Could it be? Another chocolate cake? Well, first off, my hubby truly enjoys really good chocolate cake. Secondly, it’s his birthday (happy birthday to my guy!) Lastly, this is most definitely not just another chocolate cake. Despite how stand-out-good this chocolate cake is, I honestly hesitated in writing this post about… chocolate cake. My hesitation was short lived, because this cake truly needs to be shared. I only paused on this because it’s similar to writing about chocolate chip cookies (which I’ll do soon – wink). Anyone and everyone seems to have a “best recipe” for chocolate cake. Yes, it’s a highly saturated place to be, but there is no way I can keep this chocolate dream to myself. The family agrees that this was really the best chocolate cake we’ve eaten…possibly ever…or at least as far as our tummies can remember!
One might be surprised at what awaits underneath the white frosting… but alas, there are those telltale dark chocolate shavings that give away our delicious secret.
I did exchange the typical butter cream or ganache frosting for a lighter whipped cream frosting. We love our sweet treats, but just not overly sweet. Since the cake itself is super rich, moist, and chocolate-dense, I opted for whipped cream frosting to balance it all out. The whipped cream here is deliciously infused with Kahlua for that special flavor. It’s also “stabilized” with gelatin so it keeps its shape well, without fear of getting runny.
The fresh strawberries truly make this chocolate cake special. The rich, deep chocolate is perfectly paired with light whipped cream, and then given a refreshing bite with ripe strawberries. I cannot explain in mere words how yummy this thing is. I gained a few pounds just making it. I wish I were kidding. I did the taste-bake-keep tasting thing, as usual. Sigh.
Oh, and this probably goes without saying – but, a good quality chocolate will make a difference on the turnout of your dessert.
I almost forgot to mention that this batter makes killer cupcakes, too! I had a bit of leftover batter and made amazing cupcakes with it. That could have been a whole other post. Enjoy! I know you will.
RECIPE (serves 10-12)
For the Cake:
3 oz good quality semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (I love Guittard)
1 1/2 cups fresh, hot coffee (decaf is fine)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 cups white sugar
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs, room temp
3/4 cups vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (you can make your own by using 1 1/2 cups whole milk mixed with 1 1/2 T vinegar, and let that sit at room temp for at least 15 min, allowing it to curdle. Mix well before incorporating.)
For Stabilized Whipped Cream Frosting:
16 tsp water
4 tsp Knox plain gelatin
4 cups very cold heavy whipping cream
4 tsp vanilla extract
8 TB powder sugar
2 T Kahlua (optional)
Fresh strawberries, chopped (about 1/2 cup, give or take)
Sliced strawberries for garnish
For the cake (can be made 1 day ahead):
Preheat oven to 300F. Grease two 10×2 round cake pans. Line bottoms of pans with rounds of wax paper, and grease the paper.
Combine finely chopped chocolate with hot coffee, and stir occasionally until chocolate is completely melted. Set aside at room temp.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In a second large bowl, beat eggs until thickened and lemony yellow – about 3 min with standing mixer or 5 min with hand-held mixer. Gradually add in oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture. Continue beating until well combined. Add flour mixture and beat on medium until just combined well. Divide batter evenly between the cake pans. Bake in middle rack until toothpick comes out clean or almost-clean. About 60-70 minutes.
Cool cake completely in pans on racks. Can cool overnight at room temp, wrapped well. When cool, slowly run a thin knife around edges and invert layers. Carefully remove wax paper.
For the frosting:
In large mixing bowl, stir in heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract, powder sugar, and Kahlua. Put this bowl, along with beaters, in fridge to keep cold.
Mix Knox gelatin with water in a microwave safe bowl. Let sit for about 10 min, for gelatin to soak up the water. Microwave for about 15-20 seconds, to melt the gelatin. Stir well, and let cool to lukewarm.
Take out the bowl with whipped cream ingredients. Beat on medium until ribbons form (not to soft peaks yet.) Stop beating and quickly check that your gelatin mixture is still liquid and almost cool. If it has coagulated, reheat in microwave for 5 seconds. Resume beating whipped cream mixture, while slowly pouring in liquid gelatin into the mixture as it is beating. Beat to stiff peaks. Keep in fridge until ready to use.
Mix desired amount of chopped strawberries with about 3/4 cup of the whipped cream to make the filling.
Spread filling in between layers of chocolate cake. Frost cake with whipped cream. Garnish with strawberry slices and shaved chocolate, if desired. Cake keeps very well in fridge as long as it is covered.
Source: Chew Out Loud, inspired by Gourmet