My first experience with chocolate-covered strawberries was at a party.
To be honest, I have no recollection of the event or the attendees. But I do remember the tray of glistening, ripe red strawberries draped in a shining layer of perfectly tempered milk chocolate. At the time, nothing looked more impressive.
Now, the fruit/candy treat has been rehashed so many times on so many, many Pinterest boards that theyve reached the inevitable realm of dessert cliches.
So instead of covering berries in white-chocolate-and-edible-pearl decorations or waiting for a chocolate coating to cool, take a tip from the flavour combo and try out this cake. It’s even got a hint of fizz: perfect for any celebration.
Chocolate Cake with Strawberry-Champagne Buttercream
YOU’RE GONNA NEED: two 8 inch round cake tins
3/4 cup butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
2 tsps vanilla
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup butter
6-9 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup champagne or sparkling wine
2 teaspoons strawberry extract
1 teaspoon red food dye (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Grease the bottoms and sides of the cake tins.
2. Prepare your cake: stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt, then set aside. Beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Gradually add the sugar and beat until fluffy and well combined. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl, then continue to beat for another 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, combining well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and milk alternately, beating on low after each addition until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix once more. Spread the batter into the cake tins, baking for 35-40 minutes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then allow to cool completely by turning out onto wire racks.
3. Prepare your buttercream: beat butter until soft and smooth. Gradually add 2 cups of the powdered sugar until well combined. Add the champagne*, strawberry extract and red dye and mix slowly. Gradually beat in the rest of the powdered sugar, adding additional champagne if needed to reach spreading consistency.
4. Sandwich the cake layers together with a generous spread of frosting. Frost the sides and top with a crumb coat*, then add a thicker layer of frosting around the cake.
When you add the champagne to the butter mixture, you might notice it looking a little lumpy. That’s because the fizzy alcohol will curdle the butter slightly. Don’t worry though: once you add another addition of powdered sugar and beat, it will return to normal.
A crumb coat does exactly what it says on the tin. The purpose of this thin layer of frosting is to catch all the loose crumbs, so your outer layer looks clean.
Cake recipe and frosting recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.