Today, dear readers, you will thank me for sharing one of the best (THE BEST!) chocolate cake recipes in existence- the last chocolate cake recipe you will ever need. Let’s not argue over who’s chocolate cake is best, or what bakery makes the best chocolate cake, or who’s mom, aunt, or grandma has the best chocolate cake recipe known to mankind, or better yet- which famous company has the most delicious chocolate cake mix you’ve whipped together (we’ll talk about boxed cake mixes in another post). Argument is not needed after taking a bite out of this cake. I promise!
Once the first piece of this chocolate cake hits your taste buds, you will have some sort of unexplainable religious experience- yes, all because of this chocolate strawberry layer cake.
You see, my birthday was on Friday, and I needed an excuse to post a cake recipe- I know, I just used my birthday as a very relevant excuse to post a cake recipe. Sue me! Oh and before we all go nutzo over me making my own birthday cake- I promise you, I did not make my own birthday cake- A couple of cakes were actually made for me, and honestly, they couldn’t even top this recipe. Why? Because the cakes (with the exception of one) did not have a beautiful, moist crumb that would make any cake lover (hell, any baker, as well!) swoon.
You know something? There is nothing worse in the world than dry cake. It makes my inner baker shudder to the nth degree. Dry cake makes me want to cry. Dry cake makes things that you are looking to cheer up with cake, even worse! Take my word on it!
I think some new bakeries (not all of them!) have been plagued with the thought that everyone is looking to enjoy beautiful, elaborately designed cakes- cakes that are almost inedible because they are covered with unnecessary amounts of horrid tasting fondant. Bakeries- I don’t care how beautiful your cake is, how amazing that fondant is making the edges of the cake look breathtakingly clean, if your cake tastes like you replaced the flour with sand, I wouldn’t be a happy camper. Some people might, but that’s because they’re letting the look of the cake get to them!
I’d rather much have a not-so-breathtakingly-clean looking cake, and have it be the most delicious cake on the planet.
This chocolate strawberry layer cake, will do just what some other cakes don’t do- it will make you dance until you drop! It will make your taste buds sing until they can’t! It will make you want to kiss the nearest person to you (or your cat)! It will . . . I don’t know what else it will do, but it will definitely do this: it will make you happy!
And trust me on this, you’ll get a lot of happiness out of this recipe! Layers of strawberry jam, smooshed down by ever-so-moist layers of chocolate cake, and a healthy helping of frosting spread on the cake will make anyone smile- no matter on what occasion it is. I have seen people in the biggest depression go back into a state of happiness because of this cake.
So, enough of my bragging about how amazing this cake is- I’ll let you get to baking.
Chocolate Strawberry Layer Cake
For the Cake:
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
¾ cups unsweetened cocoa powder (natural)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk (can use light)
½ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
1 cup strawberry jam (I used homemade)
For the Frosting:
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter (12 tablespoons or ¾ cup), melted
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (natural)
⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
4 ½ cups powdered sugar
½ tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round piece of parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract.
4. Add the egg mixture into the flour mixture; beat on medium speed for one minute (or combine by hand to prevent over-mixing). Whisk in the boiling water (the batter will become thin). Pour into prepared pans.
5. Bake 17-22 minutes, or until a cake tester (or a wooden toothpick) inserted into the center of each cake, comes out clean.
6. Once the cakes are out of the oven, with a [dry] clean oven mitt (preferably a cloth one), gently press down onto the cakes, to make them level (this will allow you to skip a whole step in trimming the cakes).
7. Cool cakes for 15 minutes in the freezer. Meanwhile, make the frosting: In a large bowl (or in a stand mixer), combine the melted butter and cocoa powder powder. Alternatively mix in the milk and powdered sugar, beating (on medium speed) to spreading consistency. Add a tablespoon of milk, if needed. Mix in vanilla and light corn syrup.
8. Remove cakes from pans, and place on wire racks.
9. Place one cake on a cake stand (bottom side up) and spread half of the strawberry jam, being sure not to spread to the edges of the cake. Place the second cake on top of the first (bottom side up), and spread the remaining half of the jam onto the cake. Place the third cake on top (bottom side up).
10. Place the cake in the freezer for 10 minutes (this will make frosting the cake much easier).
11. Using an off-set spatula, spread a thin layer of frosting over the top and sides of the layer cake. Let the frosting set in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes; then, spread a thick coat over the base coat.
Cake adapted from Hershey’s & Martha Stewart