Sunday, 26 May 2013

Chocolate and raspberry gateau

Chocolate and raspberry gateau topped with raspberries and chocolate-dipped strawberries

As part of a friend’s vintage/retro themed hen party, we had all been asked to bring a contribution to an afternoon tea party. In order to avoid hundreds of cupcakes / bottles of sparkly, we’d been allocated an item to bring. I mentioned that I was happy to bake and so was allocated chocolate cake. Except, I’ve never really made chocolate cake! As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m not really a fan of chocolate or of chocolate cake and so I just don’t tend to make it!

Having scanned through my ever-reliable source of inspiration – Flickr – I’d been inspired by impressive looking Kitkat-surrounded gateaux and made the decision to have a go at one of these. Next decision – which of the many thousand chocolate cake recipes to follow? A few friends recommended Nigella’s Chocolate Fudge Cake and so I decided to go with my own amended version of that. As I’m not really into rich chocolate cake, I decided to add raspberries, strawberries and fresh cream to add a bit of tartness and lightness. If you wanted to stick with the very traditional chocolate fudge cake, you could fill the cake with a caramel-fudge sauce and top with a mixture of fudges and chocolate truffles – which could look equally impressive.  

Finding a bottle of raspberry liqueur in the cupboard, I decided to use that in the recipe in place of some of the water, and to omit the vanilla essence suggested. To keep the cake slightly lighter and more of a gateau than a rich chocolate fudge cake, I filled the cake with jam and fresh cream, rather than more of the (very rich) topping. For a bit of an indulgent twist, I watered the jam down with more of the raspberry liqueur, which also helped the filling soak into the sponge to keep it moist and full of flavour.

The great thing about adding the Kitkats to the edge of this cake is that you don’t need to worry about making the icing that neat – the Kitkats hide any imperfections brilliantly. You don’t have to dip the strawberries in chocolate to go on top, but I do think it adds a lovely touch!

I was feeling rather impressed with myself once the cake was complete – it looked fairly spectacular! Impressed, that is, until I arrived at my friend’s house only to find that I was a week early – the party isn’t until next week! Gutted. Anyone want a slice of chocolate cake …?

Edit - 2 June 2013

So - what happened to the cake? I was a bit worried as I made the cake on the Friday and neither of us were at work until Tuesday, and most of the local friends I would usually give cake to, were away for the long weekend! I checked the cream and its use-by was Wednesday - so figured the cake would be ok until Tuesday as long as it was kept in the fridge. I did take all the fruit off (as it would have gone off slightly by the Tuesday) and we ate this for dessert over the weekend. 

EHH and I cracked into the cake on the Sunday and it was actually really tasty! The texture was great - really moist and delicious and the raspberry filling really complemented the chocolate cake: the liqueur added a nice kick of flavour without overpowering. The only thing I wasn't that keen on was the chocolate icing - I found it a little over-sweet and actually not that chocolatey! EHH took the rest of the cake into his work on the Tuesday and was demolished fairly quickly! (Although there were a few complaints from my work that I hadn't taken it there!)

Chocolate and raspberry gateau


For the cake

  1. 400 grams plain flour
  2. 250 grams golden caster sugar
  3. 100 grams light brown muscovado sugar
  4. 50 grams best-quality cocoa powder
  5. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  6. 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  7. ½ teaspoon salt
  8. 3 large eggs
  9. 142 ml sour cream (1 small tub)
  10. 175 grams unsalted butter
  11. 125 ml corn oil
  12. 200 ml chilled water
  13. 100ml raspberry liqueur

For the icing

  1. 175 grams dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
  2. 250 grams unsalted butter (softened)
  3. 275 grams icing sugar (sifted)
  4. 1 tblsp raspberry liqueur

To fill

  1. 300ml double cream, whisked until spreadable
  2. 200g raspberry jam
  3. 4 tblsp raspberry liqueur

To decorate

  1. 21 double Kitkat chocolate bars
  2. 200g raspberries
  3. 400g strawberries
  4. 100g dark chocolate
  5. 100g white chocolate


  1. Place butter in a microwaveable bowl and microwave until melted (alternatively, melt in a saucepan over the hob). Set aside to cool.
  2. Put the water and raspberry liqueur in a jug and place in the fridge to cool.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
  4. Butter and line the bottom of two 20cm sandwich tins.
  5. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugars, cocoa, baking powder, bicarb and salt.
  6. In another bowl or wide-necked measuring jug whisk together the eggs and sour cream until blended.
  7. Beat together the melted butter and corn oil until just blended, then beat in the water mixture.
  8. Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix together on a slow speed.
  9. Add the egg mixture, and mix again until everything is blended and then pour into the prepared tins.
  10. Bake the cakes for 50-55 minutes, or until a cake-tester comes out clean.
  11. Cool the cakes in their tins on a wire rack for 15 minutes, and then turn the cakes out onto the rack to cool completely.
 Preparing the chocolate dipped strawberries
  1. While the cakes are baking, melt the dark chocolate in a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
  2. Melt the white chocolate in the same way.
  3. Dip some of the strawberries in the chocolate and set aside on a sheet of baking parchment.
  4. Place the remaining chocolate in a disposable piping bag and snip off the end of the bag.
  5. Pipe drizzles of chocolate onto some of the remaining strawberries and add these to the sheet of baking parchment.
  6. Leave some strawberries plain.
  7. Allow the chocolate to set and then pipe drizzles of the alternative chocolate onto both the dipped and the drizzled strawberries.
  8. Use any remaining chocolate to pipe chocolate shapes onto parchment paper
Assembling, icing and decorating the cake
  1. Place the jam in a bowl and mix with the liqueur.
  2. Cut each of the cooled cakes in half (easiest done with a cake levelling tool).
  3. Cover three of the cake halves with cream and then with jam.
  4. Place each cake half carefully on top of the others, finishing with the plain cake.
  5. Place the cake in the fridge to cool and set for at least 30 minutes.  
  6. While the cake is in  the fridge, make up the icing.
  7. Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl sitting over a pan of simmering water, and let cool slightly.
  8. In another bowl, beat the butter until it's soft and creamy.
  9. Add the sieved icing sugar and beat again until light and fluffy.
  10. Add the raspberry liqueur and chocolate and mix together until everything is glossy and smooth. 
  11. When the cake is set and fairly firm, ice the top and sides, spreading and smoothing with a rubber spatula or palette knife.
  12. Separate the Kitkats into single bars and press firmly around the edge of the iced cake.
  13. Place in fridge again to set for at least 30 minutes.
  14. Once set, top with the raspberries, chocolate dipped strawberries, remaining strawberries and chocolate shapes.


  1. This was one of the best cakes I have made, thanks for the recipe!

  2. Learn how your mood can affect your baked recipe habits and how to and avoid the need for emotional overeating of your favorite comfort foods.