from scratch

I would love to continue to gush about you all and your amazing support but I’m afraid that you’re going to get tired of me.  So I will simply say Thank You, and know that you know how much meaning there is behind those two words.

The last couple of days have been emotionally trying but things are finally starting to calm down.  I hope that the future will be more certain tomorrow after I meet with potential new employers over lunch.  Yes, new employers.  I basically was laid off from my current position yesterday, although the exact terms have been unclear.  All I know is that my current employer does not have enough work to sustain two employees, and seeing as I am the one with much less time invested I was the logical cut.  We discussed the potential for part-time work, but mutually agreed that the amount of hours he could employ me (8-10 hours/week) were really not worth the frustration and hassle that would come with them.  My last day is Friday.

I am very fortunate that my hubb’s company is interested in bringing me on board to help them with a very busy project they have in the works.  We have a history…not only has my hubb worked for this architecture firm for the last 1-1/2 years but I also was employed by them while I was in graduate school. They are great guys who design beautiful buildings and I feel honored that they are eager to have my help.  We have a meeting scheduled over lunch tomorrow to discuss details, timing, terms etc., so until then I don’t have much more information to give.  I can say that I am excited, a little sad but very hopeful.  

In times like these I find comfort in my kitchen.  It may be poorly laid out, partly unfinished and lack any amount of counter space on which to work but somehow I still manage to find joy in creating delectable eats within its boundaries.  If you had peeked in my window anytime Sunday afternoon you would have found me amidst a cloud of flour, furiously scrubbing and chopping potatoes and finely slicing fresh red cabbage.  The potato salad recipe will come soon, but tonight I give you my first ever, from scratch, made on my own cake.  For my hubb on his twenty-seventh birthday, with love.


I found this recipe a few weeks ago when it popped up in my google reader after Tara had a little chocolate cake taste-off.  Any recipe with 1250+ reviews on Epicurious deserves at the very least to be printed and filed in my recipe drawer.  But this cake was lucky, for I had a very special occasion coming up that deserved a 1250+ review recipe, my hubb’s birthday.



I clicked through a few more blogs  that had featured this old-fashioned chocolate cake in the past, and decided that the raspberry filling option was just too good to pass up.  Don’t worry, I emailed it to my hubb first for his opinion and he heartily agreed.  The filling did not disappoint.  In fact, we have some reserved in our fridge to top off vanilla ice cream, or maybe even some morning oats.  



The recipe calls for two 10″ x 2″ round cake pans, but I had three 9″ x 1.5″ round pans to use.  I adjusted the cooking time and all was well, we just wound up with a taller finished product…which I think made it all the more grand and birthday-appropriate.



I got a little carried away with the amount of filling between the dense layers.  My thinking was “the more the better!”, and, “what a pretty picture it will make!”.  However, when it came time to smear chocolate ganache across the entire outer surface the excess filling was problematic.  It oozed out and mixed with the frosting, making it difficult to get an even spread.  My advice?  Save the excess for vanilla ice cream.


This cake is excellent.  The kind of excellent that makes it worth the 4-hour prep time (with a lot of resting to allow for cooling between steps..and photography) and the extra mileage you tack on to your runs to make up for having not just one, but two slices.  The kind of excellent that leaves you dreaming of the endless possibilities this recipe permits just by changing the filling, or making cupcakes instead of a towering cake.  The kind of excellent worth sharing with very good friends while drinking champagne and celebrating a very special birthday.


Double Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Filling

Makes 12-14 servings. Recipe from Epicurious via Seven Spoons and Smitten Kitchen


For cake layers:

  • 3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
  • 1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk (for dairy free variation: mix 1 1/2 cups soymilk with 1 tablespoon cider vinegar and set aside to curdle)
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla

For ganache frosting: (halve this if filling with raspberry or other filling)

  • 1 pound fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
  • 1 cup heavy cream (or soy creamer)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter (or margarine)

For raspberry filling: (optional)

  • 2 10-ounce bag frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch


Make cake layers:

  1. Preheat oven to 300* F and grease two 10″ cake pans, or three 8″ or 9″. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper.
  2. Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
  3. Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well.
  4. Divide batter between pans (pans should only be half full – if you use 8″ pans you will have some batter leftover) and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes for 10″ pans, 50 minutes for 8″-9″ pans.
  5. Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

Make frosting:

  1. Finely chop chocolate. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.
  2. Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistency). I found that stirring this over a bowl of ice water did a great job of cooling it off quickly and evenly.

