Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake

Like Mr. Darcy loved Elizabeth.  Like Gilbert loved Anne. Like Johnny loved June, and Mr. Rochester loves Jane.

That's how I feel about strawberries and chocolate.  

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They just go together, you know? Like Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox.  Meant to be.

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So when the strawberries and the chocolate got together to make me a birthday cake, what was I supposed to do?  Can't say no, and don't really want to.

The problem is that we're a small family, and big cakes are just too, well, big.  So the strawberries and the chocolate, when they got together, they took care of this problem.  They made me a little 6 inch one, so I can have my cake and eat it too.  Happy birthday to moi!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake

Based on King Arthur's Chocolate Fudge Cake
Serves 4-6

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
    • 6 Tbsp. cocoa powder
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 2 large eggs
    • 6 Tbsp. vegetable oil
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. water
       
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. soft butter
     
  • 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate chocolate 
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
     
  • 4 strawberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate

For the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350° and grease two 6" round cake pans very well. Whisk together the dry ingredients.  Add in the eggs, oil, and vanilla, and beat for two minutes on medium speed.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then stir in the water.   The batter will be thin.

Pour half of the batter into each cake pan, and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and carefully tip out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.  With a sharp knife, cut off the rounded to of the cake to flatten it, then carefully cut the layers in half horizontally.  

For the Frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg whites and sugar.  Place a small pot with about an inch of water on a burner over low heat and place the mixer bowl over it.  Whisk the egg whites and sugar continuously until the mixture reaches 160°.

Place on the mixer and beat on medium high until the mixture reaches stiff peaks.  Slowly add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, mixing until each addition is completely incorporated.  Add the vanilla extract and beat until fully incorporated.

For the Filling: Place 3/4 cup of frosting in a bowl, and stir in the strawberry preserves.  

To Assemble Cake: Place one layer of the cake on a cake plate, then place 1/3 of the filling mixture on it.  Repeat with the rest of the cake layers and filling, finishing with the bottom of a cake layer on the top.  This gives you a finished edge to frost.

Spread a thin layer of buttercream on the cake and place it in the fridge to harden.  This is called the crumb coat, and should trap any crumbs and keep them from getting into the outer layer of frosting.  

Once the crumb coat has hardened, put a final, thicker coat of frosting on the cake, smoothing it evenly.  Reserve some for the decorations on top.  Allow the final layer to chill in the fridge.

To Decorate the cake: To decorate the cake, make a ganache.  Heat the whipping cream until simmering, then pour over 1/2 cup of chopped chocolate.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes, then stir until it becomes cohesive and pourable.  Carefully pour over the top of the cake, allowing some to drip down over the sides (you may not need to use all of it).  Return to fridge to chill the ganache.

To make the chocolate covered strawberries, melt 1/2 cup of chopped dark chocolate either over a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring it every 10-15 seconds until smooth and melted.  Wash and completely dry the strawberries, then dip them in the chocolate while holding by the leaves.  Make sure that all sides are covered, then allow any excess chocolate to drip off.  Place on a baking tray in the refrigerator and allow to harden.  Place them on the cake, tips pointing towards the edge on each quarter of the cake.

Optional: Place the reserved buttercream icing in a piping bag with a large star tip and pipe a rosette (swirl) between each strawberry.  Pipe a large rosette in the middle.

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