The dark is rising.

It’s rising on your counter, as you frost a three-layer raspberry chocolate cake, swaddling it in satiny sweetness (and in semisweet chocolate chips or chocolate shavings for a little bling).

To celebrate Fantasies in Chocolate, RGJ Media’s annual charitable fundraiser (see below), we’re again sharing how to prepare one of the best (if not the best) chocolate cakes ever featured by @RGJTaste.



When: Nov. 5 (5:30 p.m. VIP admission, 7:30 p.m. general admission, 10:30 p.m. Lex Nightclub after-party)

Where: Summit Pavilion in Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, 2500 E. Second St.

Why: To benefit RGJ Media’s charitable foundation

Theme: Diamonds and pearls. Themed or black tied dress encouraged.

Highlights: Chocolates and other sweets, savory dishes, wine and cocktails, live music, dancing, VIP dinner and wine service

Tickets: General admission: $90; VIP single: $215; VIP table for 10: $2,000; Lex Nightclub after-party: $15



In fact, the recipe is really a cake making seminar whose techniques you’ll use again and again in your baking. Yes, the recipe is a bit long, but it’s not overly challenging, and if you follow the directions carefully, you’ll create a statuesque beauty that embraces the pleasures of the dark.

Right after Fantasies, the holidays begin. This cake would make an impressive and indulgent addition to your festive table. The oohs and ahhs are guaranteed.


For cake:

5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

2 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, slightly softened

1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 large whole eggs plus 2 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

3/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature

1 cup milk, at room temperature

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 F. Lightly butter bottom and sides of three 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper. Dust sides of pans with flour and tap out excess.

Preferably using double boiler, melt chocolate slowly over no more than medium heat, keeping constant watch so that it doesn’t scorch. Let chocolate cool 10 to 15 minutes, until tepid; set aside.

In medium bowl, using wire whisk, stir together flour, baking soda and salt until thoroughly blended. Sift flour mixture onto piece of waxed paper; set aside.

In 4 1/2-quart bowl of heavy-duty electric mixer using paddle attachment, beat butter and shortening at medium speed 45 to 60 seconds, until creamy.

Add brown sugar and, while continuing to beat, gradually add 1 cup of granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, over 6 minutes.

Using rubber spatula, scrape down sides of bowl and continue beating 1 to 2 minutes longer, until mixture is light in texture and off-white in color. Beat in vanilla extract.

Break the 2 whole eggs into measuring cup and add the 2 separated egg yolks; set aside the 2 egg whites. Beat whole eggs and separated yolks with fork until frothy.

At medium speed while continuing to beat, slowly add beaten eggs to batter. Add sour cream and beat until smooth. Beat in reserved melted chocolate until blended.

At low speed, one-third at a time, beat in reserved flour mixture, alternating it with milk. Mix briefly, just until each addition is barely incorporated into batter.

Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula. Mix batter 10 seconds more and set mixer bowl aside.

In second, grease-free 4 1/2-quart bowl of heavy-duty electric mixer using wire whip attachment, beat reserved 2 egg whites at low speed until frothy. Gradually increase speed to medium-high and beat whites until soft peaks start to form.

One teaspoon at a time, add remaining 1/4 cup of sugar to whites and continue beating whites until stiff, shiny peaks form.

Using large rubber spatula, fold beaten egg whites into batter to lighten it. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans and smooth it with back of soup spoon. Bake cake layers 15 minutes.

Reposition cake pans so that those at back of oven rack are placed in front. Continue baking 5 to 10 minutes longer, until edge of each cake layer has pulled away slightly from side of pan and center springs back when gently pressed with finger.

For 5 minutes, cool cake layers in pans set on wire racks. Run thin-bladed knife around edges of cake layers to loosen. Invert cake layers onto wire racks.

Peel off parchment circles and leave loosely attached to bottoms of cake layers. Re-invert layers onto racks so that they are right side up. Cool layers completely.

For frosting:

20 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 1/4 cups evaporated milk

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup black raspberry liqueur, such as Chambord

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preferably using double boiler, melt chocolate over no more than medium heat, keeping constant watch so it doesn’t scorch. Put evaporated milk, butter, black raspberry liqueur and vanilla extract in food processor fitted with metal chopping blade.

Add melted chocolate. Process 20 to 30 seconds, until frosting is thick and creamy. Use frosting immediately. Reserve 1 cup of frosting for piping on top of cake. Use remaining frosting to fill and frost cake.

To assemble and frost:

Remove paper circles from bottoms of cake layers. If necessary, trim tops of layers with long serrated knife to make level. Place one cake layer on a 9-inch cardboard cake circle. Spread 3/4 cup of frosting in an even layer over top of cake layer.

Put second cake layer on top of frosting. Cover with 2/3 cup of frosting. Put third cake layer on top of frosting. Using metal cake spatula, frost top of cake with some of the frosting.

Spread more frosting around side of cake, filling in space between edge of cardboard and side of the cake. Finish top by holding metal cake spatula at a slight angle and, with several strokes, smooth the raised lip of frosting around the upper edge toward center of cake, until cake is smooth.

To decorate and serve:

12 ounces mini semisweet chocolate chips

Cover sides of cake with chocolate chips. Set cake down on work surface. Fill pastry bag fitted with medium closed tip (such as Ateco No. 5) with reserved 1 cup frosting. Pipe a reversed shell border around top edge of cake.

Store cake under cake dome at room temperature for up to 3 days. Yields 10 servings.

Read or Share this story: http://on.reno.com/2eOyXYp