Make filling:

  1. Puree the raspberries in a food processor, blender or immersion blender. Press the puree through a fine-mesh strainer with the back of a spoon, removing the seeds. Heat the puree in a small pot with the sugar and cornstarch until mixture boils, stirring constantly. As it boils, it should quickly thicken. Let cool.
  2. Spread filling between cake layers, assemble, and spread ganache over top and sides. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring cake to room temperature before serving.


66 responses to “from scratch

  1. So sorry about your job. I’ll be thinking of you. Everything happens for a reason! I’m sure that something bigger and better is headed your way.

    And that cake. Oh my gosh. Delicious!

  2. I’m so sorry to hear about your job. But I am happy that you’ve found some work through your hub. You will get through this.

    The cake is lovely… sometimes when life is going not so well, you just need to look at something like that cake. Think about how beautiful certain things can be. Life is all about appreciating the small things like that.

  3. Hang in there! I hope better things are around the corner! I’ll be praying things go well with the potential new employers.

    The cake is GORGEOUS!

  4. I’m so sorry to hear about your job. Try and stay positive. I’m sure things will work out for you soon!

    On a less serious note, I’m totally drooling over your beautiful cake!

  5. I’m sorry that you had to go through the layoff. I hope that you’re able to look back on this someday and say that the change, although traumatic, was for the best.

    And that cake looks DIVINE!!

  6. foodsthatfit

    I am glad that you have a safe place, your kitchen, where you can find comfort during this stressful time. I am so sorry about the job, but wish you the best and hope everything turns out for the better.

    The cake looks beautiful, you have an amazing talent and gift. Hang in there and know we are thinking about you and wishing you well!

  7. I’m so sorry about your job. I just went through that and I know how hard it is! At least you have some offers on the table already, which is amazing! Trust me, it’ll all work out for the better!

    That cake though, I think it could cure cancer, that’s how good it looks! 😉

  8. Andrea-

    So very sorry about your job. I can really empathize with how you probably feel. I was laid off for the first time from a law clerk job (not even a full time job) back in Dec. and it really does just suck all around. I think that it is just hard to not feel in control and now that it isn’t anything that you personally did, just the current economic climate that we are all living in. I am glad that it sounds like you will have a fun project to work on in near future and I am sure that it will all workout in the long run.

    Sending you a blogosphere HUG!

    Love, Whitney

    PS-I love how vibrant the raspberry filling is! Beautiful.

  9. so sorry to hear about your career issues. its happening everywhere. my dad lost his job, he’s a chemical engineer and worked in sales in the auto industry in detroit (which is really taking a beating) so I know how difficult it can be. just know that everything happens for a reason and out of this dark ‘depression’ will come great opportunities.
    beautiful cake! i love the red, its like a valentines day cake!

  10. Ugh, sorry about the job! I hope everything works out soon. I’m thinking about you in the mean time. 🙂

    Thank you so much for the cake recipe. It looks way too hard for my meager baking skills, but I might just have to give it a try. (Or at least make it a goal!)

  11. Ah, love. You know how I feel about the job situation, so I’ll spare you and that horse another beating. My new idea is that you should write a cookbook and take your own pictures for it. I’ll sample whatever you make. Especially cake.

    We have a little German cake shop by us that is world renowned and the one time a year we go, I always get the chocolate raspberry cake. Yours looks even better than theirs.

  12. i started reading your blog a few months ago… it!!!! you are such an inspiration. i do believe that “everything happens for a reason,” i know its cliche, but i really find it true. i find it amazing in blogland how you can relate to people and gravitate to people who you don’t even know. keep writing. i love the post idea above, you really could write your own cookbook, your photos are lovely. don’t forget to run, it can make everything better. have you tried the nike+ for the ipod? it is awesome!

  13. Hi Andrea, I am sorry to hear about your job. I know you were just so busy too. It’s crazy how life works out. Good luck with the new job.

