Jordan: We made this cake a week ago and picked it largely because it was Passover-friendly. However, we forgot to write the actual blog post so as we type this, there are approximately two hours left before the end of Passover 2021. Whoops.
Kitra: But it is also delicious, and accidentally very good for the Cherry Blossom Festival here in DC, which is going on for another week! Take that, concept of time.
Kitra has made the chocolate base of this cake before, and it comes to us via Smitten Kitchen, ever a reliable source of excellent cakes. It was new to me, though, and I was quite pleasantly surprised by how light it is.
I think we made our way here because I first wanted to make a mousse cake, but the time required to chill one made it not ideal for the weekend we had. This cake is basically as close as you can get while still being actual cake.
The method is actually rather similar to the chocolate pudding cake we made at the start of the year. The difference is that you beat the crap out of the egg yolks here—to use a technical term—and bake it in thinner layers until it fully sets up, which means that instead of a delicious scoopable cake you get… well, a delicious sliceable cake.
And, since I mostly wanted to eat whipped cream, we threw in a metric crapton—also the technical term—of that in the middle and on top. The original recipe calls for plain whipped cream, but everything is pink and beautiful outside and so I’m making everything raspberry.
Kitra’s favorite thing lately is throwing freeze-dried raspberries into recipes. (See the matcha almond tart and the raspberry-glazed cake doughnut cake.) But whipped cream is truly one of freeze-dried fruit’s highest callings; it somehow makes it that much richer and fluffier. You could happily eat this whipped cream with a spoon, and the only reason I don’t recommend it is that you should use as much as possible in between the layers of this cake.
Partially because the cake sinks a fair bit once it comes out of the oven, which creates a cake bowl ready to be filled, but also because it is adorable and tasty.
As you can see from the photos, this is basically equal parts cake and whipped cream. Don’t shy away from that!
Since they’re pretty much the same texture, the whole thing is like a bite of creamy, chocolatey, fruity fluff.
It’s a great dessert to serve after a heavy meal (which I will keep in mind for next Passover) but truly, you can’t go wrong with this at any time.
Chocolate Raspberry Fluff Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
We made this with a mix of milk and dark chocolate, which was not the original plan—Kitra had less dark chocolate than she remembered—but made it a little less rich, which we actually prefer. However, for a very chocolatey cake you can use all dark or semisweet chocolate instead.
The below recipe requires an electric mixer for both the egg yolks and the egg whites. While we do the whites last so that they don’t have time to settle, this does mean that you’ll need to wash your beater and bowl if you’re using a stand mixer for all of it. (Never let fat—like egg yolks—get mixed into the whites before you beat them.) You’ve been warned.
Finally, the instructions below are very long but we promise that it’s actually a pretty easy cake.
For the cake
- 3 ounces (85g) dark or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 3 ounces (85g) milk chocolate, chopped
- 3 tablespoons water
- 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
- ⅔ cup (130g) sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Cocoa powder, for dusting
For the filling
- ⅓ cup freeze-dried raspberries
- ⅓ cup (40g) powdered sugar
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- splash of vanilla or almond extract, optional
- ¼ cup raspberry jam
First, make the cake. Preheat your oven to 350°. Grease two 8-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with a circle of parchment paper. (Don’t skip the parchment!)
In a small bowl, microwave the two chocolates and the water until they’re about halfway melted. Remove and stir until all of the lumps have finished melting. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine ⅓ cup (65g) sugar, egg yolks, and salt. Beat with an electric mixer for at least 5 minutes, until the mixture is very pale and thick and leaves ribbons when you lift the beater. Mix in the melted chocolate and set aside.
Wash your bowl/beater if necessary (see note above).
In a separate medium bowl, use an electric mixer to whip the egg whites and remaining ⅓ cup (65g) sugar on medium-high until they hold stiff peaks when you remove the beater. Gently fold the egg whites, about one-third at a time, into the chocolate mixture.
Divide the batter into the two prepared pans and bake 15-18 minutes, until the top is dry to the touch and the center seems set. Remove from the oven and cool fully to room temperature before turning them out and assembling.
While the cakes cool, make the whipped cream. Crush the raspberries to a fine powder using a mortar and pestle, a food processor, or a Ziploc bag and brute force. Pour the cream into a large bowl and sift the raspberry powder over top to remove any seeds. (You can save them to decorate the cake with; they make adorable pink sprinkles.) Add the powdered sugar and extract, if using, and beat everything on medium until very thick but still smooth.
Once the cake layers are cool, run a thin knife around the edges to loosen and dust the top of each layer with cocoa powder. Get out your cake stand/plate. Place a piece of waxed paper on top of one layer (or just use your hand, if you’re feeling brave/messy) and carefully flip it over. Remove the pan, quickly peel the parchment off the bottom, and place the whole thing onto the cake plate.
If your jam is rather thick, stir it up to loosen it a bit and then gently spread it as evenly as possible on the bottom cake layer.
Scoop about two-thirds of the whipped cream onto the cake and spread it evenly. It should come at least to the edges of the cake—which at least in our case, were quite tall—if not even further up.
Repeat the process of turning out the second cake layer and place it on top of the whipped cream. If you like, use a sharp knife to trim the tall edges of the cake. Spread the remaining whipped cream over top and sprinkle raspberry seeds and/or chocolate curls on top, if desired.
You can eat this cake right away or let it chill for a while. It keeps very well but be sure to refrigerate any leftovers.