CHOCOLATE-RASPBERRY LAYER CAKE WITH TWO FROSTINGS

Recipe courtesy of The Bear Cupboard (http://bearcupboard.blogspot.com)
Rating:  9 out of 10
 
Custard Frosting and Filling:
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 cup low-fat milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 beaten large egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 tsp. raspberry extract
1 Tbsp. raspberry liqueur (nips available at ABC store)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, very soft
1 cup confectioner's sugar

In 1-1/2 quart saucepan, whisk cornstarch, milk, cream, sugar, egg and flavorings till smooth.  Cook over medium heat till thick, stirring frequently with whisk.  Remove from heat and place pot in tray of ice water.  Whisk till cool.  (At this point, custard can be refrigerated overnight, if desired.)

Beat butter and confectioner's sugar together with electric mixer; add cooled custard and beat till smooth and creamy.  (If you need to add more cream, be sure to whip it separately first before adding.) Refrigerate frosting for about 1/2 hour to help it spread better.  This  is enough to fill and frost a three-layer cake.  

Chocolate Cake:
1 Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Fudge cake mix, or your favorite chocolate cake recipe

Make as package directs, substituting coffee in place of water.  Make three layers.

Chocolate Frosting:
2 oz. (2 squares) Baker's unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 to 3-1/4 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
1/3 cup milk or heavy cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, very soft
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. coffee essence (equal parts coffee and coffee liqueur)
1/4 tsp. sea salt

In small heat-proof bowl, melt chocolate pieces over simmering water till melted.  (Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water so that the lip of the bowl covers the lip of the pot.  It is important to keep steam or liquid away from melted chocolate, or it will seize.)  Cool slightly.

In medium  bowl, beat 3 cups sugar, milk, butter, vanilla, coffee essence and salt till smooth.  Slowly add cooled chocolate and continue beating till smooth and creamy.  Add up to 1/4 cup additional sugar, if needed, to make frosting of spreading consistency.

Other Ingredients
About 2/3 cup seedless raspberry jam or fruit spread
2 Tbsp. raspberry liqueur
2 half-pint containers fresh raspberries

Heat raspberry jam with liqueur over medium-low heat for a few minutes, till jam thins and smooths out.  Stir with spoon. Cool slightly.  Rinse raspberries and place, hollow side down, on several thicknesses of paper towels.  Top with additional paper towels.  Allow to dry.

Assemble the cake:  Place first layer on serving plate with pieces of waxed paper a few inches under, so that the paper pulls out easily when you are done frosting the cake.  This makes for easy cleanup and a neater bottom.  Spread about 3-1/2 Tbsp. jam over top of first layer, leaving about 1/2" to 1" open around the outside edges.  Top with some of the custard frosting also leaving 1/2" to 1" open..  Repeat with two more layers.  Frost sides of cake with chocolate buttercream frosting.  Place dried raspberries over top of custard frosting.  Pipe additional chocolate frosting decoratively around edges.