On Monday, I said I’d make a layer cake. I was planning a chocolate cake with strawberry frosting, in the shape of a heart. I said I’d make it when all my stuff came from amazon (thank you two day shipping!). I said that, when I had all the stuff I needed, my layer cake problems would be gone. Okay turns out my stuff don’t come until tonight. I clearly miscalculated this, because I needed the cake done today! I have other things planned for tomorrow and Friday, and I can’t be producing cakes and cookies and pancakes all at the same time, right? So last night I figured, instead of making the heart shaped three layered monstrosity I was planning on doing, I’d just do the damned layer cake the way I had always done it and just pray it works out. This is harder than one would think, because I don’t actually own a real cake pan (sigh) so I usually bake the layers in two of my cast iron pans, and then cut out circles with a knife (the cast iron pan flares out, so the cakes never come out straight-edged). This pretty much means destroying some of the edges and misshapened circles.
I was extra careful today though!
AND IT WORKED. IT ACTUALLY WORKED.
I paired it with a strawberry whipped cream frosting. Strawberries were on sale today, can you believe it? Since it’s really like the only thing that would turn your food pink in time for valentines day (not including food coloring of course, which some people just don’t like), you’d think that the grocery stores would really bump up those prices like crazy around this time. But no, it was really cheap today. Probably something to do with the seasons (is it in season or not?). These are things I don’t know about.
But anyway, I digress. Paired it with a strawberry whipped cream frosting. It’s actually half a cream cheese frosting, half a whipped cream frosting. You know how whipped cream frostings melt really easily? Add pureed strawberries to that, and you’ve got something that barely holds itself up. Not so great. But when you use half cream cheese, it actually holds up quite well.
To design the cake, I just coarse smashed 1oz milk chocolate and created a heart design. This was a bit difficult without a cookie cutter to use as a mold (yet another of that not-arriving-till-tomorrow issue) but I managed to fashion a heart-shaped mold using tin foil.
So that’s for dessert tonight.
Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Frosting
5-inch 2-layered cake**
For the cake:
What you need:
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 + 1/4 cup AP flour
- 1/4 cup baking cocoa, not dutch processed
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- dash of salt
- 1/3 cup milk
- 2 tbsp + 2tsp vegetable oil (that’s 8 tsp, or 1/6 cup, if you don’t want too much stuff to wash)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/3 cup strong coffee (optional; use boiling water if coffee is unavailable)
How to do it:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix dry ingredients together well - that’s everything from sugar own to salt.
- Add milk, oil, and vanilla. Mix well, and then incorporate the egg.
- When egg is mixed in, add the coffee (or water). Mix some more, until everything is well combined. The batter should be thin and pourable, small lumps is not a big deal.
- Split the batter between two well-greased 5-inch cake pans, and bake at 350 degrees for 15-18min. The cake is done when a toothpick comes out clean.
**I used 2 6-inch cast iron pans, which are pretty much 1-inch tall, 5.25 inches diameter at the bottom and flare up to 6 inches at the top. This recipe would work best with 2 5-inch cake pans.
For the frosting:
What you need:
- 4oz cream cheese, softened (half a package)
- 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4-6oz strawberries, pureed (amount of strawberries depend on how strawberry-y you want it to taste. More strawberries will result in a less stiff frosting though. But FYI, I went for the full 6oz)
How to do it:
- Beat cream cheese until it’s…creamy? Smooth? You know, not in a giant chunk.
- Add sugar and beat until well incorporated.
- Add vanilla extract, and pour heavy cream slowly into the cream cheese mixture while mixing.
- Beat until heavy cream has set until whipped cream, periodically scraping the bottom to make sure the cream cheese has been incorporated.
- Fold in the strawberry puree, and refrigerate for 15-30min before frosting.