Chocolate Cake with Almond-Cream Cheese Filling and Berries

Serves 12

Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Stonemill Essentials iodized salt
1 cup Friendly Farms whole milk
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 cups sugar
1 (4.4 oz) Moser Roth Dark 70% Cocoa Chocolate bar, roughly chopped
1/2 cup Baker’s Corner Baking Cocoa
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) Countryside Creamery butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Vanilla Extract
2 Simply Nature eggs
8 oz Friendly Farms cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Almond Extract
Berry Sauce:
2 (12 oz) bags Season’s Choice Berry Medley
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons water
2 (5.29 oz) bars Choceur Dark Chocolate (49%), chopped
1 cup Countryside Creamery Heavy Whipping Cream
1 pint fresh raspberries, washed
For cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9″-diameter cake pans with non-stick cooking spray and line bottoms with parchment paper rounds. Spray parchment and dust with flour, tapping out excess.
Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Combine milk and vinegar in a small bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat sugar, chocolate, cocoa powder, water, butter and vanilla in a large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water (water should not touch bottom of bowl), stirring until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly, then whisk in milk mixture. Then whisk in eggs and vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture and whisk until smooth (but don’t over mix).

Bake for 25-30 minutes until tester comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in pans on cooling rack.
Prepare filling:
Using an electric mixer, mix cream cheese, butter and salt until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar and mix to incorporate. Add almond extract and mix until smooth.
Prepare sauce:
Combine Berry Medley with sugar and water in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until berries are cooked down and have released their juices, about 25 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and press solids to release all juices. Discard solids and refrigerate sauce until ready to serve.
Loosen edges of cakes with a paring knife and place a plate on top of the baking pan and invert. Place one of the cakes, smooth (bottom-side) down on a serving pedestal. Place strips of parchment paper around the perimeter of the cake, tucked slightly under the cake, to catch frosting drips (remove before serving). Top cake with almost all of the cream cheese mixture and smooth into an even layer. Top with remaining layer, smooth (bottom-side) down and gently press down to sandwich filling. Take remaining filling and smooth sides so that they are even and no gaps remain. Refrigerate at least one hour.
Prepare ganache:
Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat cream in a saucepan until just starting to simmer. Pour over chocolate and stir until smooth. Let cool 5 minutes. Pour over the top of the cake and spread down and around sides in a even layer. Swirl with spatula to create a finished look. Arrange raspberries around the top perimeter of the cake. Refrigerate until ganache is set, at least 30 minutes.
Before serving, allow cake to sit at room temperature for 1 hour. To serve, cut cake into 12 slices. On serving plate, pool a few spoonfuls of berry sauce and top with slice of cake.