Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare 2 (8-inch) cake pans by brushing with softened butter and lining each bottom with a circle of parchment paper.
In a small bowl, pour boiling water over cocoa powder. Whisk until smooth. Add Framboise and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and light brown sugar until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is mixed together.
Add room-temperature eggs and vanilla extract to the butter mixture 1 egg at a time. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl well. Add half of the sifted flour and mix on low speed until mostly incorporated; you should still see some streaks of flour.
Stream in half of the wet ingredients and mix until mostly incorporated. Repeat until all of the wet and dry ingredients are added. Mix until cake batter looks smooth—do not over mix.
Divide batter evenly between the 2 cake pans and smooth out the top with an offset spatula. Tap once to release any air bubbles.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before decorating.
Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl on medium speed, cream together the butter, cream cheese and scraping from the vanilla bean for 1 minute, until smooth. On low speed, add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add vanilla extract and turn mixer back up to medium speed until the frosting is fluffy and smooth.
Once cakes are cool, turn out onto a work surface, remove parchment paper and slice each cake horizontally in half with a serrated knife so there are 4 layers of cake.
Position 1 layer of cake on a serving platter. Spoon on ¼ of the frosting and use an offset spatula to even it out across the cake. Spread just to the edges (the sides remain unfrosted for this cake).
Place another layer of cake on top and repeat until all of the cake and frosting has been assembled with the final layer of frosting atop the cake.
Arrange fresh raspberries on top of the cake to cover completely. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
About this recipe
WINE PAIRING: Domaine La Tour Vieille Banyuls “Rimage”—France. Produced in sunny climate in the south of France, this vintage dessert wine is delicate and delicious, with port-like qualities and richness. It has notes of raspberry that make it ideally suited for Melissa’s delicious chocolate cake. —Maria Chiancola, Newport Wine Cellar & Gourmet, Newport