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my quest continues

Recipe: chocolate raspberry cake

I live in a snowglobe! It’s snowing beautiful, white flakes outside right now and for once – for once it’s falling vertically instead of flying past on its way to Kansas. Lovely. Really lovely.

looking up valley this morning

Folks may be sick of seeing pictures of the weather around here, but for me, weather is an integral part of nature and I love it – love to read it, study it, feel it. Weather is beautiful to me. If you don’t understand and respect the weather, you really have no business climbing in the mountains.

good on ya, cali!
California’s Supreme Court just declared a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Thank you! It is not an issue of gay rights, but civil rights.

Recovery is slow this time around, but I’m staying patient (this is rare). Thoughts of sushi and berries and salads flit around in my mind nearly 24/7. I am having trouble eating solid foods at the moment, but I know it will pass and I have a list of new restaurants I want to try as soon as it does! I’m craving authentic Asian food, which means I will probably have to venture into Denver. *sigh* Any favorite recommendations from the locals? The operative word here is authentic.

I made a habit of bringing baked goods to oncology each time I got chemo’d (except the first time). It’s a cheery set up for what is to most, a depressing situation: a giant room with huge windows and all of the infusion stations lined up along the walls – facing the center. In the middle of the room is the nurses’ station which is open and inviting. All of the nurses are situated at their computers to face us because they need to make sure we don’t keel over and die :) There was a communal kitchenesque area where folks could go to grab a snack, coffee, tea, etc. I had brought chocolate chip banana bread, sour cream coffee cake, raspberry cream cheese cookies, and lemon petits fours.

butter, sugar, eggs – that’s a good start

For my last chemo, I wanted to bring something chocolaty because (most) people love chocolate and I really adore my nurses – one is a tele skier! Something with chocolate… Something with sour cream… Something rich and moist…

i cannae resist a cake recipe that calls for sour cream

I had a hard time finding a recipe that fit the bill and received rave reviews to boot. I ended up trying one from a book that contains my favorite tea cake recipe. Ideally, I was looking for a rich, dense, moist chocolate bundt cake made with sour cream that has bittersweet overtones without being overly sweet. If you have one of those, send it my way.

the dry ingredients

This cake calls for raspberries to be folded into the batter, which I thought was a nice touch. I think raspberries and chocolate go together like beans and cornbread.

gently folded

into the happy pan we go

Another reason I wanted to try this cake was because it didn’t require layering and complicated frosting. I love making layered cakes, but there are times when you just want a one-pan recipe that comes out beautifully on its own – no cutting, no stacking, no crumb coats.

an easy ganache glaze


I made two of these cakes. The first was to test for edibility and shooting. I made Jeremy try it. He liked it. I gave several slices to my neighbors and they liked it. I sent the rest to Jeremy’s graduate students, and they scraped the cake saver clean. I guess it’s fine, but it didn’t have that dense and rich texture I was seeking. The crumb itself is slightly on the dry side, but the chocolate chips and raspberries give it pockets of moisture. It is chocolaty without being too sweet. I don’t think this is the go-to chocolaty, dense, moist, cake I was looking for. The search goes on…

dotted with chocolate chips and raspberries

Anniversary Chocolate and Raspberry Cake with Chocolate Glaze
[print recipe]
modified from Easiest and Best Coffee Cakes and Quick Breads by Renny Darling

1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 tsps vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
6 tbsps cocoa
2 tsps baking powder (1/2 tsp for 8500 ft.)
1/2 tsp baking soda (1/4 tsp for 8500 ft.)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
3/4 cup raspberries

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
2 tbsps butter
2 tbsps light corn syrup

Preheat oven to 325°F. Cream together butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in eggs until blended. Beat in sour cream and vanilla until blended. Combine and add the remaining ingredients (except for the raspberries) and beat until blended. Stir in the raspberries. Spread batter evenly into a greased 10-inch springform pan and bake for about 55 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean from the center. Allow to cool in pan.

Make the glaze: Melt chocolate. Heat butter and corn syrup together until bubbly, and stir into chocolate until blended. Allow to cool for 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. When the cake is cool, remove it from the pan and spread the top and sides with the glaze.

