1/3 c semi-sweet chocolate chips 1 1/2 c hot brewed coffee 3 c sugar 2 1/2 c all-purpose flour 1 1/2 c cocoa powder 2 tsp baking soda 3/4 tsp baking powder 1/8 tsp salt 3 large eggs 3/4 c vegetable oil 1 1/2 c low fat buttermilk 1 tsp vanilla extract
FOR THE RASPBERRY SAUCE
1 c raspberry preserves 1/2 c frozen raspberries, finely chopped
FOR THE FROSTING
1.5 c mascarpone 1/2 c unsalted butter 1 to 1 1/4 c powdered sugar (adjust to taste) 2-4 tbsp heavy cream
FOR THE DESIGN ON TOP
pine branch/sprig cinnamon sticks handful of fresh raspberries powdered sugar for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Grease three 9” cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper.
2. Begin by creating the cake batter. In a medium size bowl, pour the hot coffee over the chocolate chips. Let it stand for a couple of minutes and then stir until the chocolate has melted.
3. In another bowl, sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
4. In a stand mixer, beat eggs until thickened and a pale yellow color. Slowly add the oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to the eggs, beating until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat just until combined.
5. Divide the batter between the three cake pans. Bake on the middle racks of the oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, approx. 1 hour. Let the cakes rest in their pans until completely cool. Then, invert the layers onto individual pieces of plastic wrap so that you can wrap each tightly until ready to use.
6. For the raspberry sauce, add the corn starch to a small saucepan and whisk to get rid of any clumps. Then add the raspberries and preserves to the pan. Cook over medium heat until everything is warm and heated through. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate.
7. For the frosting, beat the mascarpone and butter until very fluffy and light. Add in the powdered sugar and beat while streaming in 2 tablespoons of cream. If the frosting is too thick, add 2 more tablespoons of cream, or as needed. Whisk until slightly clumpy if you want to achieve the same effect as I did.
8. To assemble, place your first cake layer on a cake board or your cake stand. Smear (or pipe) a tiny bit of frosting along the rim of the cake layer. Then spoon raspberry sauce onto the center of the cake layer, spreading a thin layer with the back of the spoon, just until it reaches the frosting along the rim. The frosting acts as a barrier to keep the raspberry sauce from spilling over the edges. Repeat this step for the next cake layer.
9. Once the top layer has been put in place, use a frosting spatula to generously cover the top of the cake and lightly smear the sides of the cake with your frosting. Place your pine sprig onto the center of the cake, along with a couple of cinnamon sticks, fresh raspberries, and a finishing sprinkle of powdered sugar.