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  • Writer's pictureGeorgie

A whole lotta chocolate & strawberries

This was my first commissioned cake and wow it was fun! I started by getting some flavour requests from the client, and pulled together some combinations. We decided on a dark chocolate 2-tier sponge, a chocolate buttercream filling, coated with strawberry buttercream, and topped with chocolate ganache & chocolate dipped strawberries!

Now for a cake like this, the number one lesson is to allow enough time. Between each step the ingredients need time to set so I allowed myself two days to do it.

Start with the dark chocolate sponges.

Line two deep 8-inch tins with baking parchment and butter the sides.

In a large mixing bowl mix 430g of granulated sugar, 360g of light brown sugar, 180ml of vegetable oil and 3 large eggs.

In a separate bowl combine 1 ½ tsps of dissolved coffee granules in 90ml of hot water, 360ml of buttermilk, and 1 tsp of vanilla extract.

In a third bowl mix 390g of plain flour, 270g of cocoa powder, 1 ½ tsps of baking soda, 2 tsps of baking powder, and ½ tsp of table salt.

Mix all 3 bowls together until the batter looks smooth.

Divide the mix across the two tins until they are half way full.

Bake at 150C for 30 minutes, and do the skewer test to check the inside is cooked through. If not keep baking in slots of 5-10 minutes until no more wet residue comes out on the skewer. Keep an eye on the cakes as I baked mine in an Aga so temperatures and times may vary slightly!

Allow the cakes to cool for a couple of hours.

Now onto the choccie buttercream.

Beat 130g of unsalted butter in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy.

Gradually add 250g of icing sugar, 70g of cocoa powder, 1 tsp of vanilla extract, 80ml of heavy whipping cream, and a pinch of salt, all the while still beating with a mixer.

With a rubber spatula, spread the buttercream thickly onto one layer of the cake, and gently place the other layer on top.

Go round with a spatula to scrape and blend any buttercream that has escaped, as you will need a smooth surface to spread your strawberry buttercream all over.

Leave to chill for a couple of hours.

The next step is to prepare your strawberry buttercream.

Puree 130g of washed, stemmed and hulled ripe strawberries in a food processor.

Beat 190g of unsalted butter in mixing bowl whilst gradually adding 570g of icing sugar until just combined (the mixture should appear slightly crumbly).

Add the pureed strawberries and 1 ½ tsps of vanilla extract and beat until the mix is light and fluffy.

Take your cake out of the fridge and using a rubber spatula coat the cake in a thin layer of strawberry buttercream.

Using an angled spatula, smooth the sides and the top of the cake and leave to cool for 1 hour.

Coat the cake in a second layer of buttercream and again smooth the sides and the top using a bench scraper, ensuring it is always vertically level. Any gaps spotted can be filled with buttercream and scraped again. Level off the top and leave the cake to cool for a couple of hours.

The ganache drip is super simple.

Slowly melt 90g of dark chocolate and 90ml of whipping cream on a low heat until runny.

Allow to cool slightly and thicken until the mix drips slowly off the spoon.

Take the cake out of the fridge and using a teaspoon drip a little bit onto the edges of the cake all the way round so that the ganache drips slowly down the cake. If you want the drips at different levels, use more or less on each teaspoon amount.

Spread the ganache across the top of the cake evenly using a spatula.

Put the cake back into the fridge for a couple of hours to allow the ganache to set.

Dip 9 large strawberries into the leftover ganache and cover with dark, milk and white chocolate crunchy balls (can be purchased from Sainsburys!) and leave to chill.

You should have some leftover strawberry buttercream, and using a piper, pipe 9 blobs of the buttercream around the top of the edge of the cake.

Lay the strawberries on the blobs.

Use the choccie crunchy balls to line the bottom of the cake.

Allow the cake to chill for another hour and voila!

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