Tag Archives: dessert

Lemon Berry Custard Pies (GF +Vegan, No Added Sugar)


Vegan Lemon Custard Berry Pies @Spoonwithme.com (13 of 15)

I’m quickly becoming a dessert activist.  The little people in my head are marching around with picket signs and chanting Vegans are sweet too!  Dairy-free treats are fun to eat!  Mo dairy, mo problems!  Gluten-free sweets are great for me!  Desserts ain’t just for the iron-clad belly!Sensitive belly?  Oh welly!  Sweets and peace for everyone!  Make vegan bellies happy!  This month, I celebrate 7 years as a cancer warrior.  Cancer has taught me to be creative and adaptable, to live well in the face of challenges.

Vegan Lemon Custard Berry Pies @Spoonwithme.com (2 of 15)

I created this recipe for a fellow cancer survivor who eats a diet completely free of added sugars.  At first, my brain drew a blank.  I love stevia as a sugar free sweetener, but normally use it in combination with another sugar source such as honey, agave or coconut sugar to round out its slight bitterness.  What’s sweet but not processed?  I tossed in a few soaked dates, which added the deep sugary roundness I was looking for.  Even the Mister, a self-proclaimed stevia hater, approved.

Vegan Lemon Custard Berry Pies @Spoonwithme.com (3 of 15)

Within the strict parameters of the sensitive belly’s diet, the sugar cravers get creative!  Just because you can’t indulge in the typical milk, sugar and gluten-laden treats doesn’t mean you have to sit in a corner eating a piece of fruit, or worse, nothing, while everyone else indulges in a creatively and deliciously concocted dessert.  Nobody puts Baby in the corner!

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Vegan Lemon Custard Berry Pies @Spoonwithme.com (5 of 15)

These little desserts come with a salty sweet crust made with toasted coconut, nuts, dates, and sea salt.  This is a versatile crust that can be used with any dessert or pie that doesn’t have to be baked after filling.  The creamy custard-like filling will make you question everything you thought you knew about vegan desserts.   When layered together, it’s salty-sweet, nutty, and creamy, with a lemony zing to wake up the tastebuds from a their long winter’s nap.  On top, a colorful burst of flavor from berries.

Vegan Lemon Custard Berry Pies @Spoonwithme.com (6 of 15)

Vegan Lemon Custard Berry Pies @Spoonwithme.com (1 of 15)

These little guys would be equally suited to a small informal event such as a dinner party or baby shower, and a fancier event like a wedding.  I always get the most gratification when people who think that the dessert couldn’t possibly fit their dietary needs’  eyes light up when they they discover they can partake along with everyone else.  Eating dessert is such a sensory experience, a way to share something enjoyable with those around us.  When I have the occasion to eat dessert, it’s because I’m with friends.  We’re having fun!  We’re spoiling ourselves, and even the belly-challenged among us need spoiling every now and then.

Vegan Lemon Custard Berry Pies @Spoonwithme.com (7 of 15)

Phew!  Now that we’ve found dessert peace and harmony, we can commence rock-starring our way through life’s other challenges!

Vegan Lemon Custard Berry Pies @Spoonwithme.com (1 of 1)

Lemon Berry Custard Pies   (vegan + Gluten-Free, no added sugar)

Makes 6 quarter-pint mason jar pies

For the “custard”:

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in boiling water for an hour, or in cold water overnight
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (reserve the zest to garnish)
  • 1 cup chilled coconut cream (see note)*
  • 3/4 tsp powdered stevia
  • 3-5 pitted dates, soaked in hot water for an hour
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla

For the crust: 

  • 1/2 c cup roughly chopped pitted Dates, chopped
  • 3/4 cups cups mixed raw nuts, toasted and cooled slightly
  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, toast in dry pan for about 2 min, or until slightly golden and fragrant
  • 1-2 pinches of sea salt, to taste


  • 2 cups berries, sliced or chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • zest from 1-2 lemons

Equipment Needed:

  • Quarter pint jars, ramekins or muffin liners for serving
  • Blender
  • Food processor

Blend the filling:

Blend the cashews, lemon juice and chilled coconut cream very thoroughly in a blender, pushing down the sides with a spatula as you go.  If needed, add a very small amount of the coconut liquid to loosen it up if it won’t blend.  Blend in the stevia.  Add the dates, one at a time, tasting after each addition (I used three).  Blend in the vanilla.

