Since it’s my dad’s birthday today, we’re going to his house for dinner. So, today’s post will be this week’s dessert: chocolate strawberry cake!

Meal planning allows me to have dessert once a week, and stay healthy! When I plan for the week, I always have a dinner that ends up being fairly low in calories. This allows me to have dessert that night, without breaking my diet.

This is the best chocolate cake recipe I have ever tried, and I have tried a lot! It also happens to be lower in sugar than every other recipe, which I like. You can substitute an equal weight of unrefined coconut sugar for the granulated sugar as well, although the flavor will be a little more bitter.

The best part of this cake recipe is, all you need is a bowl and a whisk. I highly recommend using a kitchen scale and weighing your ingredients whenever you bake. When cooking savory foods, recipes are forgiving, and can be adapted, but baking is chemistry, and adaptations or errors in measuring can have dire consequences! No need to drop a huge chunk of change; cheap digital scales work great! The important features are a “tare” button, so you can zero out the weight of the bowl, and being able to switch between ounces and grams.

Start by weighing the chocolate chips and cocoa powder.

Add boiling water and whisk smooth. Let that cool while the oven heats to 350.

Meanwhile, spray your cake pans with cooking spray, line with parchment circles, and dust with flour. If you’re making cupcakes, line 24 muffin tin cups with paper liners.

Measure out the vegetable oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla.

Once the oven is heated, and the chocolate mixture has cooled, whisk in the oil and eggs mixture, and then weigh in the sugar.

Whisk in the sugar, then weigh in the flour, salt, and baking soda.

Whisk smooth, then divide among the pans and bake. See the recipe below for baking times.

The strawberry frosting we will put on the cake is actually a strawberry infused whipped cream. It’s absolutely fabulous! You will need a food processor or blender to make it. I use freeze dried strawberries, which I pulverize into powder and incorporate into the whipped cream. The freeze dried powder actually soaks up liquid in the whipped cream, making it stable and thick, and the flavor is incredible! You can use this technique with any freeze dried fruit. I did not get photos of making the strawberry version, so here are photos of a mango version:

Place 15 grams of freeze dried fruit in your food processor.

Add 1/4 cup sugar and process to make a fine powder:

Add 2 cups cold heavy cream, and stir with a spatula into the corners until all the fruit powder is moistened, then start pulsing:

Pulse until it thickens, about 45 to 60 pulses.

Now spread it on your cake!

CHOCOLATE CAKE
Makes one 9 by 13 sheet cake, two 9 inch or three 8 inch cake layers, or 24 cupcakes

6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
2 ounces dutch processed cocoa powder
12 ounces boiling water
6 ounces vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounces granulated sugar
8.3 ounces bread flour
1 teaspoon table salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda

Place chocolate chips, cocoa powder, and boiling water in a large mixing bowl and mix until smooth. Set aside to cool while the oven heats to 350.

Once the oven is heated, add the vegetable oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla to the chocolate mixture. Whisk smooth. Whisk in the sugar. Sprinkle the bread flour, salt, and baking soda over the top and whisk in until smooth.

Add batter to greased and parchment lined baking pans, or scoop into paper lined muffin cups. Bake 30-40 minutes for a 9 by 13 pan, 20-30 minutes for 8 or 9 inch cake layers, or 15-22 minutes for cupcakes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely before frosting.

Recipe from the cookbook, “Naturally Sweet.”

STRAWBERRY INFUSED WHIPPED CREAM

15 grams freeze dried strawberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups (1 pint) whipping cream, cold

Place strawberries and sugar in a food processor (preferably) or blender, and process until you have a fine powder, about 1 minute. If using a food processor, add the cream to the workbowl and stir with a spatula into the corners until all the strawberry powder is moistened. Use the pulse button to pulse until the mixture is thick and holds its shape, about 1 minute of pulsing. Frost the cake or cupcakes and refrigerate until ready to serve.

If using a blender, add the cream and the powdered strawberry mixture to a mixing bowl and whip on high with an electric or stand mixer until thickened. Infused cream made this way will be less dense than with a food processor, and won’t hold as long, so it should be made and served immediately.

Recipe from “Serious Eats” website.

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