A special occasion certainly calls for a special cake, right? Which is exactly what I needed for a very important day. My Mama's birthday. She is quite the lady, I tell you. She is my rock and my friend. She is an amazing grandmother to my two littles, and she would do anything for her family, anything. She gives up her free time to watch the littles on the handful of days that I work - expecting nothing in return. Therefore, the least I could do is present her with a lovely cake. This cake is a bit time consuming, lots of steps, but oh-so-worth it. It's a rich, dark chocolate three-layer cake, spread with a light and fluffy strawberry whipped cream cheese frosting, and finalized with a deadly chocolate ganache. Make it for your Mama - she will appreciate you!
Thank you Mom for everything you do. We love you.
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake
For the cake:
2 1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 sticks butter, room temperature
2 1/2 c. sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
2 1/2 t. vanilla
2 c. whole milk, room temperature
1 c. high quality dutch processed cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 3 9-inch cake pans. Sift together the flour, soda, and salt. Set aside. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs in one at a time and beat on medium speed until well incorporated. Combine the milk and vanilla together in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low, alternate the flour mixture with the milk mixture, beating until just incorporated. Sift in the cocoa and beat until combined. Pour into 3 baking pans and bake for 20-25 minutes. Depending on your oven, it may take a few minutes longer - be certain to check for doneness with a toothpick that comes out clean. Cool for 10 minuntes and then remove from pan and cool on a rack. After the cakes are completely cooled, wrap them individually in plastic wrap. The cakes can sit overnight. If you plan to do this cake all in one day, then you should place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes while you prepare the frosting to firm the cakes up and get them ready for the crumb layer. If the cakes sit overnight, you should also place them in the freezer for 20-30 minutes prior to frosting.
Strawberry Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 c. heavy whipping cream
20 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 t. vanilla
1/2 lb. strawberries pureed in a food processor to reach 1/2 c. puree
8 c. powdered sugar
Cut strawberries and place in a food processer fitted with a metal blade. Sprinkle a bit of granulated sugar on the berries and let them sit 20 minutes, then process to a puree. In a large bowl, beat heavy cream until soft peaks form. Let sit in refridgerator. In another large bowl, beat cream cheese and vanilla until fluffy. Add in powdered sugar and strawberry puree and beat on med-high until very well incorporated. Beat in whipping cream until combined. This will be different for everyone based upon their interpretation of soft peaks. You will want the consistancy to be a spreading consistancy, however you may need to refridgerate a bit for it to set up. This frosting is a bit tricky to work with so just do what feels right!
Layer the cake and place frosting between layers. Spread a thin layer over the top and the sides of the cake. Place cake in freezer for 10-15 min. to firm up. After that time, spread the frosting over the rest of the cake. Refridgerate.
Make the ganache:
1/4 c. butter
3/4 c. heavy cream
3/4 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
Place chocolate chips in a bowl. Melt butter and cream in a small saucepan. Bring just to a boil. Pour over chocolate and whisk until smooth. Place ganache in refridgerator for 30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes.
Once the ganache has cooled in the refrigerator, then it is time to dress the cake! Pour VERY SLOWLY into the middle of the cake. It will fall down the edges - but that is the fun of it! Decorate the top if you wish.
This cake will need to be refrigerated, however, it's a good idea to let it sit for a bit before serving.
ENJOY! I know we did!