Raspberry Neapolitan Party Cake
Alternating layers of moist vanilla and dark chocolate cake, filled with raspberry Swiss meringue buttercream and smothered in a trio of dark chocolate, vanilla and raspberry buttercream.
Ingredients
For the Chocolate Cake:
  • 1-3/4 cups 225 g all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups 400 g granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup 120 g Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powder
  • 2 teaspoons 11 g baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon 5 g baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon 4 g salt
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup 240 ml strong black coffee or espresso, hot
  • 1 cup 240 ml buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup 120 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon 15 ml pure vanilla extract
For the Vanilla Cake:
  • 1 cup 240 ml whole milk, at room temperature
  • 4 large egg whites 130 g, at room temperature
  • 1 whole egg at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons 10 ml pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon 1.75 ml almond extract
  • 2-1/2 cups 288 g cake flour, sifted
  • 1-1/2 cups 300 g sugar
  • 1-1/4 tablespoons 16 g baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt 6 grams
  • 1-1/2 sticks 170 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes
For the Raspberry Compote:
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries divided
  • 1/2 cup 100 g superfine or granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoons 15 ml lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons 30 ml water
  • Pinch of salt
For the Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
  • 8 large fresh egg whites 240 g
  • 2 cups 500 g superfine granulated sugar
  • 5 sticks 575 g unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon 15 ml pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2.5 oz 75 g premium dark or extra dark chocolate, melted and cooled
  • Few drops pink soft gel paste colour
Instructions
For the Chocolate Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease, line with parchment and flour two round 8-inch pans. I use Parchment Paper Circles for ease.
  2. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift all dry ingredients. In a large measuring cup, combine eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredient mixture to the dry ingredients, increasing the speed to medium. Mix for 1-1/2 minutes (you may need the plastic splash-guard that comes with mixer) and divide among prepared pans (each pan will weigh ~590 g).
  4. Bake until toothpick or skewer comes out with a few crumbs, about 25 minutes. Try not to overbake. Cool on wire racks in pans for 15 minutes then gently invert onto racks until completely cool.
For the Vanilla Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease, line with parchment and flour two round 8-inch pans. I use Parchment Paper Circles for ease.
  2. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine and stir 1/3 cup of the milk, egg whites, whole egg, vanilla and the almond extract. Set aside.
  3. Sift cake flour twice. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients, including the sugar, together on low-speed (I use the “stir” setting on my mixer) for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the butter blending on low-speed for about 30 seconds, then add remaining milk, and mix on low-speed until just moistened. Increase to medium speed and mix for 1-1/2 minutes (90 seconds), but no more.
  5. Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg/milk/extract mixture in 3 separate batches; beat on medium speed for 20 seconds after each addition.
  6. Pour 1/2 of your batter (445 g) into each prepared pan, spreading it evenly with a small offset palette knife. If possible, weigh the batter in the pans to ensure 2 even layers.
  7. Bake cake layers two-at-a-time in center of oven and 2" apart for 20 minutes or until a cake tester comes clean when inserted into the center. Be so careful to not over-bake. Check cake at 20 minutes, but not before, and once you feel it’s almost ready, set the timer for 2 minute intervals. Let cool on racks for 10 minutes before loosening the sides with a small metal spatula, and invert onto greased wire racks. Gently turn cakes back up, so the tops are up and cool completely.
  8. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months. Best enjoyed day 1 or 2.
For the Raspberry Compote:
  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 1-1/2 cups of the raspberries, sugar, lemon juice, water, and salt until the berries start to break down, stirring often, about 10 minutes.
  2. Lower the heat and simmer until compote coats a spoon, about 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool down slightly. Using an immersion blender (carefully) or counter-top blender, pulse until smooth. Push compote through a fine mesh sieve into a clean glass bowl and discard the seeded pulp from the sieve. Stir in remaining raspberries. Keep covered and chilled for up to 3 days.
For the Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
  1. Wipe the bowl and whisk of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 160°F, or if you don't have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
  2. Place bowl back on mixer and fit with whisk attachment. Whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 15 minutes, or longer). Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add softened butter one tablespoon at a time until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth).
  3. Add vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.
Assembly of the Raspberry Neapolitan Party Cake:
  1. Divide buttercream in half. Add 3 tablespoons (one tablespoon at a time) of the raspberry compote to one half, along with a few drops of pink gel colour (if desired). Set aside.
  2. Take half of the remaining buttercream and add the melted chocolate, stirring until well incoporated. Leave the final portion of buttercream vanilla.
  3. Using a cake turntable if possible, place first chocolate cake layer face-up on a cake plate, cake board or pedestal and cover with ~3/4 cup of raspberry buttercream, spreading with a small offset palette knife, leaving about 1" clearance around the edges. Carefully place a few spoonfuls of compote on top, keeping it in the middle.
  4. Place a vanilla cake layer face-up on top and repeat with buttercream/compote. Repeat until you come to the final chocolate cake layer, which you will place face-down. Cover cake in plastic wrap, then use your hands to straighten any leaning or layers that aren't lined up. Chill for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from refrigerator, remove wrap and cover cake a very thin layer of the vanilla buttercream. Chill for another 30 minutes.
  6. Cover top of cake with a smooth layer of raspberry buttercream (extending it over the edges), bottom third of the cake with chocolate buttercream and remaining area with vanilla buttercream. Using a medium straight spatula (or similar tool), smooth buttercream over the cake and create a blended look.