Mom’s Dark Chocolate Raspberry Birthday Cake!

My mom’s birthday was January 27th. I told her I would make the cake. What I know about my mom’s sweet tooth: she loves dark chocolate, and she thinks chocolate goes well with tart fruit. Voila!

So, please bear with me. This is the first time I attempted a larger cake, and I think it turned out real cute, but I learned a lot about what not to do as well. Alright, so first, I decided to make the dark chocolate cake. I had four layers that I had made by splitting to cake layers.

I preheated my oven to 350 degrees and greased and floured two cake pans that are 8 inches in diameter. Then I took a bar of 100% Ghiradelli dark chocolate and chopped it up.

Sift together the dry ingredients. Then, I brewed some coffee and mixed together my butter and sugar while the coffee cooled. Then I mixed in the coffee.

I then mixed in eggs and buttermilk.

Alternate folding in the dry ingredients and the chopped up chocolate.

Pour the batter evenly into the cake pans and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool completely and then split them. Make raspberry mousse, dark chocolate mousse and ganache.

Now take a cake board and cut it to the right size. Now before we begin assembly, I’ll share another thing I learned with you. This cake is delicious. But, if you want to try this recipe, I’d say, either split it in quarters or don’t have so many layers. this cake is absolutely delicious, but it’s very dense which makes it very heavy. It was hard to keep my mousse in the layers rather than spilling out. Also, get a cake leveler. My cake looks a little like the leaning tower because I eyeballed my layers and the cake became uneven. 🙂

Place a layer of the cake on the board and layer on some raspberry mousse.

Place another layer on top.

Layer on some chocolate mousse.

Put on another layer of cake and laye ron some raspberry mousse.

Place the last layer on and put on a crumb coating of raspberry mousse over the entire thing.

Placing a crumb coating on a cake helps seal the holes and assists in a second smooth layer of mousse.

I then chilled the cake for a half hour in the fridge. When I took it out I place it on a cooling rack inside of a baking pan. Then I poured the ganache over the cake:

I cut another cake board and place the ganached cake onto it.

I put the cake in the fridge over night and let the ganache set. So a tip I’d give you from my learning process is to let your first layer of ganache set for a few hours then pour on a second layer of ganache so it will be thicker. I also chopped my chocolate unevenly which is why you see the bumpies on my layer of ganache.

I made some simple Swiss Meringue Buttercream from Martha Stewart’s Cupcake book

And put it in a piping bag,

Then I piped on some pretty vine designs on the sides of the cake.

And a nice little message on top.

Yum, yum yum! So, despite the little mishaps, the cake looked pretty cute and tasted amazing!!!! But, we haven’t gotten to that part yet. Oh! One more tip, a cake this height needs dowels, it would have helped the cake not be so lopsided, but you know, I think it gave him some character!

So, to celebrate my mom’s birthday, we went to a restaurant called, Little Dom’s in Los Angeles. It was a delicious Italian-y restaurant whose specialty was pizza.

Here are some photos of the day.

Me and my mom looked pretty shnazzy. My dad and I make a nice totem pole.

And my parents being silly as usual.

The pizzas were DELICIOUS I highly recommend.

My mom had a really yummy breakfast pizza that had a 5 minute egg on it.

My dad’s pizza was a bit more masculine, with basil, sausuage, mushrooms and pepperoni on it. The crust on the pizza is very very thin and absolutely to die for!

Then we went home and got to dig into the delicious cake 🙂

This is after we were done with it for the evening.

And finally, my pretty pretty mama protecting her cake from us.

Hope you guys enjoyed this ridiculously long post! 😛



1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 bar [chopped finely] 100% Ghiradelli dark chocolate
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
8 ounces French roast coffee, freshly brewed and cooled
2 cups granulated sugar
4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
3 whole eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla –This was my addition


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour an 8-inch round cake pan or line cupcake pan with liners.
Sift the flour, salt, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder together. Reserve. 

Brew a fresh pot of French roast coffee. Cool and reserve.

In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the sugar, and butter. Mix on medium speed until combined well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add in the brewed coffee and combine on low speed.

Once combined, add in the buttermilk and then the eggs, 1 at a time.. Continue to mix on low speed. The mixture may look ‘curdled’ …this is ok.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Gently fold in the sifted dry ingredients.

Pour batter into the prepared cake pan and fill half way up.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Split however many times you’d like.

  • 2 cups fresh raspberries or frozen
  • 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 cups whipped cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar


In a saucepan combine 1 1/2 cups raspberries and sugar. Heat and stir over medium heat until turn to liquid. Stir in gelatin. Remove from heat and scrape into a large bowl. Let cool for 5 minutes. Remove chilled whipped cream from refrigerator. Mix 1 cup of whipped cream into raspberry mixture until well combined. Fold in remaining whipped cream. Pour into wine glasses and chill.

DARK CHOCOLATE MOUSSE courtesy of Mirepoix Cooking School

4 egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
1 oz. coffee liquor
8oz. dark chocolate, melted
4 egg whites
1 ½ cups heavy cream
In a double boiler, melt chocolate. Set aside but don’t let it cool too much or else it will not mix well. 

In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks, sugar, coffee liquor until pale yellow and thickened, set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside and refrigerate until ready to use.

In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.

With a rubber spatula, fold the melted chocolate into the egg yolk mixture. Then fold in the whipped cream. Then, gently fold in the egg whites.

If the mousse seems a bit ‘loose’, you can refrigerate for a few hours to stiffen.


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate
    Pour gently simmered cream over chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Let stand until mixture is spoonable, about 15 minutes.
    SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM I quartered this recipe, but it was still WAAAAY too much. I’d say go down to 1/8th of this recipe, you could even manage with 1/16th.

    1. Bake cakes, cool and split to layers desired
    2. Cut out an appropriate sized cake board
    3. Make Raspberry Mousse
    4. Make Chocolate Mousse
    5. Make Ganache
    6. Layer cakes as desired and layer mousses in-between layers as desired.
    7. Put on a crumb coat of whichever mousse you’d like
    8. Smooth a second layer of mousse on top of crumb coat
    9. Chill cake for at least half an hour
    10. Place cake on a cooling rack inside of a baking sheet
    11. Drip ganache over cake.
    12. Let the cake cool and ganache set.
    13. Drip a second layer of ganache
    14. Chill cake overnight and let ganache set.
    15. Make Swiss Meringue Buttercream and pipe on however you’d like.
    16. Chill cake
    17. Enjoy!
    Happy Baking!


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