Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cake Recipe

Mary and Brenda Maher

By Brenda & Mary

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This cake is the ultimate indulgence for any occasion, whether a special celebration or simply because you deserve a decadent treat. I remember the first time I tried this cake—it was at a family gathering, and the moment it hit my lips, I was in love immediately.

Chocolate Raspberry Cake

And now, I’m thrilled to share the simple chocolate raspberry cake recipe with you. Don’t be intimidated by the multiple layers. It’s surprisingly easy to follow, and the results are absolutely worth it.

Why You’ll Love This Homemade Chocolate Raspberry Cake Recipe

Here are some reasons why this chocolate raspberry cake might become your new favorite:

  • Flavorful Combination: The rich chocolate cake pairs beautifully with the sweet and tart raspberry filling, creating a delightful contrast in every bite.
  • Impressive Yet Easy: This cake might have a few components, but they’re all relatively simple to prepare. Following the steps carefully will result in a stunning cake that’s sure to impress.
  • Moist and Tender: The buttermilk and vegetable oil in the cake batter create a moist and tender crumb, while the fresh raspberries add a burst of juicy flavor.
  • Customizable: Feel free to experiment! You can adjust the amount of chocolate for a more or less intense flavor, like the fudge frosting, raspberry buttercream, or chocolate buttercream frosting. Also, you can swap the raspberries for another fruit filling, like blueberries or cherries. 
  • Perfect for Celebrations: This dark chocolate raspberry cake is elegant enough for a special occasion yet versatile enough for an afternoon pick-me-up.
Chocolate Raspberry Cake final

How to Make Chocolate Raspberry Cake


Here’s a list of the ingredients you’ll need for each part of the recipe.

For the Raspberry Filling

  • Cornstarch (2 ¼ teaspoons) and Water (¾ tablespoon): Cornstarch is the key thickening agent that gives the raspberry filling its luscious, velvety texture. While just a small amount is needed, you’ll need to dissolve the cornstarch in a bit of water first to create a slurry—this prevents lumps from forming.
  • Raspberries (1 ½ cups): Fresh raspberries lend a beautifully bright, tangy flavor. Frozen raspberries work very well, too.
  • Granulated sugar (2 ½ tablespoons): Just the right amount to sweeten the raspberries while still allowing their tartness to shine through.
  • Lemon juice (½ teaspoon): This small but mighty addition brightens up the whole filling. The lemon’s zip is the perfect balance to the sweetness—leaving it out would make the filling taste flat.
  • Pure vanilla extract (¼ teaspoon): We’ll have it stirred in at the end to create the comforting, aromatic notes that pair beautifully with raspberries.

For the Cake

  • All-purpose flour (⅞ cup): The base of any cake.
  • Pure vanilla extract (1 teaspoon): A warm, sweet, and aromatic element.
  • Salt (½ teaspoon): to balance the taste profile.
  • Vegetable oil or Melted coconut oil (¼ cup): To add more moisture.
  • Full-fat sour cream (6 tablespoons): It offers both richness and a touch of acidity to balance flavors.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder (6 tablespoons): Use high-quality natural cocoa powder to get a robustly rich, chocolatey flavor that serves as the cake’s backbone.
  • Granulated sugar (⅞ cup): The right amount of sugar not only sweetens but also contributes to the cake’s tender, moist texture.
  • Baking soda (1 teaspoon) & Baking powder (½ teaspoon): This duo of leavening agents gives the cake its perfect rise and delicate crumb.
  • Espresso powder (1 teaspoon): This is an optional but highly recommended ingredient. Espresso powder doesn’t make the cake taste like coffee. Instead, it intensifies and deepens the chocolate flavor in an incredible way. You can use decaf or simply omit it.
  • Large egg (1): Keep it at room temperature for seamless incorporation into the batter.
  • Buttermilk (¼ cup): Have the buttermilk at room temp so it can blend smoothly into the cake batter for an extra tender crumb.
  • Hot water or Black coffee (¼ cup): The high-temperature liquid helps “bloom” the cocoa powder, amplifying its chocolate intensity. The hot coffee deepens the flavor more, but water works, too.
  • Mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (½ cup): These bake right into the cake, adding bursts of melty chocolate in every bite for incredible texture.

