Chocolate Raspberry Cake {gluten-free}

This Chocolate Raspberry Cake is a foolproof gluten-free buttermilk chocolate cake, sandwiched with a simple fresh raspberry swiss meringue buttercream.

This Chocolate Raspberry Cake is a foolproof gluten-free buttermilk chocolate cake, sandwiched with a simple fresh raspberry swiss meringue buttercream.

My house is calm and silent. My toddler has slept in his own bed for the full night through in weeks and my husband’s alarm hasn’t yet shrieked for him to get up and get dressed. If my husband is still in bed no doubt the dog is snuggled up next to him, both as unwilling to start the day as the other. The cats have been fed, one of which is curled comfortably around this laptop, her belly in the air for attention and the other is still eating his breakfast. Yet I am awake, googling recipes and writing. Despite my eye constantly twitching from excessive exhaustion, my whole body feeling so big and heavy all it wants to do is sink within our brand new duvet cover and hug my pregnancy pillow close to me, I am up and awake. Why? Welcome to the third trimester of pregnancy.

This Chocolate Raspberry Cake is a foolproof gluten-free buttermilk chocolate cake, sandwiched with a simple fresh raspberry swiss meringue buttercream.

I remember first time round people saying that the reason you can’t sleep in this final stage of pregnancy is nature’s way of getting you ready for all the sleepless nights ahead. I don’t need getting ready though, I’ve been having those for a couple of years already and I know the drill. What I need now is a head start on sleep to get ready for my return to night feeds but someone else has other ideas. This little baby I’m carrying is super active and wakes me up all night through twisting and squirming, except when I need to turn over which practically requires the assistance of a fork-lift truck or I need the loo for the twentieth time or my mouth is desert dry and can only be appeased by a gallon of water. Couple these restless nights with a day of full-time commitment to an extremely bouncy, chatty, effervescent and hungry toddler in potty-training then it’s safe to say my head is in a scramble and my body is like a lead balloon with the shape to match. How I long for the days of my first pregnancy when afternoons were given over to the Food Network and lazy naps on the sofa with a mountain of chocolate by my side.

This Chocolate Raspberry Cake is a foolproof gluten-free buttermilk chocolate cake, sandwiched with a simple fresh raspberry swiss meringue buttercream.

In fact the only thing that hasn’t changed is the mountain of chocolate. It’s fuel to me at the moment. Luke asked if we wanted to do anything for Valentine’s Day this year and I scoffed at the thought of going out. Meals out are not fun at this stage. I can’t eat a lot and feel very uncomfortable sitting at a table for any length of time. Plus all I really want to eat is the pudding so the rest of the meal is somewhat wasted. The cinema also puts me off, I’m not sure I could be in those skinny seats for a great length of time in front of an Oscar bait film. I’d rather watch something that didn’t make me think or cry at the moment. Also they finish way past my bedtime.

This Chocolate Raspberry Cake is a foolproof gluten-free buttermilk chocolate cake, sandwiched with a simple fresh raspberry swiss meringue buttercream.

So we’re celebrating Valentine’s this year with Netflix and Chocolate Raspberry Cake and I couldn’t be more happy. In fact, I don’t know why I’m blaming any of this lethargy on the pregnancy, really Netflix and chocolate cake are my go-to way to have a kicking time babies or no babies.

This Chocolate Raspberry Cake epitomises my favourite way of baking and eating cake. Simple and no-fuss. The gluten-free chocolate cake itself is one of my favourites that I return to time and time again. It’s moist and tangy from the buttermilk but incredibly chocolately thanks to cocoa powder and melted 70% dark chocolate.

This Chocolate Raspberry Cake is a foolproof gluten-free buttermilk chocolate cake, sandwiched with a simple fresh raspberry swiss meringue buttercream.

If you haven’t made swiss meringue buttercream before then I urge you to splash out on the extra time it takes. It sounds complicated as there are a couple of extra steps involved compared to a buttercream made with just icing sugar and butter but if you’re a regular reader or a customer of my cake stall then you’ll be aware that swiss meringue buttercream is my cake covering of choice. It’s not too sweet, incredibly buttery and is so easy to work with. If pureeing the fresh raspberries seems a little too much effort on top of making the buttercream then you can always use raspberry powder which also gives a lovely zingy flavour and colour to your buttercream but I thought fresh raspberries suited the celebration of Valentine’s Day.