*Jen’s glaze: I didn’t use this glaze recipe. Instead, I heated (don’t boil) 5 ounces of heavy cream and poured it over 5 ounces of chopped chocolate. Let the cream sit for a minute and then stir until smooth and pour over the cake.

39 nibbles at “my quest continues”

  1. Peter says:

    Now doesn’t this just make me want dessert for dinner! The snowy photo is so cool…I don’t envy it but it’s sure “perty”.

  2. Amy says:

    What a cute pan! I adore sour cream cakes too. :) Maybe some melted chocolate into the batter and less leavening would make something denser and chocolatey?

  3. Mia says:

    ooh chocolate cake….i just made the “mocha brownie cake” from my new (ok, it’s used) Baking With Julia book, by Dorie Greenspan. It has a slightly dry crumb, but is nice and dense and chocolatey, and with a mocha ganache….oh baby.

  4. Julie says:

    Glad you are starting to feel well and love those pictures. As for a great chocolate cake recipe, try ‘chocolate stout cake’ from Epicurious. My family and friends love it, it is moist and not too sweet. Can’t taste the stout, even my 5 year old love it. Great recipe and can’t go wrong with it.

  5. Mollie says:

    The cake is so pretty! I’m bummed it wasn’t what you were looking for tho, because what you are looking for sounds exactly like what I would be looking for if only I had known before this moment that what my life is missing is a “rich, dense, moist chocolate bundt cake made with sour cream that has bittersweet overtones without being overly sweet”. So I hope you find it so I don’t have to go through all the trouble of locating it myself. :)

    Glad you are on the mend, and I have to agree that oncology nurses tend to be some of the most rockin’ people around.

  6. annie says:

    Well it sure looks fantastic, even if it wasn’t quite what you were looking for. Love the raspberries in the glaze!

  7. Ginny says:

    Delicious! Looks great!

  8. Barbara says:

    That cake looks so delicious! Those are some lucky nurses.

  9. manggy says:

    It may not have been the cake you were looking for, but you can’t argue with people eliminating every last crumb of the cake, right? :) About the quest for the cake: what do you think of plain old devil’s food? (Is there a way to swirl in chocolate syrup without it sinking to the bottom?) You might also like to search for cake-like brownie recipes.. (not that it would fit in a Bundt pan.) Or even fudge-like brownie recipes! Flourless chocolate cake is also another alternative– one that uses eggs only or hazelnut/almond flour.

    When I was an intern, the Cancer ward spanned 30 separate rooms (and there were 2-4 beds in each room) on one floor, and the nurses’ station was a separate room in one corner where they would eat fast food while arranging charts :( clearly not the best design. If for anything, it’s because it’s the (one!) intern that rotates around all the rooms on the hour, checking if the patients are still okay, and taking manual blood pressures of each! There’s always a family member with the patient, though, to yell as loud as they can if something wasn’t right. GREAT hospital planning, lol.

    Hmm, do I respect the weather? Here’s my snow experience:
    “Okay, we’re here!” (gets out of car) AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH! TAKE A PICTURE! TAKE A PICTURE! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH! (slams door of car) “Okay, let’s go!” I don’t know how people get through Christmas without screaming themselves silly.

  10. Holly says:

    Beautiful cake! I love the raspberry and chocolate combination and actually made brownies that fit the bill for what you are looking for in bundt cake. I’ll experiment a bit and see what I can come up with for you. Beautiful snowy picture!

  11. Holly says:

    Here’s the brownie recipe, just in case. It is a Donna Hay recipe.

  12. Tartelette says:

    I will never get tired of your snow and mountains pictures :) It’s already summer here and the mosquitoes have already found me! The cake looks wonderful and you are so sweet to bring your nurses treats. I know it can’t be easy for them but after all you are going through, you are really a rock star!

  13. mj says:

    Not a bundt cake, but a loaf cake – I love Nigella’s Quadruple Chocolate Cake. It is rich, dense and moist, and has a nice chocolate syrup topping. Very yummy. (And uses sour cream too)

  14. Rosa says:

    I love your pictures! I do the same on my blog and I always enjoy taking pictures of nature… Wow, that’s a lot of snow! Here, everything is verdant green!

