Strawberry Dark Chocolate Truffle Cake


May 25

Rich dark chocolate cake layers with fresh strawberries, strawberry buttercream and chocolate ganache.

I had such a blast hosting my first cake class a couple weeks ago, I just couldn’t wait to get another one on the calendar. This time, instead of demonstrating different cake decorating techniques, I decided to make a cake from start to finish because even though it seems so simple to follow a recipe, there’s a lot of little things that people sometimes overlook (i.e. make sure you’re scooping your dry ingredients into the measuring cups and scraping off the top with a knife to get the most accurate measurement, make sure you spray your cake pans with non-stick spray, use parchment paper on the bottom and spray again, don’t keep opening your oven to check if the cake is done because it causes your cake to sink, over-beating your cake batter will create too many air bubbles and also cause your cake to sink, use a scale to divide your cake batter evenly between all your cake pans, etc.). There’s a lot to remember, but knowing all these things will help create the best tasting and the best looking cake around!

 

So, for my class, I chose to demonstrate my High Altitude Friendly Chocolate Cake. It’s a great cake to know how to make because it not only tastes incredible, but it can also be paired with so many different frosting flavors. I’ve made this cake with chocolate frosting, salted caramel frosting, vanilla frosting, peanut butter frosting, cream cheese frosting, salted caramel chocolate frosting, marshmallow frosting, and most recently, strawberry frosting.
Oh, man!!! Can we talk about this strawberry frosting for a minute? It’s incredible. My mom, who’s in town for the week, took one bite of it and immediately compared it to the strawberry truffle at See’s Candies. It’s not just a strawberry frosting, it’s more like a strawberry and cream frosting. It’s so flavorful and fluffy and pairs perfectly with this slightly bitter dark chocolate cake and chocolate ganache.
My mom also took the liberty of naming this cake: Strawberry Dark Chocolate Truffle Cake. She was right on the money! Thanks, mom!
I added fresh strawberries to my pre-made cake, but it’s not something you have to do. I didn’t add them to the cake I made during the class and it’s just as good! You DO want to make the chocolate ganache. Please don’t leave that out. It totally makes this cake!
My fabulous students… thank you all for spending an evening with me making cake!
I hope you enjoy this cake as much as we did!!!

Strawberry Dark Chocolate Truffle Cake

Yield 1 3-layer, 8-inch cake

Rich dark chocolate cake layers with strawberry buttercream and chocolate ganache.

Ingredients

For the Chocolate Cake

  • 1 3/4 cups, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups, minus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot water

For the Strawberry Frosting

  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5-6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup strawberry preserves (I use Smucker's brand)
  • 1/2 teaspoon strawberry emulsion
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • Pinch of salt 

For the Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (If you want a thinner consistency to your chocolate ganache to be able to do the drip technique, use 1 cup cream with 1 cup chocolate chips) 

Filling (optional)

  • 1 cup chopped strawberries

Instructions

For the Chocolate Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 360 degrees F. Butter or spray three 8-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter/spray the parchment paper as well.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.
  3. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, water and vanilla.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. Scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and mixing for 30 more seconds on medium-low speed.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pans (about 12 ounces in each pan) and bake for 18-20, until a cake tester comes out clean.
  6. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
  7. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until ready to use. You're still going to want to level your cake layers to ensure a completely even surface for frosting and stacking. 

For the Strawberry Frosting

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for about one minute on medium speed.
  2. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and mix until combined.
  3. Add the strawberry preserves, strawberry emulsion and salt. Mix on medium-low speed until combined.
  4. With the mixer still on medium-low speed, add the whipping cream. Turn the mixer to medium speed and beat the frosting for about 3 to 4 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  5. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and use a wooden spoon to stir the frosting by hand to push out any air bubbles. 

For the Chocolate Ganache

  1. Combine the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl and place in the microwave. Heat for 30 seconds, stir the mixture and heat for another 30 seconds. Using a whisk, mix the melted chocolate and cream until it comes together to create a smooth, silky ganache. Let the ganache cool to room temperature before using on the cake. 

Assembly

  1. Level each of the cake layers. Spread a small amount of frosting on a cake board to help hold the cake in place.
  2. Place the first cake layer, bottom-side down, in the center of the cake board. Using an offset palette knife, spread about 1/2 to 2/3 cup frosting evenly across the cake layer. If using fresh strawberries, sprinkle 1/2 cup strawberries on the frosting and gently push them into the frosting.
  3. Place the second cake layer on top of the strawberry frosting layer and repeat step 2.
  4. Place the final cake layer, bottom-side up, on top of the second strawberry frosting layer and give the cake an even crumb coat, making sure to fill in uneven areas of the cake to create an even foundation for your main frosting.
  5. Freeze the cake for 10 minutes to set the crumb coat.
  6. Continue to frost the cake and then spread or drip ganache. 

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