Here's the bonus strawberry-inspired recipe I mentioned on my strawberry tour recap post a couple days ago. Sometimes after several posts where I'm constantly trying to one-up myself in creativity, it's nice to go back to the basics. Sometimes all you really need is a good chocolate cake.
This is a classic devil's food cake, made with cocoa powder and boiling water. I really like the sour cream in there as it gives the cake extra moistness, but the cake layers still bake up well formed with not too much loose crumb, so they can be layered and assembled easily. I proportioned the recipe to make a 6" round cake instead of the standard 8", because when I do layer cakes I like the smaller daintiness. Plus it makes it easier to get through the cake more quickly!
To give this cake a summer feel, I spread the layers with some strawberry jam (or you can even make a coulis with fresh strawberries, which would really be taking advantage of the season). I also have a rose geranium plant that's been filling our place with its lush, sweet fragrance, so I was inspired to put some of that into the buttercream. I've seen recipes where rose geranium leaves are torn up and mixed into the rest of the ingredients, similar to what you do with herbs in savory recipes. I used that technique by rubbing the rose geranium leaves into the sugar for the buttercream, but I found that the flavor wasn't as intense as I wanted, even after letting the sugar "steep" for a couple days. In the end I added some rose geranium oil to get the flavor as strong as I wanted. You can try either technique and see which one works best for you: rose geranium plants can be found at many nurseries (be sure the leaves are unsprayed), or rose geranium oil is found at many health food stores.
The rose and strawberry give a lovely, summer teatime vibe to the cake and help cut the richness of the chocolate. And I love the dark and light contrast between the cake and the frosting.
Additionally, as a parting gift from the California Strawberries Commission I have this adorable strawberry teapot to give away to one lucky reader! Perfect for teatime with some cake.
You can also see it here.
Just leave a comment on this post by Friday, August 8. I'll announce the winner on Monday August 11th.
As a side note, I have the winners of the Godiva giveaway, but I think it's more appropriate with my Godiva recap post I'll be putting up tomorrow. Please check back and I'll have the winners up!
Good luck! and thanks again to the California Strawberries Commission for a great time.
I was provided this prize by the California Strawberries Commission. All opinions in this post are my own.
Devil's Food Cake
- .8 oz (188 g) boiling water
- 3/4 cup (65 g) cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup (62 g) all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (55 g) cake flour
- 2/3 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/8 teaspoon salt
- 5 1/2 oz (156 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (115 g) sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Rose Geranamium Buttercream
- 1 1/4 cups (250 g) sugar
- 5 large egg whites
- 15 ounces (425 g) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1-in pieces
- 1 tablespoon rose geranium oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- food coloring as desired
- about 1/2 cup strawberry preserves
For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease (3) 6" round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- Whisk the water and the cocoa powder together in a small bowl and set aside. Stir the flours, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Combine butter and sugar in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until combined.
- Add in the sour cream and vanilla and beat until combined.
- Add in the dry mixture and cocoa mixture in five additions, beginning and ending with the dry mixture. Beat just until combined.
- Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake for about 18-20 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on wire racks before unmolding.
For the buttercream:
- Combine the sugar and egg whites in a medium metal bowl and place over a pan of simmering water.
- Whisk the sugar mixture constantly over heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture looks smooth and shiny. Continue whisking until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F.
- Remove mixture from heat and pour into a stand mixer bowl. Whisk on medium speed for about 5 minutes until the mixture has cooled.
- Switch to the paddle attachment and with the speed on low, add the butter a few pieces at a time, beating until smooth. Do not add the butter too quickly or beat too quickly or the buttercream may break.
- When all the butter has been added, beat the buttercream on medium-high speed for about 6-10 minutes until it is very thick and smooth. It may appear to separate briefly but continue beating and it should come back together.
- Add in rose geranium oil and vanilla extract and beat to combine. Add in food coloring as desired.
- The buttercream is ready to be used. Place a piece of plastic wrap against the surface until you are ready to use it to prevent it from drying out.
- To assemble the cake, level the cake layers as needed. Place one layer on a cake round or stand. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 1/2" star tip with the frosting.
- Spread a thin layer of strawberry on top of the cake layer. Pipe frosting in a circle around the edge of the cake layer, and then continue to pipe and fill in completely with frosting. Place another layer on top and repeat the process. You can frost the top of the cake with just the frosting.