Last Christmas was quite epic. I was in Dresden, Germany celebrating with my family the union of my sister and her long time beau and now husband Christmas, their wedding ceremonies, his birthday and such. The trip including hopping on and off the Eurorail to some really interesting places such as celebrating New Year's eve in Prague, Czech Republic; the new year in Budapest, Hungary and mom's birthday in Payerbach and Vienna, Austria. It was quite outstanding actually. This year on the other hand has been simple and at home itself. Though I missed the adventures of last year.
I am new to the baking scene, though friends with many bakers who have inspired me to experiment a bit more. I really put all my faith in Pioneer Woman's recipes. Plus I love the fun she has with her food. So here is replicating a really great find on her blog. Plus it looks so festive and Christmassy and Santa like and as promised was absolutely deliciouso! Its not a traditional recipe simply because strawberries are not a winter fruit in the West. In India though, they just make it in season and disappear in a few months.
So here is the recipe and step by step photos I took of the cake.
FOR THE CAKE:
- 226 gms Butter
- 4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa Powder
- 1 cup Boiling Water
- 2 cups Flour
- 1-3/4 cups Sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 cup Yogurt (in my case home made)
- 2 whole Eggs
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- 1-1/2 cup Nutella
FOR THE STRAWBERRIES:
- 2 pints Strawberries, Hulled And Sliced
- 1/4 cup Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM:
- 2 cups Heavy Cream
- 1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
STEP- BY- STEP
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Cecius. Line 2 round baking pans with parchment- I used my mom's round pyrex ware and used some buttered the parchment.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the cocoa and stir it until smooth. Pour in the boiling water, let the mixture bubble up for 20 seconds or so, then turn it off and set it aside.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the yogurt, baking soda, eggs, and vanilla. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, and salt. Stir in the hot chocolate mixture, a few tablespoons at a time, stirring gently until it's halfway combined and less hot. Pour in the buttermilk mixture and continue stirring gently until the batter is all combined. Stir till all the bumps and air bubbles are smooth. Refrain from eating away the entire batter. It is a beautiful mass of chocolatey goo.
- Pour the batter equally into two pans and bake them for 30 minutes, until they're just set. Test with a fork or a knitting needle- must come clean. Remove them from the pans and set them aside to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, prepare the strawberries by stirring them with the sugar and the vanilla. Let them macerate for 15 minutes, then drain off the excess juice. Use a seive to drain the sugar syrup. You can use this syrup in milk and make strawberry milk. Trust me you will bless me.
- Whip the cream with the powdered sugar till stiff peaks. Takes a good 5 minutes of whipping. But careful not to let the fat separate or else you will have home made butter.
- To assemble, turn one layer upside down on a serving platter. Slice off the top of the cake with a bread knife so you have a smooth top. Careful the cake could crumble. Incase that happens use a toothpick to stick it back together.
- Spread half the Nutella all over the surface. Spread on half the whipped cream and top with half the strawberries Place the other layer upside down on top and repeat with the rest of the Nutella, whipped cream, and strawberries. Keep chilled until serving.
- This is definitely a complicated cake to serve- but all the mess is so worth every bite. A great cake to assemble with kids or enthusiastic friends - like mine.
P.S.: Don't assemble more than an hour before serving.
Here are the yummy photos:
This basic cake recipe is outstanding. Apparently Pioneer Woman's mom in law handed it down to her. It definitely worth making this base recipe and then designing the toppings for this basic cake. Its like old school chocolate but even better. The very chocolatey base with a thin layer of nutella - just acts like a lovely frosting. Then the light and airy and smooth whipped cream with a hint of vanilla adds a beautiful texture contrast to the chocolate cake. Added to this the tart, sweet strawberries with cream and nutella and chocolate cake. Agreeably the best Santa cake ever. And this song by Selena is so lovely. It has the same kind of gentleness as the cake. A little sappy but still lovely. Plus Selena's voice. Whoo