Monday, January 10, 2011

Celebrate . . . With Cake!

Dave Got His Sh** Together Chocolate Raspberry Sour Cream Cake
My pal Dave is great. He's funny, sweet, an excellent drummer, and one heck of a charming guy. Due to his abundance of great qualities, naturally we give him a lot of shit. But sometimes, we give him cake. Last fall he was all prepared to perform his senior drumming recital, basically the capstone of his undergraduate studies and the LAST thing for him to achieve in order to graduate. The date was set, the invitations sent out, and the promise of a taco reception loomed in the horizon. When it all came down to it, however, Dave didn't feel ready. He was particularly nervous about his complicated marimba piece and decided to postpone the recital until the first weekend of Winter Term. This, in the long run, worked out much better. His girlfriend from Michigan was able to fly out and attend, he felt confident about his work, and an enthusiastic audience was eager to lend their support. I asked him if he would like a cake and champagne toast to celebrate post-show and post-taco feast. Dave agreed and requested "a chocolate cake with raspberry filling and cream cheese frosting." Done. I put this recipe together in honor of Dave and his achievement. And also because even the best moments can be made better with cake.

- 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1 c. sour cream
- 3 large eggs
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
- 6 Tbsp. butter, softened
- 1 c. hot coffee
- 1 c. raspberry jam
- fresh raspberries
- 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 stick butter, room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 c. or more powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Lightly grease and flour three 8" round cake pans. Set aside. In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together granulated sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. In a separate small bowl, melt 6 Tbsp. butter in the hot coffee. In another small bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, and 1 Tbsp. vanilla. Using the stand mixer, beat half of the sour cream mixture into the dry ingredients at low speed. When thoroughly combined, add coffee mixture and blend, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Beat in the remaining sour cream mixture and blend thoroughly.

Pour batter evenly distributed into the prepared cake pans. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes, rotating pans half way through baking until cakes are springy to the touch. Let cakes cook in pans for about 10 minutes before turning out on a write rack to cool completely.

With an electric mixer, blend together cream cheese, stick of butter, and 1 tsp of vanilla. Add powdered sugar slowly, then blend until fluffy and well combined.

When cake is completely cooled set one layer at the center of serving plate or bottom part of a cake dome. Spread half the raspberry jam on top of the cake. Top with the second layer then spread remaining raspberry jam on top of that layer. Top second layer with remaining cake round. Frost the top and sides of cake with an even layer of cream cheese frosting. Refrigerate before serving. (Cake can be made and stored in refrigerator the day before.) Before serving top with fresh raspberries. Slice and toast to life! Congratulations Dave! You did a fantastic job . . . even on the marimba!

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