I love birthdays and holidays. Mainly because they present me with opportunities to bake. Last year, one of my birthday presents to myself, was this rich chocolate cake. It seemed like such an ambitious project then!
Yesterday, a friend of mine came over and we made this cake again for a Thanksgiving party she was attending. I think she too was surprised at how easy it was to make, and yet, how satisfying it was to bite into.
For the cake
2 cups all purpose flour
For the Chantilly cream
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
2 cups milk
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
1.5 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
2 tbsp kahlua or chocolate liquor (optional)
1 tbsp oil + 1 tbsp flour for greasing and dusting
4 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the white chocolate whipped cream
6 oz. white chocolate chips
1.5 cups heavy cream, refrigerated
1 tbsp cointreau or brandy (optional)
1 box strawberries
Start with making the white chocolate whipped cream:
1. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips
2. In a separate pan, bring 1/2 cup of the cream to a boil (be careful not to boil it too much – just let it bubble and take it off the stove)
3. When the chocolate chips are just about melting, pour the hot cream and let sit for a few minutes
4. Add in the liquor and create a smooth liquidy mix
5. Cool to room temperature
6. Whip the remaining the cream at medium speed. Just as peaks start forming, fold in the white chocolate mix. Increase to high speed and whip till stiff peaks form. Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours before using.
Make the Chantilly cream:
1. Mix the ingredients together in a bowl and whip until stiff peaks form
Then you make the cake:
1. Dust and grease two 8″ pans or one 12″ pan
2. Set the overn temperature to 350 degrees F.
3. In a bowl, mix the vinegar in the milk and leave aside to thicken
4. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, salt, sugar, baking soda and lightly mix
5. Add oil, vanilla extract to the milk and mix
6. Fold the liquid contents into the dry ingredients until just mixed. Add the kahlua. Be careful not to over mix – this may cause the cake to crack
7. Pour the mixure into your pans or pan
8. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes at 350 degrees, Lower the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes or until a knife poked through the center comes out clean
9. Remove from the oven and cool for at least twenty minutes on a cooling rack
While the cake is baking, finely slice the strawberries. In a separate bowl, take a few of the strawberry slices aside to garnish the cake with and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Assembling the cake
1. If you baked two cakes, level the tops with a serrated knife. If you baked one 12″ cake, slice it in half. Note: Make sure your cake has completely cooled before slicing it.
2. On one layer (or one cake), spread the white chocolate whipped cream
3. Layer the strawberries on top of the white chocolate cream
4. Place the second layer of cake (or whole cake) on top
5. Frost with the chantilly cream
6. Garnish with the remaining sliced strawberries. The powdered sugar should have formed a shiny glaze on them.
7. Chill for a couple of hours before serving the cake