Friday, May 24, 2013

chocolate strawberry mini-cakes with mascarpone buttercream




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 entrĂ©es...mangia!  xox

Carol






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

Ingredients:

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
2 eggs
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!

Carol's note:

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!






Follow on Bloglovin

68 comments:

  1. Oh, Carol!! What a beautiful cake! Your patience for baking and decorating far out reaches mine. I like to make the pieces, but when it's time to put them together I start to feel this anxious "I just want to be done" feeling. This cake is so pretty!
    Good luck on you move! I moved away from home once and it was tough. But I think I remember you saying you were moving to be closer to kids, so your sort of moving away from home towards home. Wishing you a smooth move and a quick resetting of the new residence and a nice weekend with your family!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Kim! I so appreciate your sweet messages and encouragement! Have a beautiful weekend! xox

      Delete
  2. What a perfect little cake! Love that you had mascarpone frosting and stayed true to your blogs namesake. Good luck with the move. I am facinated by the south and have always wanted to visit Georgia - one day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Lisa! It's funny, I never realized how versatile mascarpone was until I started the blog, and now enjoy using it in so many recipes!

      It took be a long time to get used to the south, and although I adore it up north, I'll take the warmer weather any day! ;)

      Delete
  3. Wooooooooooooooooooooooow! Awesome, fantastic, amazing! So..so..aaaa I don't know what to say! I really like it very much!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This cake is gorgeous, as all your baking is. I´m SO in love with DH magazines, I might just buy an ipad to get them easily. It´s not easy for issues to be sent here, some get lost, etc. And unfortunately a few of them where caught up in the flood, but I managed to restore them back to life. But it´s not the same, the pics are not the same. And I have to say the photography I like more than the recipes sometimes! Have a great time moving into your new home!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you were able to restore your DH issues, Paula! I'm also so happy you're getting back to normal life again...it's so hard! Thank you for always being so sweet! xox

      Delete
  5. Carol - These look fabulous! So pretty - my even more importantly - so delicious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Martha! The DH chocolate cake recipe is fantastic!

      Delete
  6. This is beautiful! I'm a huge fan of Donna Hay also. I'm always marveling at her magazines, which really are a work of art! And somehow, she makes that beautiful food sound incredibly easy to put together. You do it justice here! Good luck on your move. : )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a lovely comment, Monica! Thank you so very much!

      Delete
  7. Carol, this is almost too pretty to eat! I say almost, because I know I'd have zero self control around one of these mini cake. ZERO!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True, Ashley...no self control. I made these little cakes twice now...and won't even mention my self control! ;)

      Delete
  8. Donna Hay would be incredibly proud of this splendid cake!! Best of luck during the moving process!

    Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are TOO kind, Valerie! Thank you! I could really use one of your delicious cookie recipes right now...all freshly baked and packaged up! ;) You have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend as well! xox

      Delete
  9. I do love Donna Hay, and I'm so glad she's on my iPad, too! This is stunning, perfect for this holiday weekend! Have a wonderful one, Carol!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Liren! Happy Memorial Day weekend to you too!!!

      Delete
  10. These cakes are so darling, I love the mini size. Have a wonderful weekend, Carol! :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. The combination of strawberries and chocolate is a delicious one, indeed! These cakes look absolutely beautiful :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're very sweet, Eva! Thanks for such a lovely comment!

      Delete
  12. These cakes are so so adorable, Carol! Thanks for sharing and have a great long weekend :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kiran! You have a great weekend too! Enjoyed viewing your Disney trip on Instagram! Hope you're home safe and sound!

      Delete
  13. Beautiful chocolate strawberry cakes! Your photos are always so lovely and inspire me;-)
    How exciting to make a move to Georgia-I think you will like the warmer weather and feel right at home in no time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind words, Patty! It's going to be very exciting to be near my grandchildren...I always thought I would be a long distance grandmother, so this is a dream come true! Have a great holiday weekend!

      Delete
  14. Jeannette JordanMay 25, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    The pictures make it good enough to eat. So professional.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mom...you and Dad have a great Memorial Day weekend! xox

      Delete
  15. How adorable are these mini cakes! LOVE it, Carol!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are delicious little cuties...thanks so much, Anna!!!

      Delete
  16. Carol, these little cakes are exquisite! Gorgeous presentation and photography. I'm a fan of Donna Hay also. I had no idea that her magazines were available via iTunes though, I'll have to take a look (much easier to store than hard copies! Great idea!). Thanks for sharing this recipe. Happy Memorial day to you! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laura, thank you so much for your lovely comment! Definitely check the DH mags out. They are available on the ipad for $4.95 each! Happy Memorial Day to you too!!! xox

      Delete
  17. I'm such huge fan of chocolate cake with strawberry, it requested by my family a lot. I bet this was a wonderful recipe with the lovely mascarpone frosting. Good luck with your move and welcome to the South!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Suzanne! Thanks for stopping by and writing your sweet comment. Thanks also for the good luck on my move...it's exciting to know what the days ahead will hold!

      Delete
  18. What a great way to use your gift Carol. I've never seen the magazine you speak of but I think I'll google it as Donna Hay seems to be a popular cook. Your Chocolate Strawberry Mini Cakes looks stunning. I love how you've left the sides bare, so you can see the lovely chocolaty crumb shining through. I also like how you've topped it with a chocolate covered strawberry. What a great entry for this month's challenge!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Laura! You're so sweet!! I struggle over these #chocolateparty ingredients every month...and I don't even know why! It's certainly not for a lack of love of chocolate! lol Thanks for stopping by!!