    That cake looks delicious! A great combination of flavors!



  15. Judy (Judy's Gross Eats) says:

    Love the cake shape and all the weather photos (I miss the snow). I just made a chocolate cake with sourdough starter; it had just a hint of tang to it. Glad you’re through with chemo, too. And, hopefully, the state of CA will stand firm and not be bullied.

  16. Laura @ Hungry and Frozen says:

    You’ll find that chocolate cake recipe one day! I recommend Nigella’s birthday cake from HTE – it is only one layer, and is a one-pot cake to boot (with a whole tin of condensed milk in it *drool*) I love your weather photos – that snow-dome landscape is what I wish drizzly, dank Wellington looked like right now!

    Hope you’re feeling better soon. :)

  17. peabody says:

    How pretty is that! Very sweet of you. I always bring food to me Vet and my beloved needle poker.
    Oh and yes, yay for California…I hope it doesn’t get over turned. And I hope other states follow suit.

  18. Patricia Scarpin says:

    That is what I call a spectacular cake!

  19. Nicisme says:

    I love your snowy pictures, jealous – yes, sick of them – nooooo!
    Gorgeous cake!

  20. Roxane says:

    I’ve fallen in love with the chocolate bundt cake here:

    The sour cream makes it so dense and moist and using dark cocoa gives it such a deep rich brown almost black color. Its sweet but not cloyingly so, more of the bittersweet that you are looking for. Every time I make it, I get requests for a repeat performance. Enjoy!

  21. Amanda says:

    I have the recipe for you! Chocolate Mayo Cake. The non-egg recipe makes the cake pretty dense, the mayo keeps it moist and not-too-sweet. However, my family ups the chocolate ante by adding Hershey’s chocolate syrup to the batter, increasing the cocoa amount, or throwing in dark chocolate chips.

    Chocolate Mayo Cake

    2 c. flour
    5 tbsp. cocoa
    2 tsp. soda
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1 c. sugar
    1 c. mayonnaise
    1 c. water
    1 tsp. vanilla

    Blend together with electric mixer. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees in 8 x 8 inch pan.

  22. My Sweet & Saucy says:

    What an amazing post! The cake looks fantastic!

  23. Hillary says:

    Aww what an adorable flower shaped cake. It looks good!

    Hey, if you had to pick – would it be berries or citrus?

  24. julia says:

    It’s just so perfect in its simplicity. Bravo!

    I love the pan shape. Where did you find it?

    I have a few good chocolate cake recipes on my blog but one that you might really like is one I recently made in a Bundt pan. It uses a melted ice cream as it’s main source of flavor. It was really good, moreso than I expected.

    If you want one that’s a bit more complicated but super-duper chocolatey, Epicurious’s Double Chocolate Layer Cake</a? will not disappoint. I’ve halfed the recipe and just make one layer, instead of two and it was still devine.

    If I lived near you, I’d bake one for you :-) I hope you feel better soon.

  25. Lesley says:

    Hi Jen! Just wanted to finally tell you how much I love your blog–your photos, your recipies, your sense of humor…oh well, everything. You truly kick a**. Thanks for all you do :)

  26. Mrs Ergül says:

    I’m on the lookout for such a chocolate cake too! Will wait for your perfect one ;)

    I will love to stay in Boulder too! I hate the humid weather in Singapore…. Cheers to healthier days, hooray!!

  27. Laura says:


    I am new to your blog and I love your photos–including the nature ones. Anyway, I am a bundt cake FIEND and I love the Cook’s Illustrated Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake. Please let me know if you want it–I have it in my files and could email it in an attachment, but it will not copy and paste nicely.


    P.S. Please include a comment here too just in case you get caught in my spam filter.

  28. Laura says:

    Also meant to mention if you do not want icing, the Cook’s Illustrated is also a good choice for that. I personally do not like icings and glazes on chocolate bundt cakes.

