To prepare the cake (Adapted from Rosie Alyea):
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3 (8″) round cake pans with baking spray and line the bottoms with parchment rounds.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all of the dry ingredients and stir until combined. In a separate bowl, loosely combine all of the wet ingredients and add to the bowl of the dry ingredients. Mix on medium speed for just shy of 2 minutes, scraping the bowl (and bottom of bowl!) twice throughout.
- Pour equal amounts of batter in to all 3 pans. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until center is just barely set and toothpick comes out of cake almost clean. Allow to cool in the pans and on a cooling rack for 20 minutes and then remove from pans to continue the cooling process. Cake will stay fresh for 2 days if covered, or, for one month if wrapped well in saran wrap and frozen in freezer. I prefer to freeze my cake layers on a flat surface until just prior to frosting, but this step is not necessary.
To prepare the ganache:
- Heat the cream over low heat until barely simmer. Remove from heat and add the chocolate, jam, and butter. Briefly stir the contents of the pan and allow to rest for about 2 minutes. Stir to combine until smooth. If some of the chocolate has not yet melted, put the pan back on very low heat and stir until smooth. Be careful not to scorch the mixture. When smooth, pour the ganache into a bowl and set aside to cool to a thick, peanut butter consistency.
To prepare the vanilla bean frosting (Adapted from Julie Richardson):
- Place the flour into a small saucepan and slowly drizzle in 1/3 cup of the milk, whisking all of the while. Be sure to whisk out any clumps. Once smooth, slowly whisk in the remaining milk and place the pan over medium heat. Continue whisking until the mixture comes to a simmer, cooking for an additional minute until thickened to a paste. Remove the paste to a small bowl and place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on top. Allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Once the paste has cooled, beat the butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla bean paste in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the milk paste and beat on medium speed for an additional 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Store in an air-tight container until ready to frost the cake.
To assemble the cake:
- Use a large serrated knife to level your cake layers. Spread 1/3 of the ganache mixture on top of each cake layer, leaving a 1/2 “border around the perimeter of the cake. Place in the fridge on a cooling rack briefly to set the ganache.
- Spread a bit of the frosting on an 8” cake board or your cake plate and then center one of your cake layers directly on top. Spread about 1-1/4 cups of the frosting on top and then add an additional cake layer. Repeat this process and then frost the cake with the remaining frosting. Garnish with fresh berries and store in the fridge if not eating that day. Cake will keep for up to 4 days, but it best served at room temp the day it is prepared.