Big Birthday Cake for my Little Brother

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My “little” brother turned 30 this year, and that makes me feel older than my own 30th birthday did! My brother is the general manager of a local bar, so we decided to celebrate his birthday there and let some of his staff and customers in on the celebration. I decided  I’d make two cakes for his birthday, one for our family dinner, and one for the celebration at the bar.

The big cake was a moist chocolate cake covered in chocolate ganache with a hint of Chambord, filled with the same ganache and seedless raspberry jam. Yum, yum, yum. I am a big fan of chocolate and raspberry, and this was the best combination yet! I also made a small amount of white chocolate ganache flavored with Chambord to use for decoration. Obviously I need to work on writing on cake…Ganache probably wasn’t the easiest to start with! The white chocolate, however messy, was a great contrast to the rest of the cake,

This cake recipe is large..it made 2 full 9×13 layers! I ended up mixing the batter in halves based on the suggestion of Deb at Smitten Kitchen, the blogger I got the recipe from…the full recipe would have been way too much for my mixer to handle.

Chocolate Butter Cake with Bittersweet Chambord Ganache
adapted from  Smitten Kitchen

Cake:
5 1/3 C. cake flour
5 1/3 C. sugar
2 2/3 C. unsweetened cocoa powder (not dutch process)
6 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
5 1/3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 2/3 C. buttermilk
5 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk
2 2/3 C. freshly brewed coffee
1 C. seedless raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 2 9×13 inch pans with baking spray, and line bottom of pans with parchment paper.

Combine dry ingredients in large mixer bowl. Whisk ingredients until combined. Add buttermilk and butter and mix on low until moistened. Increase speed to medium high and mix until batter is light and fluffy, between 2-3 minutes.

Combine eggs and coffee in a medium bowl, and whisk until combined. Add to batter in 3 additions, scraping down the bowl after each addition and mixing until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pans, each pan uses about 5 1/2 cups batter.

Bake at 350 55-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.

Let cool in pans on wire rack 10-15 minutes, then carefully turn cakes out onto rack to cool completely.

Bittersweet Chambord Ganache

2 lbs bittersweet chocolate chips, I used Ghiridelli
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 C. heavy cream
1/3 C. chambord liqueur

Place chocolate chips in large bowl. Heat cream in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, removing from heat just before it boils. Pour over chocolate chips, and let sit for one minute. Whisk until smooth, then add butter, continuing to whisk until smooth. Stir in liqueur, and let cool to room temperature.

Assemble cake:

Place one layer on cake board and top with a thin layer of cooled ganache. Let ganache set, then spread 1 cup raspberry jam on top. Top with 2nd layer, and apply thin coat of ganache as a crumb coat to top and sides of cake. Let ganache set, then spread the remaining ganache over top and sides of cake. Top with fresh raspberries.

Enjoy, and let me know what you think!!

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