Recipe summary

Hands-on time:
60 mins. to 1 hrs 30 mins.
Baking time:
28 mins. to 33 mins.
Total time:
1 hrs 28 mins. to 2 hrs 3 mins.
Yield:
24 slices
This cake is the winner of the 2010 Great Cake Contest, sponsored in part by King Arthur Flour. It took top honors for Sharon Kurtz of Emmaus, PA, at the Great Allentown Fair. Intensely moist and fudgy, it's filled with chocolate mousse and fresh raspberries. It's a tall, very special occasion sort of cake. What better way to make the most of summer's bounty?
Volume Ounces Grams

Cake

Filling

Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter-flavored vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, unsweetened baking cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. 1) For the cake layers: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and flour two 8" round by 3" deep cake pans, or four 8" round pans. The recipe can also be made in three 9" pans. Sift together or whisk the dry ingredients through a strainer into a large mixing bowl. Combine the oil, buttermilk, boiling water and vanilla in a medium bowl or large measuring cup. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well. Scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl, then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix on medium speed for another 2 minutes or until smooth.
  2. 2) Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 50 minutes for 3" deep pans, or 28 to 33 minutes for four 8" pans, or 9" layers, until the cake just begins to pull away from the edge of the pan, and a tester inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool completely.
  3. 3) For the filling: Beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Whisk together 1/4 cup of the confectioners' sugar with the Instant ClearJelŽ and add to the whipped cream. Beat until the cream has stiff peaks; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, cream cheese, remaining 3/4 cup of confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes, or until well-blended and smooth. Add the melted chocolate to the bowl and mix on medium speed for 1 minute, or until light and fluffy. Scrape the mixing bowl, then fold in the whipped cream and mini chocolate chips. You'll use the raspberries when you assemble the cake. Refrigerate the filling until you're ready to assemble the cake.
  4. 4) For the frosting: In a large bowl, beat together the shortening, butter, and salt. Sift the confectioners' sugar and cocoa through a strainer to remove any lumps, and add to the bowl alternately with the milk. Add the vanilla. Mix on medium-high speed for 2 minutes, or until fluffy.
  5. 5) To assemble the cake: Turn the cooled layers out of their pans. Split them horizontally if you've baked two deep 8" cakes; trim any domes off the tops if you've baked 4 individual layers. Place the first layer on a serving plate (line the edges with strips of waxed or parchment paper to keep the plate clean), and spread it with 1 cup of the filling. Cut 1/2 pint of raspberries in half and place them over the filling, covering its entire surface. Repeat until all the layers are stacked; place the last layer bottom-side up for a flat surface on top. Frost the top and sides of the cake, decorating with more frosting and fresh raspberries.

Tips from our bakers

  • The total weight of the cake batter is 50 ounces. To ensure your layers are all the same size, divide 50 ounces by the number of layers you're baking, and weigh the amount into each pan. For two deep 8" layers, use 25 ounces of batter in each. For three 9" layers, use 16 1/2 ounces in each pan. For four shallow 8" layers, use 12 1/2 ounces of batter in each pan.
  • Once the layers are assembled with filling and raspberries, place the cake in the refrigerator or freezer for at least 30 minutes to firm it up; this will make frosting the cake much easier, since the layers are less likely to slide around, and the crumbs from the cake layers will be set.
  • For a better-looking cake, do the final frosting in two steps. First, put a very thin layer of frosting around the sides and across the top; this is called a crumb coat. Refrigerate the cake for 20 minutes to let this layer set up, then use the remaining frosting to coat the cake once more, and pipe any decorations you want.