This Chocolate Raspberry Cake is a foolproof gluten-free buttermilk chocolate cake, sandwiched with a simple fresh raspberry swiss meringue buttercream.

The piped roses on the top of the cake are a cinch I promise and if you are just making this cake for you and your Valentine now is the perfect time to practice as they two of you won’t care. All you need is a Wilton 1M nozzle, a piping bag and five extra minutes. Hold your piping bag straight up above the cake without angling it at all then squeeze the buttercream out in a circular motion starting from the centre. You want the swirls to be slightly on top of each other so they are nice and tight. However, they don’t have to be neat or perfect buttercream roses by any stretch as once they are all piped onto the cake then the effect is lovely no matter what your piping skills are like. If one rose goes wrong, just pipe another on top to cover it or use a palette knife to carefully lift it off the top of the cake and start again. Actually this is a much quicker cake to decorate than covering the whole affair in a smooth buttercream icing as you’re not faffing for ages getting the corners perfect.

This Chocolate Raspberry Cake is a foolproof gluten-free buttermilk chocolate cake, sandwiched with a simple fresh raspberry swiss meringue buttercream.

So I may be tired, over-emotional, maybe a little complainy, definitely huge and always hungry but at least I have a big hefty Chocolate Raspberry Cake to devour this Valentine’s with my partner-in-crime.

This Chocolate Raspberry Cake is a foolproof gluten-free buttermilk chocolate cake, sandwiched with a simple fresh raspberry swiss meringue buttercream.

Print Recipe
Chocolate Raspberry Cake {gluten-free}
This Chocolate Raspberry Cake is a foolproof gluten-free buttermilk chocolate cake, sandwiched with a simple fresh raspberry swiss meringue buttercream.
This Chocolate Raspberry Cake is a foolproof gluten-free buttermilk chocolate cake, sandwiched with a simple fresh raspberry swiss meringue buttercream.
Prep Time 1.5 hours
Cook Time 35 minutes
Servings
12-14 people
Ingredients
  • 125 g dark chocolate
  • 150 g white rice flour
  • 60 g oat flour
  • 20 g tapioca flour
  • 90 g cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 400 g buttermilk
  • 160 g caster sugar
  • 160 g soft light brown sugar
  • 170 ml olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • 210 g egg whites around 7
  • 350 g caster sugar
  • 425 g unsalted butter at room temperature, cubed
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 300 g raspberries
Prep Time 1.5 hours
Cook Time 35 minutes
Servings
12-14 people
Ingredients
  • 125 g dark chocolate
  • 150 g white rice flour
  • 60 g oat flour
  • 20 g tapioca flour
  • 90 g cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 400 g buttermilk
  • 160 g caster sugar
  • 160 g soft light brown sugar
  • 170 ml olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • 210 g egg whites around 7
  • 350 g caster sugar
  • 425 g unsalted butter at room temperature, cubed
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 300 g raspberries
This Chocolate Raspberry Cake is a foolproof gluten-free buttermilk chocolate cake, sandwiched with a simple fresh raspberry swiss meringue buttercream.
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 160°C and line and grease 2 x 8 inch round cake tins.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie or a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, then set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, espresso powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt until well mixed.
  4. In a separate bowl mix together the buttermilk, sugars, olive oil, eggs and vanilla then beat into the flour mixture.
  5. Finally mix in the melted chocolate until completely incorporated.
  6. Divide the mixture between the 2 cake tins and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean.
  7. Turn out the cakes and cool on wire racks before covering with buttercream.
Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  1. Heat the egg whites and caster sugar in a bain marie, or a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the temperature has reached 71°C.
  2. Remove the egg whites and sugar from the heat and pour into a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Whisk until the meringue forms firm peaks.
  3. Change the attachment to a paddle attachment. On a low speed add the butter slowly cube by cube. When you have almost added all the butter the mixture will look curdled. Do not fret – this is supposed to happen and just means you are nearly done. Just continue to add all the butter. Once the butter is totally incorporated the buttercream will miraculously become a smooth velvety consistency.
  4. Make the raspberry puree by tipping all the raspberries into a blender and blending on high for a couple of minutes. Press the puree through a sieve to remove the seeds.
  5. Then add the raspberry puree to the buttercream along with the vanilla extract and salt. At first the buttercream will look curdled again but just mix for a couple of minutes until it returns to its smooth state.
Assembly
  1. Spread the buttercream in an even layer over one of the chocolate cakes, then place the second chocolate cake on top.
  2. Smooth out the buttercream squidging from the centre of the cakes with a palette knife to create the naked effect.
  3. Pipe buttercream roses on top of the cake until completely covered.
  4. You can keep the cake in the fridge until needed but do serve the cake at room temperature.