  14. I’m sorry about the job. Good luck with the new prospect!

    Your cake looks gorgeous. I use to be a cake decorator and yours is seriously beautiful with just that filling dripping out. I bet it is delicious too!

  15. I believe everything happens for a reasonbut I wish you luck in this next step.

    Your cake looks gorgeous and sounds delicious.

  16. when another door shuts, another opens :]

    btw. that cake looks SO good!!

  17. I am so sorry to hear about it! I understand how mucking around in the kitchen would help – had a pretty rough day yesterday and all I wanted to do was to stick myself in the kitchen and bake.

    Anyhow here’s wishing you all the best eh! 🙂 Its good that you have a job lined up. Thank God! 🙂

  18. I’m glad to hear about the new job possibility… good luck with the lunch meeting and keep up the optimistic attitude!

    It goes without saying that the cake you made looks absolutely divine. Your hub is a lucky man!

  19. that is quite an impressive cake! i don’t think i would have the patience to make that one, but it looks incredible! so sorry about the job, and good luck!

  20. Good luck with the job thing, I know how frustrating that must be. hang in there.

    The ckae is gorgeous!

  21. Are you the same age as your Hubb or older? Congrats to him on his 27th! mine’s coming up at the end of the month – eeeek.

    I’m sorry to hear about your job, but happy to hear about potential through Hubb’s job – that is VERY positive.

    Ugh, that is one of the negatives of working for a small firm.

  22. Lovely cake!!

    Major hugs to you, Andrea – as always, I’m here for ya.

  23. All the cake photos are luscious and beautiful! I’m so sorry about the loss of your job. However, I admire your positive attitude after what most people would take as a devastating blow. You definitely make me smile 🙂 Good luck with your lunch interview!!!

  24. sorry to hear about your current job, but I am glad to hear you have something lined up already

    gorgeous cake for the hub’s bday 🙂 fabulous way to celebrate!

  25. I’m terribly sorry to hear that you lost your job 😦 At least you have something lined up! You have a great outlook too!!

    I have to say, your pictures sold me on the cake! Looks amazing!

  26. I hope things work out with the job prospect. I too found solace in my kitchen when I was laid off and 2 years and a “small” job later, I find myself in the kitchen whenever I’m home.

    I might have to bake up this cake this week. The raspberries are a beautiful addition.


  27. that is awful about your job! hopefully things work out with your hubbys company!!

    that is such a beautiful cake..

  28. Sorry to hear about the job, but it seems like things are working out for now, which is GREAT!

    That cake looks amazing. My birthday is in June if you’re up for making another one 🙂

  29. sorry to hear about your job lady. but, sounds like you’ve got something good in the works. i’m positive it will all work out. btw…that cake looks amazing!

  30. I just started reading your blog and its such an inspiration to me that I wanted to leave some inspiration in return. Sorry for you loss, but you are the type of person who deserves something so much better than a job where you worry all the time about losing it. This sucks for now but will open up so many more fabulous doors for your career.

    I would look into a job as a professional blogger 🙂

  31. So sorry about your job, but it sounds like some good things are on the horizon. Everything happens for a reason, whether or not we know what that reason is right now.

    The cake looks incredible!

  32. BEEEE UUUUUU TIIIIII FUUUUULLLLL cake! Can’t wait to hear how things go today!


  33. So sorry to hear about the job. You have a wonderful attitude which will bring success in the long run. Keep your chin up. 😉

    Oh, and I could certainly drown my sorrows in the middle of that amazing cake! How perfectly decadent!

  34. oneordinaryday

    I don’t know where to start – the cake, the raspberries or the photos! All look or sound amazing and I’ve bookmarked this to make asap.
    Are those really frozen raspberries?? They look to gorgeous to be from a bag.

  35. Good luck with your meeting! And if being in your kitchen helps, then keep doing it 🙂

  36. Keep your head -up – it’ll work out! 🙂


  37. I’m sorry to hear you lost your job – it seems many of us have been hit by this economic disaster. Hang in there. I too find comfort in cooking and I’m happy to see that you’re situation has not kept you from producing wonderful creations (and taking amazing photos) in the kitchen. That cake is a testament to all the possibilities out there, not just in food, but in life. Keep a smile… and room for dessert!