      Delete
  19. What a fun cake! And this miniature size just makes it all the more dangerous - I'll just have to have 2 of this please!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chung-Ah, you are exactly right! Little cakes ARE more dangerous! ;) Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Delete
  20. Oh Carol, I breathed such a sigh of amazement when I saw your beautiful photos. Absolutely gorgeous. That chocolate cake looks so dark 'n decadent, and I love the mascarpone and berries. Such a simple and delicious way to garnish the cake. I had so much trouble with this month's Chocolate Party that I decided not to participate. Pathetic, I know, but I just couldn't think of an inventive way to combine chocolate with strawberries! Your pairing is perfection.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so sweet, Nancy! Thank you so very much! I agree, it's hard coming up with something when you have to use specific ingredients, but you are not being pathetic by any means! I prefer to go on a whim and create what I'm in the mood for! It's fun seeing everyone's creativity though! Thanks for stopping by, Nancy!!

      Delete
  21. Hope moving is going well. It is a big change after living in one place for 31 years! Good luck with everything. :)

    Your mini cakes...so gorgeous!!! I never actually thought of making a mini cakes before. However mini cakes makes me feel more comfortable about giving it a try than making a big layered cake. I've never made a layered cake before that's why... :) Love the mini cake stand too. Saving this recipe for the near future!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On the road, Nami...half way there, just stopped at a motel for the night! Furniture will arrive on Saturday! Moving nerves half over! :) Thanks for your kind thoughts and words! xox

      Delete
  22. These mini cakes are beautiful, Carol! Love the combination of chocolate and mascarpone with the strawberries! I hope everything is going well with the move - how exciting!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Meghan! Thanks for your sweet comment! Furniture delivery was a bit of a nightmare, but everything else is going great...thank you so much, always enjoy you stopping by!!!

      Delete
  23. I love this! I also love Donna Hay!! And I think this cake is incredible!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kate!!! You're so sweet...and totally agree, Donna Hay's recipes are fabulous!!!

      Delete
  24. This looks beautiful and sounds even better. I love mascarpone with chocolate...yum indeed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Barb! You are so right, mascarpone and chocolate are wonderful together! Thanks for stopping by!!!

      Delete
  25. The photos of your chocolate strawberry mimi cakes should be on the cover of a food magazine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karen, thanks so very much for such a kind comment! You made my day...thank you!!!

      Delete
  26. What a gorgeous cake!! Strawberries have been so good lately, this would be the perfect cake to make with them. Also, congrats on the move!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Cate! The cake is simple and delicious...hope you can try it sometime. Thanks for your kind comment on the move, too!!

      Delete
  27. Incredible photos! I am going to try and make the chocolate mini cakes :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kahkasan! Hope all is well...got to get around to see what's new on your end, too. Been a little out of commission with my move down south. Thanks for your comment...the chocolate cake is amazing whether you make the mini cakes, or even a regular size cake! Enjoy!!!

      Delete
  28. This looks sinful! Am afraid to make this cause i'll end up eating the whole thing by myself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Aya! I know exactly what you mean about eating it all yourself! It's very hard to share a mini-cake with someone else! lol Thanks so much for your kind words, and for being a new visitor at a cup of mascarpone! So happy to have you stop by!!!

      Delete
  29. Your cake is a nice change from the usual Strawberry Shortcake that I so adore. Lovely! I hope your move is going well. I am in the midst of one myself so I know how painful it can be. Looking forward to having you back in the kitchen soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lisa! Thanks for stopping by, and your sweet comment! You're in the middle of a move too? Yes, it is definitely a pain! Not having everything I need and use at my fingertips is frustrating. My move is temporary until I find a permanent new house, so all my years of belongings are now in storage. Getting organized took much longer than I planned, but hope to have a new post up in the next couple days, and hope to start visiting all my favorite blogs (like yours :}) again soon! Thanks again, Lisa! xox

      Delete
  30. Hope your move went well, Carol!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for thinking of me, Liz, and stopping by just to leave that sweet gesture! The move was a bit harder than I expected, but almost back to normal! I can't wait to get my new post up! Feel like I've been away forever! Have a great weekend, and thank you again! xox

      Delete
  31. Not only is this a wonderful recipe but the pictures are gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your sweet comment, Val! So happy you stopped by!!!

      Delete
  32. What gorgeous little cakes, these will be my next dinner party dessert!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for the sweet compliment, Jayne! They are delicious…hope you enjoy!!!

      Delete
  33. Your mini cakes look so pretty. You can never go wrong with a Donna Hay recipe. So pretty!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your kind comment, Vicki! You are so right, I have never used a Donna Hay recipe that I haven't adored!

      Delete
  34. This is just what I was looking for! Could you be so kind and tell me - does this mascarpone filling suits for decoration needs as well? I've imagine my devil`s food three layers cake filled and frosted with it completely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Laade! You can absolutely use the mascarpone frosting to decorate/frost the entire cake! Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Delete

Hi! Thank you so much for stopping by a cup of mascarpone, and taking the time to leave a comment! I read, smile, and cherish each and every one of them! xox

Carol