Make the crust:

Blend nuts with coconut in a food processor.  Add the non-soaked dates gradually and pulse until they are incorporated.  Blend in the salt to taste.

Press 2 tablespoons of crust mixture into the bottom of each mason jar or muffin liner in a muffin tin.  Spoon some of the cashew custard mixture over top.  Chill in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours, or quick chill in freezer for 20-30 minutes (the texture will end up firmer than a pudding but not as firm as cheesecake).

Top with the chopped berries and garnish with lemon zest.

*When using coconut cream to make into pie fillings, whipped cream, etc, it is important to use the white cream and avoid the clear liquid.  If you can’t find coconut cream, you can use 2-3 cans full-fat coconut milk.  The cream should be at the top after chilling.  Just scoop it out and discard or reserve the clear liquid for another use.  I like Trader Joe’s and Thai Kitchen brands.  I have also found good quality coconut cream at Asian grocery stores. 



Filed under Desserts, Vegetarian and Vegan

Key Lime Pie (raw, vegan, gf)



SPOOOOOONSHAAAAAKE!  What is a spoon shake, you ask?  Well, as I told my slightly confused new friends around the table, spooning brings people together.  (I knew you would agree, readers).  It was night one of a week-long First Descents kayak camp, only this time, I was there as sous chef Flip Flop, and not kayaker / cancer ninja  badass Flip Flop (although I would still consider myself a cancer ninja badass, even while making hummus).  As many of you know, when I get started on the subject of First Descents, I get slightly manic as I try to get across just how life changing this organization is for everyone involved.  As a cancer fighter and survivor, I have attended two kayak programs (which you can read about here and here). This time, chef Curly Kale and I would be cooking nourishing meals (breakfast, lunch, happy hour, dinner, and dessert for 22 cancer survivors and volunteers.  An intimidating feat, for sure!



(Makin’ hummus and takin’ names!)

Normally, when I step off a plane for a First Descents trip, I’m carrying a little bit of nervousness, some quick-dry clothing, and a healthy serving of excited giddiness.  This time, I arrived with an extra loads, both physically and mentally.  TSA finds it amusing and unsettling when one carries a 7 1/2 pound cast iron skillet through security, but they can’t stop you.  Fortunately, there aren’t any regulations on cookware!  My mental heaviness came from just having wrapped up a difficult round of testing at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.  I didn’t know how I would muster up the strength to be in a support role when I was feeling so unstable myself, but I had faith that the FD magic would kick in and that in supporting and nourishing other cancer survivors, I would be fed and nourished as well.


(TSA’s worst nightmare)

Throughout the week, I got to witness the re-building, re-strengthening, and charging up  of 15 amazing cancer survivors.  Everyday, my new spoon buddies came back with a little more of a spark in their eyes, holding themselves up a little higher than before.  I felt grateful to be a part of their experience.  Somewhere along the way, I began to see myself in them, remembering my first kayaking trip and the strengthening that happened  that week in my own life.  I started to get that old familiar feeling of You got this, Flip-Flop!  You can do this!  Cancer may take some things away, but there are certain things it can never take.


(Our view of Mt. Hood from the back patio)

One of the recipes that I made on the trip was this key lime pie.  It has been described by some as “THE BEST KEY LIME PIE.  EVER”.  Not “The best raw, vegan, gluten-free key lime pie ever”.  Yes, it is raw and yada yada yada…but it’s a legitimate stinkin good dessert! It’s made with avocado and agave, coconut and lime.  The date, granola and raw nut crust tastes even better than a good graham cracker crust, and offers nutritional benefits as well.  Although dates have natural sugars, they have a low-glycemic index, and contain fiber and B vitamins, and when you add nuts and granola, you’re getting a dose of protein, healthy fats carbs.  Let’s not kid ourselves, this is a dessert, it’s not a seaweed-kale salad.  However, it’s a treat that tastes every bit as good as the original and offers good stuff to your body as well!

