Monday, April 4, 2011

Chocolate Decadence Cake with Strawberries

Chocolate Decadence Cake with Strawberries

This is such a delicious cake and I’m not even a chocolate person. I love the strawberries. Not only are they delicious, but it's such a pretty touch too. The cake is awesome, but the frosting…is amazing! This is my daughter Leslie’s frosting. She was the baker at our restaurant and we won "The Best Bakery and Desserts in the City" because of desserts like this. The cake pictured is a baby cake version of this recipe, but you're going to want the Full Monty. I hope you enjoy!

Cake Ingredients:

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
¾ cup cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 ¾ cup milk
½ cup vegetable oil
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large chocolate bar, chopped into bits

1 recipe frosting (below)
Fresh strawberries, if desired washed, whole and 5 to 6 sliced lengthwise

Cake Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray or Grease and flour 3- 8inch, or 2- 9 inch round cake pans. I always use three layers. Mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes or until creamy smooth. Add chocolate bar bits and stir well by hand. Pour into prepared cake pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes and depending on your oven, begin checking for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center. If pick does not come out clean, continue baking for an additional 5 minutes and check again. Do this until done. The chocolate bar bits make baking time a little tricky, but this cake is so chocolaty good! Cool cakes and remove from the pan. My rule on cakes is, in the freezer until frozen or almost frozen. This is the secret to a deliciously moist cake. You can frost the layers frozen, as they will thaw very quickly, unless you hard freeze them for days. If you want to make cakes ahead of time and freeze them, be sure to wrap them in plastic cling or foil.

If you are making a bundt cake or cupcakes, follow the above directions with the exceptions noted here. For a bundt cake you will need to adjust the cooking time to 45 to 50 minutes, depending again on your oven. You are baking one thick layer instead of two or three thinner layers, so more baking time is needed. For cupcakes, place cupcake liners in cupcake pan/muffin tin and fill cups about 2/3 of the way with batter. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes. Check for doneness with toothpick. Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes.

Leslie’s Frosting

Frosting Ingredients:
1 sticks unsalted butter
½ cup shortening
2 pound bag confectioners sugar, sifted thru a strainer
1 heaping cup cocoa
2 teaspoons vanilla
Pinch of salt
heavy cream or more or less as needed

Frosting Directions:
In a stand mixer or you can use a hand mixer, beat butter and shortening. Turn mixer to low speed and add sifted confectioners sugar and cocoa powder a little at a time, until incorporated. Next add, vanilla, a pinch of salt and mix well. Slowly start adding heavy cream a small amount at a time. You don’t want frosting that is too thick or too thin, so watch for just the right consistency and continue to beat for about 4 to 5 minutes.
Frost cake or cupcakes. * For a bundt cake or for decorative fudge frosting, see notes below.

Cook’s Notes: As always, I will tell you first,that if you don’t want to make the cake from scratch, buy a box mix. But make the frosting. You won’t regret it! I have made this recipe a hundred times or more and I’m not sure I have ever used the same amount of cream twice. Depending on the X of the confectioners sugar, the cocoa, or just holding my mouth the wrong way. I don’t know. So go with your instinct on consistency and you will do fine. It should be a little thicker than canned frosting and feel more substantial when spreading.

If desired, you can put a small amount of this finished frosting in a bowl and microwave it in 15 second intervals until melted. Use it to drizzle over the frosting and strawberries for a festive look.

*Or for a bundt cake, you can microwave frosting as per instructions above and pour over bundt cake for a delicious fudgy icing.

Also, you may substitute the heavy cream for milk for a lighter version, or substitute heavy cream for whipping cream if you would like whipped cream frosting instead. Just beat until fluffy.