Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake – A delicious mess!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake

I am going to call this a “piggy-back” post on my last post.

A delicious slice!

I say that because I actually made the strawberry cupcakes for one real purpose that was not cupcakes at all: it was for this cake! I offered to make the cake for a friend’s birthday and asked his wife what some of his favourite dessert flavours are! Here is what I got: “chocolate in general, chocolate mint ice cream, Oreo or chocolate chip cookies and strawberry cheese quake blizzards”. So since I immediately eliminated the chocolate mint combo for reasons outlined here,  I figured that a chocolate and strawberry cake with strawberry cream cheese icing might be tasty! So that was the real reason for making the strawberry cupcakes: to get a layer of cake to be sandwiched between two chocolate cake layers!

A few things went VERY wrong with this cake… and they were simple things that I knew better than to do. Quite stupid of me really. First: I took the strawberry cake out of the pan while it was still really hot just so I could get the next one baking earlier. I let it cool for about 20 minutes while I made the chocolate batter but then I took it out… and not that carefully. It is a rather dense cake so it was still QUITE hot. Result: it totally broke apart – right down the middle and then into several pieces beyond that. This would have been ok if I was using a buttercream for the filling since it is like cement but, no, I wanted the strawberry cream cheese filling which isn’t thick enough to glue in the same way. But I kept going anyways. So at one point I had this big mess of three layers of cake, the middle strawberry layer spilling over like its jeans were too tight (you know the mental picture I am getting at… think ‘muffin top’), pink strawberry cream cheesy goo spilling all over and a lopsided top. I kept going. I tried to cover it with reddish buttercream with hopes that it would glue it together now.

This is not how it was supposed to look... what a mess of chocolate!

Well buttercream over gooey mess doesn’t work too well and since I didn’t actually make enough red buttercream it really wasn’t holding. So I had to make more which I knew wouldn’t be the right colour. So then I just went with white (although there was still some red left in the bowl so instead a lovely pink – for my guy friend’s birthday) and decided I would cover the whole thing with ganache rather than just have it run down the side artistically as I had planned. The buttercream worked this time since I gobbed so much on. It covered well, smoothed out well, and let me even out the top. I also carved off some of the “muffin-top” of strawberry cake (although this then compromised the circular shape of the cake). Good. Things were looking ok. Onto the ganache. I have made ganache enough times that I know how easy it is. But stupidly I used “melting chocolate” rather than baking chocolate or chocolate chips and melting chocolate is way too soft. So in the morning when I was hoping to just smooth it out I suddenly realized why it wouldn’t set! Which means that I couldn’t decorate on top of it because then the icing decorations would slide. So then I thought “oh I have some extra ganache left, why not melt some more chocolate and add it to

Ok so here are the layers: from bottom to top: chocolate cake, strawberry cream cheese filling, strawberry cake, strawberry cream cheese filling, chocolate cake, reddish buttercream, white buttercream, thin-sloppy ganache, thick-dense ganache.

the ganache and smooth that over the top” (note: now four layers of icing on the outside: red buttercream, pink buttercream, sloppy ganache, thick ganache). Well think of the physics of thick, almost solid chocolate overtop of sloppy, liquidy chocolate. It slides. It looks awful! What a mess.

I should point out that this is why there is a lack of pictures of the process: while I did take pics of making the strawberry cake the mess that became the strawberry cake distracted me from taking proper pics of the chocolate cake (and I just forgot!)

The good news: when you put some decorations on the top and have it served outside after it is already dark with 32 candles on the top, everyone thinks it looks fantastic!

The other good news: I knew it would taste amazing!

In the end, it didn't look horrible... put enough distraction on and no one really notices!

For the recipe, I used the strawberry cupcakes recipe and strawberry cream cheese icing, a “black magic” cake recipe (below but you can find it online as well!) for the chocolate cake, and a basic buttercream icing for the top. I will not post any ganache recipe this time since it was such a fail!

Black Magic/Rich & Decadent Chocolate Cake

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

    No - I did not let her actually taste it (or even touch it for that matter)! It just seemed like a cute photo-op!

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup strong hot black coffee
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and line cake pans with parchment paper (I used 2 x 9″ but you could do an 11×13″)
  2. In mixer bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients (including sugar).
  3. Mix oil, buttermilk, eggs & vanilla in a smaller bowl.
  4. With the mixer on low, add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients until mixed pretty well. Add the hot coffee in a slow stream until just combined.
  5. Pour the liquidy batter into your prepared pans. Bake 20 min or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on racks about 30 min and then remove from pans to cool completely.

Basic Buttercream

  • 1 cup butter, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tb meringue powder
  • 4 cups icing/confectioner’s sugar
  • 3-4 tsp water/milk
  1. Beat butter until smooth. Add in vanilla and meringue powder.
  2. Add sugar 1/2 cup at a time. It ends up quite stiff.
  3. Add water until the desired consistency is reached (thin for icing the cake, medium for decorations).
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4 Comments on “Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake – A delicious mess!”

  1. Susan Cullum says:

    You, my dear daughter, are totally amazing!!!
    Not only do you turn out something that should never have worked, but it looks great and tastes great too!!
    Love your determination!

  2. Ali says:

    That piece of cake looks like something I would ask for if I got one wish before I died. Might as well die happy! I might just try and replicate this soon with all that ganache and buttercream. irrésistible!


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