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This recipe can be found in the new First Descents cookbook, which I’ve sampled many recipes from and can say that I’m VERY excited to receive my copy in the mail!  The recipes are fresh, nourishing, and colorful.  You can check out the book and purchase it here.  There’s even a video at the bottom of the page which shows the cookbook party where we made recipes from the book to be photographed (I’m the one in the red sweater!).  All proceeds from book sales benefit First Descents and help to send more young adult cancer survivors to these life-changing programs!

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In my typical fashion, I’ve adapted this recipe slightly to increase the amount of dates in the crust in order to make it more pliable and crimp-able (a.k.a pretty) in the pie pan.  This also serves to hold the pie together when serving it. I’ve also added sea salt to the crust (who doesn’t love that sweet-salty combination?!).  The filling is heavenly as written, and was just begging to be sprinkled with some fresh lime zest.

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Okay, now let’s come together everyone.  Turn your hand palm side up and curve your fingers in the manner of a spoon.  Find a friend (or as many people as will participate), and place your spoon hand in their spoon hand, or vice versa.  Now, lift up your spoons in united goofy solidarity, and cheer SPOONSHAKE!  Now doesn’t that feel good?


Key Lime Pie (raw, vegan, gf)

Adapted from Out Cooking It (The First Descents Cookbook)

Original recipe by Lisa Nielson, Holistic Fitness and Nutrition Advisor


For the crust

1 1/3 cup low sugar, gluten-free granola

1 cup raw unsalted nuts, such as pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, etc…

1 1/2 cups raw dates, about

1/8 teaspoon salt


For the filling:

1 medium ripe avocado, about 7 1/2 ounces

3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 cup light agave nectar

6 tablespoons full fat coconut milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons soy lecithin*

1/2 cup coconut oil

finely grated zest of one lime


Blend the granola and nuts in the food processor until they reach a rough sandy texture.  Add the dates and salt, blending until the mixture sticks together.  Press into a pie pan and set aside.

Halve the avocado, remove the seed, and scoop out the flesh into the pitcher of a blender.  Add the lime juice, agave, coconut milk, vanilla, and salt.  Blend until smooth.  Add the lecithin and coconut oil.  Blend until well incorporated.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Smooth out the top using a flat spatula or frosting spreader.  Sprinkle some of the lime zest over top of the filling.  Refrigerate for 1-2 hours until set.  Pie can also be chilled in the freezer for 20 minutes to speed up the setting process.




*Soy lecithin is a vegan thickener that works when blending cold ingredients, ie:  doesn’t need to cooked like corn starch or tapioca starch in order to thicken and set.  Look for it in health food stores in the supplement aisle.  Sometimes stores stock Bob’s Red Mill brand lecithin as well.


Filed under Uncategorized

Vegan Coconut Chocolate Mousse


I’ve been meaning to share this recipe with you for a while now! This past summer, the mister and I went to his family reunion in Grand Mesa. If you associate what I associate with reunions, you’re probably thinking about Aunt Ethel’s special jello surprise, cousin Susie’s mystery meat casserole, mountains of deviled eggs (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), hot dogs, and of course, macaroni salad. I must have been in some strange family reunion twilight zone, but there wasn’t a speck of jello surprise to be found.

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When you come from a family of lacto-impaired-vegetarians, meat-atarians, and gluten-freegans, people have to get a little creative, especially when it comes to dessert. My cousin-in-law Lena, who has mad vegan skills, whipped up a batch of this mousse. The mousse was silky smooth with the luscious texture every good mousse should have, but was much lighter. Fresh berries were a perfect match. The dessert was satisfying without being overly rich or heavy. Unlike other vegan desserts, the ingredients in this one are simple and straight-forward–coconut cream, cocoa powder, and sugar. Lena kindly agreed to let me share the recipe, which is on the menu at Evolution Fresh, the juice bar and nom-worthy healthy restaurant she manages in Seattle. Thanks Lena!

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It’s a beautiful thing when the world’s diverse eaters can unite over a dessert that everyone loves and can feel good about eating! If only everyone’s family reunions could taste this good!

