“Love is patient. Love is kind.” - Corinthians 13:4
Yeah, maybe that’s true, but I can think of a lot better things to describe love:
- taking turns living each other’s dreams
- letting me have the softer pillow
- being able to laugh in the pouring rain
- putting a paper towel over your food in the microwave so I don’t have to clean it up
- complaining that I eat off your plate, but letting me do it anyway
- pushing me to be a better person
- realizing I’m a bit crazy but loving me anyway
Oh yes, and love is me baking this cake for you, even though you don’t like cake, and you telling me that it is the best cake you’ve ever had.
You made me chocolate covered strawberries on our first date and since then it has been a staple in our relationship. Like the perfect garnish to our relationship, it’s been there when we celebrated a success, when we had a rough day, when we got married, and now on our anniversary.
It’s been a wonderful first year, my dear. And I can’t wait for many more to come.
Now let’s get serious and make a cake!
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake
Yields: 8″ two-layered cake, frosted
Strawberry Cake (adapted from lookimadethat.com)
- 10oz (2 1/2 C) cake flour
- 1 tspn baking soda
- 1/2 tspn kosher salt
- 1/3 C buttermilk
- 1/4 C canola oil
- 1/2 tspn rum
- 1/4 tspn vanilla
- 4 oz unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 C sugar
- 2 eggs, room temp, beaten
- 10 large strawberries
- 1 tspn lemon zest
- 17.8 oz (3 C) semisweet chocolate chips (I used a mix of 60% and 72% chocolate)
- 7.05 oz (1 3/4 C) confectioner’s sugar
- 16 oz unsalted butter, slightly softened
- 1 tspn rum
- 1/8 tspn kosher salt
1. Spray two 8″ round cake pans with cooking spray and lay parchment paper in the bottom.
2. Preheat oven to 300°. Measure the cake flour. (I like to use a kitchen scale which is more accurate than measuring cups, you should totally invest in one.) Sift the cake flour and baking soda into a medium sized bowl. We do this for two reasons: to avoid lumps in the cake flour and to evenly distribute the baking soda. Add kosher salt after sifting (it probably won’t fit through your sifter).
3. In a separate bowl, measure buttermilk, canola oil, rum and vanilla.
4. Gather your strawberries and a small paring knife and cut the tops off. (I like to make mine look like hearts.) Then zest your lemon.
5. Place the zest and the strawberries in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
6. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream your butter until soft. Then scrape the sides and the paddle. (But of course, turn off the mixer first.) Turn the mixer back on, slowly add the sugar and let it mix on high speed for about 2 minutes. (I was waiting for it to cream, but it won’t happen. Apparently it becomes a paste.) Don’t forget to scrape!
7. On medium speed, slowly add half of the eggs, let it incorporate, then add the other half. I hope you have that spatula in your hands because it’s time to scrape again.
8. Now turn your mixer to the lowest speed and add 1/3 of the flour mixture. Let it mix until all the dry is incorporated (but not longer). Stop and scrape. On low speed, add half of the buttermilk mixture; let it incorporate. Then repeat with 1/2 of the dry again followed by the rest of the liquid then ending with the last addition of the dry. Always scrape after each addition of the dry. The key to a tender cake is to not let the batter over mix after adding the eggs.
9. Now add the strawberry puree! Let it mix for 30 seconds, take it off the mixer and do the rest by hand, gently.
10. Divide the batter between the two cake pans and then pop them in the oven. Let bake for 25-30 minutes, checking half way through. You’ll know it’s done when the smoke alarm goes off…..ok, just kidding. You’ll know it’s done when you stick it with a toothpick and it comes out clean. Let them cool on a wire rack.
11. Once they are almost completely cool, turn them onto round cake boards to cool the rest of the way.
1. Put the chocolate in a medium bowl and set on top of a pot of boiling water that’s on the stove. Stir constantly until the chocolate is melted. You don’t want to walk away while this is happening because you could burn your chocolate, bad news. Once the chocolate is melted, take it off the pot, wipe the condensation off the bottom of the bowl (we don’t want to get any water in the chocolate, otherwise it will get a weird texture), and set aside to let it cool slightly.
2. In the bowl of an stand mixer on medium-high, beat your butter until soft, but not TOO soft. You want it to be lump-free but still a bit cool. Scrape the sides and paddle.
3. On the lowest speed, add your confectioners sugar. Let incorporate and then scrape.
4. With the mixer off, add the chocolate as fast as possible (we don’t want to melt the butter) and try not to get any on the paddle or sides of the bowl (the cool metal will harden the chocolate and cause lumps.) Turn the mixer on low and let it incorporate for 1 minute. Then stop and scrape and let it continue to mix for another minute.
5. Add the salt and the rum and let mix for another minute. Then take it off the mixer and mix the rest by hand.
Let’s ice this cake!
1. Make sure your cake is completely cooled. If it’s even the slightest bit warm you will have a gooey mess when you apply the frosting.
2. Flip one layer of the cake upside down onto a cake board. You should be looking at the bottom of the cake with the parchment. Remove the parchment (this will make for a more pleasant cake eating experience.) Now spoon some frosting in the middle (as much as you want, just remember to save some for the tops and sides) and smooth it out with an offset spatula or the back of a butter knife.
3. Flip the next layer on top of the iced layer. You should be looking at the bottom again. Remove the parchment paper and throw another large blob of frosting on top. Smooth it out. Then apply the rest of the frosting to the sides. I had extra frosting left over; just put it in an air tight container and use within a week.
4. Now we want to make our cake look pretty and presentable. I used a small off-set spatula to make tiny swoops in mine, but you can also leave it smooth or add any design you want. Get creative!
For the chocolate covered strawberries I just used the melted chocolate that was left in the bowl when I made the icing.
Do you say icing or frosting? I say both.
This cake has a very subtle strawberry flavor. If you want a stronger flavor, replace the vanilla with strawberry extract. The chocolate is not too sweet and pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the strawberries. Enjoy this cake for up to 4 days at room temperature. The chocolate covered strawberries will only last for two days but they must be refrigerated.
Now, pour yourself a shot of that rum. You should be celebrating. You just made a cake!
At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet. -Plato