“To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colors of a rainbow.” —Maya Angelou
I can’t say it better than Maya Angelou did. Mama is all of that and more to our family. She supports me whether I’m right or wrong. She is necessarily and brutally honest when I need her to be. She is emotional, elegant, kind, and nurturing but also strong, forceful, determined, adventurous, and lionhearted. A dichotomy of characteristics that I have always been in awe of.
These images are the by product of an afternoon in her kitchen, baking a beautiful, delectably delicious Raspberry Filling Stuffed Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting for my little brother’s 23rd birthday.
I knew I wanted to photograph the adventure that was baking this massive cake, and I have recently been loving the dark and moody food photography trend. Throughout the summer when mornings are early and bright, my photography tends to mimic my light and airy moods. Since Sam’s birthday is on the first day of fall, I thought this would be a lovely opportunity to explore dark, shadowy images. I created two sets in her dining room. It was a perfect location with a wall of windows and beautiful neutral walls with delicate wainscoting. One set used reflectors and primarily light surfaces. The other set was blocked off with flags to create deeply shadowed spaces and a heavier feeling. I’m in love with them both! Obviously after all of these images of cake and frosting and bright, tart, insanely beautiful raspberry filling you’ll be needing recipes. I am including the recipe for mama’s favorite Chocolate Buttercream Frosting and the Raspberry Filling used to make this cake at the bottom of the post. I would advise you to choose your favorite chocolate cake recipe to complete the deal. I am not adding the recipe for the cake itself to this post, as we were not entirely satisfied with the one we tried. While good (and gobbled up by everyone at the birthday party) it turned out a little more dense than we would have liked and was more like a chocolate browny than chocolate cake. Beautiful! But too thick. Trust me….the raspberry filling and chocolate buttercream frosting are worth scrolling down for.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Adapted from Food.com
6 tablespoons room temperature butter
2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/3 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
In a medium bowl, cream the butter.
Add the sugar and cocoa and beat until fully incorporated.
Add in milk a little at a time, mixing as you go. Add in vanilla and mix until fully incorporated and fluffy.
20 oz fresh or frozen raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons lemon juice
If using fresh raspberries, wash and dry. If using frozen strawberries, defrost and dry.
Toss all raspberries in a food processor and puree. Place a fine mesh strainer over a medium sized bowl and pour raspberry puree into the strainer (you can do this in parts if your strainer is small). Using a spoon or a silicone spatula (my choice), stir/push the puree down through the strainer. This process takes a few minutes but is worth it! No seeds should be escaping through the strainer.
Pour the puree into a small pot on medium high heat with the sugar and cornstarch. Stir constantly and allow to boil. The filling should start to thicken and be the consistency of jam. Don’t give up to early and remove from the heat before the filling has properly thickened (about 10 minutes). Once the filling is thick enough, remove from heat.
Add the lemon juice while the filling is still hot and stir in until combined. Let cool completely.