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Vegan Coconut Chocolate Mousse

Recipe adapted from cousin Lena and Evolution Fresh

Serves 2-3

The biggest secret to making coconut mousse successfully is temperature. Coconut cream must be cold in order to whip up. If you happen to have xanthan gum on hand, it helps to firm up the mousse even more. If you can’t find cans of coconut cream, you can use the cream from 3-4 cans coconut milk (not light). If using regular coconut milk, refrigerate the cans for at least 2 days, then use only the cream from the top, saving the clear coconut water for another use (It tastes great in smoothies!).    Makes a great topping for berries!

If you can get your hands on it, Mayan cocoa powder makes a great variation on the basic mousse.  If you’d like to imitate the taste of Mayan cocoa powder, you can add a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne.

  •  1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut cream*, refrigerated for at least 2 days
  • 1 tablespoon (or more to taste) cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional, used for thickening)

Scoop the chilled coconut cream into the bowl of an electric mixer.  Using the whisk attachment, beat the coconut cream on medium high speed 4-5 minutes, until fluffy and forms peaks.  If using xanthan gum, add to the mixture and beat for a minute.  Add the remaining ingredients and beat until incorporated.  Chill or serve immediately.


Filed under Desserts

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Buckeyes (vegan)


Chocolate and peanut butter fell in love on an unsuspecting day, not much different than today.  The weather was cold, but not too cold.  The sky a nondescript dusty blue.  These were the olden days, the golden days, before Reese’s were even a gleam in the eye of a lucky entrepreneur.

Peanut Butter Balls

Rolling the Peanut Butter

Chocolate and peanut butter just couldn’t get enough of each other.  They had a little fun, took a little roll in the hay, and created a love child.  Yes, that’s right, a peanut butter love child dipped in chocolate.  I hate to be the one to have told you this, but I thought you should know. This is just what happens when two foods with perfect genes fall in love.

Chocolate Chunks

Chopped Chocolate

The first time I made buckeyes, I knew they would be good.  I mean, how could you go wrong with two foods so meant for each other?  I didn’t, however, expect them to be this good.  I’m not really a sweet eater most of the time.  I’m normally a savory kind of gal, so a couple bites of most desserts usually does it for me.  I’ve never felt such a compulsion to keep going back to the fridge as I did with these buckeyes.


I’m reminded of sneaking bites of dough while mom was occupied with pressing the Hershey’s Kiss into the middle of her peanut butter cookies.  The cookies were always good, but I always thought the dough was even better.  This peanut butter filling has the same sweetness and little hum of vanilla as the cookie dough, with a little bit of saltiness and a more concentrated peanut butter flavor.

I heart Buckeyes

Some combinations seem to have been written in the stars.  I have a chocolate peanut butter lover at home as well.  If you do too, look no further. Heart-shaped boxes filled with waxy chocolates are over-rated.  Buckeyes are where it’s at.

Lovey Buckeyes

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Buckeyes

Adapted from The Splendid Table

Makes about 60

Although this recipe has been adapted to be dairy-free, real cream cheese and butter can be substituted.  Be sure to use emulsified peanut butter for this recipe.  The oil-on-top type won’t work as well here.  

For the centers:

  • 1/4 cup vegan cream cheese, at room temperature (or real cream cheese)
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 10 tablespoons vegan butter, such as Earth Balance (or real unsalted butter)
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the coating:

  • about 4 cups dark or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped


Make the centers: Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a mixer.  Blend together at medium-high speed until smooth and creamy.  Refrigerate the mixture for at least 30 minutes, or until chilled but still pliable.

Form the peanut butter balls:  Scoop a tablespoon of the peanut butter mixture and roll it into a ball with your hands.  Place it on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.  Repeat for the rest of the peanut butter mixture.  Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.  (Leftover filling can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to a week).

Prepare the chocolate:  Bring an inch or two of water to a boil in a small/med saucepan.  Place the chocolate in a metal mixing bowl on top of the pan of boiling water.  When the chocolate begins to melt, whisk it until smooth.

