My family is not really a baked cake type of family. I’ll occasionally whip up a cake out of boxed mix but truthfully, I rarely make cakes from scratch. However, I’m trying to do more baking and with Valentine’s Day coming up, I decided to pull out my apron, grab a few ingredients and make the a moist, decadent Strawberry Filled Dark Chocolate Layer Cake. I will warn you, this is the most delicious cake my family has every tasted and if you make it yourself, you’re guaranteed to be asked to make it time and again. Read on to learn how to make this totally impressive and crazy delicious Strawberry Filled Dark Chocolate Layer Cake.
Before we get started, let’s just establish the fact that making this Strawberry Filled Dark Chocolate Layer Cake needs to be a weekend or day-off project. It’s not that it’s overly difficult to make but you will need to cool the cakes completely, chill the strawberry filling for it to thicken and put it all together. With that being said, by following the simple steps below, this is a cake that anyone can make!
- For the Cake
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 2 cups of sugar
- ¾ cups of dark chocolate cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 1 cup of buttermilk
- ½ cup of vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 2 and ½ teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 1 cup of boiling water
- For the Strawberry Filling
- 3 cups of fresh strawberries
- ½ cup of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 cup of water
- ⅛ teaspoon of salt
- For the Ganache
- 4 ounces of semi-sweet baking chocolate
- 4 ounces of heavy cream
- For the Frosting
- 12 ounces of cream cheese
- ¾ cup of unsalted butter
- 3 and ¾ cups of confectioner's sugar
- ⅔ cups of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon of heavy cream
- Fresh strawberries for garnish
- Start by making the cakes. Add the flour, sugar, cocoa, dark chocoalte baking powder, baking soda and espresso to your mixer and whisk the ingredients together.
- Add the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla and mix together until you have a thick batter.
- Change the mixer speed to low and add in the boiling water. The batter with be slightly runny.
- Divide the cake batter between two round pans and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
- Check with a toothpick to make sure the cakes are done and then allow them to cool.
- While the cakes are cooling, cut up the strawberries and add them to a pot with the sugar, lemon juice and ½ cup of water.
- Heat over medium heat until all the sugar is dissolved.
- Mix the corn starch in with the other half cup of water and stir it into the strawberry mixture.
- Cook at medium heat, stirring frequently, until the strawberries have broken down and the sauce has thickened.
- Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend till smooth.
- Refrigerate for 3-4 hours, until the mixture is cool and thick.
- While the strawberry filling is cooling, allow the cream cheese and butter to reach room temperature.
- Add both ingredients to the bowl of a mixer and cream together.
- Add in the cocoa powder and vanilla extract and combine well.
- Blend in the confectioner's sugar and heavy cream, mixing until the frosting is smooth and creamy.
- Once the frosting is ready, add the semi-sweet chocolate and cream to a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds.
- Stir and repeat until the ganache is smooth and creamy. Allow it to cool slightly.
- Once the filling and frosting are ready and the cakes are cool, use a cake leveler to cut off any raised areas.
- Using a piping bag, pipe a thick ring of frosting around the inside of the bottom cake.
- Fill in the ring with the cooled strawberry filling, smoothing it out evenly.
- Top the strawberry filling with ⅛ cup of chocolate ganache.
- Add the top layer of cake and gently push it down.
- Frost the cake with a light layer of the frosting.
- Cool for 30 minutes.
- Add a second layer of frosting and smooth it out.
- Immediately pour the chocolate ganache over the frosting, allowing it to drip down the sides.
- Using the remaining frosting, decorate around the bottom of the cake and add some swirls of frosting to the top.
- Finish with fresh strawberries.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate.
Like I mentioned before, I’m not a bake and I know that this recipe has quite a few steps but following them is easy and this cake is totally worth it. To start, I added the dry ingredients for my cake to my mixing bowl and whisked them together.
I then added my buttermilk, eggs, oil and vanilla and combined the ingredients well. At this point I had a thick, dense batter that looked like this.
I quickly brought a cup of water to a boil and slowly mixed it into my batter, combining it until the batter was smooth. Please note, the batter will be runny and it’s supposed to be. This is what makes this cake so unbelievably moist in the end.
Once my batter was ready, I greased and floured my two round cake pans and divided the batter evenly between them.
I then cooked my cakes for 30-35 minutes on 350 degrees (Start checking the cakes at 30 minutes by piercing the middle with a toothpick. Continue to bake the cakes until the toothpick comes out clean). Once my cakes were cooked, I removed them from the oven and set the aside to cool before removing them from my pans. While my cakes cooled, I moved on to the strawberry filling. To make it I added my cut up strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and 1/2 cup of water to a pot.
I cooked the mixture over medium heat until the sugar dissolved. Then I whisked together my corn starch and the remaining 1/2 cup of water and added it to the strawberries. I allowed this mixture to cook over medium heat until the strawberries broke down and the sauce thickened. Once the sauce was reduced by about half, I added it to my mixer and blended it until the filling was smooth.
I transferred the strawberry filling to a jar and cooled it completely in the refrigerator (about 3 hours). While my strawberry filling was cooling, I allowed my cream cheese and butter to warm to room temperature and them creamed them together in my mixer. After adding in my cocoa powder and vanilla extract, I mixed in my confectioner’s sugar and heavy cream and continued to mix the frosting on medium speed until it was smooth and creamy.
I set my frosting aside and added my semi-sweet chocolate and heavy cream for the ganache to a bowl. Then I microwaved it for 30 seconds and stirred it well. I repeated this process until I had a smooth mixture (for me it took two 30-second sessions). After allowing my ganache to cool slightly, I was finally ready to assemble my cake. I removed my completely cool cakes from their pans and used a cake leveler to cut off any raised areas.
After adding my bottom layer of cake to a platter, I added my frosting to an icing bag and piped a thick ring around the outer edge of my bottom cake to form a barrier to keep my filling in.
Next, I poured my cooled, thickened strawberry filling onto the middle of the cake and spread it out evenly. As an added touch, I also drizzled on some of my chocolate ganache.
After adding my second layer of cake on to the top of my filling, I lightly iced the cake with my frosting and chilled it for 30 minutes.
I then removed Strawberry Filled Dark Chocolate Layer Cake from the refrigerator and iced it again with a more generous amount of icing, smoothing it out as much as possible. As soon as my layer of icing was in place, I poured my chocolate ganache over the top, allowing it to drip down the sides.
I then used the remainder of my frosting to pipe some decorations around the bottom where my icing didn’t look perfect and added a few swirls of icing on the top. After adding some fresh strawberries to the top of my Strawberry Filled Dark Chocolate Layer Cake, it was complete and let me tell you, for someone who doesn’t bake, I thought it looked fabulous!
But truthfully, how this cake looks doesn’t even begin to compare to how it tastes! The dark chocolate pairs perfectly with the tart strawberry filling and the cream cheese chocolate icing hits just the right balance of tangy and sweet. When you pair that with the rich chocolate ganache and fresh strawberries, this is one cake that tastes even more impressive than it looks. In fact, even the mom-sweets lovers in my family couldn’t get enough of it!
Whether you know that food is the way to your someone special’s heart or simple need the perfect Valentine’s Day cake for a gathering this year, try this your hand at this delicious, impressive Strawberry Filled Dark Chocolate Layer Cake. I guarantee you it won’t disappoint!
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