Peer pressure is a funny thing. You think that once you've gotten to a certain age, you've somehow outgrown it, but it's still there, rearing its demanding little head. Take the food-blogging world for example. For the last few weeks, there have been the sporadic Valentine's Day offerings from other bloggers which I liken to the supermarket phenomenon wherein Halloween candy starts to show up on the shelves in mid-August! I didn't really feel any pressure to start with Valentines stuff myself because it just seemed too far away. But this week, the internet has been flooded with heart-shaped cakes, cookies, brownies and red sprinkles, and I started to feel like I better jump in and join the club or else...! Thus, this wonderfully decadent chocolate loaf with a double river of raspberry jam running through it, all covered in a creamy glossy bittersweet chocolate frosting. If this doesn't say "I love you", I don't know what will!
How do you celebrate Valentine's Day? I have to say, I'm really not all that into it, though I will not say no to chocolate and large expensive gifts (hint, hint)!! Or to this cake which perfectly marries together the insanely good combination of raspberries and chocolate and is fairly easy to make.
You start out by preparing a lovely cocoa-based chocolate sour cream loaf cake,
Once that's cooled, you cut the cake into 3 layers--
And spread warm raspberry jam on top of the bottom and middle layers, eventually placing the final layer on top.
Then you cover the whole thing in a satiny, not-too-sweet, bittersweet chocolate frosting.
Every bite is a luscious mix of rich chocolate and tangy raspberry flavor. Make this for someone you love and not because you feel pressured into it or anything, although if that's what it takes to get you to make it, a little peer pressure might actually be a good thing!! More Valentine's goodies to come next week!
Chocolate Raspberry Loaf Cake
Prep Time for Cake: 15 minutes; Bake Time for Cake: 55-65 minutes; Assembly Time and Frosting: 20-25 minutes
For the Cake
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
For the Filling
- 1/3 cup good raspberry jam, with or without seeds
- 1 teaspoon water
For the Frosting
- 5 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped (I used Lindt)
- 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
- Fresh raspberries to use as a garnish (optional)
- Whipped cream (optional)
1. To make the cake: Make sure the rack is in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Butter and flour a 10"x5" loaf pan and set aside.
2. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and soda together and set aside.
3. Use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugar, beating on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until very light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed during the mixing time so that everything gets incorporated evenly. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each addition. Reduce the speed to low and add the sour cream. Then add the sifted mixture, gradually, only beating until just incorporated. Use the spatula to scrape down to the bottom of the bowl and give it one last good sweep to make sure it's all mixed together.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the spatula. Push the batter outward so that the sides are a bit higher than the middle. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let sit for 5 minutes, then invert onto another rack and let the cake cool completely, upside down.
5. The top of the cake will now become the bottom layer. When cake is at room temperature, use a long serrated knife in a gentle sawing motion, to cut it into three even horizontal layers. Place 4 strips of wax paper along the edges of the platter or tray you are planning to serve the cake on. Put the top layer onto the platter, so that the strips of paper hang out--this will make it easy to keep the platter looking neat when you pour on the frosting--You just pull out the frosting-smeared strips and all is picture perfect!
6. To make the filling: Place the jam and the water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over low heat, stirring to break up the clumps. When melted, spread half of the mixture over the bottom layer of the cake. Carefully lift the middle layer onto the bottom layer (you may find it helps to do this using 2 wide metal spatulas). Spread the remaining jam on the top of that layer and then place the top layer on. Brush away any crumbs.
7. To make the frosting: Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water, making sure the water isn't touching the bottom of the bowl or the chocolate could seize up and be ruined. Once it's melted, add the sour cream and stir well. The mixture should look glossy and perfectly smooth, keep stirring until it does. Remove the bowl from the heat and while it's still warm, frost the sides and top of the cake. Carefully pull out the wax strips and allow frosting to set for about 30 minutes. Cut into slices and serve with a few fresh raspberries and/or whipped cream on the side.
8. Cake can be made one day ahead and covered at room temperature. Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator, well wrapped for 2-3 days.
Note: Recipe adapted from Sweet Times by Dorie Greenspan.