Dip the buckeyes:  Spear a peanut butter ball with a toothpick, and twisting it into the chocolate, without submerging it completely.  Place it on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.  Carefully  twist the toothpick to remove, and smooth over the hole with your fingers.  Repeat with the remaining peanut butter balls.  To create hearts, use the end of an oval-handled utensil such as a spoon, to stamp the two sides of the heart.  Fill with melted chocolate using the back of a spoon,  a squeeze bottle or piping bag.

Refrigerate until the buckeyes firm up.  They can be stored in single layers separated by wax paper in an  airtight container for up to 4 weeks.


Filed under Desserts

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cake

Have you ever stalked a recipe?  Checking the webpage daily just to catch a glimpse?  I have been stalking this recipe ever since Annie posted it on her blog two months ago.  This cake is like the motorcycle-riding bad boy (or girl) you know you shouldn’t date, but can’t stop checking out.  Eventually you just give in, and before you know it you’re speeding down the highway, hair blowing in the wind.  The intensity is fleeting, but at least you’ll have a subject for daydreaming, and stories to tell.

My friend Carol recently celebrated a milestone birthday (three whole decades of life!), and since I couldn’t give her a motorcycle-riding bad boy, I decided to bake her a cake.  Now, normally on this blog, you’ll find healthy everyday foods.  Foods that will love you back in the long run.  Day-to-day “I love you’s”, scattered with the sporadic slight indulgence, say, a bouquet of flowers, or the occasional whole-grain spiked chocolate chip cookie.  But, every now and again, we just need to pull out all the stops, and treat ourselves to a tropical Maui vacation.  If life were a vacation, then Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffle cake would not taste so impossibly fudge-y and intense.   Celebrations call for deviation from the norm, in the form of buttercream and ganache!

Now, let’s get one thing straight, before the prospect of making this cake sends you hiding behind a cardboard cake box from your local grocery store.  I’m not a baker.  I am a cook, through and through.  I improvise, I’m disorganized, and I create messes!  The birthday girl Carol, who is in nursing school, says that it is not about learning the facts as much as learning to think like a nurse.  I needed to think like a baker.  For a day (well, two days), I played pastry chef.  First of all, pastry chefs don’t have messy kitchens.  Make kitchen spotless:  Check!  Next, the apron, starched and tied neatly around my waist.  Alright, not starched, and tied slightly off-center, but one can’t change overnight!  What else?  Yes, yes, I know!  Mise en place.  I felt very professional with my ingredients and baking implements lined up like a little infantry across my butcher block.

Have you ever looked at a cake (or a motorcycle-riding bad boy, for that matter), and admired the exterior, just hoping that it is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside?  I’ve been let down by many a bakery cake, adorned with more frosting than Paris Hilton, and leaving just as much substance to be desired on the inside.  This is not one of those cakes.  Some chocolate cakes are just that: chocolate, and more chocolate.  Don’t get me wrong, this cake is rich and chocolatey almost to the point of ridiculousness.  However, each bite is balanced with the fresh lightly glazed raspberry filling, silky ganache, and buttercream with just a hint of raspberry puree to tie the whole package together.  The coffee in the cake is barely perceptible, except for an added layer of complexity, and the texture takes on an almost fudge-y consistency when cool.  As if this weren’t enough of a spectacle, the whole darn thing is topped with a silky chocolate glaze.  Really, when you think about it, why not?

All 14 of us sang happy birthday to the birthday girl, then she carefully cut into the cake, serving each of us a piece topped by a raspberry.  One by one, the cake sent the party guests into euphoria, and one by one, they insisted they couldn’t eat another bite.  Then, one by one, they marched back into the kitchen to have just a little more, as if led by a strange invisible force.

If there remains any question as to the addictive and mania-inducing properties of this cake, I leave you with an excerpt from an e-mail sent by the birthday girl herself.  Subject line, simply, “cake”.

Jenny, I have concerns about you posting my fabulous cake on your blog.  Then, other people will request the honor, and I must admit, I am very selfish, and would like to keep Jenny heaven cake all to myself.  I understand if you still feel compelled to show off, just know that I will be requesting Jenny heaven cake for every birthday from now on.  