  38. Andrea, I am so sorry about the job as I know it has created much stress in your life. That being said, I know this happened for a reason. It may not seem that way now, but a few years from now, I bet you will be able to trace some changes to your life back to this very week…changes that were for the best. Hang in there my friend.

    Now onto your cake. YOU AMAZE ME . I cannot believe that is your first made from scratch cake. Andrea, it’s beautiful. Happy Birthday to your husband, and please enjoy a slice with a big scoop of vanilla ice-cream for me!

  39. Oh Andrea… BLOG HUG!!

    I figured something like this was up after reading your past post. I think all of the Ben & jerrys consumption and time in the kitchen was right on track. I’m so glad you are able to find work with the hubb’s employer.

    The cake does look amazing.

  40. major hugs from me as well!!! I hope the future holds GREAT new horizons for you 😀 Good luck and we’re all thinking of you!! Your cake looks sooo amazing, and I totally relate to the comfort/distraction in the kitchen!

  41. Oh, I’m SO Sorry to hear about the job woes. I have experienced my share as well. 😦 Cake makes it better though, at least a little, no? And yours is really, REALLY exquisite. You must have a proud and happy hubb. 🙂

  42. Stunning. Best of luck to you! I’m in the midst of a job-hunt as well; it’s rough right now!



  43. So sorry to hear about the job situation–I think a lot of people are going through the same thing. The cake looks fabulous–I’ve tried this recipe before, it is pretty amazing! Beautiful photos, too.

  44. I’m so sorry about your job — but at least there’s a new opportunity for you!

    That cook looks gorgeous…I think I may have to make it for my boyfriend’s birthday.

  45. GOOD things come from the hard times, I promise there is something better to come for you!! That is SO wonderful your husbands company wants to bring you on!!! (my hubby is an architecht too ) 🙂 Stay positive and welcome the new changes!! 🙂

    That cake…stunning!!!! SO YUMMY!! I will be saving and trying that!! 🙂

  46. I hope everything works out with your job. The cake looks amazing.

  47. You make it look so easy! Thank you for the photos and recipe!!!

  48. wow! that is an amazing post! it looks so easy, but i bet i would mess it up! haha!

  49. times like this, i wish i could just press a button and be transported through the blogosphere to your world and that cake. YUM! congrats on the baking success.

    i’m sorry to hear about your job. it’s such a stressful time! thank goodness you have such a supportive hubby and some potential new opportunities lined up. when one door closes …

  50. I’m sorry to hear what is happening, but you seem to be taking it like a champ. Hang in there!


  51. that cake looks out-of-control-amazing!

    im sorry about the emotional turmoil that the change in jobs is creating. things always seem to work out though, especially when you are as open minded as you are. still, thats a major bummer, so im sending all positive thoughts your way!

  52. Hello – I am de-lurking but wanted to send my best wishes to you during this time. I always believe it’s true that when one door closes, another opens – for a reason. Your cake looks gorgeous and I am sure tasted even better 🙂

  53. Oh. My. Goodness! That cake looks to die for! Thanks for sharing. So sorry to hear about your work troubles – I hope the meeting goes well!

  54. That cake looks absolutely DELICIOUS!!! I wish I could bake a cake like that 🙂 I have been reading your blog for awhile now and I just want you to know that your photography is truly an inspiration. I have just started my own blog!

  55. Good luck with your meetings! That cake looks very grand. Great job!

  56. Jessica (

    The cake looks gorgeous- the raspberry goes perfect with the chocolate. A lot of work, but it looks like it’s well worth the effect. I wish you luck on your future job prospects, of which i’m sure there will be many!

  57. Good luck with the work issues..

    The cake looks absolutely gorgeous. Great job.

  58. I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been having a rough time- but the news that you have something else on the horizon is great!

    and I am making a request for THAT CAKE for my birthday. 🙂

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  60. bleedy cake – me likey 😀

  61. What a lovely blog. What a lovely cake! I want to bake it this weekend. Is the baking temp really 300? It’s a little cooler than I am used to using.

    best of luck to you!

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  63. Hi Honey!

    What a beautiful recipe, thank you for sharing!

    I love it so much I’ve included it the “Top 21 Chocolate Cake recipe posts on twitter”

    Keep up the good work!


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