For the Chocolate Buttercream

  • Unsalted butter (½ cup): Letting the butter soften to cool to room temperature ensures a smooth, creamy frosting.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder (¼ cup): I prefer natural cocoa powder, but the Dutch-process one also works here – just choose your preference.
  • Heavy cream or Milk (1 ½ tablespoons): My go-to is heavy cream for its richer, creamier texture.
  • Salt (a pinch): to taste
  • Powdered sugar (1 and ¾ cups): Use powdered type for that smooth, cloud-like frosting
  • Pure vanilla extract (1 teaspoon): Add more depth to the flavor profile

For the Chocolate Raspberry Ganache

  • Semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate (4 ounces): Use high-quality one so the dark chocolate ganache can melt smoothly.
  • Heavy whipping cream (6 tablespoons): Cream creates a luscious, pourable ganache consistency.
  • Raspberry liqueur (2 tablespoons): This is optional, but a splash of raspberry liqueur adds lovely fruity undertones. Can substitute more cream for non-alcoholic versions.


Following these steps carefully will ensure your cake turns out beautifully.

Making the Filling

  • Dissolve the cornstarch: In a small mixing bowl, whisk it with water until smooth and lump-free. You can use a fork to make this easier.
  • Cook the filling: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the cornstarch mixture, raspberries, granulated sugar, and lemon juice. Stir frequently and use a fork or potato masher to gently mash the raspberries as they start breaking down.
Making the Filling
  • Boil and thicken: Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then let it bubble away for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will help it thicken up to the perfect luscious consistency.
  • Add vanilla: After 5 minutes, remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract to enhance the flavors.
  • Cool and chill: Let the raspberry filling cool at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. Then, transfer it to a bowl or container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to set and thicken it fully, or cover it for up to 1 week.

Making the Cake

  • Prep: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease three 6-inch cake pans (or 9-inch ones if you have a crowd to feed) and line the bottoms with parchment paper, then grease the parchment too to prevent sticking.
  • Whisk the dry ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, salt, sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and espresso powder if using.
  • Blend the wet ingredients: In a separate bowl, use a hand mixer to blend the oil, egg, and sour cream together until smooth and combined. Then mix in the buttermilk and vanilla.
  • Combine everything into a batter: Pour the wet ingredient mixture into the dry ingredients, along with the hot coffee. Use a whisk or rubber spatula to gently mix everything together into a smooth, pourable flour mixture.
Chocolate Raspberry Cake batter
  • Add the chocolate chips: Lastly, fold in the mini semi-sweet chocolate chips that have been very lightly coated in flour to prevent them from sinking during baking.
  • Bake: Put the batter into your cake pans. Drop them on a counter to push out all the air bubbles, then bake them for at least 22-25 minutes (on the middle rack) until a knife comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.
  • Cool the cakes: Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool completely in the pans on a wire rack. It’s normal for the centers to sink slightly as they cool.
Making the Cake

Making the Frosting

Make The Frosting
  • Beat the butter: In a large bowl, use a hand mixer or stand mixer with the paddle attachment to beat the softened butter at medium-high speed for a couple of minutes until light and creamy.
  • Add dry ingredients: Reduce the speed to low and gradually mix in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder until it is combined.
  • Add wet ingredients: With the mixer still on low, pour in the heavy cream (or milk), salt, and vanilla extract.
  • Whip: Increase speed to medium and beat for 1 full minute until smooth and fluffy.
  • Taste and adjust: Give it a taste and beat in an extra pinch of salt if needed to balance the sweetness.

