Dark Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Filling, Chocolate Ganache and Meringue Ghosts recipe from Cooking with Cocktail Rings

Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Filling and Meringue Ghosts

This dark chocolate cake is filled with layers of raspberry jam and topped with chocolate ganache frosting and little meringue ghosts for a festive Halloween treat. I think my favorite part of this cake is the little meringue ghosts – they’re just so cute! Halloween is such a fun holiday – it’s not practical by any means, but it is so much fun to celebrate. I love when people get really into it and decorate their houses with cobwebs and pumpkins and ghosts and goblins.

I try to decorate my house for every holiday, even if for some holidays the decorations are on the subtle side. Going all out on holiday décor is something I picked up from my mom and that includes making various themed desserts. I love Halloween but hate scary things – I’m terrified of watching scary movies but since I love crafting and DIY things I think it is so fun to see what everyone else comes up with for Halloween costumes. And I typically try to make my own costumes – another thing I picked up from my mom. We never had store bought costumes; instead she would sew beautiful and ornate princess, ghost, angel and witch costumes, to name a few examples.



For the dark chocolate cake:

1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa, plus more for dusting pans

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 (packed) cups light brown sugar

3 eggs plus 2 egg yolks, at room temperature

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1½ cups low-fat buttermilk


For the chocolate ganache:

1 pound semisweet chocolate

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups confectioners sugar


For the meringue ghosts:

2 egg whites, at room temperature

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

½ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon edible black gel


For assembly:

3 cups raspberry jam

½ cup dark chocolate shavings



For the dark chocolate cake:

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Butter 3 (8-inch) round cake pans. Dust with cocoa powder, tapping out the excess. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper and set the pans aside. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides with a spatula as needed, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and the yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in the melted chocolate and vanilla extract, beating to combine, about an additional 30 seconds. Turn the mixer on low speed and alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture, ending with the flour.

Evenly divide the batter among the prepared cake pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes then invert cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely. Set the raspberry jam aside until ready for assembly.


For the chocolate ganache:

Coarsely chop the chocolate and add to a medium mixing bowl. Add the cream to a small saucepot and bring to a simmer over medium heat, for about 8 minutes. Pour the cream over the chocolate and whisk constantly until smooth and shiny.

Divide the ganache in half. Let half cool to room temperature and add to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium-high with the confectioners sugar until it forms stiff peaks.


For the meringue ghosts:

Preheat the oven to 225°. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with cream of tartar on high speed until foamy. Add the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating consistently until the sugar is completely dissolved and the egg whites are glossy and stand in stiff peaks.

Add to a pastry bag fitted with a medium circle tip to form the ghosts. Pipe them 1-inch apart on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet.

Bake until the meringues are firm and they easily lift off of the waxed paper, about 1 hour. Turn off the oven and let the cookies stand in oven with door closed until they are cool, dry and crisp, for at least an hour. Do not open the oven or take them out, let them sit so they are not gooey in the middle. Dip a toothpick in the gel to create the eyes of the ghosts.  


For assembly:

Place one layer of cake on top of a cake stand. Spread an even layer of raspberry jam over the cake then place another layer of cake on top. Repeat with the remaining jam and cake. Spread some of the whipped ganache on top of the cake and evenly spread to cover the cake. Pour ½ cup of the remaining chocolate ganache on the middle of the cake so that it slowly drips down the sides. Top the cake with the meringue ghosts and the chocolate shavings.


Serves 8 to 10.  



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