Is it the middle of February already?? I feel like February just started and here it is already nearing its end. As Valentine’s Day approaches, I can’t help but feel a little more love and happiness in the air. Maybe it’s all the hearts plastered every way I turn or people posting all things related to love on social media, but I’m digging the atmosphere. Yes, I know that you should show your love and affection to your significant other/ loved ones every day of the year but what’s the harm of celebrating that love?
I once had an ex-boyfriend who frequently bought me chocolate covered strawberries from Godiva. Not knowing how much they cost ($7 a piece!!), I used to eat them in one seating without much thought. I only found out how much they cost recently and boy, do I feel bad about not savoring them. But that was my first encounter with chocolate covered strawberries and it’s been one of my favorite flavor parings since.
This cake is my spin on a chocolate covered strawberry. A rich dark chocolate cake is filled and frosted with fresh strawberry frosting and covered in a chocolate ganache and adorned with chocolate dipped strawberries. Because fresh strawberries in February are not the tastiest, I suggest buying frozen strawberries for the frosting to ensure full strawberry flavor. I happened to have this cake pan that I bought on clearance a year or two ago, and I thought it fit the theme perfectly. If you do not have the cake pan, you can always make the same cake sans the strawberry frosting heart in the middle. Talking about clearance, am I the only person that scours the holiday section at Target after every major holiday? I cannot resist the themed sprinkles and sparkling sugar at a deep discount. Sometimes, I’ll land on a real gem… like this cake pan at 75% off. It’s a guilty pleasure and I look forward to going to Target post February 14th. 😉
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake
1 ¾ c. all-purpose flour
2 c. sugar
¼ c. natural unsweetened cocoa powder
½ c. Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1. tsp. kosher salt
½ c. vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. strong, hot coffee
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and line 2 cake pans with parchment paper.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, both cocoa powders, baking soda, baking powder and salt until fully combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract until combined.
- With the mixer speed on low, add the egg mixture to the flour mixture until combined.
- Turn off the mixer. With a spatula, scrape the sides of the bowl to fully incorporate the two mixtures.
- Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the hot coffee to the batter. Once added, raise the speed to medium until completely homogenous.
- Divide batter equally among the two cake pans and bake about 25-30 minutes. Checking at 20 minutes for doneness with a toothpick test.*
- Let stand for 5-10 minutes when done, then put onto a cooling rack to fully cool.
2 lbs of strawberries, smashed
1 tbsp. lemon juice
- In a small pot, cook strawberries and lemon juice on medium heat until mixture thickens and reduces 1/3-1/2 of the original volume, about 20-30 minutes.
- Once thickened, put in a bowl to cool and refrigerate.
Basic Vanilla Frosting
2 c. whole milk
½ c. flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 1b. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c. sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- In a saucier pan, put milk, salt and flour and whisk until combined on medium heat.
- Continuously whisk mixture until thickened to a pudding like consistency.
- Once thickened, strain through a mesh strainer into a bowl with a spatula to remove lumps.
- Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the flour mixture and put into the fridge until fully cool.
- In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the sugar and butter on high speed until fluffy and pale about, 5-10 minutes.
- Add the chilled flour mixture and continue to whip on high speed until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is no longer gritty, about 5-10 minutes.
- Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.
1 batch of strawberry puree
1 batch of vanilla frosting
- Mix vanilla frosting with strawberry puree until the mixture turns strawberry pink and fluffy.
8 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
¾ c. heavy whipping cream
- In a heatproof bowl, pour heavy cream on top of chocolate and microwave for one minute.
- Let stand 3 minutes and stir until combined.
1 batch chocolate cake
1 batch strawberry frosting
1 batch chocolate ganache
6-8 strawberries, rinsed and dried
- Fill and frost chocolate cake with strawberry frosting.
- Chill in freezer for 15-20 minutes.
- Pour ¾ of chocolate ganache and use offset spatula to push ganache over the edge.
- Before the ganache sets completely, dip the strawberries in the remaining ganache and garnish the cake.
* Chocolate cake recipe adapted from Ina Garten.