Last Sunday, on the 2nd of June, my middle brother turned 27!!!
Oh my god… 27!!! What does that make me!?!?
Luckily he is my older brother!
Anyway, we threw him a big birthday party with lots of smiles and lots (LOTS!) of food: a few hours after lunch we started off with this gorgeous summery cake, at six we lit the barbeque and grilled up heaps of hamburgers and spareribs and at around nine we finished it all off with a delicious fruity trifle with blackberries and rhubarb!
It was a beautiful day!
And this cake made it just a little more beautiful…
I have to say, this cake is probably the most gorgeous cake I have ever made. Me and my brother thought it up together. He didn’t want me to go through too much trouble – as if making a cake is ever any trouble! – and wanted the cake to be chocolatey. I suggested doing a spin on a traditional Black Forest Cake, using strawberries instead of cherries. He loved the idea, so I set to work.
I immediately knew I had to pull out my go-to-recipe for chocolate cake again, because it’s an absolute winner in my family! It’s actually the same recipe I used to make the Bat Cake my 3-year-old nephew asked me to make a few weeks ago… Apparently my family just can’t get enough of this one!
Anyway, transforming it into a creamy strawberry wonder was a breeze.
I actually baked the cake the night before so it could chill in the fridge overnight. Not only does this mean that I didn’t have to get up early on Sunday morning to bake the cake and wait for it to cool, the cake is also a lot easier to level and split when it’s cold.
Next up were the strawberries…
Aren’t they just beautiful?
By the way, mind the gorgeous colander! It’s new, it’s ceramic, it’s dangerously cute!
It was a gift from my mom. When she read about my plating-plight, she decided to roam a flea market in search of misunderstood kitchenware. She returned with a gorgeous mug, a cute little dish, this perfect colander and the gorgeous, blog-worthy cake platter I used to present my cake on!
My days of presenting pies on the table are over!
Anyway, back to the cake.
Brush the bottom layer of the cake with raspberry syrup, quarter one third of the strawberries and place them cut side down onto the cake.
(Look at the platter! It’s blue! How is it that someone didn’t want it anymore?!)
Cover the strawberries with a generous amount of softly whipped cream.
Hmm…. that sure looks good!
Place the second cake layer on top, brush it with the raspberry syrup, quarter half the remaining strawberries and place these cut-side down on top of the second cake layer.
Pretty straightforward, isn’t it?
Cover the second layer of strawberries with another second layer of cream and heap the rest of the strawberries on top.
Finish with a generous sprinkling of chocolate curls. They make the cake even more beautiful…
Perfection. That’s all I have to say about this one.
Enjoy it so very, very much!!
- 60g (or 2 ounces) dark chocolate, chopped
- 240ml (or 1 cup) boiling water
- 280g (or 2¼ cups) all-purpose flour
- 140g (or 1 cup + 3 tablespoons) cocoa powder
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 120ml (or ½ cup) sunflower oil
- 240ml (or 1 cup) milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 480g (or 2⅓ cups + 1 tablespoon) granulated sugar
- 60ml (or ¼ cup) water
- 50g (or ¼ cup) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon raspberry eau de vie or raspberry liqueur
- 500ml (or 2 cups + 4 teaspoons) whipping cream
- 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar (or more or less to taste)
- 1000g (or about 2 pounds) fresh strawberries, washed, dried and hulled
- chocolate curls to make it pretty
- Start by preheating the oven to 175°C/350°F (standard oven setting). Liberally butter a 25-cm (10-inch) cake pan with butter and dust it with cocoa.
- Pour the water over the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and stir to dissolve. Set aside. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and stir to combine.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until foamy. Keep mixing and slowly drizzle in the oil. Once the oil is fully incorporated, add the milk and vanilla to the chocolate-water mixture. Pour the now cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Add the sugar and mix until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- NOTE: to check whether the sugar has dissolved, rub the batter between your fingers. If you can't feel any sugar grains, the sugar has properly dissolved.
- Stop the mixer. Add the flour mixture and, using a rubber spatula, gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Once the flour mixture has been absorbed, give the batter a quick whiz with the mixer to get rid of any lumps.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake the cake until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 70 minutes. You may need to place a sheet of aluminum foil over the cake after 45 minutes if it's browning too fast.
- Transfer the cake to a wire rack and leave to cool for twenty minutes in the pan before turning the cake out. Let the cake cool to room temperature, wrap it with plastic wrap and leave to chill in the fridge for two hours or overnight.
- Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and heat over moderate heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has completely dissolved and the syrup is clear, take the pan off the heat and pour the syrup in a mug to cool to room temperature. Once it has cooled to room temperature, measure out 60mls of syrup and stir in the eau de vie or liqueur, discard the rest of the syrup. Keep in the fridge until use.
- Whip up the cream with the sugar until it holds soft peaks. Use a serrated knife to level the top of the cake. Next, split the cake into two even layers. Quarter two thirds of the strawberries. Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the bottom layer with the syrup. Place half of the quartered strawberries cut-side down on top of the bottom cake layer. Plop on half the whipped cream and smooth it evenly over the strawberries with a rubber spatula.
- Place the second cake layer on top, press it down lightly, brush with syrup, place the other quartered strawberries on top and smother these in the remaining cream.
- Heap the remaining, whole strawberries on top and sprinkle with the chocolate curls. Serve within six hours.