Chocolate Raspberry Mini Layer Cakes

If you’re looking for a decadent dessert this Valentine’s Day that combines chocolate, pink whipped cream and something you can eat all by yourself, this mini layer cake is for you.
I revamped my family recipe for everyday chocolate cake, adding an element of coffee and the rich tang of creme fraiche.  This cake seems rich but in this recipe, the layers are thin enough that it feels light and doesn’t sit in your stomach for an hour (so bring on the ganache).
The whipped cream and ganache are also super easy to whip up in a pinch, allowing you to make this cake if an unexpected beau shows up at your door, looking for something sweet (that isn’t you)…
Cake Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup creme fraiche
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Raspberry Whipped Cream Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup slightly muddled raspberries

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate

Steps

Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare two cake pans by coating generously with butter and sprinkling on flour, patting the pan around until the flour sticks to the butter all over the pan.  Alternatively, you can stick parchment paper cutouts to fit a greased cake pan.

To make the cake, whisk cocoa into melted butter in a large bowl until smooth.  Sift the cocoa if it is overly lumpy.

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In a small bowl, pour boiling water over espresso powder and stir until dissolved.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, creme fraiche and vanilla and add espresso mixture.  Whisk until smooth and pour into cocoa mixture, whisking constantly to combine.

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Whisk together dry ingredients in a separate bowl.  Fold dry ingredients into cake batter with a spatula until smooth and there are no streaks of flour.

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Divide batter between two prepared pans and bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool in pans for 5 minutes, then flip onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

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To make whipped cream, place cream and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.  Beat until stiff peaks form and add vanilla.  Fold in slightly muddled raspberries with a spatula.

To make ganache, bring cream to an almost boil over a stove or in the microwave.  Pour over chopped chocolate and allow to sit for 1 minute before whisking until smooth.

To assemble cakes, use a 3 inch cookie cutter to cut small circles out of the cakes.

Take one cutout circle and dollop on 2 tablespoons of raspberry whipped cream, spreading over the surface.  Top with another cake circle.

To spread the ganache around the side, pick up the cake and turn it seam side up between your fingers.  Spoon ganache down the side, spreading all around with a small offset spatula or butter knife until the side is completely covered.  Place back down and spread another spoonful of ganache over the top surface.  Garnish with a raspberry and allow to set.

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