Chocolate Strawberry Layer Cake

by Jennifer

This was the cake my son and I made to help Ira celebrate her birthday, and to celebrate the appearance of local strawberries.  The cake recipe comes directly from the King Arthur Flour Unbleached Cake Flour box.  The strawberry jam in the middle brightens the cake and cuts the sweetness of the frosting.  This is my favorite chocolate frosting recipe, adapted from Cooking Light.

Cake:

  • 2 cups King Arthur Flour Unbleached Cake Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, very soft
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (I used coconut oil)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup cooled brewed coffee
  • 4 large eggs
  •  generous 1/2 cup fresh strawberry jam

Frosting:

  • 6 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 6 TBS unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 3 TBS milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • Fresh whole strawberries, washed and well-dried
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips

For cake:

Prepare two 8” or 9” cake pans by spraying them with cooking spray, lining them with parchment paper and then spraying the paper (to line with the paper, trace the pan on the paper, then cut it out).  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour through sugar.  Place butter in the bowl and, using an electric mixer on low speed, blend the butter into the flour mixture for 1 minute.

With the mixer running, pour in the oil and mix for 1 – 2 minutes, until the mixture looks like wet sand.

Add in vanilla, skim milk and coffee, and mix well.

Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Divide the batter (it will be thin) between the pans, and rap each pan once against the counter to pop any air bubbles.  Bake for 24 – 28 minutes, depending on pan size, checking with a toothpick to make sure

the cakes are done (toothpick will come out clean).  Let cool on a wire rack, then turn out.  If you make them ahead, wrap well in plastic wrap, then foil, to freeze.

For frosting:

Using an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth.

Add cocoa, milk and salt, and beat until well combined.  If the powdered sugar is particularly lumpy, sift it or stir it through a fine-mesh sieve,

then add the it to the cream cheese/butter mixture and beat at low speed until it all comes together;  then beat at high speed until light and fluffy.

To make chocolate-dipped strawberries, simply heat some chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl on HI for 1 minute, then stir until melted and smooth.  Dip strawberries into chocolate, then place on parchment or waxed paper and let cool (or place in fridge for faster results).

To assemble cake, place one layer of cake on a serving dish, cover with the strawberry jam,

top with second layer of cake, and frost (sides first, then top).

Decorate top with chocolate-dipped strawberries.  (If you place strips of waxed paper under the edges of the cake while you frost it, you can remove them when you’re finished and keep the serving platter clean.)

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