Sweet raspberry preserves are the perfect fruity filling for this decadent Chocolate Raspberry Cake! You’ll love the light, moist layers of chocolate cake and rich chocolate frosting!
Homemade Chocolate Cake With Raspberry Filling
Chocolate goes well with so many different flavors. There’s the classic combination of chocolate and peanut butter, of course, and then fruit—chocolate and strawberries, chocolate and oranges, chocolate and cherries. Of all the options, though, I think the duo of chocolate and raspberry is among my top picks, especially after making this Chocolate Raspberry Cake.
This recipe pairs homemade chocolate cake layers with a rich chocolate buttercream and a filling made from raspberry preserves. Because everything else is made from scratch, using store-bought preserves is a welcome shortcut, but it doesn’t make this Chocolate Raspberry Cake taste any less homemade!
Serve your cake with fresh raspberries on top, and maybe a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream. (Cheesecake Whipped Cream, Coffee Whipped Cream, or Chocolate Whipped Cream would be perfect with this recipe!)
What You’ll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
For the chocolate cake:
- All-purpose flour
- Granulated sugar
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Eggs – Let these come to room temperature before starting the recipe.
- Milk – Use 2% or whole milk; this should also be room temperature.
- Vegetable oil
- Vanilla extract
- Boiling water
For the chocolate buttercream:
- Unsalted butter – Let this come to room temperature, too.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Powdered sugar – Also known as confectioners’ sugar.
- Milk – The same kind you used in the cake is fine.
- Vanilla extract
- Raspberry preserves
- Fresh raspberries – Wash and dry them well; you don’t want water collecting in them and leaking out onto your frosting! If you’d like, you can also add halved raspberries to the jam filling.
Natural vs. Dutch Process Cocoa Powder: Which Is Best in a Cake?
Both natural cocoa powder and Dutch process cocoa powder will work in this cake recipe. Dutch process cocoa has a deeper chocolate flavor than natural cocoa powder because it’s been treated with an alkalizing agent. This treatment neutralizes the acidity in the cocoa powder, resulting in a chocolate flavor that’s less bitter and more intense.
How to Make Chocolate Raspberry Cake
When planning your baking, be sure to account for the fact that the cakes will need to cool completely before assembling and frosting.
Make the Cake:
Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350°F and coat three 8-inch cake pans with nonstick baking spray. Place a parchment circle in the bottom of each pan.
Combine the dry ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl), whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and baking powder.
Finish the batter. Add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla to the dry ingredients. Beat the mixture on medium-high speed for two minutes, then stir in the boiling water.
Bake. Divide the batter between the three cake pans and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the cake springs back when gently poked in the center.
Cool. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then carefully remove them from the pans and set them on wire racks to finish cooling.
Make the Chocolate Buttercream:
Beat the butter and cocoa powder. Combine the butter and cocoa powder in the bowl of your mixer and beat until fluffy.
Add the sugar. Slowly add the powdered sugar, mixing on low until it’s incorporated.
Finish. Slowly pour the milk and vanilla into the frosting and mix until fluffy, about 2 minutes. If it seems stiff, continue mixing for another minute or two to incorporate more air and make it fluffier.
Get started. Use a serrated knife to trim off the domed tops of the cakes so they are level. Place the first layer on a cake plate or cardboard circle.
Stack the layers. Spread a quarter-inch layer of chocolate buttercream on top of the cake, then spread half of the raspberry preserves over this. Repeat with the second layer, then place the third layer on top.
Do a crumb coat. Spread a thin layer of buttercream around the entire cake, then refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Frost and decorate. Spread a thicker layer of buttercream over the crumb coat and smooth the edges. Use a pastry bag and star tip to pipe swirls of frosting along the edges of the cake (as pictured), and top each with a raspberry.
Should You Refrigerate a Cake Before Frosting?
There’s no need to refrigerate your cake before frosting it, but you do need to make sure it’s completely cool. That said, you will need to pop the cake in the refrigerator after applying the crumb coat; this helps it set up so you can add the next layer of frosting.
Tips for Assembling and Frosting a Layer Cake
If you’ve never made a layer cake before, you might be feeling a little bit intimidated, but it’s a lot easier than you might expect. Here are some tips to help you make a perfect Chocolate Raspberry Cake:
- Make sure the cake layers are even. Since this cake has 3 layers, it’s important to trim off the domed tops, otherwise your cake will be much taller in the middle than it is on the edges. If you have a cake leveler, use that, otherwise use a serrated knife. I like to do this on a turntable; place the knife right on the edge of the dome and turn the turntable around until the knife gets through the cake.
- Smoothing the sides. If you have a bench scraper, it’s the perfect tool for smoothing out the frosting on the sides of the cake. Just run it along the sides while you turn the plate, turntable, or lazy Susan. If you bake often, you might want to invest in a cake scraper, which is designed for this purpose.
- Don’t skip the crumb coat and chilling. Not only does this result in a smoother frosting without crumbs caught in it, it also helps seal in the jam filling so it doesn’t spill out from the sides.
How to Store
This cake is best enjoyed the day it’s made, but it will keep for up to a week in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Let it sit on the counter for a few minutes, then serve.
Can This Cake Be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze Chocolate Raspberry Cake for up to three months. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then place it in a freezer-safe container or bag. Thaw the cake overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
Chocolate Raspberry Cake
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 ½ cups milk (2% or whole) room temperature
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cup boiling water
- 4 sticks unsalted butter 2 cups, room temperature
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 8 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cups raspberry preserves
- fresh raspberries to garnish
- Heat oven to 350°F. Spray three 8-inch cake pans with nonstick baking spray and add a parchment circle to the bottoms.
- Whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of your mixer.
- Add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla to the mixing bowl. Beat the mixture on medium-high speed for two minutes. Stir in the boiling water.
- Pour your batter equally between the three cake pans.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the cake springs back when touched gently.
- Let the cakes cool in the pans for five minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely before frosting.
- In the bowl of your mixer cream, combine the butter and cocoa powder together.
- Place the mixer on low speed and slowly incorporate the powdered sugar until all of it is incorporated.
- Pour the milk and vanilla slowly into the buttercream and allow it to mix until light and fluffy, about two minutes.
- Trim off the domed top of your cakes so they are level.
- Place one cake layer on a plate or your cardboard circle. Spread a layer of chocolate buttercream on top of the cake about a quarter-inch thick. Spread half of the raspberry preserves on top of the buttercream. Repeat this with the next layer finishing up with a cake layer at the top.
- Spread a thin layer of buttercream around the whole cake and place them in the fridge for 15 minutes. This is a crumb coat and will help hold the crumbs in while frosting the outside of the cake.
- Add a thicker layer of buttercream around the cake and smooth out the edges.
- Pipe swirls of buttercream onto your cake using a pastry bag fitted with a star piping tip.
- Add raspberries to each buttercream swirl.
- Use good quality cocoa powder because this will affect the flavor the most.
- Don’t use cold ingredients in the batter. Using room temperature ingredients helps the cake rise and mix into the batter easier.
- If your buttercream seems stiff, try mixing it for an extra minute or two to help incorporate air to make it fluffy.
- Don’t skip the chill time for the cake or your layers of cake are sure to slide around.
- Use a lazy susan if you don’t have a cake turntable.
- How to store: This cake is best enjoyed the day it’s made, but it will keep for up to a week in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Let it sit on the counter for a few minutes, then serve.
- How to freeze: You can freeze Chocolate Raspberry Cake for up to three months. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then place it in a freezer-safe container or bag. Thaw the cake overnight in the refrigerator before serving.