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chocolate raspberry cake cut open with raspberries and mint on top sitting on a marble cake stand with pink backdrop behind it.

Chocolate Raspberry Cake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes (includes chilling)
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 6 hours (includes cooling)
  • Yield: serves 12-14
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Enjoy layers of moist dark chocolate cake, sweet creamy chocolate buttercream, and homemade raspberry filling, all covered with a luxurious chocolate raspberry ganache. 


Raspberry Filling

  • 1.5 Tablespoons (22ml) water
  • 1.5 Tablespoons (4.5 teaspoons or 12g) cornstarch
  • 3 cups (12 ounces/about 340–375g) fresh or frozen raspberries (do not thaw)*
  • 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • 1 and 3/4 cups (219g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
  • 3/4 cup (62g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder* (see Note)
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder (optional)*
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil or melted coconut oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (180g) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk, at room temperature*
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) hot water or black coffee*
  • 1 cup (170g) mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (tossed in 1 Tablespoon flour)

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 1 cup (16 Tbsp; 226g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 and 1/2 cups (420g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup (41g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) heavy cream or milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Raspberry Ganache

  • 8 ounces (226g) quality semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) raspberry liqueur, such as Chambord (or replace with more heavy cream)
  • optional garnish: fresh raspberries & fresh mint