Making the Chocolate Ganache

Making the Chocolate Ganache
  • Chop the chocolate: Place the semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate in a heat-proof medium bowl, chopping it into very small pieces so it melts easily.
  • Heat the cream: In a small saucepan, heat the heavy whipping cream (and raspberry liqueur if using) just until simmering around the edges – do not boil.
  • Pour over chocolate: Immediately pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and allow it to sit for 2-3 minutes to gently soften the chocolate.
  • Stir: Use a spoon or small rubber spatula to slowly stir the ganache mixture until completely smooth and combined into a shiny ganache.
  • Chill if needed: Allow the warm ganache to cool for 30 minutes in the fridge if it needs to thicken slightly before pouring over the cake.

Assembling and Decorating

  • Layer the Cake: Place one cooled cake layer on your plate/stand and spread some of the buttercream evenly over the top. Transfer some buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe a thick ring of buttercream around the edge.

Carefully spread half of the chilled raspberry filling inside the buttercream ring using an offset spatula. Top with the second cake layer and repeat the buttercream, piped ring, and raspberry filling. Finally, place the third cake layer on top.

Assembling and Decorating
  • Apply the Crumb Coat: Use the remaining buttercream to apply a thin, even layer over the top and sides of the stacked layers. Run a bench scraper around the sides to smooth out the crumb coat. Refrigerate the crumb-coated cake for 30 minutes to 1 hour to set the buttercream.
  • Finish With Ganache: If needed, gently rewarm the thickened ganache to a pourable consistency. Pour or spoon the ganache over the chilled chocolate cake layers, using an offset spatula to spread it in an even layer over the top and sides. Once the ganache has set slightly, garnish with fresh raspberries as needed.
Chocolate Raspberry Cake recipe

Some Notes On This Chocolate Cake Recipe With Raspberries

Make Ahead Strategies

There are several ways to get a head start on this cake, making it perfect for planning ahead:

  • You can bake and cool the cake layers, then wrap them tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Just let them warm up to room temperature before you start layering and frosting.
  • The raspberry filling and chocolate buttercream can also be prepared in advance. Just keep the buttercream in the fridge. If it’s a bit stiff when you’re ready to use it, beat in a little more room-temperature heavy cream to get it back to the right consistency.
  • Chocolate ganache can be made ahead, too. Store it in the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for easy spreading.

Serving and Storage

This famous chocolate cake is great served immediately or after chilling for a few hours. You can enjoy it at room temperature or straight from the fridge.

Store leftovers in the freezer. Wrap the entire cake in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil before freezing. For slices, an airtight container works wonders.

The frosted cake freezes beautifully for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the fridge overnight and serve it chilled or at room temperature.

Substitutions and Alternatives

If you’re out of sour cream, plain yogurt is a good backup. It changes the richness slightly, but in a pinch, it’s a solid swap.

Buttermilk is a must for this recipe, but you can make yourself some with milk and a teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Let it sit for 5 minutes to curdle, and you’re good to go. Though it’s best with whole milk, lower-fat or non-dairy milk can work if needed.

For those who are tight on time or have no ingredients, canned raspberry cake filling is an easy substitute as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Use Room Temperature Ingredients?

At room temperature, eggs and butter blend together more smoothly, resulting in a homogenous batter. This leads to a smoother texture and even baking for the choco raspberry cake.

Why Shouldn’t I Over-Mix?

Overmixing the batter incorporates too much air, leading to a tough, dense, and even dry cake. Once the dry ingredients are just incorporated and there are no streaks of flour, stop mixing.

Why Do Chocolate and Raspberry Complement Each Other?

The tartness of raspberries beautifully balances the richness of this dark chocolate cake. They create a harmonious flavor combination where the intense chocolate notes are tempered by the bright berry notes.

Can I Use a Different Type of Flour?

All-purpose flour is ideal for a chocolate cake with raspberry filling. But you could potentially experiment with cake flour for a slightly lighter crumb. A gluten-free version might work, too (I’ve not tested it). However, using cake flour might require adjusting the amount of liquid in the recipe.

How Can I Fix Runny or Stiff Frosting?

If your frosting is too runny, add more powdered sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency. On the other hand, if it’s too stiff, add a tablespoon of milk or heavy cream at a time until it becomes smooth and spreadable.