  29. sabina says:

    i second the cook’s illustrated chocolate sour cream bundt cake. also, take a look at the cake bible, as i recall there are a few flourless chocolate cakes and the like…perhaps you will find the “one”

    i think your cake looked gorgeous and perfect, as all of your photos illustrate, you are quite a baking artist.

    onward to pants worn every day.

  30. jenyu says:

    Peter – hee hee. There does come a point in the year when I enjoy the snow photos a little more than I enjoy being in the snow :)

    Amy – yes, I haven’t done enough experimentation on my search for the right chocolate cake yet. I have a hard time trying a recipe blind without having some notion of whether or not it will suck. I really detest wasting good ingredients/food on mediocre recipes. Luckily, chocolate cake is easy to give away ;)

    Mia – I have that book too. Perhaps I should dig through it some more. Thanks for the rec.

    Julie – thanks! I will definitely look at that recipe. I actually like to make my chili with chocolate stout :) It’s delish!

    Mollie – thank you :) When I find the right cake, I will sing it out from the blog so everyone can try it and not waste their time on imposters ;) Yup – oncology nurses are really awesome.

    Annie – aw, thanks! It wasn’t that bad. In fact, I guess it was really good to those who ate it :) I just get that way when I’m lookin for something in particular.

    Ginny – thanks!

    Barbara – well, they definitely deserve it :)

    Mark – devil’s food is okay in my book. Every DFC I’ve tried is too “fluffy” in the crumb for me. While I love chewy/dense brownies, that isn’t the texture I want in the chocolate cake. I do have a few flourless chocolate cake recipes that I like – but those are flourless chocolate cakes, not chocolate bundts. Hmmmm… hard to describe, but I’ll know it if I ever achieve the right consistency. It will be denser than normal “cake” with a heavier, wetter crumb – but still dry enough to be called cake and not like a gooey brownie or flourless choc cake. Folks have listed some good recommendations here, so I’ll be experimenting soon! :) OMG, your snow experience is hilarious. Remind me if you ever visit Colorado, to put you in a mobile climate controlled chamber – ha ha ha.

    Holly – oh thanks!! I love Donna Hay, so I’ll look up what she has in her book.

    Tartelette – you make me blush! :)

    mj – thank you! I’ll definitely have a look at that recipe too :)

    Rosa – thanks :) Glad you too enjoy the nature around us! I think too many people often forget how invigorating it can be.

    Judy – wow, sourdough starter! That sounds really good. Of course, if I had some sourdough starter, I couldn’t keep myself from making (and eating) sourdough because I am crazy about the stuff ;) Yes, not only do I hope CA will stand firm, but I hope this country will get its head out of its ass and do the same.

    Laura – I’ll take a look at Nigella’s recipe. Thank you! I am also a sucker for sweetened condensed milk (my word, that stuff is dangerous, no?). You always make Wellington sound so drab! All of the pictures I have of Wellington in my tour books are sunny ;) It’s one city in NZ I haven’t been to yet and really really would love to visit (I hear wonderful things about it). We’ve been to NZ 3 times now. I dare say, I can’t stay away for too long because I love it so.

    Peabody – here here, sistah! Awww, you take stuff to your vet? That’s really sweet. I should remember to do that with Doc Newton (our vet). The problem is that we both have to take Kaweah in to the vet if I want to bring goodies because she goes CRAZY. Not crazy bad, but crazy good. She loves the vet and she is IN LOVE with our vet. I don’t know how he ever gets a read on her vitals because she is wagging and wiggling and fawning over him the entire time he is within earshot.

    Patricia – thanks :)

    Nicisme – glad that you enjoy the photos of snow. Some people really can’t stand to see snow beyond May 1 ;)

    Roxane – thanks for the rec! Someone else also recommended that recipe (originally from Epicurious). Sounds like a good direction for me to try in my hunt! :)

    Amanda – good on ya! I have heard lots of raves about chocolate mayo cake in the past. I’ll definitely give it a try. Thank you!

    MSS – thank you :)

    Hillary – for me, definitely berries and chocolate. I know folks LOVE citrus and chocolate. I have to confess that I hated orange and chocolate for many many years. It wasn’t until I started making my own chocolate covered orange peels that I began to develop an appreciate for the pairing. Jeremy is nuts about orange and chocolate together. But I definitely go in the berry camp :) You?

