My current favorite show on TV is MasterChef Australia. I watch it almost religiously each night (except Saturdays, which is the only day of the week that it isn’t on). It’s gotten to the point where, anytime I’m actually cooking or baking something from a recipe it feels like Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston are looking over my shoulders, probably getting ready to play some mind games with me and ask if I think what I’m doing will turn out okay, or if I’ll finish in time.
I can’t say that watching MasterChef has made me any better in the kitchen. I have learned a couple of tricks and gained an ounce or two of knowledge about something or other. For instance, I don’t use a garlic crusher anymore; I use a knife and finely chop the garlic instead (Matt Moran is apparently disgusted with garlic crushers as they bruise the garlic). And if I need mayonnaise again, I’ll be making my own (Gary, George and Matt were obviously disgusted when one contestant used a jar of pre-made mayonnaise). Just things like that, I’ve learned. Nothing too life-changing.
My favorite parts of MasterChef are the Invention Tests (where the contestants have to make a dish based on one theme ingredient) and the Pressure Tests (where the 3 contestants of the least-liked dishes from the Invention Tests have to face off and one will be eliminated). One week, at one of these Pressure Tests, the dish they had to prepare was a black forest cake (recipe & photo here). This cake was 5 layers of sponge cake, chocolate ganache, mascarpone, hazelnut praline mousse, cherries, shaved chocolate, more cherries, it was like the black forest cake to end all black forest cakes.
I thought to myself, Hey, I could make one of those! Easy! Okay, well, I admit, I couldn’t do it in the specified time limit though. But I felt good knowing that I could have probably made that monster of a cake. Eventually, I decided to make it in my own kitchen.
But I changed my mind. I would borrow some elements of the black forest cake and create my own cake. I love chocolate and raspberries together, and I love mascarpone. I started scribbling my ideas down in a notebook and drew a little sketch (although a pretty bad sketch; I am terrible at drawing!). From these ideas, this cake was born:
And I’m proud of this little beauty, even though she has her faults (well, just one). This cake was a few weeks in the making, mostly because fresh raspberries are expensive ($9 for a punnet!) and I had trouble bringing myself to purchase them. But I kept dreaming about it. What is awesome is that what you see in the photo above is an exact, perfect replica of how I wanted this cake to look as I was scribbling down my notes.
My raspberry cream cake is made up of 2 layers of chocolate sponge cake. The cakes sandwich a filling of the best quality red raspberry jam under a generous heap of mascarpone cream, which is flecked with Madagascan Bourbon vanilla beans. On top, a thick coating of delicious, smooth chocolate ganache drizzles down the sides and it is rimmed with fresh raspberries.
Wow, I was so happy with how it looked. And it makes me proud to say that despite the one major flaw with this cake, the cake barely survived past 24 hours. I gave a generous slice to my mother-in-law. I had a total of 3 slices, my daughter had 1 slice, and my husband, well, he had the majority of it!
You’re probably wondering what this one flaw was that I keep talking about. Well, the flaw was with the cake itself. And the flaw was a result of my own mistake by over-mixing the cake batter. It ended up being a little tough and quite dry, not fluffy or moist at all. It definitely would not have impressed Gary, George or Matt in the least. It was disappointing.
The dry cake didn’t bother my mother-in-law or husband, however, so I guess it wasn’t that bad. But I notice these things, as I am heavily influenced by watching MasterChef too much!
Anyway, if you’d like to try your hand at my chocolate raspberry cream cake, you’ll find all the recipes for each component in the cake below. And let me know how it ends up! If you like, you could even skip the chocolate sponge cake and use your favorite chocolate cake recipe instead.
- For the chocolate sponge:
- 7 eggs
- 250g caster sugar
- 200g plain flour
- 50g cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Best quality red raspberry jam, for assembly
- Fresh raspberries, for assembly
- For the cream filling:
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 113g mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
- For the ganache glaze:
- 75ml heavy cream
- 100g chopped dark chocolate
- For the chocolate sponge: Preheat oven to 160°C fan forced. Grease and line 2 x 20cm springform cake pans.
- Add eggs and sugar to a heatproof bowl of an electric mixer, and set over a saucepan of simmering water over very low heat. Whisk the mixture until 37°C. Remove the bowl from the heat and beat with an electric mixer on a medium-low speed for 5-8 minutes or until the mixture has cooled and thickened to a mousse-like consistency. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together twice. Using a large metal spoon, fold the dry mixture into the egg mixture in 3 batches until combined, adding the vanilla extract with the first dry batch.
- Pour the mixture into the lined cake pans and smooth surface. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until sponge springs back when lightly touched. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pans, then turn out onto wire racks. Cool completely.
- For the cream filling: With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat, or cream will be grainy). In another bowl, whisk together mascarpone, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla seeds until smooth. Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until completely incorporated.
- For the ganache glaze: Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Set aside. Bring the cream to just below boiling point in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat, then add the melted chocolate and stir until smooth. Allow to cool until thick but still pouring consistency.
- Assembly: Place one cake on serving plate. Spread a layer of best quality red raspberry jam on top (however much you like). Dollop and gently spread with an offset spatula the mascarpone cream filling on top. Leave some space around the edge to allow the filling to spread after the top layer is placed on it. Place the second cake on top of the mascarpone cream filling, with the flat side facing up. Push down very gently to make sure the top is even and flat. Pour chocolate ganache on top and spread it evenly to the edges with an offset spatula, allowing some chocolate to drizzle down the sides of the cake. Evenly dot the rim of the cake with fresh raspberries.