This cake is perfect for a fancy party, or pretend fancy party...so get baking!
If you make all three layers (as the recipe below suggests), you will end up with a very tall cake. For a dramatic effect, it's perfect. The slices look a bit funny because they are so tall, but trust me, no one complains! I don’t think that has stopped anyone from enjoying this. You can make the same amount of batter in two 10-inch round pans for a shorter cake. I like the tall cake as it's more visually impressive.
A friend and co-worker asked for a recipe that would be perfect for a shower she was hosting. She's also an avid baker and had adjusted and increased the amounts to create a stunning cake (pictured below). The original recipe is for a tall 3 layer cake and that is the recipe below.
yield: 1 tall 3-layer cake
For the cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups water
1 cup canola oil
4 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
For the filling:
1 lb. fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced - plus more whole berries for garnish
1/4 C. sugar
1 Tb. vodka (optional)
For the frosting:
4 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
1¼ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
For the chocolate topping:
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup light corn syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract
To make the cake layers, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line three 9-inch round cake pans (or two 10-inch round cake pans) with parchment paper. Butter and flour the inside edges of the pan, shaking out the excess flour.
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, water and canola oil; heat until the butter is melted. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa powder, and flour; whisk to blend. Pour the melted butter mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, then whisk in the buttermilk. Add the baking soda, salt and vanilla to the bowl and whisk just until incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each cake layer and invert onto a wire cooling rack. Allow the cake layers to cool completely before frosting, at least 2 hours.
While the cake cools, make the strawberry filling. To make the filling, mix the strawberries, sugar, and vodka in a bowl. Let the berries macerate at least 30 minutes.
To make the frosting, add the heavy cream to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and continue to whip until thoroughly combined and stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over-beat!
To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a cake platter and top with some strawberries. (The berries go first...they are juicy and all of that juicy goodness will ooze into your cake and not out of the frosting.) Spread a layer of the whipped cream frosting over the top of the berries. Top with a second cake layer, more strawberries, more frosting (and the third cake layer, if using). Frost the top and sides of the assembled cake. Refrigerate until the frosting has stabilized, at least 1 hour.
To make the chocolate glaze, place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit 1-2 minutes. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Blend in the corn syrup and vanilla. Pour the glaze into a pitcher or measuring cup and let cool for 10 minutes. (Do not let the glaze cool longer or it may become difficult to pour over the cake.) Slowly pour the glaze over the cake, ensuring that the top is covered and the glaze drips over the sides.
Refrigerate the cake until the glaze is set and the whipped cream frosting is firm, at least 1 hour. Garnish with extra strawberries. Slice with a long, sharp knife, wiping the blade clean between slices.
*Photo courtesy of H. Fitch. She truly did an amazing job! WOW!