This chocolate-raspberry layer cake is delicious and vegan friendly! It has a generous layer of a raspberry chia filling and a fluffy chocolate frosting!
You can probably tell from the recipes on this blog that I not only like chocolate, but I also love chocolate in the form of cake…it’s also usually topped with a berry of some sort. Because yum. There’s just something about the trio of flavors that just works together so well. The little bit of tartness from the berries helps to cut through the sweetness of cakes, although the cakes here are mildly sweetened compared to most cakes.
I’ve mentioned before that I began making cakes when I first got married. I’d never made a from-scratch cake in my life, and after receiving a Southern Living cookbook from a friend, quickly made myself familiar with the dessert section, trying a new recipe each week. From chocolate cake to chocolate chip cookies, I just about made them all. Sadly enough, my gauge for whether a recipe was successful or not, was if it tasted like the Duncan Hines cake or Pillsbury refrigerated cookies I was accustomed to making. They didn’t only taste like them, they were much better! I couldn’t believe I was able to create something without the help of box mix or cookie dough logs!
Fast forward several years later, I haven’t made a box dessert since. Once you’ve gotten used to making desserts homemade, they’re not only simple to make, they taste so much better too. You kind of become a dessert snob and look at those boxed cakes like a cheap substitution for the real thing.
When making cakes, the easiest way to dress them up is to pile the top with fresh berries. Berries are like edible flowers, they’re not only pretty to look at, but you can eat them too. If you’re not good at piping and intricate flowers or fancy borders, decorating with fresh fruit is a great alternative!
As if a pile of fresh raspberries wasn’t enough, I stuffed the middle with raspberry chia jam! I love how simple this filling is to make. It’s naturally sweetened with pure maple syrup and thickened with chia seeds. Chia is great, not only nutritionally (they’re packed with omega-3’s, fiber, protein, and more) but they quickly absorb moisture and swell, naturally thickening whatever they’re added to.
That thick layer of berry jam really helps balance the richness of the chocolate. If you don’t have access to raspberries, feel free to use strawberries or blackberries. Also, if you’re not a fan of raspberry seeds, press them through a sieve or give them a quick whirl in a blender. You probably won’t have any jam left over, but if you care to make a double batch, it’s great on toast or oatmeal too!
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose or gluten-free all purpose flour (I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour the blue bag!)
- 2 cup coconut sugar
- ⅔ cup dutch-processed cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa)
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⅓ cup almond milk or milk of choice
- 1 cup hot brewed coffee or hot water
- ½ cup melted coconut oil or neutral cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups raspberries, plus more for topping the cake
- 3-4 tablespoons, maple syrup (use more or less, to taste)
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 cups chocolate of choice, dairy-free if needed
- ½ cup coconut milk or heavy whipping cream (if not dairy-free)
- Melt chocolate chips and coconut milk over a double boiler or in the microwave just until chocolate is melted. Cover and refrigerate for several hours, or until firm. When mixture is cold and has hardened, beat on high speed for several minutes, until fluffy. Best to use a stand mixer, if you have one. If frosting is too thick, add additional milk/cream 1 tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency.
- You can use fresh or frozen berries. I used frozen so I cooked them over the stove to reduce the liquid, but cooking is not required for fresh berries. Just mash filling ingredients together and refrigerate until chia has expanded and mixture has thickened.
- If using frozen berries, heat berries in a medium dutch oven over medium-high heat until thawed. Add chia seeds and sweetener, stirring occasionally, until liquid has reduced and mixture has thickened. Transfer to a container and chill in the refrigerator until cool.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease two 8-inch or three 6-inch cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Mix together milk and 1 tablespoon vinegar and let sit while you measure out the ingredients.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients—flour, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until well blended. Add wet ingredients—sour milk, coffee, oil, and vanilla. Mix until batter is smooth and thoroughly combined.
- Pour evenly into cake pans and bake 25–30 minutes, just until center is set and a toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean. Let cool for several minutes then run a knife along the edges of the cake and invert onto a rack to cool completely.
- Place cream cheese, cocoa powder, and sweetener into a mixing bowl (drain cream cheese first if it has a little water in the container.) If you don't like it too chocolatey or sweet, start with the lesser amount and add more, to taste.
- Place one cake layer onto your serving plate and top with raspberry chia filling. The filling fill want to ooze out of the sides, so pipe a frosting "dam" around the edge of the cake if you want the filling to stay in place. Place the other cake layer on top and use a large off-set spatula to spread frosting generously around the top and sides cake. Top with fresh raspberries or chocolate shavings and serve. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container.
- Inspired by this recipe from Martha Stewart.
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