Delicious, Delicious Disaster Cake

Today I’m going to share with you my recipe for a chocolate raspberry trifle.

Ready? Here it goes:

  • Bake a chocolate cake
  • Add too much raspberry filling
  • Make a total disaster of the entire cake 
  • Slice it up into pieces 
  • Dump the pieces into a trifle bowl
  • Voila! Trifle!

I love baking. It’s like art – you get to make something and decorate it, make it beautiful, then people enjoy it and it’s gone so you get to keep doing it again and again and again!

Decorating the cake is my favorite part of baking, so maybe I’m a little impatient. Maybe I don’t let the cake cool all the way. Maybe I don’t spend quite as much time making that frosting flavor just right. Maybe. I don’t know. Sounds like me.

You know that expression “fail fast, fail often”? That’s a pretty good description of me. I like to dive in head-first before checking the depth of the pool. I figured that’s how I make so many mistakes… but hey, that’s how I’ve gotten so good at fixing my mistakes! 

It’s funny because I work with kids and I don’t know if this is a generational thing or if I just don’t remember this as being an issue when I was a kid, but I run into so many kids for just afraid to fail. They don’t want to try because they’re afraid it won’t work out and they’ll be embarrassed or they’re worried that I’ll be upset with them or something. Some kids won’t even tape two paper cups together they’re so concerned it won’t work out. Personally, I’m a huge fan of failure. I certainly didn’t get where I am without a whole heck of a lot of it! What I like most about failure is that it presents opportunity. I know I sound super cheesy right now, but I’ve made a lot of really interesting things after I failed trying to do something the “right” way. Granted, maybe if I took a little more time to plan before I started a new project I’d fail less, but what fun would that be?

Gimme a sec to step off of my soap box.

Okay, so for her birthday my sister-in-law requested a raspberry chocolate cake which I was pretty excited about because I hadn’t made a raspberry chocolate cake in a while and I have a bomb-ass chocolate frosting recipe.

It’s my secret that everyone loves!

Well maybe not so secret. 

Actually it’s right here:

Yup, on the back of the unsweetened Hershey chocolate box

This isn’t a sponsored post, but Hershey, if you see this I’ll totally do one for you because DANG. So good.

As for the cake, I use a box. Judge me if you must, but honestly it’s my favorite cake! I’ve never liked bakery cake, they’re always dense and bland, but every box cake is moist and wonderful! You can’t convince me otherwise.

So my plan was to make a chocolate devil cake with chocolate fudge frosting and fill it with raspberry compote. 

Yes, I’m very proud of my fancy word “compote” which I may or may not have learned from The Great British Baking Show #MostRelaxingShowEver 

I make a lot of compotes because they’re the easiest thing ever. All you do is take a bunch of berries (I usually use frozen because, you know, cheaper) and you simmer them for an hour or whatever which makes your house smell amazing. It’s done when you stir it and think, “eh, that’s thick enough”. Then you put it in the fridge to cool it off bada boom ya done.

I made the cake using two 9” rounds, putting the first round on a plate upside down. I learned (from failing many times) that all cakes have a curve on top and if you want to avoid having to cut away delicious cake to flatten it, just put the first one down upside down on a dinner plate (which usually has elevated sides) so it fits nicely and you have a flat surface on which to place the second round!

I’d call it a “baking hack”, but that term drives me crazy.

The first round only got a thin layer of chocolate frosting because there needed to be ample room for compote! But if you just spread compote between cake layers it won’t go well, so the solution is a frosting dam. Now, I’m way too cheap to buy frosting bags, so instead I use a quart-size bag, open it up and put the edges around a cup so that I can fill it with the frosting. Then I cut one of the corners off the bag and it’s a diy piping bag! 

Frosting dams (my term, I’m sure there’s an actual name for it but The Great British Baking Show hasn’t taught me yet) works really well, but don’t be fooled, this isn’t one of the recipes that worked “really well”.

Frosting dam built, I spread the compote in the middle and I just remember being like, “how much do I add?? I’ll just put the whole thing in there because raspberries are delicious”.

All that was left to do was pop the second round on top, cover it in the rest of the frosting, put a little compote on top for looks, then stick it in the fridge! Which I did and it looked beautiful if I do say so myself.

Ten minutes later I opened up the fridge to check on it and low and behold – the top layer is sliding off the bottom layer. Not my best work. But it’s the day before my sister-in-law’s birthday and I definitely don’t have time to make another cake.

There she is! Stunning, ain’t she?

Oh, I forgot to mention, see that little bit of blue? That’s the blue frosting I had leftover that I used in the middle of the cake because I didn’t have QUITE enough chocolate… It wasn’t supposed to be seen. It was seen.

I ended up cutting the entire cake into little squares with a butcher’s knife, pausing for a moment to take a picture of what appeared to be a bloody butcher knife 


Then I dumped half of the mess into a trifle bowl, got myself a container of Cool whip to spread half of on top of that, dumped the other half of the mess on top of that and finished the whole thing off with the rest of the Cool whip.

Freaking amazing.

What worked out so well is that the cake I made ended up being incredibly rich. I mean, I guess I should have seen that coming – chocolate cake, chocolate frosting, and tart raspberries is going to be a pretty rich cake. The Cool whip was really necessary. Honestly that cake would not have even been edible without vanilla ice cream or cool whip or something to keep your mouth from puckering at the richness of it.

I wish that I had a photo of the final product, but I never think to take pictures of the things that go right.



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