    Julia – thanks for the links! I will check them out – they sound great :) I got this pan (removable bottom) from Williams-Sonoma about ten years ago. I love it. It’s non-stick, heavy, and produces a lovely simple shape aside from round or square and does well with either 9-inch or 10-inch recipes. And if you cut it just right, you get 4 large heart-shaped slices – which is great to send to neighbors :)

    Lesley – oh, you’re so sweet! Thank you for dropping by!

    Mrs. Ergul – I hear ya on the humidity. I grew up in southern Virginia and ugh!! It’s oppressive in the summer when it’s hot AND humid. I guess that’s why we settled here :) In winter, we can get down to 10% humidity. It’s kinda dry, but I’d take that over damp air any day!

    Laura – thanks! I would love a copy. I’ll be sure to comment on your blog. Also – I too don’t really like icing or glaze on my bundt cakes! I prefer them dry (which is why a moist crumb is so important). Thanks so much – you read my mind!!

    Sabina – thank you :) I do love flourless chocolate cakes, but in my bundt search, I don’t want that kind of consistency – I am looking for a definitive cake crumb, but heavier and moister. So many great suggestions here, I will have no excuse if I can’t find a good one! Thanks for your comment – you’re really sweet. Pants!!

  31. Alexander Simonsson says:

    So, I made an chocolate cakes yesterday for an 8y old’s birthday dinner (Im an au pair in Bay Area, CA) and why didn’t I do this instead?
    Anyhow, I love your blog and I’m totally inspired of your cooking and stories.
    Keep it up!
    Alexander, the swedish guy.

  32. Susan at StickyGooeyCreamyChewy says:

    I never get tired of your stunning pictures, Jen. For someone who is pretty bored with water, sand and palm trees, I look forward to those glimpses into the natural beauty of your world.

    It may not have been your dream cake, but it looks mighty good! I love the idea of using fresh berries instead of the usual jam or preserves. And…just like mascarpone, sour cream makes everything better! ;)

  33. Kevin says:

    Raspberries and chocolate go so well together. Nice looking cake!

  34. Laura says:

    Hey I emailed you the cake so drop me an email if you don’t get it. :)

  35. Brittany says:

    Grrrrowl! That is one sexy cake.
    I love your combo meal of nature pics and beautiful food pics. Food would not exist without nature, so they really go hand in hand. It’s also one of the billion reasons why I visit your blog.

    Hey- by the way- cook’s illustrated does a really nice chococlate bundt made with sour cream and brown sugar. It’s the best I’ve tried…and I’ve eaten my share of chocolate bundt cake. More than I would like to admit.

  36. Christine says:

    Jen – What a view you had there! The cake looks just lovely. I really admire the way you make two cakes to test for edibility and aesthetics. One of these days, I’ll be a bit more of a conscientious cook/baker, thanks to you :)

  37. jenyu says:

    Alexander – thanks!

    Susan – some variety is good for all of us, no? :) hee hee.

    Kevin – thank you!

    Laura – thanks love – I got it and I will be sure to make it along with a few others when my taste has returned to normal!

    Brittany – ha! You’re a riot, and thanks :) Yeah, I have been told by other commenters that the CI recipe is awesome. I’ve added that to my “test” kitchen slate!

    Christine – call it boredom ;) And you already ARE a conscientious cook/baker. Don’t be ridiculous! :)

  38. Anniversary Chocolate and Raspberry Cake | Forever Warm, Forever Autumn says:

    […] here’s the recipe… Mine is altered a little bit… but go here for the original recipe with step by stem photograph instructions! VERY […]

  39. Larry says:

    The ultimate chocolate cake is the Klostercake Edelbitter from the Kartause in Ittingen, Switzerland ( It’s made with two or three kinds of chocolate, ground hazelnuts, ground almonds, eggs, butter, etc. I’ve searched the Internet trying to find the recipe — but to no avail. I shall have to go back there and fill up on the cake before I die.

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