Chocolate, strawberry surprise cake
If you have a big tightknit family, raise your hand. And if that clan is an opinionated band raise it higher! In my family we all have something to say about everything: we're like a walking, talking advice column. We've got suggestions for each other's lives, their kids' lives and their future we all know what’s best for us, for them, their kid’s families and children and their future (not to mention the rest of the world). We tell each other what to do, how to do it when to do it some more than others, (not mentioning anyone but it’s usually the first born). We each think, we are right when we speak our mind on any given situation. We argue, we disagree and we complain to each other about each other.
We four siblings also love each other fiercely, and we love not only one another but their partners, our nephews, nieces and their children. We take care of each other, and look out for one another. If one has a problem, we all have a problem; if one is suffering we are all suffering. If one of us is happy, we are all happy. If you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us. We are bound together by an unbreakable force called unconditional love. I ADORE my family, they mean the world to me and I feel so blessed to have them in my life, so when they came over to my place for a picnic brunch I was over the moon. They, on the other hand, felt like they needed a survival guide to navigate to Rosebery – it's 9km from Bondi – but it might as well be on another planet for them. In my family, we’re a bunch of givers. No one wants anyone to do anything: “no don’t go to any trouble, I’ll make the dip, you already work hard enough; I’ll make the dip, don’t even think about making any bread; just say which bread and I’ll buy it” – and so it goes. I had to put my foot down and insist on making the cake! “Okay, okay, if you want to kill yourself, go ahead but I can just as easily defrost one of mine.” “No thank you!” (I don’t want to choke on a cardboard confection of carbs covered in butter and sugar.) “I’m making the cake.” So, after a day of negotiations that rivalled a debate in the UN, I was finally granted permission to embark on the suicide mission of making dessert.
When I tell you my family devoured the cake is an understatement.
They inhaled it. “Nava, you’ve outdone yourself it’s the best cake ever, I want the recipe, it’s freaking awesome, why did you make it? I can’t control myself. I’m going to gain all the weight I lost this week and it’s your fault. I told you not to make the cake!” Ahhhhh, family, nothing like them (or is there? you tell me!). They take the cake in more ways than one!
This tender luscious dark chocolate cake with its delicious strawberry and cream centre is, irresistible, and the vanilla Chantilly cream is rich and velvety. Combined with the juicy strawberries, it complements the cake to perfection. The chocolate sauce was exactly the topping to give this cake needed for that extra touch. Easy to make and easier to consume. This cake is a must at your next family gathering.
1. Prepare in Advance: You can whip the cream, bake the cake and make the sauce a day a head and assemble the cake on the day. Alternatively, you can bake and prepare the cake in advance. 2. Make sure that cake is as cool when you assemble it; or your cream will have a melt down. 3. Chocolate Sauce: 4. keep in mind that it thickens with time. If you decide to prepare it a day or a few hours ahead, a touch of milk will help achieve that perfect, drizzly consistency. 5. Fruitful Possibilities: 6. Feel free to fill the cake with any berry that catches your eye or create a flavourful medley of berries. Maybe toss in some bananas and if you’re Feeling adventurous use a mango for an exotic twist. And don't forget to share your creations.
For the Chocolate Cake:
5 large eggs
1 cup caster sugar
125g self-raising flour
10g baking powder
85g drinking chocolate
For the Vanilla Chantilly Cream and Strawberries:
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
35g vanillin sugar
300ml thickened or pure cream
1 punnet strawberries (250g)
For the Chocolate Sauce:
100g dark chocolate
50g milk chocolate
2 tablespoons sugar
½ tablespoon cocoa
4-5 tablespoons milk
25g unsalted butter
Method for the Chocolate Cake:
Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 170°C.
1. Line a 23/24cm springform round baking tin with baking paper and set it aside.
2. Using either a hand-held mixer or a stand-alone mixer, whisk together the sugar and eggs for 8-10 minutes. Slowly and steadily, add in the cream and then the oil.
3. Sift the flour, drinking chocolate, cocoa, and baking powder through a sieve onto the cake batter. Gently stir with a spoon or whisk, then beat with an electric mixer for a couple of minutes until the batter is smooth.
4. Pour the batter into your prepared baking tin and pop it into the oven. Bake until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. For reference, it took 55 minutes in my oven.
Method for the Vanilla Chantilly Cream:
While the cake is baking in the oven, l whip up the Chantilly cream. Using a hand held mixer, or stand alone mixer, whip together the cream, vanilla sugar, and vanilla extract until it's firm. Pop it in the fridge to chill.
Method for the Chocolate Sauce:
Ensure all the chocolate sauce ingredients are at room temperature. In a double boiler or a saucepan over low heat, stir together the dark chocolate, milk chocolate, sugar, cocoa, and milk until it's melted. Turn off the heat and whisk in the unsalted butter until it has dissolved completely
Prepare and Assemble:
Once your cake is done, let it cool completely. It can't be warm –you want it at room temperature or, if you're feeling patient, leave it in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight. Place the cooled cake on your serving dish and carve out a 2cm-deep circle around the cake, leaving a 2cm border.
Rinse and dry the strawberries, slice them up set a side. Spoon half the chilled Chantilly cream into the carved-out cake centre, place the strawberries on top , cover with remaining cream then seal the deal with the cake crumbs you set aside and gently press with your hands.
Drizzle the chocolate sauce over your masterpiece, and you're ready to dazzle your family and friends.