If you’re not afraid of being adored for your baking prowess, make this cake.  If you want to be hounded on each of your friends’ and families’ subsequent birthdays, make this cake.  If you want occasional excuses to throw care to the wind to make and eat the richest, best cake you may ever eat, make this cake.  This cake is just as risque as a motorcycle-riding bad boy, but will give you none of the drama.  Make.  This.  Cake!

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cake

Adapted from Annie’s Eats (and followed almost to a “T”)

Serves 14-16


For the cake:

  • 1½ cups (4½ oz.) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp. coffee or espresso powder
  • 1½ cups boiling water
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 sticks (12 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2½ cups plus 2 tbsp. (18¼ oz.) sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1¾ cups plus 2 tbsp. (9¼ oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. salt

For the raspberry filling:

  • 16 oz. fresh raspberries, or frozen raspberries thawed
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups water

For the ganache filling:

  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the raspberry frosting:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 21 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup strained raspberry puree (if using frozen raspberries, use the juice remaining after thawing.  If using fresh raspberries, use a food mill to puree, or smash the raspberries through a colander with a wooden spoon)
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the chocolate glaze:

  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

For garnish:

  • Additional fresh raspberries


For the cake:  Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Grease and flour the edges of three 9-inch round cake pans, and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper (I used a pencil to trace the bottom of the cake pan onto parchment paper).  Combine the cocoa and coffee/espresso powder in a small bowl.  Add the boiling water and whisk together until smooth.  Allow to cool slightly.  Whisk in the sour cream.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Blend in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Beat in the vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and stir to combine.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl in three additions, alternating with the cocoa-sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Beat each addition just until incorporated.

Divide the batter between the prepared baking pans.  Bake 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans about 15 minutes, then transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the raspberry filling:  In a medium saucepan, stir together the water, sugar and cornstarch.  Cook over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken.  Once thickened, remove from the heat and whisk in the lemon juice.  Fold in berries with a spatula.  Cover and chill until ready to use.  (The filling will continue to thicken as it chills.)

For the Ganache:  Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Heat the cream in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Immediately remove from the heat and pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate.  Let stand 1-2 minutes, then whisk together until a smooth, thick ganache is formed.  Whisk in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time until completely incorporated.  Let the ganache sit to thicken a bit so that it is suitable for spreading and piping.  (To speed thickening, place the bowl in the fridge or freezer and whisk every 10 minutes to ensure even cooling until the desired consistency is reached.)  Transfer about ½ cup of the thickened ganache to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip about ½-inch in diameter.

Assembling the cake:  Place one of the cooled cake layers on a cake board or serving platter.  Spread ½ cup of the ganache in an even layer over the cake.  Using the reserved ganache in the pastry bag, pipe a border around the perimeter of the cake layer.  This will act as a well to help hold in the raspberry filling.  Spoon some of the raspberry filling inside the ganache border in an even layer (Don’t be shy.  Use more than you think you need.  Some of the raspberry will soak into and meld with the cake layers). Top with another layer of cake and repeat this process, layering with another ½ cup of ganache and additional raspberry filling.  Top with the remaining cake layer.

For the raspberry buttercream:  To make the raspberry frosting, combine the sugar and egg whites in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water (a metal mixing bowl will do the trick).  Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160° F and the sugar has dissolved.  Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated.  If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more.  Blend in the raspberry puree and vanilla until smooth and completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Frost the top and sides of the assembled cake with the buttercream, smoothing the surface as much as possible.  Chill for at least 30 minutes.

For the chocolate glaze:  Place the chocolate in a medium bowl.  Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit 1-2 minutes.  Whisk until the mixture is completely smooth. Whisk in the corn syrup and vanilla.  Pour the glaze into a pitcher or measuring cup and allow to cool for 10 minutes.  (Do not let the glaze cool longer or it may become difficult to pour over the cake.)  Slowly pour the glaze over the cake, ensuring that the top is covered and the glaze drips over the sides.  Let the glaze set about 5-10 minutes.

Garnish the cake with fresh raspberries and chill the cake until ready to serve.


Filed under Desserts