My 10 year old and I have a few favorite shows: Super Girl, The Amazing Race and any cooking show. After seeing a few TV bakers create multi-layered cakes on The Spring Baking Championships, I wanted to try making a fancy cake for Bob's birthday dinner. Although my presentation was headed in the right direction, this was not the prettiest cake. It was, however, by far the best tasting dessert I have ever made. Layers of moist chocolate cake were filled with dark chocolate pastry cream and tart seedless raspberry jam, then covered with smooth raspberry Italian buttercream and drizzled with bittersweet chocolate ganache.
The cake recipe is from epicurious.com and at, one point, this Double Chocolate Layer Cake was their most requested recipe. I've made it a few times and it is absolutely divine: moist and rich, but not too sweet. It is delicious plain or covered in frosting. I knew it would be a good base for Bob's special cake. Because the batter uses quite a bit of cocoa and coffee, I went to The Spice House for a few key ingredients: natural cocoa powder and espresso powder. Having high quality ingredients makes a difference in this cake.
The Epicurious recipe calls for two 10 inch cake pans. For Bob's cake, I baked three layers using a 6 inch pan and made about a dozen cupcakes with the extra batter. If your pans are smaller than 10inches, be sure to fill them no more than 2/3 full. If you have extra batter, make some cupcakes.
The dark chocolate pastry cream and raspberry buttercream recipes are both from Sugar Rush by Johnny Iuzzini. I split two of the three layers (one was a bit thinner so I left it alone) so the cake had a total of five layers.
The birthday boy and the Jirgal girls loved this dessert; our son prefered plain cake. If you like to bake, I highly recommend trying this Double Chocolate Cake recipe and the book Sugar Rush.