Grab your ingredients, preheat your oven, and get ready to create a masterpiece!

Discover More Unique Cake Recipes:

Chocolate Raspberry Cake

Chocolate Raspberry Cake

An indulgent chocolate raspberry cake bursting with decadent layers of moist chocolate cake, tangy raspberry filling, silky chocolate buttercream, and a luxurious raspberry ganache topping.
3 from 2 votes
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Course: Cake
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Cooling Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours
Servings: 12
Calories: 410kcal
Author: Brenda Maher


For the Raspberry Filling:

  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp water
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • tsp lemon juice
  • tsp vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Cake:

  • 1 ⅙ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ⅙ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ⅓ tsp baking soda
  • tsp baking powder
  • tsp salt
  • 1 ⅓ tsp espresso powder (optional)
  • cup vegetable oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1 large egg (room temperature)
  • ½ cup full-fat sour cream
  • cup buttermilk (room temperature)
  • 1 ⅓ tsp vanilla extract
  • cup hot water or black coffee
  • cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the Chocolate Buttercream:

  • cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 2 ⅓ cups powdered sugar
  • cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream or milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 ⅓ tsp vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Raspberry Ganache:

  • 5.3 oz quality semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate (finely chopped)
  • ½ cup heavy cream or whipping cream
  • 2 ⅔ tbsp raspberry liqueur (optional)


Making the Filling:

  • Dissolve cornstarch in water until smooth.
  • In a saucepan, combine the cornstarch mixture, raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice over medium heat. Mash the raspberries as they soften. No need to thaw the freeze-dried raspberries.
  • Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  • Cool for 10-15 minutes, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 1 week.

Making the Cake:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease three 6-inch pans and line them with parchment paper.
  • Whisk the dark cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder.
  • Blend oil, egg, and sour cream together. Mix in buttermilk and vanilla.
  • Combine wet and dry ingredients, add hot water/coffee, and fold in chocolate chips.
  • Divide batter into pans. Drop on a counter to remove air bubbles. Bake for 22-25 minutes, then let them cool completely.

Making the Frosting:

  • Beat butter until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar and cocoa powder.
  • Mix in heavy cream, salt, and vanilla, and beat until fluffy.

Making the Ganache:

  • Chop chocolate finely and place in a medium bowl.
  • Heat cream (and liqueur, if using) until simmering, then pour over chocolate. Let sit, then stir the ganache mixture until it’s smooth.
  • Cool to thicken if needed before spreading on the cake.

Assembling and Decorating:

  • Start with a layer of frosting, then the filling for the first layer. Do the same for another layer of cake on top of that.
  • Place the third layer. Apply a crumb coat of buttercream and chill to set.
  • Top with ganache and garnish with fresh raspberries if needed.


  • You can make this dark chocolate cake in advance, then wrap it tightly and refrigerate until ready to assemble. Before layering, let them come to room temperature.
  • The frosting and ganache can be prepared ahead of time. Store them in the refrigerator and bring them to room temperature for decorating the cake.
  • Serve the finished cake immediately after decorating, or let it chill for 4-6 hours before slicing for a firmer texture.
  • Wrap leftover cake tightly and store in the freezer for up to 3 months using an airtight container.
  • If out of sour cream, substitute an equal amount of plain yogurt (note richness may be slightly different).
  • Make a buttermilk substitute by adding 1 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice to milk and letting it sit for 5 minutes to curdle.
  • Use whole, low-fat, or non-dairy milk as a buttermilk substitute.
  • In a time crunch, substitute canned raspberry cake filling for the homemade filling.


Calories: 410kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 4g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 180mg | Potassium: 220mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 32g | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 2mg
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Mary and Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher, are the founders of Cake Girls, a Chicago-based online baking shop specializing in cake supplies, party decor, and DIY cake tutorials. They are known for their elaborate and artistic cake creations, which have been featured on the Food Network Challenge and in a reality show, Amazing Wedding Cakes.

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