  1. Make the raspberry filling: Whisk the cornstarch and water together until all the cornstarch has dissolved. (I just use a fork to mix—very easy.) Combine cornstarch mixture, raspberries (no need to thaw if using frozen), granulated sugar, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Using a silicone spatula, stir the mixture, mashing the raspberries as they begin to thaw and soften. Bring to a boil and let it boil for 5 full minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
  2. Allow the raspberry filling to cool at room temperature for 10–15 minutes, then transfer it to a bowl or container and place it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 1 week (the longer, the better). No need to cover it, but if refrigerating for longer than 4 hours, cover tightly. It will continue to thicken up as it chills. Raspberry filling must be completely chilled before using in your cake. If freezing, see Note below for instructions.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease three 9-inch cake pans, line with parchment paper rounds, then grease the parchment paper. Parchment paper helps the cakes seamlessly release from the pans. (If it’s helpful, see this parchment paper rounds for cakes video & post.)
  4. Make the cake: Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder (if using) together in a large bowl. Set aside. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or you can use a whisk), mix the oil, eggs, and sour cream together on medium-high speed until combined. Add the buttermilk and vanilla and beat until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, add the hot water/coffee, and whisk or beat on low speed until the batter is completely combined. Fold in the flour-coated chocolate chips. Batter is thin and you may see some air bubbles on the surface—that’s normal. You should have about 6–6.5 cups of batter, or around 1400g. 
  5. Divide batter evenly between 3 pans. Bake for approximately 24–26 minutes. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on yours. The cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Remove the cakes from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely in the pan. The cakes may slightly sink in the middle as they cool—that’s expected.
  7. As the cakes cool, make the chocolate buttercream: With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, heavy cream, salt, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 1 full minute. Taste. Beat in another pinch of salt if desired. (Do you want your buttercream darker in color? I have a trick detailed on the full chocolate buttercream page.) You’re going to use this buttercream for a thin layer under the raspberry filling, a piped “dam” around 2 of the cake layers, and for the crumb coat. Makes about 2.5 cups total.
  8. Begin layering with raspberry filling and buttercream: Place 1 cooled cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Using a large icing spatula or small offset spatula, evenly cover the top with about 1/4 cup of chocolate buttercream frosting (a thin layer). Spoon about 1/2 cup of the chocolate buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a large round piping tip. I use Wilton 2A. (Or just use a disposable piping bag and cut about 3/4 inch off the tip and use that without a piping tip.) Pipe a thick border of buttercream around the edge of the frosted cake layer, using about half of the buttercream in the piping bag. Then, using a small offset spatula, spread half of the thickened and chilled raspberry filling (about 1/2 cup) inside the buttercream border. Place second cake layer on top and then repeat the filling process: spread frosting, pipe border with remaining frosting in piping bag (if you ran out, just use more from the big bowl of buttercream), then spread on remaining raspberry filling. Top with third cake layer.
  9. Apply crumb coat: Using the remaining chocolate buttercream, spread a thin layer of buttercream on the top and around the sides as a crumb coat. Run a bench scraper around the cake to smooth out crumb coat. Chill uncovered in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours to set the crumb coat.
  10. As your crumb coat sets, make and chill the chocolate ganache: Place finely chopped chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl. Heat the cream and raspberry liqueur, if using, in a small saucepan over medium heat until it begins to gently simmer. (Do not let it come to a rapid boil—that’s too hot!) Pour over chocolate, then let it sit for 2–3 minutes to gently soften the chocolate. With a metal spoon or small rubber spatula, very slowly stir until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth. Ganache is thin. The finer you chopped the chocolate, the quicker it will melt with the cream. If it’s not melting, do not microwave it. If needed, see Troubleshooting Chocolate Ganache. Once ganache mixture is smooth, let it chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator to thicken before spreading on chilled crumb-coated cake.
  11. Pour/spoon thickened ganache on chilled cake, and spread all over cake with an icing spatula. Garnish with fresh raspberries, if desired. Serve cake immediately or chill, uncovered, for up to 4–6 hours before serving. Cake can be served at room temperature or chilled.
  12. Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for 5 days. I like using a cake carrier for storing and transporting.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions for Cake: Prepare cake through step 6. Wrap the individual baked and cooled cake layers tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze up to 3 months. Bring to room temperature, then continue with step 7. You can prepare the raspberry filling and chocolate buttercream in advance. See step 2 for raspberry sauce details. For the buttercream, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before using and beat in a little more room-temperature heavy cream to thin out if necessary. You can also prepare the chocolate ganache ahead of time. Refrigerate prepared ganache for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before spreading onto cake. Frosted cake freezes well, up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature or serve cold.
  2. Freezing Instructions for Raspberry Filling: After the raspberry filling cools completely, freeze in a freezer-friendly container for up to 3–6 months. Thaw on the counter or in the refrigerator before using. It will be very thick.
  3. Special Tools (affiliate links): Saucepan | Whisk | Silicone Spatula | Glass Mixing Bowls | 9-inch Round Cake Pans | Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand Mixer) | Cooling Rack | Large Icing Spatula | Small Offset Spatula | Bench Scraper | Piping Bag (Disposable or Reusable) and Large Round Piping Tip for buttercream “dam” | Cake Carrier (for storage)
  4. Cocoa Powder: This recipe requires natural cocoa powder for its acidity, so do not use dutch-process.
  5. Espresso Powder/Coffee: Espresso powder and coffee will not make the cake taste like coffee. Rather, they deepen the chocolate flavor. I highly recommend them both. If coffee isn’t your thing, you can leave out the espresso powder and use extra hot water instead of the hot coffee.
  6. Sour Cream: Instead of sour cream, you can use plain yogurt. The cake won’t taste as rich, but it’s a fine substitute.
  7. Buttermilk: Buttermilk is required for this recipe. You can make your own DIY version of buttermilk if needed. Add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Then add enough whole milk to the same measuring cup until it reaches 1/2 cup (120ml). (In a pinch, lower-fat or nondairy milks work for this soured milk, but the cake won’t taste as moist or rich.) Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes. The homemade “buttermilk” will be somewhat curdled and ready to use in the recipe.
  8. Why Room Temperature? All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter and frosting mix together easily and evenly. Read more about why room temperature ingredients are important.
  9. Chocolate Raspberry Ganache: Feel free to replace the raspberry liqueur with 1/4 cup (60ml) more heavy cream to make a plain chocolate ganache instead. When melting chocolate, I recommend using pure chocolate baking bars (chocolate chips have stabilizers). You can find them right next to the chocolate chips in the baking aisle. I like Bakers or Ghirardelli brands, the ones labeled bittersweet (60% cacao) or semi-sweet (56% cacao), which come in 4-ounce (113g) bars.
  10. 6-Inch Cake: To make a scaled-down 3-layer 6-inch version of this cake, use this batter for chocolate cupcakes and follow my 6-inch cake baking instructions and details. I recommend using the same amount of raspberry filling, and having some left over. Use about 1/3 cup between the layers. You can halve the buttercream and ganache recipes.
  11. Cupcakes: For raspberry-filled chocolate cupcakes, make these very similar cream-filled chocolate cupcakes, but swap the cream filling for the raspberry filling.
  12. Helpful Tutorials: 10 Tips for Baking Perfect Cakes | How to Make Parchment Paper Rounds for Cakes | Raspberry Cake Filling | Chocolate Buttercream | Chocolate Ganache | 10 Essential Cake Baking & Decorating Tools

Keywords: chocolate raspberry cake