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Chocolate Truffle Cake with Raspberry Sauce

Note:  This sinfully rich cake is from the Godiva Chocolate web site.   My sister-in-law made it for a family Christmas dinner and it disappeared in a matter of minutes.  Plan to spend at least half a day to make it! 

Chocolate Cake:
3 bars (1.5 ounces each) Godiva Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk

Raspberry Sauce:
2 half-pints fresh raspberries (12 ounces)
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Orange Liqueur Syrup:
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur

Chocolate ganache:
4 bars (1.5 ounces each) Godiva Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur

Creme fraiche or whipped cream
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350F. Line 10-inch by 2-inch round cake pan with parchment or waxed paper. Spray sides of pan with vegetable cooking spray.

Place chocolate and water in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at high (100% power) for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Beat butter in large mixing bowl until softened, using an electric mixer on medium to high speed.

Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating on medium speed for 1 minute after each addition. Add vanilla. Combine buttermilk and melted chocolate. Alternately add flour mixture and chocolate mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 15 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Make the orange syrup:

Combine water and sugar in microwave-safe cup. Microwave at high (100% power) for 1 minute, stirring once, until mixture boils and sugar dissolves. Let cool slightly and stir in orange liqueur.

Make the raspberry sauce:

Combine raspberries and sugar in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the sugar dissolves completely and berries soften. Remove pan from heat. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Make the chocolate ganache:

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat cream in a small saucepan over low heat until the cream comes to just under the boil. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate. Let stand until chocolate melts. Stir gently until smooth. Stir in the liqueur. Cover with plastic wrap and cool to room temperature.

Assemble the dessert:
Line cake pan with plastic wrap. Place cake layer into the lined pan, top side up.

Pour syrup over cake. Let cake stand for 10 minutes

Spread cooled ganache over cake. Refrigerate until the ganache is firm, at least two hours. Remove the cake from the pan and place onto a serving plate with ganache on top.

To serve, cut cake into wedges. Serve cake with some raspberry sauce and a dollop of creme fraiche or whipped cream. Garnish dessert with a sprinkling of toasted sliced almonds.