Oh boy, I have been so busy in the kitchen in the last couple of weeks! I have a slew of updates that I can’t wait to share with you all, mostly delicious desserts! Most of these have been in honor of a birthday or two, as it seems a LOT of friends and family have January birthdays, myself included. So here is the first of several fun cakes I have made. Ben’s school had Family Fun Night recently complete with a cake walk and of course, I volunteered to provide a cake. However, I never post anything without tasting it myself, so I decided to make two of the same cake – one for the cake walk and one to in honor of both my mother- and father-in-laws’ birthdays. Problem solved!
It came as no surprise that this cake was fantastic. Four layers of dark chocolate cake separated by white chocolate whipped cream and fresh strawberries, and decorated with whipped cream frosting. The white chocolate whipped cream was light and fluffy and combined with the fresh strawberries, it was a nice counterbalance to the rich chocolate cake. Unfortunately I did not get any pictures of the cut cake, but the black and white colors made it visually impressive as well. This was a huge hit with Ben’s family and I would make it again in a heartbeat! Be sure to note that the white chocolate whipped cream needs two hours in the refrigerator to set, so don’t plan on this if you are pressed for time.
Dark and White Chocolate Layer Cake
For the dark chocolate cake:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
For the white chocolate whipped cream:
6 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
For the whipped cream frosting:
1 cup cold heavy cream
4 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Fresh strawberries, for filling and garnishing
To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour the sides of two 9-inch round cake pans, and line the bottom of each with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the sugar, eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; mix at medium-low speed until smooth. Add in the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Stir in the boiling water (batter will be thin).
Pour batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each cake, remove the cakes from the pans, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. When the cake has cooled, cut each in half horizontally to create four cake layers.
To make the white chocolate whipped cream, place the chopped white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Melt, stirring occasionally. When the chocolate is almost melted, bring 1/2 cup of the cream to a boil. Once the chocolate is fully melted, transfer the bowl to a counter, pour in the hot cream and let it sit for one minute. Then stir gently with a spatula until the chocolate is smooth. Let the chocolate sit until it reaches room temperature – the chocolate can’t be the least bit warm when it is added to the whipped cream.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the remaining 1 cup cream only until it holds the softest peaks. With the mixer on high speed, add the white chocolate all at once and continue to beat just until the mixture holds firm peaks. Transfer the cream to a bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap gently against the surface and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
To make the whipped cream frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment beat the cream, sugar and vanilla together just until the cream starts to thicken. Start on a slower speed and increase the speed as the cream gains texture. Continue to beat until the cream holds stiff peaks. Be very careful not to overbeat.
To assemble the cake, transfer one of the cake layers to a 10-inch cardboard circle, cut surface up. Spread a thick layer of white chocolate whipped cream on top of the cake. Layer with fresh strawberry slices. Lay another cake layer on top of the cream and berries, and press down gently. Top as before with white chocolate whipped cream and berries. Repeat once more with another cake layer and topping. Place the final cake layer on top, cut side down, and press down gently. Frost the cake with whipped cream frosting and garnish with fresh berries as desired.