Friday, March 8, 2013

Chocolate cake w/ strawberries

Back in December, I had a wonderful chocolate cake with strawberries from La Patisserie for my birthday. They are by far my favorite bakery here, though Pticek & Sons' in Chicago blows them away with their atomic cake and pastries any day.

For a long time, I've longed for my favorite atomic cake from Pticek & Sons. Just blogging about it makes my mouth water. Someday I'll tell you about my trials duplicating one. But alas, I've come to the conclusion that the atomic cake cannot be duplicated and I have to have some other kind of cake for my birthday.

This is where the chocolate strawberry cake comes in. However, because I don't know how many eggs La Patisserie uses, or if their chocolate is processed in a facility that also processes peanuts, I don't allow Mr A to eat any baked item, unless I have made it myself. This is the way of life for him. (The Peanut Pickle by Jessica Jacobs, a wonderful story about how careful a kid with a peanut allergy needs to be.). So, Mr A was not allowed to eat any of my birthday cake. I didn't think he was really sad or effected but as we got closer to his birthday, he began requesting a chocolate cake with strawberries for his own birthday. Then I was determined to make that happen.

I began looking for a safe recipe for him. I chose A Taste of Home's Best Chocolate Cake. I used Hershey's cocoa powder, which is not processed with peanuts, and I did 2/3 of the recipe so I would only need 2 eggs instead of 3. I thinly sliced about a pound of fresh strawberries and whipped whipping cream to layer.

Verdict? Not the best chocolate cake I've ever had. Dense, not super sweet or decadent cake, but maybe that's my mistake for choosing a "light" recipe. But for a kid who's never had cake, he was in heaven! He was so excited to make the cake batter, to whip the cream, and to assemble it together. His smile and the pure joy of seeing him eat cake for the first time, priceless.

Best Chocolate Cake

From Taste of Home, 2/3 of recipe

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup 2% milk

1 lb fresh strawberries, thinly sliced
2 c whipping cream
2 T powdered sugar, more or less if desired
Vanilla extract, optional

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a 9-in. round baking pans with waxed paper; grease and flour the pans and paper. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in
  5. vanilla.
  6. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and baking powder; add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating
  7. well after each addition.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool on a wire rack.
  10. Slice strawberries and lay on a paper towel to soak up some of the wetness.
  11. Whip whipping cream with 2 T powdered sugar.
  12. Cut cake into 2 layers. Spread a layer of whipped cream on top of the bottom layer. Place a layer of strawberries in the whipped cream. On the underside of the top layer, spread strawberry jam. This goes on top of the strawberries.
  13. For the top of the cake, spread whipped cream and place another layer of strawberries.

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