SHOP THE RECIPE

The cake tins I always use are these PME Anodised Aluminium Round Cake Pan 8 x 4-Inch Deep which are wonderful as they have completely straight sides so your layer cakes will be beautifully neat, the anodised aluminium means the heat disperses evenly throughout the cake without cooking the sides too quickly, which some darker cake tins do. The cakes slip out of the tins easily and they come in all the sizes you would need, although typically I use the 8 inch tins.

For checking the temperature of your egg white sugar syrup when making your swiss meringue buttercream don’t be without a Classic SuperFast Thermapen 3 professional food thermometer in grey colour It gives quick and accurate temperature readings meaning you can don’t have to guess at any temperatures when making candy, caramel or fancy buttercreams. I use mine all the time.

The piping tip I used in this recipe is the Wilton Number 1M Carded Open Star Tip which can so many different kinds of piping patterns and is one of the most useful piping tips to have handy.

I find these huge disposable piping bags are the most robust ones you can buy, I do get a huge pack of them as the worst thing is to get ready to ice your cake and discover you don’t have any piping bags left. I use disposable as I bake a lot of cakes and find washing up the re-usable piping bags takes a lot of time and I can never get them totally clean. I use these piping bags for everything from cupcakes to drizzling melted chocolate to piping a straight level of buttercream evenly over a whole layer cake. This 1 Roll of Savoy Disposable Piping Bags – 100 21 Bags by Cn-Ice is an absolutely invaluable piece of kit in my baking.

The links above are affiliate links which means if you decide you want to click through to buy then Amazon gives me a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever. I will only recommend products I use in my kitchen and love. It’s just a way for me to fund the blog so if you do click through then many thanks!!

Escape (The Pinã Colada Cake)

(Escape) The Pina Colada Cake

This recipe is not yet gluten-free

One of the film websites I read recently had a feature where all the contributors had written about the worst tropes which are fallen back on time and time again on film and TV. One particular entry on this list decried the timeworn use of characters dancing in the kitchen. The writer said it was clichéd, unrealistic and twee. ‘C’mon, who does that?’ they lamented. Well, I do as it happens. I do it a lot to boot and I don’t mind who knows it. Obviously.

The two examples of this common trope which immediately spring to mind are at the end of Mermaids which I re-watched last week where they wiggle along to ‘If You Wanna Be Happy’ whilst setting the table. This scene not only led me to become obsessed with that song when I was young, but also made me desperate to be part of their wackadoo family. As a sidenote, I was extra surprised and saddened to hear of Bob Hoskins’ passing a few days ago as it felt like I had only just seen him on top form, I had forgotten he was in Mermaids and on my re-watch his was the performance I enjoyed the most. Such a wonderful actor.

The second example is in the classic episode of Dawson’s Creek when the gang all band together to save the Potter B&B by dancing around the kitchen at breakfast time. Of course their dancing seduces the grouchy critic Mr Fricke into thinking that the Potter B&B is the best place he’s ever stayed in the world and they get a stellar write up. Works every time; Four in a Bed take note. I refuse to believe that these moments are embarrassment ridden or cheesy but they certainly serve as encouragement for me to dance more, for better or for worse.

Pina Colada Cake  |  Stroud Green Larder

In our house we love to dance badly everywhere, the poorer the dancing is the better. We throw ourselves around to the radio first thing in the morning, in the sitting room to perk us up on a Saturday afternoon and most importantly and significantly for this post, in the kitchen. Whilst waiting for butter and sugar to cream, whilst thumbing through cookbooks and most common of all when we are doing the washing up. It is the only thing that makes the dreary chore remotely bearable.

