Monday, June 14, 2010

Chocolate Strawberry Cake

When I got my copy of Roses' Heavenly Cakes I was so excited to see this cake in there as it looks so pretty! A local coffee shop/dessert house often has a cake like this which you can buy by the slice, which I have, but their cakes are often mediocre. I looked forward to baking Rose's version and proclaiming it The Winner!

Chocolate Strawberry Cake

June 13, 2010
Name of cake: Chocolate Strawberry Cake
Occasion: HCB
Constituents: 2 layers white chocolate whisper cake, filled with strawberry mousseline, frosted with Miss Irene Thompson's Dark Chocolate Frosting

UPDATE: After 36 hours at an ambient room temperature of 60 deg F, this cake has been transformed!  The gummy cake layers have dried out a bit, and the mousseline!  It is now a silky, fluffy, ethereal layer of strawberry buttercream--not a heavy overly buttery frosting.  Who knew?  Maybe I should hold all mousseline frostings for 36 hours before using.  Miss Irene Thompson's dark chocolate frosting has remained perfectly hot fudgy as always.

I have been using UBAP flour for as many cakes as Rose allows, since it is cheaper than cake flour and I need to cut some costs around here somehow. But I will now confess that the UBAP cakes have not been as light or as tender, nor has the crumb been as perfect, and the middles always seem to sink as well as be a bit gummy. So I think I am firing the UBAP and going back to cake flour, despite the unfavorable difference in cost.

I really wanted these cakes especially to be perfect but of course, being UBAP, they were a bit gummy in the middle and even a bit dense! Hmm, maybe my baking powder is old.

I made The Cake Bible's strawberry mousseline for my 31st birthday and I remembered that it wasn't strawberry enough--I used strawberry jam. This version calls for American Spoon Foods' Strawberry Butter which is a very concentrated thick strawberry jam, and I looked forward to the results. It made an awesomely strawberried buttercream. As I started making the mousseline last night I remembered why I never make mousseline: it is a persnickety frosting that requires frequent temperature taking and I consider it a pain in the ass. It comes out great and buttery and I love watching it go from a curdled mess to smooth loveliness, but it is not my first choice.

The two cake layers are split in half to make a very fancy presentation. One of my cake layers broke as I was lifting it onto the cake, but once you smear it with buttercream and encase it in frosting, no one is the wiser, unless you are looking at the cake from the right angle and notice it is crooked.

Chocolate Strawberry Cake

By the time I had filled and stacked the cake it was midnight and I was tired. I almost considered storing the cake overnight and getting to the frosting in the morning but recalled Raymond's post, and his description of how easy it was to make the frosting inspired me to finish the stupid cake before going to bed. I put on one of the Ricky Gervais/Steven Merchant/Karl Pilkington old XFM shows which kept me laughing as I melted the chocolate and butter. Once the chocolate and butter are all nicely melted a bunch of corn syrup is stirred in as well as a little vanilla and the frosting is complete. No problem!

The frosting is dark and sticky like Rose says, and first off while it is still fluid it is poured over the cake and smoothed out over the sides. Getting this frosting to stick to the sides was tricky as my sides weren't even, so it took a lot of persistent smoothing the frosting drips upwards to get it to minimally coat the sides. Rose instructs to wait about 30 minutes until the rest of the frosting (I took that to mean to not pour all the frosting over the cake and reserved about a cup) was thick enough to spread well but hold swirls. I realised the genius of this is that the swirls cover up the uneven sides of the cake so it generally looked much nicer. I kind of suck at making swirls but did a passable job. I thought it would have been more fun to make spikes in the frosting like Rose did with the Chocolate Spike in The Cake Bible, but thinking it didn't translate into doing it.

And off to bed I went.

This morning, I shared the cake with my friend Coleen. She was impressed by the strong strawberry flavor of the buttercream, and felt that it competed with the chocolate frosting and won. She would have preferred the chocolate to win.

Chocolate Strawberry Cake

I was disappointed by the cake, which was so sad. I wanted to love the fudge out of this cake, but the poor texture of the cakes really brought the whole dessert down. It made the buttercream too buttery and rich, and the chocolate frosting a sad afterthought. I have learned my lesson: cake flour from now on.


  1. I didn't think it was strawberry enough either...but of all the people that ate it I was the only with that opinion...I will try this brand next time...I also like the idea of adding a preserve layer for an added strawberry flavor...your cake turned out very pretty...I've wanted to make this cake for a while too and was dissapointed when I couldn't use the chocolate frosting...will definitely do so next time!

  2. I sure recognize that cake fatigue syndrome at 12 midnight and there is still some work to be done on the cake still...I say to myself, 'should have started earlier!' But I never do and am always pooped out, just when the cake needs some wide awake attention, like frosting it!
    I am glad to see that you do it, too!

    The cake looks really good. I think I may make it for my husband's birthday next week. I will be sure to bump up the strawberry flavour. Thanks for the tip!
    You know, you could heat treat your flour if you still want to be a cheapskate on the flour! Works but is a pain in the bum! hahaha

  3. I had the same issues with mine... in fact one of the cake layers just went up and totally died on me.. the don't get me started on the frosting. The buttercream, which I was dreading was the easiest thing out of the whole process.

    Tom loved it, which was points for me, since it was his birthday cake. I liked it, it was very good.. I used strawberry preserved mixed with lemon juice and the flavor was excellent - and I don't like to mix fruit in my desserts. Would I make it again? God, I don't know, Tom will have to do A LOT of begging.

  4. I love the texture on the sides!

  5. I'm sorry you didn't like the texture of UBAF. I use UBAF usually, and substitute 15% with potato starch, and it turned out good for me.
    I love how you decorate the sides of the cake.

  6. love the swirls you made on the sides! sorry for my ignorance, but what is UBAF?

  7. Saira, yes, try the Strawberry Butter as it makes a delicious strawberry buttercream. The best I've tasted!

    Melinda, yes, I still can't believe you sometimes are baking cakes all through the night. I almost couldn't do it--and it was just midnight! I think this is a perfect birthday cake; can't wait to see what you and your husband think of it! I don't have a microwave anymore--can one heat treat in the stove? It sounds like a perfect opportunity for me to burn a pie plate full of flour!

    Monica, good thing Tom loved his birthday cake even though you feel like it was a bit of a bust. For someone who doens't like to mix fruit in desserts Rose has you doing it a lot!

    Lois, thank you! Just trying to copy the cake in the book.

    Jenn, maybe next time I'll do that--I have plenty of potato starch flour.

    faithy, thanks! UBAP is unbleached all-purpose flour. Now it is my arch-nemesis.

  8. ב''ה

    Those swirls look really inviting.

    AP flour can't be beat for chocolate-chip cookies. :)

  9. Striking presentation! A really beautiful cake. Good to know about the strawberry flavor.

  10. Mendy, thanks for liking my swirls! Yes, AP flour is good for a lot of things, just not most of Rose's cakes.

    Vicki, thank you! Yes, the strawberry butter really does make a huge delicious difference.