Graduation Cake

One of my family friends had her graduation on Thursday as she finished her degree in Early Childhood last year. Our families have been friends for years and she's the first one of us to graduate (being the oldest) plus the first grandchild from both sides of her family, so this was a pretty big deal! I didn't actually make this cake for Emma, although I did do the writing (extremely challenging...) but this is one of mum's specialties and it's so yummy, so I thought that I'd share it anyway. With her permission of course. This cake actually comes from a restaurant in Wellington, Astoria, but I don't think they make it anymore. They wouldn't make it as well as my mum even if they did! It tastes great and works really well as any sort of celebration cake, so enjoy!

Emma with her awesome cake.
Astoria's Chocolate and Raspberry Cake


300g butter
300g chocolate bits
90mL water
1 1/4 cups flour
Scant 1/2 cup cocoa
2t baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups castor sugar
1t vanilla essence
220g frozen raspberries, thawed and drained

275mL cream
275g chocolate bits

Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease and line a 25cm springform cake tin. Place butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt together in the microwave for about 2 mins. Add the water and whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool. Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt together and set aside. Place eggs, sugar and vanilla together in a bowl and whisk with an electric mixer (or just by hand, some electric mixers come with whisk attachments which are cool!) until pale and creamy in colour. Pour this mixture into the cooled chocolate mixture and begin to fold* together. When it is almost incorporated, add dry ingredients and continue to fold in, Once mixture is an even colour, fold the raspberries through the mixture. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake. Remove cake from oven and cool. Take the cake out of the cake tin and set cake on a rack when cooled. Cover with the chocolate ganache (you may be able to pour it on and just spread it round a bit) and enjoy!

Chocolate Ganache:
Pour cream into a pot and bring to a temperature just below boiling. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and, using a metal spoon, stir gently until all the chocolate has melted and the ganache is smooth (if you whisk, or stir, vigorously with a wooden spoon, you will create tiny air bubbles which will appear as tiny pits in the ganache when it is set.) Cool ganache until just about cold either on the bench or in the refrigerator. It should be a thick pouring consistency, and don't use heat or water on the knife or spreader you use on the cake, otherwise it will become dull and streaky.

*Folding is a technique used in baking when one does not stir the ingredients together as such, but just brings the mixture from underneath to the top, incorporating it, but not really mixing. It is really like just folding the mixture together, like you would fold clothes.

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