Chocolate Raspberry Torte

I think Boston is a bit of a cold city. It’s not something I notice anymore on a daily basis, but when I’m visiting more friendly regions, I’m often struck by the joggers who nod and give you a smile as you run past and the eager store employees who go out of their way to help you. These things rarely happen here and the subway is especially a land of aloofness where people tend to avoid eye contact. I’ve found a way to warm people up though – simply tote a homemade dessert around with you.

I have a clear cake carrying case that I bring all my treats to work in with and not only do people tend to smile when they see a dessert inside, many go out of their way to strike up a friendly conversation. Usually they ask if I made it or what flavor it is or just compliment its appearance, but one guy surprised me by pulling a quart of milk out of his backpack and asking if we could split the cherry pie I was holding with everyone on the train if he provided the beverages!

Desserts always make people happy, but I think it’s more than that. I think people realize that a lot of love goes into taking time out of one’s busy schedule to bake something special for someone. And I think they’re drawn to that warmth. A cheesy sentiment perhaps, but wouldn’t the world be a better place with more homemade desserts?

I recently baked up a treat for the most important birthday boy – Apolinaras, who celebrated his big day last Friday. He usually requests a treat with pineapple and coconut, but this year he wanted a decadent raspberry and chocolate cake instead. Here’s what I came up with – a layer of chocolate cake baked in a springform pan topped with a bit of raspberry puree and a creamy raspberry mousse. I garnished it with some dark chocolate shavings and fresh berries. Apolinaras and his coworkers were big fans!

p.s. Apolinaras suggested the best trick for removing the cake from the bottom of the springform pan (apparently, he uses a similar technique to remove his racing badges from his car). After detaching the sides of the pan, nurse a piece of dental floss or fishing line carefully under the entire length of the cake – then you can just lift the cake off with a big spatula and put it on the dish you’d like to serve it on. This avoids someone accidently cutting up the bottom of your fancy pan with a sharp knife!

Chocolate Raspberry Torte
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

Chocolate Cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Raspberry Puree:
12 ounces frozen raspberries, thawed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

Raspberry Mousse:
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For assembly:
6 ounces fresh raspberries
1/2 ounce shaved dark chocolate

Directions:
To make the chocolate cake, heat oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, espresso powder, and salt together into the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl until well combined. Add liquids to dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes. Scrape down bowl and mix again briefly. Pour cake batter into the prepared springform pan and bake at 350˚F for 28 to 32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for an hour or until completely cooled to room temperature.

To make the raspberry puree, place raspberries in a food processor and pulse until smooth, about one minute. Push puree through a fine mesh strainer into a pot to remove the seeds. Add sugar and lemon juice to the pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer 2 minutes, stirring frequently, or until sugar is dissolved. Cool 1/2 cup of the puree to room temperature (I stuck mine in the freezer for 15 minutes).

To make the raspberry mousse, place heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract in a well chilled bowl and whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 1/2 minutes. Fold 1/2 cup cooled raspberry puree into the whipped cream until smooth.

To assemble the cake, poke cooled chocolate cake all over with a fork and evenly spread remaining 1/2 cup raspberry puree over the cake. Allow to sit for 30 minutes and massage the puree into the cake every 10 minutes. Top with raspberry mousse and garnish with fresh raspberries and shaved dark chocolate. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Remove from pan and smooth edges as needed. Store in the refrigerator. Makes 12 servings.

Nutrition: 387 calories, 25.5g fat, 4.3g fiber, 4.2g protein per serving
Cost: $0.95 per serving

31 Responses to Chocolate Raspberry Torte

  1. I totally saw you carrying this cake! I knew it was Apolinaris’ birthday because Rachel posted about dessert on G+. You were with a couple of other people carrying suitcases and by the time I figured out it was you we had already passed on the sidewalk. Next time I’ll turn around and say hi :)

  2. Beautiful cake for the hubby! And I totally agree that Boston can be a bit unfriendly. Like you, I don’t really notice it until I leave the city and am struck by the friendliness!

  3. That looks positively luscious! And I totally agree about Boston and the melting of a cold heart with baked goods. People are much more friendly on the train when I’m toting my brownie pan or muffin carrier!

  4. When you said you felt like Boston was a cold city, I totally thought you meant weather-wise! I guess I’m so used to NY-ers coldness, that that doesn’t even cross my mind anymore. this cake looks absolutely glorious. you are officially commissioned to make my next bday cake.

  5. I’ve definitely noticed that people are nicer to me when I’m carrying desserts around with me. This is one gorgeous cake! And I absolutely love the chocolate-raspberry combination.

  6. The cake is stunning! I think desserts just make people happy. The world would definitely be a better place if people handed them out on every street corner!

  7. You are so right. Desserts do make people happy. And this one makes me super happy just by looking at it. I can only imagine how happy I will be once I chomp down on it. Looks super delicious.

  8. that is a gorgeous torte.

    i haven’t made a torte in a while. once made a mint one (long before i started blogging and before i realized i should write my recipes down). so maybe i’ll give this one a go since raspberries will soon be gone :-(

  9. Your torte is so beautiful!!! I’m sure it tasted just as good as it looks. That’s so funny about people on the subway being nicer when you carry desserts! I once got verbally assaulted on the CTA red line for carrying a pan of mostaccioli…the guy wanted me to give him some!

    I love Apolinaras’s tip for using the floss to loosen the cake from the pan! I will have to try it with tarts – I recently went to a party with a tart and couldn’t get it off the bottom pan. I brought a plastic knife thinking it might work fine and not scratch my pan. I later realized that someone at the party found a real knife and had hacked into it – my pan is now all scratched up!

  10. Great recipe! I made this to take to a friends house this weekend and it turned out amazing. The chocolate cake portion is one of the best i’ve had (I think the buttermilk makes it more moist). I let the raspberry sauce sit on the cake overnight and just left it out on the counter covered. Instead of the espresso powder I mixed in a shot of espresso with the buttermilk. The raspberry and chocolate was a perfect mix! Next time, I may try to make the chocolate cake wiht a peanutbutter mousse. Thank you for such a great dessert!

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