Two weeks ago, it was my boyfriend’s birthday, so of course I had to bake him a cake – it’s what I do! It was also my first time baking in the new kitchen, which has lots more space and has a dishwasher (I’m still not over this – I love it so much). Naturally, I always love baking. But it’s so much more fun when I actually have the space to do it! I predict loads more recipes in the near future…
Back to Willem’s birthday cake, though! He asked for something with chocolate and red fruit, and that’s what he got. I got out my chocolate bible (it’s actually called that) and eventually came across the perfect recipe. A two-layer chocolate cake filled with strawberry jam, whipped cream and strawberries. Yum!
I made a few adjustments to the cake recipe itself and, to make it even more chocolatey, decided to cover the entire thing in chocolate ganache and add some more fruit on top. The result was delicious. The cake is lovely and light, the strawberries and cream filling is the perfect combination of sweet and fresh and the dark chocolate ganache adds that extra chocolatey kick.
And what’s even better: this cake isn’t difficult to make at all! Because it has three different components the recipe might seem long and it will take a little bit of time. But, really, the three components are all very easy to whip up. It’s the perfect birthday cake!
You’ll need… (for 8-10 people)
For the cake…
- 175 g self-raising flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 5 tablespoons cocoa powder
- a pinch of salt
- 115 g white caster sugar
- 2 eggs (medium)
- 1 tablespoon molasses / black treacle
- 150 ml sunflower oil
- 150 ml whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
For the filling…
- 3 or 4 tablespoons strawberry jam
- 150 ml whipping cream
- some kind of stabiliser for the whipped cream (for the Dutchies: Klop-Fix)
- 120 g strawberries, sliced
For the topping…
- 200 g dark chocolate
- 200 ml whipping cream
- optional: fruit to decorate
- heart-shaped baking tin or 20-22 cm spingform tin
- parchment paper
- handheld mixer or stand mixer
- and an oven, of course! This cake needs to be baked at 160 °C (don’t forget to preheat your oven!)
So, let’s get baking!
1. Mix together the dry ingredients Take a large bowl and sieve the self-raising flour, baking powder and cocoa powder above it. Add the salt and the sugar and mix it all together using a whisk or a spoon. Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture
2. Mix together the wet ingredients Take a smaller bowl and add the eggs, molasses/treacle, sunflower oil, milk and vanilla essence to it. Lightly mix it together using a whisk. It doesn’t have to be a nice smooth mix; just make sure the eggs are beaten through.
3. Add wet mix to dry mix Now, pour the wet ingredients into the well in the dry mixture. The molasses are probably sticking to bowl you’re pouring them out off – scrape them out and into the dry ingredients. Mix everything together until you’ve got a nice, smooth batter. I used a hand mixer for this.
4. Prepare the tin & pour it in Grease the tin of your choosing and line the bottom of it with a bit of parchment paper. Lightly flour the sides of the tin as well. Pour in the chocolatey mixture.
5. Bake! Put the tin in the oven and bake the cake for about 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. The cake will have risen quite a bit, which is good! That’s what we need. When it’s done, take it out of the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes before taking it out of the tin and letting it cool further on a cooling rack.
While the cake is in the oven, you can start preparing the filling and the ganache. No need to hurry; the cake takes a long time to bake, and the ganache and filling are done in a jiffy. Have a cup of tea first!
6. Prepare the filling Put the whipping cream in a bowl and add the sugar required to whip it up (it’s usually on the packaging). Also add some kind of stabiliser. In the Netherlands, we’ve got something called ‘Klop-Fix’ which helps the whipped cream stay stiff. If you have something similar where you come from: add it! Whip up the whipped cream until it’s nice and stiff. Keep an eye on it, because you don’t want to end up with butter! Slice the strawberries and then mix these through the whipped cream as well. Put the filling in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
7. Prepare the ganache Put the chocolate and the cream together in a heat-proof bowl and melt the chocolate in a bain marie. After it’s melted properly, pour the mixture in the bowl of your stand mixer (if you don’t have one – just pour it in another bowl and get out your hand mixer). Let it cool down for a little while and then whip it up on a high speed until you’ve got a stiff mix. If you’re having trouble whipping it up, put the bowl in the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes and then try again.
8. Add the filling to the cake When the cake has cooled down completely, it’s time to add the filling. Carefully and precisely slice the cake in two halves. Spread out the 3 or 4 tablespoons of strawberry jam over the bottom half evenly. Then, add the whipped cream filling on top of the jam and spread it out carefully as well. Lastly, place the top of the cake on top of the filling.
9. Ice the cake with ganache Get out your ganache and slather it on top of your cake and onto the sides. I used a palette knife, but if you don’t have that you can also use a regular knife. You can be as neat as you like; smooth out the edges or don’t, it’s up to you! Lastly, decorate the cake with leftover strawberries or other berries you’ve got.
And that’s it! Your delicious chocolate cake with strawberries, cream and ganache is done! Enjoy!