End of Summer Chocolate Party Cake

by Rebecca A. Watson on September 27, 2013

in Equinox, food, Germany, recipes

This past weekend we celebrated the Autumn Equinox, which I’ve always had a bit of hard time getting excited about. Thankfully Sante’s birthday falls right around that time, and I can always get excited about a birthday, regardless of whose it is. Hello! Personal holiday? Yeehaw!

German tradition dictates that if it’s your birthday, you must bring a cake to the people you spend your day with. This doesn’t just apply for the six year olds headed off to primary school; if you’re turning 46, you better be bringing treats to the office.

This fact alone tells me that Germans take dessert very seriously. But I already knew this based on the fact that there are probably seven bakeries in every square mile of Freiburg. Plus it’s the Black Forest. As in Black Forest Cake!?!

This'll be the next recipe I modify.

This’ll be the next recipe I modify.

So in my attempt to say goodbye to summer, happy birthday to mein Mann and impress the folks in his office, I came up with mmmmmazing chocolate cake, which is gluten-free, dairy-free and dee-licicous. None of the guys in the office knew it, and I got tons of compliments.

It’s moist, dark and features loads of raspberries and raspberry jam, but you could use any berries you want. Raspberries remind me of summer more than any other fruit, so that’s the reasoning behind the choice. That and Sante asked for them.

chocolate raspberry birthday cake

That’s one happy birthday boy!

This cake takes about 5 hours, from start to finish, allowing time for cooling and frosting and everything. I spread it out over two days, wrapping the cakes in plastic wrap and letting them sit overnight on the counter. You’ll also need two 10-inch cake pans. I only had one, so I used a pie pan and it seemed to work just fine. Happy Baking!!!

For cake

  • 3 ounces of good (read: not chocolate chips) semisweet chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten free flour mix (I like to mix this recipe up and use it for my baking)
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2-ish cups almond milk
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons lime or lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla

For Frosting

  • 8 Tablespoons Earth Balance
  • 1.5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teapsoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup almond milk

Other Good Stuff You’ll Need

  • Raspberry jam … the best you can afford
  • 1-2 baskets of raspberries, washed and drip dried

Make cake layers:

Preheat oven to 300°F and grease pans. Line bottoms with rounds of parchment paper and grease paper. As much as this seems like overkill, it’ll make it sooooo much easier to get the cake out in one piece. Or two pieces if you want to be literal. (I used greased tin foil since I haven’t found parchment paper in Germany yet.)

Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Maybe you should keep a chunk of that chocolate and pour yourself a cup of coffee to sip while you’re baking. Why let the cake get all the good stuff?

Pour lime/lemon juice into your liquid measuring cup. Add almond milk until you have 1.5 cups. Let it sit for 5 minutes and BAM! Instant “butter” milk!

Into a large bowl sift together sugar, gf flour mix, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored: about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer. This took a long time — thank your lucky stars for electricity!

Slowly add oil, “butter” milk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well. The hard work’s almost done! Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove parchment paper/foil and cool layers completely before you frost them/wrap them in plastic wrap for the day.

Make frosting

In a mixing bowl, soften Earth Balance, add milk, sugar, cocoa, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. I dare you to not sneak some tastes. In fact, you must taste the frosting to make sure it’s sweet enough. I’m pretty sensitive to sugar, so I usually halve the sugar in any recipe I find.

The recipe this is based on called for FOUR. CUPS. OF. SUGAR. That’s absurd if you ask me, but if that’s your deal, go ahead. Just make sure to taste it first. Y’know. Quality control.

Assemble the CAKE!

assemble the chocolate raspberry cake

Set one layer of cake on a plate or cake holder or whatever you’re planning on serving it on. Spread a thin layer of frosting on top of the layer. Add a generous amount of jam and spread it out across the layer. You should have roughly about twice as much jam as frosting. Place whole raspberries over the entire layer.

Place second layer on top of first layer. Frost like you would a normal cake. I usually have a bit of frosting left over (cupcakes anyone?), but I’m sure you could use all of it without too much trouble. Put raspberries around the edge of the top of the cake. Or the whole cake. Or make a design.

Serve with coffee or tea and eat it. Omnomnom!

Did you like this recipe? Don’t forget to check out my recipe page for several delicious gluten-free, dairy-free treats, dinners and snacks! 

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