One of my favorite gifts last Christmas was a $50 iTunes gift card. It took me a mere millisecond to know exactly what I was going to use it for! Not too long ago, Donna Hay (how much do I love her recipes and food styling!) began offering her gorgeous magazines through the iPad Newsstand. Since most of her physical older issues are sold out, this gave me the perfect opportunity to purchase them in virtual publication form. Having every issue at my fingertips, and the newest June/July 2013 issue downloaded the day it came out, is a food lover's instant gratification.
Ironically, my very first blog post, Blueberry and Lemon Macarpone Tart, is also a Donna Hay recipe. This incredible, sophisticated tart is requested by my friends all the time. The sweet shortcrust pastry is my go-to recipe nearly every time I create tarts...it's delicious, and never fails!
While considering a recipe to create for the May Chocolate Party from Roxana's Home Baking, strawberries being the scrumptious ingredient to be combined with chocolate, I decided it was time to try Donna Hay's Ultimate Chocolate Cake from her October/November 2011 issue.
A deep, dark, delectably moist chocolate cake...it will satisfy the upmost chocolate cake connoisseur! To go along with the Chocolate Party theme, I decided to add plump, red strawberries. They incorporate a lovely seasonal sweetness, and give the cake a charming touch, without adding much extra work. When serving, you can slice the cake in a regular manner, or remove and serve each single layer individually from the tiered cakes.
Wishing everyone a beautiful Memorial Day Weekend, remembering why we celebrate!
A final note...this original upstate New York girl, is making a big time, exciting life change! After 31 years in Virginia, my next post will be coming to you from my new home - down south in Georgia.
Until next time...and one of my favorite, scrumptiously healthy eggplant entrées...mangia! xox
Chocolate Strawberry Mini-Cakes with Mascarpone Buttercream
Cake Recipe adapted from Donna Hay Magazine Oct-Nov 2011
Frosting Recipe from a cup of mascarpone
Yields 2 - 4 mini-cakes depending on layers, and serves 8
for the chocolate mini-cakes:
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch cocoa
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon hot water
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sour cream
3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks butter), room temperature
1 1/8 cups superfine sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of salt (if using unsalted butter)
for the mascarpone frosting:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup mascarpone
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
2-3 teaspoons milk
9 - 10 strawberries, sliced (for layering and garnish)
Create the Chocolate Strawberry Mini-Cakes with Mascarpone Buttercream:
for the mini-cakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 4 - 4" mini-springform or mini-cake pans, and set aside (I used pans like these.
Place the cocoa and hot water in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the sour cream into the cocoa mixture, and whisk to combine. Set aside. Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 4 minutes, or until pale and creamy. Gradually add the eggs and beat well to combine. Set the mixer to low speed, add the cocoa mixture, flour, and baking soda. Beat until well combined.
Divide the mixture between the prepared 4 mini-pans. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes, and turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
When completely cooled, trim the tops from the cakes to create a flat surface. Slice each cake evenly into 2 horizontal slices. This will yield 8 slices, which you can layer in any way you wish. (I created 2 cakes with 3 layers, and 1 cake with 2 layers.)
for the mascarpone frosting:
Cream together the butter and mascarpone on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, add in vanilla. Gradually add in the sugar on low speed until all combined, increase speed to medium. Add in milk, one teaspoon at a time to reach desired consistency. Beat until light and fluffy.
layering the mini-cakes:
Set sliced strawberries on a paper towel to absorb any excess liquid. Using a small frosting spatula, spread each cake layer with mascarpone buttercream. You don't have to be perfect - that's the beauty of this type of cake. Place sliced strawberries on top of frosting. You will be able to fit 4 or 5 slices. Repeat this process with remaining layers.
For garnishing the top layer, you can arrange with additional sliced strawberries, or a chocolate covered strawberry!
I cut the original recipe in half to create my mini-cakes. If you want to make an 8" or 9" regular size layered cake, double my recipe above.
Be sure to click the frog link at the bottom of my post to view all the talented blogger's May #chocolateparty Chocolate & Strawberry creations!