I had orders for 3 cakes for the weekend, so this was an experiment in cake and frosting recipes so I could be fully prepared.
I made CakeLove's Chocolate cake, which I like a lot, but I don't think it stands out solidly in the world of chocolate cake. There are a million chocolate cake recipes out there, and many of them are worthy of "favorite" standing. So try them all.
I used Martha's dark chocolate frosting recipe.
1/2 cup plus 1 T cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 1 T boiling water
2 1/4 cups (4.5 sticks) butter, room temp
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 t salt
1.5 pounds (24 oz) best quality semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled.
Melt and cool chocolate. Combine boiling water and cocoa powder and stir into a smooth paste. Beat butter, sugar and salt until pale and fluffy. With mixer on low speed, slowly add the chocolate, then the cocoa mixture. Done!
I debated about the filling, and I finally decided on Raspberry. I made Italian Meringue Buttercream (recipe in this post), then added a few ounces of seedless raspberry jam. Once it was mixed in, I was revolted to find it was that pale-pink strawberry ice cream color that was way too homogenous and not interesting at all. I quickly defrosted some frozen raspberries in the microwave and stirred them (and the juice) into the frosting. It was beautiful and mottled and fresh-looking. I was very pleased with the results.
I layered the cake with chocolate ganache and the raspberry frosting, then covering the whole thing in chocolate frosting.
It looked beautiful in the case and is holding up very well. That is one thing I really appreciate about Italian Meringue Buttercream- once chilled, it's very stiff and not going anywhere. It is a good frosting to make a cake with if you don't want it sliding all over the car. For this same reason, it's best to eat it at room temp when its not so stiff.