For Raspberry Zefir:
3/4 (178ml) water, divided
2 tsp (16g) agar gelatin (powder)
1/4 cup (45g) raspberry-flavored gelatin powder*
2 cups (400g) sugar
3 egg whites
1 Tbsp (15ml) lemon juice
For Chocolate Sponge Cake:
6 large eggs
3/4 (150g) sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup (125g) AP flour
1/4 cup (25g) dark or dutch process cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
For Raspberry filling:
2 cups (250g) raspberries
1/4 cup (59ml) raspberry liqueur
For Chocolate Buttercream:**
2 cups (454g) unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup (90g) dark chocolate chips, melted
1/4 cup dark or dutch process cocoa powder
3 cups (375g) confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup (118ml) heavy cream
1 cup (180g) white chocolate chips
Red food coloring, optional***
For the Chocolate Squares:
1 cup (180g) white chocolate melts
1/2 cup (90)g) pink chocolate melts (or white melts with pink food coloring)
1.Line two 8-inch cake pans with plastic wrap. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper and prepare a pastry bag tipped with star tip #4FT.
2. Combine 1/2 cup (118ml) of water and the agar gelatin in a saucepan. In a separate saucepan, combine the remaining 1/4 cup (60ml) of water and the raspberry gelatin.
3. Cook both the agar and raspberry gelatin (separately) mixtures over medium heat. Cook the raspberry gelatin until it has completely dissolved, then set aside. Continue cooking the agar until it thickens, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar gradually and bring the syrup up to a boil; allow to boil for 2 minutes.
4. In a stand mixer bowl, whisk the egg whites for 2 minutes to soft peaks, then slowly pour in the agar syrup, whisking on medium speed. Add the raspberry gelatin mixture and lemon juice last, then whisk on high speed for7-10 minute; the meringue will cool and thicken.
5. Place 2 cups (473ml) of the meringue into the pastry bag and pipe small dollops onto the parchment paper. Divide the remaining meringue evenly between the two cake pans and spread using an offset spatula. The zefir will set almost immediately at room temperature.
1. You can store the zefir for 3-4 days in an airtight container at room temperature. This is especially helpful if you don't have five 8" cake pans to use for the zefir and the cake.
2. I just used a wide star tip since I didn't have this particular tip.
For the cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper.
2. Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla into a mixer bowl. Whisk on high speed for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the mixture becomes voluminous and pale in color. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Sift the dry ingredients into the batter in small increments, folding gently after each addition.
3. Divide the batter evenly among the pans and bake for 18-20 minutes, until the tops are set. Allow the layers to cool completely , then use a sharp serrated knife to split each sponge cake in half.
1. In my video it looks as if I'm really whipping the dry ingredients into the batter. Actually, you want to do gentle folds in a "J" motion: going down the middle with your spatula, going underneath the batter and flipping over, then rotating the bowl and doing it again and again until it is just combined. You can also do a "figure 8" motion.
2. Do not grease your cake pans.
For the raspberry filling:
Combine the raspberries and liqueur in a small bowl and crush with a fork.
For the frosting:
Beat the softened butter in a large bowl until fluffy. Add the vanilla, salt, melted chocolate and cocoa powder. Mix until smooth, then add the confectioner's sugar and beat the frosting for several minutes until fluffy.
Notes: You can also make the frosting ahead of time and store in the fridge. But bring to room temp before using and re-whip it.
Assemble the cake, alternating the two layers of cake to one layer of zefir. Spread each cake layer with raspberry filling and frosting. Lift the set zefir out of the pan, discard the plastic and add to the cake. Smooth the frosting over the top and sides with a flat spatula.
Notes: You will have six layers of cake after you are done slicing them in half. So the layers are assembled in the following order: cake, raspberry filing, cake, frosting, zefir, frosting, cake, raspberry filling, cake, frosting, zefir, frosting, cake, raspberry filling, cake, then frost the whole thing.
For the glaze:
Heat the heavy cream in a large bowl until steaming hot, then add the chocolate. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, then stir until smooth. Add a few drops of red food coloring, if desired. Allow the glaze to cool and thicken slightly, then pour over the cake, using a spatula to spread it evenly. Garnish with zefir dollops and fresh raspberries. If desired, add an additional garnish of chocolate squares
Notes: For me, 90F is an optimal temperature for pouring a glaze. It helps to chill the cake for an hour before glazing so as not to melt the frosting.
For the chocolate squares:
Melt the chocolate melts in two separate bowls. Cut a 3x16-inch strip of acetate paper. Using a flat spatula, spread the white chocolate in a thin layer over the acetate, then create a wave pattern over the top and spread evenly. Let it set for a few minutes, then use a sharp knife to score the chocolate into triangles; peel away from the plastic when set.
1.Depending on the type of chocolate melts you have they may need to be thinned slightly with paramount crystals to give the chocolate more fluidity.
2.If you don't have acetate paper you can use parchment paper but the chocolate will not be shiny.
Reprinted with permission of the author