Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake Recipe

chocolate raspberry cake with chocolate buttercream

The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 70 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Yield: 1 cake
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
599 Calories
25g Fat
91g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 599
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 32%
Saturated Fat 11g 55%
Cholesterol 68mg 23%
Sodium 373mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 91g 33%
Dietary Fiber 6g 20%
Total Sugars 68g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 16mg 79%
Calcium 73mg 6%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 152mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This chocolate raspberry layer cake will be an instant hit whether you bake it for friends, family, or that special someone. The cake might look challenging at first glance, but it is pretty straightforward. Even though there are several steps to this recipe, the cake, filling, and frosting can all be prepared a day or two in advance. All you have to do on the serving day is assemble the layers, frost the cake, and add some fresh raspberries to the top.

Raspberries pair well with chocolate, making the raspberry filling the perfect combo for a stunning holiday-worthy dessert. You can always swap the homemade filling out with raspberry jam or cake filling if you're short on time.

The dark chocolate cake is moist and decadent, and the 3 layers make a beautiful and dramatic statement with the bright red raspberries and chocolate buttercream frosting.

Ingredients

For the Raspberry Filling:

  • 1 cup (198 grams) sugar

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 4 cups frozen raspberries, or fresh

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon water

For the Cake:

  • 2 cups (255 grams) all purpose flour

  • 2 cups (397 grams) sugar

  • 2/3 cup (65 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 cup buttermilk, well shaken

  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1 cup very hot water or hot freshly brewed coffee

For the Chocolate Buttercream:

  • 1 1/4 cups (283 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 4 cups (454 grams) confectioners sugar

  • 3/4 cup (75 grams) natural unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream, or half-and-half or milk, as needed

  • 6 ounces fresh raspberries, optional, for garnish

Steps to Make It

Prepare the Raspberry Filling

  1. Gather the raspberry filling ingredients.

  2. Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Whisk to combine and then add the lemon juice, water, and frozen raspberries.

  3. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently.

  4. Let the raspberry filling cool and refrigerate until it's time to assemble the cake.

Make the Chocolate Cake

  1. Gather the cake ingredients.

  2. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Grease 3 8-inch round cake pans and then line them with parchment paper. Set aside.

  3. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Stir to blend thoroughly.

  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla extract together.

  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture and mix until combined. 

  6. Add the hot water to the mixing bowl and mix just until the batter is combined. The batter will be thin.

  7. Divide the batter evenly among the baking pans. If you are weighing ingredients, it will be roughly 15 to 16 ounces per pan for a 3-layer cake or about 22 to 24 ounces per pan for a 2-layer cake.

  8. Bake the cakes for 24 to 27 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.

  9. Cool the cake layers in the pan on a cooling rack for 20 minutes.

  10. Then, turn the layers out onto the cooling racks to cool completely.

Prepare the Chocolate Buttercream

  1.    Gather the ingredients for the chocolate buttercream.

  2. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed, beat the butter for 2 minutes or until creamy. 

  3. Sift the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder together in a separate bowl.

  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter along with the cream, vanilla extract, and salt. Mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to high and beat for about 1 minute, adding more cream until you reach the desired spreading consistency.

Assemble the Cake

  1. Place a cake layer on a cake plate or cake stand and spread with raspberry filling.

  2. Place the second layer on top and spread with more raspberry filling. Add the 3rd layer.

  3. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the chocolate buttercream frosting. If you have leftover filling, refrigerate it in a covered container or jar for other uses.

  4. If desired, arrange fresh raspberries over the top of the frosted cake or add a decorative piped edging with any leftover buttercream and refrigerate until it's time to serve.

Tips


  • The cake layers may be made a day in advance. Wrap each cooled layer in plastic wrap and stack them, placing cardboard cake rounds between the layers.

Recipe Variations

  • Replace the raspberry filling with about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of raspberry cake filling or jam.
  • To Make Seedless Raspberry Filling: Simmer the raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice together until the raspberries break down into a sauce. Use a food mill to remove the seeds or press them through a sieve. Add the seedless juice back to the saucepan and bring it back to a simmer. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water to form a paste. Add this to the raspberry sauce and continue cooking until thickened.
  • Add even more drama to the chocolate raspberry cake with a ganache drip around the edge.
  • If you don't have buttermilk, it's easy to make a substitute. For 1 cup of buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a fluid measuring cup. Add milk to the 1 cup level and let stand for about 10 minutes.

How to Store

  • Store the cake, covered, in the refrigerator—it will last for up to 1 week. Serve the cake at room temperature; remove it from the fridge about 1 to 2 hours before serving.
  • To freeze leftover cake slices, arrange them on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Wrap the portions tightly in plastic wrap and place them in a resealable freezer bag.
  • You may make the raspberry filling a day or two in advance. Cover and refrigerate until about an hour or two before you plan to assemble the layers.
  • You may make the cake layers a day in advance. Wrap each layer—slightly warm or thoroughly cooled—in plastic wrap and stack them, placing cardboard cake rounds between the layers.
  • You may make the buttercream frosting a day or two in advance. Cover the frosting and refrigerate until about 2 hours before you plan to assemble the cake. Re-beat it for a minute or two with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.