Dad’s Birthday Cake

My dad loves chocolate. He also likes raspberries with his chocolate. At least, I think he does. That’s why I made him a chocolate cake with a Julia Child-inspired raspberry butter filling.

I wanted to celebrate the simplicity of a chocolate cake but dress it up just slightly (it is a birthday, after all) with a raspberry butter glaze. Classy and tasty and without the extra calories of buttercream.

I’m not sure that loaf cakes are generally sliced in half to include a filling, but it was a fun touch. I’m not a big plain chocolate cake fan, so I liked having that raspberry flavor to break it up.

Simple Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Butter Filling (adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s cake here and Julia Child‘s Orange Butter recipe)


– 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter at room temperature
– 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
– 1/4 cup sugar
1. Cream butter until light and fluffy. Add sugars and continue to beat to combine. It may look like it collapses because the brown sugar is heavy, but continue beating and it will come together.

– 1 egg
– 1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
2. Add egg and vanilla and mix just until combined. Scrape down the bowl.

– 1.5 cups cake flour
– 3/4 cup Dutch cocoa powder
– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 1 cup buttermilk
3. Sift dry ingredients together through a mesh strainer 3 times. Add alternately with buttermilk to butter/sugar mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix just until combined. Be sure to scrape down the bowl.

4. Bake at 325F for 55-60 minutes. Remove when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 15 minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack.

Raspberry Butter filling:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
– 1 2/3 cups sugar
– 2 eggs
– 2 egg yolks
– 1/3 cups raspberry puree (I made mine by heating 10 oz. frozen raspberries in a small saucepot
1 teaspoon vanilla vodka (ideally I’d use raspberry liqueur, but, lacking this, the vanilla vodka worked well)

1. Mix everything together in a saucepot over medium-low heat. The sugar will melt, and the mixture will become liquidy. Stir with a whisk consistently because you don’t want the eggs to scramble.

2. Continue stirring and heating until you can see steam rising from the mixture, it’s too hot to stick your finger in it, and it has thickened “like honey” as Julia Child says. Don’t be surprised if this takes you close to 30 minutes.

3. When it’s ready, plunge the saucepot into a bowl of ice water (but don’t get any water in your raspberry mixture) and whisk for another 3-5 minutes (it will really thicken now. Now ready to spread or store in fridge 7-10 days.

When you’re ready to assemble the cake, carefully slice in half with a serrated bread knife. I experimented with a straight-across cut and also a wavy cut.

I was attempting to make some wells to help hold the raspberry filling, but this might have worked better if I had leveled off the other layer’s waves so it wasn’t sitting flush against the trenches. In any case, the rest is pretty self-explanatory: pour in your raspberry filling and spread gently using the back of a spoon or a spatula. Replace the top and press gently. Carefully transport cake to fridge to set.

You can use that raspberry butter as the base for a buttercream (which is what I may do on my next chocolate cake), but otherwise this made for a very nice celebration cake.

Happy birthday, Dad!


One thought on “Dad’s Birthday Cake

  1. Brian Elliott says:

    Wow! I look really old. The cake didn’t last long. I liked it a lot.

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