception. Let’s go crazy!

So, my favourite Valhrona chocolate and frozen raspberry puree were the two main ingredients. I imagined the final cake to be topped with 4 punnets of fresh raspberries, but on the day, raspberries where nowhere to be seen! Instead I found blackberries, the last of the pomegranates and locally grown strawberries.

A raspberry cake, layered with lush raspberry ganache and topped with beautiful fruits! Wow……And even though I promised myself not to work, I quickly sneaked on to my roof to catch the last moments of light and capture this beautiful cake on camera.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I have! The making and the eating have been divine.

Claire Borg

Raspberry Chocolate Cake

By 6th December 2013

Ingredients

Instructions

For the Raspberry Sponge

Separate 4 of the eggs and whisk the yolks together with 1 full egg and sugar till light and creamy. Add the raspberry puree (i bought frozen) and beat together. Sift the flour and baking powder and fold in. In a separate bowl whisk the whites with a pinch of salt till they form stiff peaks. Fold gently into the cake mix. Transfer into a buttered and floured 8 inch round cake tin. Bake in a hot oven set on 170ºC for about 45 min or until ready (insert metal skewer and should come out clean). 

Cool in tin. Set aside until needed.
 
For the Raspberry Ganache
 
Use or improvise a Bain Marie by placíng a large bowl over a small saucepan filled with boiling water, to melt the butter and add the raspberry puree. Add the chocolate and melt. Whisk until evenly mixed. Set aside and cool until it reaches a denser consistency - about 20 minutes. 
 
To assemble the cake
 
Choose a plate or board to assemble the layers on, that will allow you to move the assembled cake to the fridge. Cut the cake in 4 even discs: the bottom layer will be the disc from the bottom of the cakethen will come the disc from the top, finishing with the two middle discs. Place the first disc on the board, add a good helping of ganache, spread, and place the next disc on top. Keep adding ganache, spreading and layering till you assemble the whole thing. Add all the remaining ganache (keeping a small cupful aside) on the top and smooth out, including the sides of the cake. Make sure you have a good palette knife handy. Don't fuss on the top, as you will cover with berries. Either place in fridge or leave it (covered) standing until the ganache sets completely. Don't attempt to move the cake to a serving plate now: the layers will slide apart if you do. Once the cake has set, transfer onto a serving plate or cake stand. Slide a long chef's knife or a serrated knife, lift it off, slide your hand under it, then place the edge of the cake onto the plate, start to rest it then count to 3 and quickly slide your hand from under it, for it to drop to the plate with as little damage as possible. 
Warm the little ganache that was left over and use it as glue to stick the berries on.
I used black berries, local strawberries and some pomegranates, but feel free to go crazy and decorate it with whichever berries you have available. 
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