From his very first afternoon in our house whilst we were making the Sunday lunch Puppy has found our love of crazy dancing the best thing in the world. All I have to do is start to shimmy a little bit in time with Katy Perry and he has jumped up ecstatically, paws reaching for my hands so we can prance round the kitchen absurdly like a couple of escaped lunatics. The cats aren’t as impressed.

There are a few songs which absolutely guarantee a good old bop, our current favourite is Pharrell Williams’ Happy which is just invokes such joy but also sends me into fits as it goes hand in hand with those gosh darn hilarious minions. A particular favourite though, and you’ll be happy to know I am now coming to the crux of the matter, is Escape (The Pinã Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes. We always put it on when feeling gloomy to cheer ourselves up. As soon as its opening drum beat kicks in Puppy immediately assumes the Tom Cruise from Cocktail swagger, well if Tom Cruise were tiny, furry, four-legged and drunk; still he has the charm in spades.

Pina Colada Cake  |  Stroud Green Larder

I was obviously listening to this song when I dreamt up this cake and the thought of it makes me smile, not just because it’s delicious but it also incorporates all the happy-go-lucky flavours of sunshine and paradise. It reminds me of dancing round my kitchen with my family and most importantly, it has glace cherries.

I have made this cake several times now and usually when I make something repeatedly I like to tweak things here and there, perhaps modify the icing, take a layer out, change the decoration. This incarnation though was perfect the first time I baked it and I have made it the same way ever since, even down to the number of cocktail umbrellas on the top.

This cake was made this week for a double celebration, it was a request from my husband whose birthday it was a few days ago and I also wanted to include it here to mark my official 99th post. Now, many people may choose to celebrate going into triple figures but hey I like 99. Plus it’s the bank holiday so I wanted to make sure this recipe was on offer to you should you want to make it and dream you are escaping to a tropical island.

Pina Colada Cake  |  Stroud Green Larder

Escape (The Pinã Colada Cake)

Coconut and Malibu Cake
Adapted from Dan Lepard’s recipe in Short and Sweet

150ml coconut milk
50g unsweetened desiccated coconut
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
60ml Malibu
300g caster sugar
250g unsalted butter, softened
3 eggs
275g plain flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder

  1. Heat the coconut milk until boiling then remove from the heat and stir in the desiccated coconut, vanilla and Malibu. Leave to soak for 30 minutes so the coconut softens.
  2. Meanwhile heat the oven to 180°C then line and grease 3 x 20cm round sandwich tins.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer on high for about 5 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time until evenly combined.
  5. Sift the flour with the baking powder. Fold into the butter, sugar and eggs alternately with the coconut mixture until just incorporated.
  6. Divide between the tins and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Pineapple Curd

1 227g tin pineapple chunks, whizzed up with juice in blender
3 egg yolks
2½ tablespoons cornflour
75g caster sugar

  1. In a small bowl blend the cornflour with a bit of the whizzed up pineapple until it’s formed a smooth paste.
  2. Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and stir constantly on a medium heat until it begins to boil. Turn down heat and keep stirring as it thickens. Remove from heat and leave to cool.

Pineapple Frosting

8 egg whites (or 240g egg whites)
400g caster sugar
540g unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into cubes
¼ teaspoon salt
250g pineapple curd

  1. Heat egg whites and caster sugar in a bain-marie, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the temperature has reached 160°F.
  2. Remove the egg whites and sugar from the heat and pour into a stand mixer with whisk attachment. Whisk until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
  3. Change the attachment to a paddle attachment. On a low speed add the butter slowly cube by cube. When you have almost added all the butter the mixture will curdle curiously. Do not fret – this is supposed to happen. Just continue to add all the butter. Once the butter is totally incorporated the frosting will miraculously become a smooth velvety consistency.
  4. Add the salt and the pineapple curd. Mix in quickly and lightly.

Decorate the cake with toasted desiccated coconut, sun-dried pineapple, glace cherries and cocktail umbrellas.