It’s been a while, hasn’t it?
In my defense, something catastrophic happened (at least it seemed catastrophic at the time). My lap top died a horrible, painful death – crashing and burning amid the flames of my frustration. (And now I’m thinking of becoming the latest Mac convert). Thankfully, I’ve managed to hijack my husband’s lap top so that I can reconnect with the world.
A Perfect Cake for Spring
And to celebrate the arrival of the first sunny weekend in our part of England, I simply can’t resist posting this wonderful spring recipe – a chocolate fudge layer cake filled with vanilla buttercream frosting and topped with fresh strawberries. I decided to make this cake for Jay’s colleague’s birthday – and I’m guessing they liked it because six people almost finished the entire cake! (My success is measured by counting the number of people coerced into breaking their diets in order to indulge in a second slice.)
This cake so rich and dense that it could almost be a brownie. The vanilla buttercream is a breeze to make and holds its own against the heavy layers. But best of all are the strawberries – I chose slightly tart strawberries to offset the intense sweetness of the cake and cream.
The trick to the fudge cake is to use muscovado sugar – which is like a very dark, very grainy brown sugar. If you don’t have this kind of sugar readily available, just substitute the darkest brown sugar you can find.
Chocolate Fudge Cake Recipe
- 200 grams dark chocolate (get the best quality you can!)
- 200 grams butter, softened
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup self-rising flour
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup muscovado sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- 3 medium eggs
- 5 tablespoons buttermilk
- For the topping: strawberries
Grease, flour and line the bottoms of two 23 cm round cake pans. Heat the oven to 325 F or Gas Mark 3.
Melt the chocolate, milk and butter together. Be careful not to burn it. (I did this in the microwave). Stir together until well-blended.
Mix the dry ingredients. You can use your hands to break up the clumps of muscovado sugar.
Beat the eggs in a separate bowl. Whisk in the buttermilk.
Stir the dry ingredients, chocolate mixture and egg mixture together until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean (about 1 hour). Remove from the oven and cool completely. Be careful when removing the cakes from their pans. Because of the dense, fudgy nature of the cake, they may not fall out perfectly so use a knife to ease them out carefully.
When completely cool, make the vanilla buttercream.
- 250 g/1 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco or Trex)
- 250 g/1 cup butter, softened but not melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp egg white powder / meringue powder
- 500 g confectioner’s sugar
Beat the vegetable shortening with an electric hand mixer for 3 minutes. Add the butter and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the vanilla, meringue powder and sugar. Stir or beat until well-blended. Use right away.
Assembly of the Chocolate Layer Cake
Carefully spread vanilla buttercream over the first layer. Slice some of your strawberries and layer them over the buttercream. Carefully place the second layer over the strawberries. Spread the buttercream on top and around the sides of cake.
Slice the rest of your strawberries in half and arrange in a circular pattern on the top of the cake.
If you want, you can decorate the sides of your cake with a lattice pattern. I used black, yellow an red tubes for my lattice – and it looked great (as long as you don’t look too closely).