One of the very first recipes I put on this blog was this Raspberry Buttercream recipe. It’s one of my favorite buttercream recipes ever – ultra flavorful, not too sweet, and the natural color is just so beautiful! I’ve paired it with so many cake flavors (it truly goes with anything), but this Raspberry Chocolate Cake recipe is one classic flavor pairing I had yet to officially turn into a recipe until now. So with Valentine’s Day approaching, I thought it would be the perfect time to share this recipe with you to bake up for your loved ones!
This cake is so simple to whip up and the flavor combination is just divine. I’d even go as far as to say it’s a pretty sensual cake (cue the sax solo). The raspberry buttercream makes it extra aromatic and paired with the chocolate cake, the flavor is decadent but not too heavy. The perfect cake for any raspberry chocolate lover and anyone who doesn’t yet realize they’re a fan of these flavors (aka just about everyone!).
It all starts with my favorite One-Bowl Chocolate Cake Recipe, which is just as easy as it sounds. Basically put everything into one bowl (in the right order, of course) and mix it up! Just in case you want to watch the process before you make this recipe, I do have a YouTube video that I whipped up to walk you through it. It’s basically everything you need and want in a chocolate cake: moist crumb, rich chocolate flavor, and simple ingredients.
The Raspberry Buttercream is the filling and the frosting on this one, because it’s just so good that way. The secret to the beautiful flavor and consistency of this buttercream is freeze-dried raspberries. There are a few reasons for this: 1) fresh berries have a ton of liquid in them, so when you try to use them in a buttercream recipe, you end up with a more soupy consistency that doesn’t (in my experience anyways) really jive with the butter in the recipe, so it ends up looking really gritty and glossy (in a bad way). And 2) All of that liquid takes away from the flavor of the berry, so you don’t get that perfect raspberry flavor anyways.
Instead, freeze-dried berries remove the liquid from the berry and keep all the flavor intact, so adding them to buttercream gives you the most flavorful buttercream with just the right consistency. And just look at that naturally gorgeous color! No added food color gels on this one, folks. This is the brand I use in the recipe, but you can find freeze-dried raspberries at most grocery stores, Trader Joe’s, and even Target if you’d rather shop local.
To decorate this beauty, I added a chocolate ganache drip and used Wilton Tip 4B to pipe swirls all around the top before adding a fresh raspberry to each. This recipe yields a triple layer 6-inch cake, but if you’d rather make a little 4-inch version instead you can half the entire recipe (cake and buttercream) to make a better sharing size for 2-4 people. And if this is your first time making and assembling a layer cake, or you want to learn my techniques for doing so, be sure to check out my Cake Basics series that shows you how to build a layer cake from start to finish!
Raspberry Chocolate Cake Recipe
Layers of rich chocolate cake filled and frosted with raspberry buttercream and dripped with chocolate ganache for extra decadence – a raspberry chocolate lover's dream cake!
- 2 Cups (265g) all purpose flour
- 1 2/3 Cups (340g) granulated white sugar
- 2/3 Cup (60g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder not Dutch Process
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 Cup (120ml) vegetable oil
- 2 whole eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 Cup (240ml) full-fat buttermilk, room temperature* DIY recipe in notes
- 1 Cup (240ml) hot water
- 1 1/2 Cups (339g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 Cup (34g) freeze dried raspberries
- 4 1/2 Tbsp (68ml) whole milk, room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 Cups (720g) powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 Cup heavy whipping cream
- fresh raspberries, optional
Make the Chocolate Cake
Preheat the oven to 350ºF and prepare three 6-inch or two 8-inch cake pans by spraying the sides with cooking spray and fitting the bottoms with a wax paper or parchment cake circle.
Place all of the dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer and stir on low for 30 seconds to fully combine them. Add the vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk and mix on low until just combined. With the mixer still on low, add the hot water in a slow stream, then turn the mixer to medium and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. The batter will be very thin.
Pour into prepared cake pans no more than 2/3 full and bake for 40-45 minutes, until a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before filling and frosting.
Make the Raspberry Buttercream
With a food processor, grind the raspberries into a fine powder. Sift out the seeds (if a few seeds end up in the powder that is totally ok) and set the powder aside.
Whip the butter using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on medium speed until it’s creamy and light in color (5-10 minutes). Add vanilla, milk, and raspberry powder and continue to mix on medium for about two minutes.
Add powdered sugar a few cups at a time, scraping down the bowl and paddle after each addition. Add the salt and mix on low for another 30 seconds.
Make the Chocolate Ganache
Place chocolate chips into a heat resistant bowl (glass or metal). If you’re starting with a chocolate bar, chop it into small pieces until they’re about the size of chocolate chips.
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, warm heavy whipping cream until it just starts to simmer. I always look for small bubbles forming around the edge and a soft simmer starting in the middle. When it's reached this point, pour the cream into your bowl of chocolate and let sit for about 30 seconds.
Whisk it together until it’s uniform in consistency and there are no bits of chocolate left on your whisk. Cool ganache at room temperature for 10-20 minutes, or until the ganache itself is room temperature or slightly above.
Once the Chocolate Cakes are cooled completely, level and torte the layers to make them even before filling and frosting with the Raspberry Buttercream. After the final layer of frosting is applied, chill the cake for 20-30 minutes before dripping with the Chocolate Ganache. To recreate the look pictured, add swirls of Raspberry Buttercream around the top of the cake with Wilton Tip 4B and add a fresh raspberry to the top of each swirl.
*DIY Buttermilk recipe: add 1 Tbsp of white vinegar to a jar and top it with 1 Cup of whole milk. Stir and let sit for 15 minutes before using in the recipe.
Make Ahead Tips:
- The Chocolate Cake can be made ahead and stored at room temperature, covered tightly in plastic wrap, for up to two days. Alternatively, you can cover with plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to two months before thawing to room temperature.
- The Raspberry Buttercream can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. When you’re ready to use it, bring it back to room temperature and mix it together on low for about 30 seconds to bring it back to frosting consistency.
- The Chocolate Ganache can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two weeks. When you’re ready to use it as a drip, microwave it in 10 second increments, stirring after every interval until your ganache is room temperature and uniform in consistency.
To Make as Cupcakes: fill cupcake tins no more than 2/3 full and bake at 350ºF for 15-17 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Did you make this recipe? I want to know what you think! Let me know in the comments below or tag me on Instagram. I love to see what you’re caking!